Project – Bonelli Slusher Part 1

The Bonelli Slusher is my everyday bad weather bike and winter bike. It has the full all-weather treatment – fenders, rust-protection sprayed in the tubes, cheap parts, low flash factor, and in the winter it wears a set of sweet studded tires. The only downside to this ride is that it moves at the speed of a tortoise!

Project Bonelli Slusher
1 – Introduction
Cost So Far:
$360 CAD
 199X L Bonelli Lite 1

Nickname: Bonelli Slusher
Purpose: Rainy Day Beater Bike, Grocery Getter, Winter Bike
Odometer: Approximately 450km
Setup: Winter 1×7 Shimano Tourney (13.6kg)

What is the Bonelli Slusher?

This bike’s life started off as a completely stock Bonelli Lite 1 – it had some really horrible twist shifters, cantilever brakes, and a bafflingly heavy triple front ring and cranks. I purchased this bike off Kijiji some time late 2015 and immediately stripped all the parts from it leaving nothing but a bare frame, headset, and fork.

The reason this bike was scooped up was because I had another bike of this exact model that I was using as my daily commuter (The Bonelli Fairweather, by the way) and I really liked the geometry – it was a comfortable bike from the first day I rode it, and I had decided that I liked it so much I’d love to have one for my winter bike as well.

The bike has been since transformed into the Bonelli Slusher – my all-weather beater and winter bike. I had the bike all set to go for the Winter of 2016.

Bonelli Slusher

In preparation for the winter, I sprayed the inside of all the tubes with a combination of Rust Check Coat & Protect, and Rust Check Rust Inhibitor. These two products have worked pretty well for me in the past with other bikes as well as my cars.

The Coat & Protect product creates a bit of a slimy, gel-like coating, where the rust inhibitor leaves a coating like what you would find after spraying something with WD-40. The main areas of concern were the bottom bracket, the down tube, and the chain stays. There are usually small air holes in the chain and seat stays where you can spray some product in using the supplied narrow red straw for the aerosol.

The Rest of the Parts

After prepping the frame, the following parts were added:

  • New square-taper bottom bracket ($19)
  • New Race Face narrow-wide 36t chainring ($60)
  • Old Shimano Acera crank arms (Free)
  • New basic grips from MEC ($5)
  • Old single thumb shifter (Free)
  • Old Tektro V-Brakes (Free)
  • New Avid FR5 brake levers ($10)
  • Old basic MEC saddle (Free)
  • New Tourney rear derailleur ($20)
  • New 7 speed chain ($16)
  • New teflon coated cables and cable outers ($25)
  • Pinhead lock on the front wheel
  • Old fenders (Free)

A Reliable Winter Bike

I’ve been using the old stock wheels, since it is above all, a beater bike, and it has taken quite a lot of abuse over the course of the winter. It also sits outside, so there’s always a bit of a balancing act between function and cost. The wheels have remained relatively straight. I actually have two sets, since one set came with my other Bonelli Lite 1 (The Bonelli Fairweather), so I will just swap wheels between winter and summer seasons. This will be an area of upgrade in the future.

For tires, I’m running some 700x32c Schwalbe Winter Marathon tires that picked up off Kijiji for a steal ($80) and in the summer I’ll be running another set of Kijiji tires – a set of  no-name Kenda tires ($20).

Winter Bike Rear Derailleur Winter Bike V Brakes
Broken Brake Handle Schwalbe Marathon Winter Bike Tires

I really enjoy this bike, considering what it is. For some reason, the geometry of this frame really sits well with me.

The thumb shifter has been flawless over the winter season – my previous winter bikes had integrated shifters, and twist shifters, and often failed to switch gear after a warm-cold-warm-cold weather cycle. I’m pleased with the single narrow-wide chainring in front as well, as the chain hasn’t fallen off once, and the 7 cogs in the back have been reliable.

Winter Bike Crank Winter Bike Nice Shot
Bonelli Slusher Dirty Wheel Bonelli Slusher Rear Wheel

What’s Next?

This winter one of the front brake posts has seized and is rubbing against the front rim, and for some reason, my rear brake pads have gotten completely chewed up. With some warmer weather around the corner, the Bonelli Slusher will get a full disassembly, cleaning, a few part changes, a wheel swap to summer tires, and I will be installing a rear rack to facilitate the local grocery trips.

Winter Bike Classic Shot Schwalbe Marathon Winter Tires

So here’s to some warmer weather!