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Overhaul of the Raleigh Tigershark 'shopping bike'.

The bike in the workshop

Start by giving the bike a quick clean to get the worst of the dirt off. Get the bike onto a work stand. A decent work stand is expensive, but the convenience it provides makes it an excellent investment. I use a Park Tools PR10 work stand.

Examination

Carefully examine all aspects of the bike and make a complete list of known issues or things that need attention. Check the state of all components for damage or excessive wear. Some items like the tyres were in perfect condition and did not require changing.

Ordering the parts

Order all parts, lubricants and tools needed to do the job. Once everything arrives, check your 'to-do' list again to ensure everything needed is to-hand.

Removing the pedals

Use a block of wood or a metal bar and a 15mm pedal wrench to remove the pedals. These plastic ones are cracked and the reflectors are missing, meaning they're strictly no longer road legal. I plan to replace them with some better quality all-metal pedals and cat-eye reflectors. Remember that the peddle on the lefthand side is reverse threaded!

Removing the cranks

Unscrew the 10mm hex bolt and use a crank puller to remove the crank arms on both sides of the bike. I use a specialist crank-puller tool to do this, making the job far easier and safer.

Inspecting the bottom bracket

Clean any excess grease or dirt off the bottom bracket. Ensure it turns relatively freely (by hand) with no grinding or clanking noises. Most bikes (like this one) now use sealed bottom brackets for better reliability. But it is still a component that can fail. The bottom bracket on this bike was replaced about five years ago and the current one is in sound mechanical order.

Strip down

Continue to perform a complete strip-down of the bike, taking care to sort all parts and keep things like nuts and bolts together. I tend to leave the chain on, because chains on modern bikes are much harder to split and rejoin again; no point removing the chain or the derailleurs unless they need replacement. Same with the headset; it's a sealed unit and doesn't need taking off unless a replacement is required.

Parts washing

In the absence of a dedicated 'parts washer', a plastic bucket filled with hot soapy water works just as well for soaking the drivetrain and removing stubborn dirt and grease. Any other parts that need washing can be left to soak in the bucket overnight.

Cleaning

Thoroughly clean the frame and headset with hot soapy water. Old rags and tooth brushes are ideal for all those hard-to-reach places!

Preparing the front forks

The front forks on this bike were in a poor decorative state; with lots of flaking paint. Using a combination of a scraper and sand paper, I sanded the front suspension forks.

Painting the front forks

Just about any acrylic-based metal paint can be used for repainting bikes. You certainly will not win any prizes for this sort of paint job, but it looks ten times better than before!

Greasing the bottom bracket

Start the reassembly of the crank by applying grease onto both sides of the bottom bracket. I use lithium-based grease, but something like 'assembly lube' works just as well. Greasing components ensures they will not seize or rust; and can be removed at a later time more easily for servicing or replacement.

Reattaching the crank arms

Give the crank arms a few knocks with a wooden or rubber mallet. Screw the locking hex bolt back in, to hold the crank arms tight. I never use torque wrenches, because they can often over-tighten components and cause damage. I instead tighten everything by hand and periodically check the tightness of everything.

Fitting some new peddles

I had some surplus metal pedals and reflectors leftover from another previous bike project. These were in very good condition and an ideal replacement for the plastic ones originally on the bike, which were cracked and missing their reflectors. These reconditioned pedals had their threads greased and were attached onto the crank arms using hex bolts.

Removing the front disc rota

The front disc brake rota needed to be replaced. Unfortunately two of the hex bolts were seized and their heads had become stripped. This is a common problem, due to the massive extremes in temperature the brake rota is subject to. Using a cordless drill and a HSS drill bit, I drilled about 10mm into the tops of each bolt. Then used a screw extractor tool to reverse-twist the stubborn bolts out. Within a few minutes, both were out and no damage had been caused to the threads the disc rota attaches to.

Attaching the new front disc rota

Fortunately the new brake disc rota came with new bolts (with stronger torx heads, as opposed to hex heads). The new bolts were greased and then screwed in. Bolts are screwed-in on opposite sides, then tightened.

New handle bars

I had a wider handle bar (off another bike) which was in much better condition than the original one removed from this bike. Wider handle bars obviously provide more space for gadgetry, such as lights, GoPro camera's and cycle computers etc. This newer handle bar was slid into position and attached to the headset with a single hex bolt.

Brake and gear levers attached

The old brake and gear levers (and associated cabling) were temporarily reattached to the handlebars. Like a wiring loom, its easier to to sort the cables out from the front end and route them correctly to the brakes or gears.

Attaching the front derailleur

The front derailleur was reattached to the frame again. This simply clamps onto the frame using a single bolt. Marks in the paintwork provided an instant indication of its exact placement.

Attaching the rear derailleur

Rear 'drop-outs' vary greatly on different bikes. This one bolts to the frame using a single hex bolt. The drop-out is the component used to hold the rear derailleur in place.

Putting the wheels back on

The front and rear wheels were reattached. This makes things easier for getting the brakes and gears setup.

Cutting off the old cables

Brake and gear cables should ideally be replaced every couple of years. They often stretch and loose the slight elasticity desired for smoother gear changes and softer brake applications. Once the end cap is cut off with pliers, the old cables can be freely pulled out, all the way back to the levers on the front handle bars.

Re-cabling

While removing the old gear and brake cables, now is a good opportunity to open brake levers or gear shifters. Ensure there is no dirt or rust trapped inside these components. Additional grease can be applied if necessary. New brake and gear cables should begun to be fed through from the levers.

Lubricating the cable housing

Brand new brake and gear cables were fed through the external housing. Some people prefer to replace the external housing, but the housing on this bike was still in good condition, with no kinks or splits anywhere. A good trick is to spray some WD-40 or GT-85 oil down both ends, inside the external cable housing. This makes cabling slide beautifully well and provides additional resistance against road salt or water tracking down into the cable housing.

Adjusting gears

With the new brake and gear cables setup, all the necessary adjustments can be made. Gears should jump between cogs quickly under no load. If gears seem a bit 'sticky' in the mid ranges, the barrel adjuster can be turned to pick-up or release cable tension slightly. This is known as 'indexing'. Brake cables should lock the wheel when full application is made, and there should be no contact with the brake pads when the brakes are released again and the wheels are freewheeling.

Cable end caps

Gear and brake cabling is extremely sharp and the ends fray easily. Always re-attach end caps to the cable and crimp them in place. Not only does it look better, but it's safer too.

Wheel truing

The front wheel was slightly 'out of true'. A few half-turns on some select spoke nipples (using a spoke spanner) quickly got the wheel straightened again.

New wheel reflector

The rear wheel was missing its white wheel reflector. I found another one in my 'bike box' to attach. Later on I'll be attaching 3M spoke reflectors too.

Attaching the bottle cage

The bottle cage screws onto the frame using two hex bolts. If no bottle cage is to be fitted, it's important to keep these bolts in place. Otherwise water will get into the hollow frame of the bike and cause all sorts of unseen problems.

Attaching a quick-release pannier rack

This bike previously had a plastic crate on the back, for shopping bike duties. I decided to replace the crate (which had become damaged) with a quick-release rack and soft pannier bags. Not only should this cut-down on weight and noise, but make the bike more adaptable for carrying different loads. For extra bulky items, the cargo trailer can be used.

Finishing the handle bars

Handlebar grips were re-attached again. The brake and gear levers were moved into their correct positions and bolted tightly. Mounts for a cycle computer and lights were reattached again.

Final degrease of the chain

Our hot soapy wash restored the chain back to almost near-new condition. Spray degreaser works well for shifting any remaining dirt in readiness for a wipe-down and applying fresh chain lubrication.

Lubricating the chain

Unlike a vehicle transmission, the chain on a bicycle is open to the elements. It can become a magnet for dirt and grime. Regularly lubricating a chain ensures it keeps running freely with no squeaks and gear changes are much smoother. Spray oils like WD-40 are typically too light and quickly wash-off. Oils with teflon and dedicated chain oils or greases for chains 'stick' much better in wet or snowy conditions.

Finishing touches

The final components added to complete the rebuild, like light mounts, a cycle computer mount and bell. The choice of a pink horn was not mine!

Testing the finished bike


Time to take the newly overhauled bike out on its maiden voyage. About 25 miles in total and it rode as good as a new bike. Total time of the overhaul was about 8 hours and the total cost was £23.52, excluding a few extra tools I had to buy to complete the job.

The remaining task will be to fit a hitch to the rear axel. This will be required for towing a cargo trailer and completing the shopping bike project.