As bike rebuilders, we hardly ever run into proprietary components, ie components a manufacturer designs, to specifically fit their type of bike, and no one else’s. It’s worth-while salvaging just about every old bike – because you can use the parts to repair all sorts of other bikes. The other day, though, we struck an exception, with an old Mongoose BMX. …… .
It arrived with parts missing, so I took it to Wiltja College, for the “Scrap-heap Challenge”, bike-building event for the boarding students . The students found spares to make a complete bike – which looked promising - except the matching back wheel only had one wheel nut. The scrap heap had spare BMX front wheels - but their nuts would not fit this back axle. It had spare back wheels also, but the axle was an odd size, and the frame was cut to match. Thus the spares were either too big to fit, or too small and a loose fit.
I’m reluctant to give up on a bike, just because one wheel nut is missing. So the bike went back to the Workshop.
We had salvaged wheel nuts there. None would fit. I then visited the bike shops.
First shop found a similar BMX nut in its workshop. The right diameter outside, it fitted other BMX wheels. It was slightly too large, for the Mongoose wheel.
Second bike shop, again, had only the larger nut. They suggested a BMX specialist
Third bike shop, the manager was helpful. He said, for 2 years Mongoose had made everything peculiar to their own designs. So the only nut that would fit, would be a Mongoose nut, for that make, from that year . He didn’t have a spare, and as the bike was 10 years old, didn’t think he could get one.
Worse, as the axle was an unusual diameter the frame slots to take it, would also be an unusual width - so other wheels, either would not fit at all, or would fit only loosely.
We discussed other places to look for the nut. Hardware / car-parts stores stock nuts, but only standard sizes. Wholesale nuts-and-bolts specialists might have non-standard sizes, but unlikely to have anything from Mongoose, and unlikely anyone else's nuts would fit the Mongoose axle.
HSo the Mongoose seemed irrepairable.
Usually if a bike can’t be repaired – it’s worth salvaging parts. But this one, maybe not. The parts would be useful only for another Mongoose BMX , same model, same year.
We might never get another one at the Workshop.
And if we did - likely the part missing would be -- a wheel nut.
And so - because of just 1 wheel nut - an otherwise fine BMX bike from this particular manufacturer - is rendered quite useless!