Tuesday, June 4, 2013

DiamondBack Sorrento: Evaluation

Over Memorial Day my wife ended up stumbling upon a mid-90's DiamondBack Sorrento, and sent me a few pictures from the store.  It looked very rough around the edges, but I figured it may be a good project bike.  The size looked good to be a transition bike for one of my younger kidlets, so that was a complete bonus, and the $20 price tag made it an inexpensive risk.

Once she got it home and I had to chance to go over it, I realized that this was going to be a great project bike.  I noticed that we were dealing with a pure "ChroMoly" frame, and it was originally sourced from a bike store (and not a big box store).  It was definitely rough around the edges, but I needed to size up exactly what it was that I needed to work on.  The first things I looked at was the seat and the wheels.

The saddle is torn/cut, so the only real option there is replacement.  An inexpensive saddle can be sourced for around $20 to start with, so it's not a major concern for me.

At first I was afraid that I'd have to figure out how to true up the rims.  Once wheel is missing rim tape, and the other is missing a tube.  So far, so good.  The tires are actually in pretty good shape, they look to be relatively new Kenda's (26x1.95's).  Rim tape is only about $5 a wheel, and I can get inexpensive tubes for about $5 each.  Another $20 to get the wheels up and running.

There is some surface rust on the spokes that will need some attention over time.  I didn't see any broken or bent spokes, though.  The chain guard on the rear wheel is in pretty bad shape, but I'll just remove it and it'll be fine. 

We don't need no stinkin' chainguard...

This is the part that could be expensive.  I started by looking at the Cassette and the rear deraileur.  They are decent braned components, Shimano Alivio, and they looked to be in okay condition.  The huge question was if they actually worked.

I started by using the right shifter to change gears.  The first semi-bad news of the day, nothing happened when I attempted to change gears.  To get an idea of the shape of the deraileur I went ahead and just pulled on the cable, and I was able to shift gears.  So the good news in there was that the rear deraileur seems to work, although the shifters are in disrepair.  It also looked like at a basic level the cassette seems to work okay, as the chain didn't seem to slip in any of the gears.  I had similar results from the front deraileur:  The shifter worked from the small chainring to the middle one, but didn't work to the big chainring.  Manually pulling the cable forced the chain to the big ring okay.
These shifters have seen better days

The chain is dry as a bone, and it looks to have a fair amount of rust on it at this point.  The good news is that it's not seized up.  At some point I'll need to replace it, but it should work for now with just a little bit of lubricant.  

The Frame 
The frame looks to be in really fantastic shape overall, although it needs a thorough cleaning.  The stickers on the downtube are peeling off, but the paint underneath is fine.  There is no major rust showing on the bike, and only a few scratches/dings to deal with.  The handlebars need some cleaning and maybe some fresh paint on them at some point.

Cherry (um, Magenta?) paint job.

This was a fantastic pick up at $20.  I had already been pricing out similar bikes refurbished from Lucky Bike here locally, and the cost was going to be just under $200.   The one bummer is that the shifters are not working, but even then I think I can source new 3x7 shifters for around $30.  Thus my current known costs at this point:

Purchase of the bike:      $20
New saddle: $25
New Tubes: $14
New rim tape: $10
New Shifters: $30

Grand Total: $95

I may be able to come in at under this total if I can get other parts working, but even then a mid-tier multi-speed bike for the girls at less than a cheap box store price is fantastic.  This bike has plenty of life left in it, and with just a little bit of work it should be serviceable and a lot of fun.

I have a feeling that I could make a habit out of this...

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