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Noob with Royce Union bike #5431956 05/17/20 11:17 PM
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bowlofturtle Offline OP
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Hi all,

First time in the bicycle section, like with most people this shelter in place has got me looking for things to keep busy. I just want to cruise the neighborhood. I have a smooth bike path behind the house, so i might do that.

I haven't been on a bicycle since like 13 years old on a kids huffy. And today i'm nearing 35. I know absolutely nothing about bicycles.

I just picked off a cheap bike for $50. Its a old Royce Union, 10 speed that has been covered to single speed. I was wondering if anyone can help me identify parts on this, if something doesn't look right, what year this bike might be. I'll provide what i discovered in the past weekend (somethings could be wrong).

- Tires look like Kenda K35, seems to have some sidewall cracks.

- Has old cotter pin crank, left crank/pedal has a LOT of play.
- Some reason my rear is in a lot of pain with this saddle.
- 48 marking on the front gear, so i assume 48 tooth.
- front tire makes a metal clinking noise while rolling on the road.


I'm considering swapping handlebars out. I'm not sure if this is actually my style, they seem to narrow. I would like to add a front brake setup, any thought on how to do that for the cheap.

Also, i thought this would be a metric bike but when my seat adjustment bolt was not a 14mm but it worked.


1BF8827F-4D82-43E1-85A0-900418ED068E.jpeg412BC907-2112-4A2D-BE44-35791DAEED62.jpegA32A113D-1A0E-4B3A-AC15-2B5385C9C16B.jpeg55CF2F40-80CF-4F35-8BBD-DF67FF20C717.jpeg9A2440DD-9AED-487C-83BC-31978E6E9B50.jpegD1C56B35-1262-41D5-A7BA-925140654E4E.jpeg
Last edited by bowlofturtle; 05/17/20 11:37 PM.

My toys
-05 Infiniti G35x 140k
-03 Suzuki SV650N 8.5k
Maintaining
-16 Jetta 1.4T 20k
-98 Nissan Maxima 160k
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Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: bowlofturtle] #5432026 05/18/20 05:21 AM
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Lubener Offline
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I have one of those vintage Royce Union but is all original with 10 spds. Had it since the 70's. Spends most of the time hanging from the garage wall because my travels need an all terain bike. I would replace those cracked tires with blackwalls and get away from the crack prone gumwalls.. Since your wheel(s) seem to be grinding, I would remove both wheels and go over those bearings. Sounds like you have some issues there. Remove that sloppy crank, probably have an issue with that bolt.Too bad it is only one speed. That would be hard on the knees for my type of riding.

Last edited by Lubener; 05/18/20 05:37 AM.

The "thinking" man's friend.
Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: bowlofturtle] #5432056 05/18/20 06:09 AM
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AZjeff Offline
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The stem looks dangerously high, check for a minimum insertion line showing. If you go to a flat handlebar you'll need a different brake lever, 2 if you want to put on a front brake, plus a front brake. Youtube is probably your friend for servicing the wheel bearings and the crank probably needs serviced as well. The SS conversion is too bad, it's like driving around in high gear in your car, all the time. Tires and tubes are going to cost minimum $50 for the cheapest you can find. Find a matching front brake on a junk bike somewhere and you'll need new brake pads. That's a cottered crank I bet and uses special bolts like this. The taper holds the crank arms tight. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cotters.html

Might not be the best $50 you've ever spent.



14 RAV4 2.5 5W-20 PP
18 Nissan Titan 5.6 DI, 0W-20 QSUD

The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with someone else's life. - Frank Zappa

Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: bowlofturtle] #5432139 05/18/20 08:04 AM
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Variant_S Offline
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Wow, what a trip down memory lane!

bowlofturtle, since you're in Chicago, I'd suggest contacting the Working Bikes Cooperative on S. Western Ave. for parts. I've donated a few bikes of that vintage to them.

Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: bowlofturtle] #5432184 05/18/20 09:15 AM
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That seat is like a cheap hotel. No ballroom.

Last edited by 555; 05/18/20 09:16 AM.

84 XJ6 M1
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Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: bowlofturtle] #5432218 05/18/20 09:59 AM
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supton Online Content
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I'm no fan of cottered cranks. I have a couple, and was fortunate enough to borrow a tool from a local so as to mess with them, but IMO they really aren't worth messing with... I mean, on yours, if the cotter is loose, you could try to tighten it. You can't use the nut to tighten, the metal is too soft. You could try hitting it with a hammer, if the cotter is truly loose (crankarm loose on the spindle).

I'd scour CL for a parts bike, almost anything should swap on, as long as it's old. But I suspect you may find it just best to find something better. I would not spend any money on this bike, a few bucks for cables and the like for the experience of learning on to work on, fine, but nothing more. Cottered cranks, what looks like steel rims (is that chrome on the braking surface?), an old seat and who knows what else (what condition are the cones in the wheels? in the crank?). I hate to be a Debbie Downer but that bike needs quite a bit for anything more than uber casual riding.

The clicking noise up front might be from loose spokes; try squeezing adjacent spokes together by hand (use one hand in a c clamp motion). You'll quickly be able to tell "tight" from "loose". But then you'll need the tool to tighten spokes.

Those sidewalls don't look too bad to me. For the light usage that I think you are going to give to this, I think you are fine.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 205k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 159k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k, his
Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: bowlofturtle] #5432292 05/18/20 11:44 AM
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JohnG Offline
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Unless you are a serious and in shape road rider, I wouldn't put a dime into that thing! Those are the most difficult style bike to ride, made even more difficult by the single conversion. Somebody tried to lighten it as a racer, and it might be good for that but NO WAY for someone just getting back into riding. Are you even sure that the frame is the right size for you?

Find a good hybrid somewhere and get the best of both worlds. You will enjoy the ride, trust me.

Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: JohnG] #5432543 05/18/20 04:08 PM
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AZjeff Offline
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Originally Posted by JohnG
Unless you are a serious and in shape road rider, I wouldn't put a dime into that thing! Those are the most difficult style bike to ride, made even more difficult by the single conversion. .


Have to agree with this. I've been into bikes my whole life and have converted 2 similar bikes with a flat bar, better seat, larger tires, one SS and one geared. Just didn't like riding either one and I like bikes. Gave them away.

BOT if you're committed to this bike Youtube and that bike coop linked above are good resources. Do all the free maintenance work, find a junk walmart mountain bike to donate a flat handlebar and brake lever pump the tires up and ride it.

I suspect the old 10 speed style bike turns more people away from bikes than get drawn in.



14 RAV4 2.5 5W-20 PP
18 Nissan Titan 5.6 DI, 0W-20 QSUD

The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with someone else's life. - Frank Zappa

Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: 555] #5432639 05/18/20 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 555
That seat is like a cheap hotel. No ballroom.

LOL


The "thinking" man's friend.
Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: supton] #5432883 05/18/20 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Lubener
Since your wheel(s) seem to be grinding, I would remove both wheels and go over those bearings. Sounds like you have some issues there. Remove that sloppy crank, probably have an issue with that bolt.Too bad it is only one speed. That would be hard on the knees for my type of riding.


It's not a grinding noise for sure. If I was to guess with my limited experience on bikes, it related to the spokes.

I pulled the pin off. Took a LOT of hammering with a punch. Its definitely worn down. I forgot to take a picture. It's tapered for sure and then some other weird worn marks. Either way, I reinstalled it, there is still play but less noticeable now. Something I can live with.


Originally Posted by AZjeff
The stem looks dangerously high, check for a minimum insertion line showing. If you go to a flat handlebar you'll need a different brake lever, 2 if you want to put on a front brake, plus a front brake. Youtube is probably your friend for servicing the wheel bearings and the crank probably needs serviced as well. The SS conversion is too bad, it's like driving around in high gear in your car, all the time. Tires and tubes are going to cost a minimum $50 for the cheapest you can find. Find a matching front brake on a junk bike somewhere and you'll need new brake pads. That's a cottered crank I bet and uses special bolts like this. The taper holds the crank arms tight. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cotters.html

Might not be the best $50 you've ever spent.



No lines found. I loosen the top bolt (nearest to stem), few smacks with a dead blow. Nothing budged. I didn't want to go any further. Cotter crankpin, looks like 2-3 sizes. I'm going to keep an eye out for cheap ones.

I went into this with a mindset of possibly just burning $50. I rode it almost 5 miles today and i did enjoy it for what it is. I tweak the brakes a little and order some new brake grip tape for $10. The single rear brake should do, i don't plan on going fast.

Originally Posted by Variant_S
Wow, what a trip down memory lane!

bowlofturtle, since you're in Chicago, I'd suggest contacting the Working Bikes Cooperative on S. Western Ave. for parts. I've donated a few bikes of that vintage to them.


Once the city gets back to normal, i wouldn't mind swinging by. I'm NW Chicago now, so it will be a nice little ride out that way.


Originally Posted by JohnG
Unless you are a serious and in shape road rider, I wouldn't put a dime into that thing! Those are the most difficult style bike to ride, made even more difficult by the single conversion. Somebody tried to lighten it as a racer, and it might be good for that but NO WAY for someone just getting back into riding. Are you even sure that the frame is the right size for you?

Find a good hybrid somewhere and get the best of both worlds. You will enjoy the ride, trust me.


I am far from in shape. But i do believe its close to right size for me. My leg is fully extended going thru the motions. Could you name some budget popular Hybrids? Something i can keep in mind when i'm on CL/FB marketplace.


Originally Posted by supton
if the cotter is truly loose (crankarm loose on the spindle).

I'd scour CL for a parts bike, almost anything should swap on, as long as it's old. But I suspect you may find it just best to find something better. I would not spend any money on this bike, a few bucks for cables and the like for the experience of learning on to work on, fine, but nothing more. Cottered cranks, what looks like steel rims (is that chrome on the braking surface?), an old seat and who knows what else (what condition are the cones in the wheels? in the crank?). I hate to be a Debbie Downer but that bike needs quite a bit for anything more than uber casual riding.

The clicking noise upfront might be from loose spokes; try squeezing adjacent spokes together by hand (use one hand in a c clamp motion). You'll quickly be able to tell "tight" from "loose". But then you'll need the tool to tighten spokes.

Those sidewalls don't look too bad to me. For the light usage that I think you are going to give to this, I think you are fine.


I posted this with a 90% expectation of you guys ripping me a new one and 10% saying i found a gem. LOL

Its going to be light usage for sure, if i get serious and like biking i'll spend some coin. For now 5-10 miles like once a week or more.

Youtube has been a great help. I think the spoke is loose. Im going to try to look into this but after i aired up the tires from 45 to 65psi, i don't hear it as much. Those tire sidewalls are my main concern. But i priced out tires and they are the cost of the bike,LOL


My toys
-05 Infiniti G35x 140k
-03 Suzuki SV650N 8.5k
Maintaining
-16 Jetta 1.4T 20k
-98 Nissan Maxima 160k
-09 Toyota Camry V6 96k

Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: bowlofturtle] #5432900 05/18/20 10:52 PM
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Great to hear you got it going enough to get out and ride it. If you get out once or twice a week for 5-10 miles and like it it's because you like the act of riding a bike, not because you like this bike. if you keep it up for a month or 2 and still like it do yourself a huge favor and hunt up a decent bike, you won't regret it. Now you got it going do some searching on proper bike fit. Lots of info out there but simply put raise the saddle up 1/4-1/2 inch at a time until you feel yourself reaching for the pedals on the bottom and you feel your pelvis rocking side to side on the saddle. Lower the seat slowly until the rocking stops. Also you never want your legs fully extended. This will get you close.

Hope you keep at it and have fun!



14 RAV4 2.5 5W-20 PP
18 Nissan Titan 5.6 DI, 0W-20 QSUD

The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with someone else's life. - Frank Zappa

Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: AZjeff] #5432916 05/18/20 11:33 PM
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bowlofturtle Offline OP
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I hope so too. All the videos stay it's a good form of excercise, something I definitely need right now. Chicago weather is pretty bipolar, so that limits me a little.

I feel like the bike is in a good State to ride, assuming the sidewall cracks will not blow up on me. Plus I'm on paved roads for the most part, but city potholes are huge.

Going into this, no way could I spend $500 or more on a decent bike. But now I can somewhat see why people do.

I'm at $62 spend on the bike.

Side question, what do you guys use to lube parts? I have motorcycle chain lube and the rest I've been using silcone spray and PB blaster.


My toys
-05 Infiniti G35x 140k
-03 Suzuki SV650N 8.5k
Maintaining
-16 Jetta 1.4T 20k
-98 Nissan Maxima 160k
-09 Toyota Camry V6 96k

Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: bowlofturtle] #5432979 05/19/20 04:55 AM
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The "thinking" man's friend.
Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: bowlofturtle] #5433232 05/19/20 11:17 AM
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Quote
Youtube has been a great help. I think the spoke is loose. Im going to try to look into this but after i aired up the tires from 45 to 65psi, i don't hear it as much. Those tire sidewalls are my main concern. But i priced out tires and they are the cost of the bike,


Probably a spoke nipple stripped out. Just tap or wiggle each one until you find the loose one.

So now, you not only need tires, but also tubes. And since you need to do spoke work, the rubber band, being as old as the tires, will likely break, so you need rim strips too.
And there isn't much you can do to improve those rear centerpull brakes. As the cable is tightened, the geometry changes, they become LESS effective. There was a recent article, possibly Jalopnik, where a guy tried to upgrade an old frame to cantilever brakes, they wouldn't fit between the frame tubes, and once he did manage to find something that worked, they ended up rubbing on the tire.

This is what I meant in my original post, it will be one thing after another. You'll even have trouble getting a proper seat to fit that post once you start looking, and padded shorts just suck!

I still use my GIANT (1982) mountain bike. If I were to look for a Hybrid today, it would be the Giant brand or something of that quality. 8,000,000 Chinese people can't be that wrong!

Re: Noob with Royce Union bike [Re: bowlofturtle] #5433279 05/19/20 12:28 PM
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I'm not picky on my chain lube; I haven't seen much of a difference--more important to have oil on it. I do spring for oil in the nice plastic containers, if only to make application a breeze. Something thick; I once found some Pedro's oil which seemed to work well. [But I'm not one to take advice on as I only get about 1k out of a 9spd chain, rollers are flopping all around by then so I just toss it.]

I use marine wheel bearing grease in my hubs--it's on the shelf for trailer bearings (auto trailers that is) so it is "free" to me.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 205k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 159k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k, his
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