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  1. #1
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    Building a 7-speed road bike

    Alright, I am planning on building a lightweight 7-speed aluminum road bike. I want this bike to be really lightweight, and simple. I am planning on getting the parts and building it the rest of this winter and into the spring, so hopefully it will be ready to ride this summer. I have a great commuter (2007 LeMond Poprad), that gets me around no matter the conditions. I like to build things, when I was little and bored I used to take apart my BMX and rebuild it. Well, I haven't really worked with road bikes, I just got my Poprad last June, and since then I have fallen in love with bikes again and basically given up my car (I have average at least 50 miles a week since then, normally more though). Like I said, my Poprad is set up to be a commuting machine, so I have different plans for this bike. I want something really lightweight, fast, and simple that I can use as my cruiser in the summer to get around town when I am not carrying much stuff. I know I want an aluminum frame, I am planning on putting a single (somewhere around 50) in the front and a small corncob 7 in the back. Well, I was wondering the best way to build up this cassette/crank set. If possible I would like to use the 105 rear derailer off of my Poprad, and put a new Ultergra on my Poprad.

    So here is the bottom line. I am looking for any input, and help anyone is willing to share with me on building this bike. Budget is kind of an issue so don't go over board, I do have limited funds (I am a grad. student).

    Thanks in advance,
    Sly

  2. #2
    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    The basic issue I see is the 7 speed cassette you need. You can take a moder 9 speed cassette, remone some cogs, and few spacers to the free hub and the job is done. Buying some use components may also give you lighter components for the money you are investing.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, that was the only issue I could think of, so I am glad to hear that you agree. Any good spot to look for used bike stuff besides eBay and LBS that you know of?

  4. #4
    cab horn
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    7 speed cassettes shimano issue are a dime a dozen at my lbs.

    $20 a pop.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRSly
    Yeah, that was the only issue I could think of, so I am glad to hear that you agree. Any good spot to look for used bike stuff besides eBay and LBS that you know of?
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/

  6. #6
    cs1
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    Really neat project you're putting together. I have a similar one going on also. Most of my road bikes are Campy equipped except for my new toy. I chose Shimano because it's cheap and easy to find 7 speed parts. As mentioned earlier, Shimano still makes 7 speed cassettes. Hubs are still hard to find for a 7 speed especially in 126mm or 130mm. No problem, use a 9 speed wheel with a 4mm spacer behind the 7 speed cassette.

    Shimano beats Campy in one important area, IMO. All their rear derailleurs are backwards compatible. You can buy an Ultegra 10 sp rear and swap it for a 6 sp SIS and it will index perfect. So the supply of rears is endless. The front is another story. You have to know what kind of shifters you want first, Road or MTB. They index differently.

    If you are on a budget then look for Tiagra, Sora, RSX, RX100 or the likes. Stay away from 105, Ultegra or Dura Ace especially. Sora derailleurs are almost giveaways. I saw a new complete Sora 8 speed group go for under a $100 on ebay. Obviously the owner just wanted the frame. Very little bidding on it.

    If you want a triple try Deore 7/8 speed parts. There are glut of LX and Deore on ebay right now for pretty cheap. Watch the front ders though. You need barcons or MTB shifters to work.

    Tektro makes real nice budget brakes too. They are dual pivot and work.

    Good luck it sounds like a real nice project.


    Tim
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    Thanks for the info cs1. There is no front derailer planned for this project, just a single in the 50~53 range. Looks like I need to just keep looking around at the LBS. I am actually at my parents for the holidays right now, but I am going home tomorrow so I might start asking around tomorrow if I have time.

    Sly

  8. #8
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    A spacer behind the cassette will make a 7 speed cassette work on newer wheels. Of course, if you are building a 7 speed, you could take advantage of the really nice freewheel wheels that are all being sold off now. I saw a set with Mavic 501's not sell for their low starting price recently. If you used a mountain bike derailleur, then you could use a wide range cogset, which would ameliorate the high gears a little, whilst still giving you the high end you seem to want. Also, the older campagnolo cranks seem to be quite cheap at the moment.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRSly
    Any good spot to look for used bike stuff besides eBay and LBS that you know of?
    For a project like this, check out garage sales and thrift shops. You can sometimes pick up a diamond in the rough for really low prices. I used to do a dawn patrol of my subdivision on garbage day and found some useable stuff. Even if the frame's the wrong size, it can often turn into a donor bike to supply most of the other parts that you need. Once you have a frame, under $100.00 (mostly for things like cables, brake pads and handlebar tape) is a do-able budget.

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    If light weight is a big concern, 7-speed cassettes and components are generally heavier than their 9 or 10-speed replacements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRSly
    Any good spot to look for used bike stuff besides eBay and LBS that you know of?
    Not used stuff, but new and inexpensive:

    www.harriscyclery.com
    www.loosescrews.com
    www.nashbar.com

    I always find myself ordering from at least two of those places when building up an old bike. And of course, keep an eye on Craigslist.

    Have fun!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRSly
    Alright, I am planning on building a lightweight 7-speed aluminum road bike. I want this bike to be really lightweight, and simple. I am planning on getting the parts and building it the rest of this winter and into the spring, so hopefully it will be ready to ride this summer. I have a great commuter (2007 LeMond Poprad), that gets me around no matter the conditions. I like to build things, when I was little and bored I used to take apart my BMX and rebuild it. Well, I haven't really worked with road bikes, I just got my Poprad last June, and since then I have fallen in love with bikes again and basically given up my car (I have average at least 50 miles a week since then, normally more though). Like I said, my Poprad is set up to be a commuting machine, so I have different plans for this bike. I want something really lightweight, fast, and simple that I can use as my cruiser in the summer to get around town when I am not carrying much stuff. I know I want an aluminum frame, I am planning on putting a single (somewhere around 50) in the front and a small corncob 7 in the back. Well, I was wondering the best way to build up this cassette/crank set. If possible I would like to use the 105 rear derailer off of my Poprad, and put a new Ultergra on my Poprad.

    So here is the bottom line. I am looking for any input, and help anyone is willing to share with me on building this bike. Budget is kind of an issue so don't go over board, I do have limited funds (I am a grad. student).

    Thanks in advance,
    Sly
    It sounds like you need to find out if you have a local bike co-op. Ours here in Sac is full of 7 speed parts, they are most of our donations.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  13. #13
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRSly
    So here is the bottom line. I am looking for any input, and help anyone is willing to share with me on building this bike. Budget is kind of an issue so don't go over board, I do have limited funds (I am a grad. student).
    The question I have is: why 7-speed?? Unless you already have the 7-speed shifters you want, you're not going to save money by building a 7-speed bike. Better to go with 8-speed (you can find lots of 8-speed STI shifters for cheap these days). Also, there are 8-speed generic cassettes available from Nashbar and Performance quite cheap these days. They work well for me on my touring bike.

    I'm a grad student too, and try to build bikes cheaply. I think that usually the combination of good availability and low price is highest for parts that are about 5 years behind the state-of-the-art. 7-speed cassettes are no longer widely available, and 7-speed shifters are no longer made except for junky X-mart bikes, I believe. 8-speed cassettes and shifters are still widely available. There are lots of people out there trying to get rid of 8-speed RSX or Sora or 105 brifters!
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    Thanks for all of the input everyone. This is great, and it gives me some ideas to kick around. I do have an old 7 speed cassette, that is mainly what got me interested in the project, but since then I have been considering upgrading to a newer one. I think I just need to go to my LBS and talk to them about what they have in the shop and some ideas.

    Thanks again,
    Sly

  15. #15
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRSly
    Thanks for all of the input everyone. This is great, and it gives me some ideas to kick around. I do have an old 7 speed cassette, that is mainly what got me interested in the project, but since then I have been considering upgrading to a newer one. I think I just need to go to my LBS and talk to them about what they have in the shop and some ideas.

    Thanks again,
    Sly
    Since you have the cassette, and Shimano HG freehub boody will work except 7800. You will need a 4mm spacer if you use an 8/9/10 speed freehub. Want really lightweight? Just use a frction downtube shifter.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    For a project like this, check out garage sales and thrift shops. You can sometimes pick up a diamond in the rough for really low prices. I used to do a dawn patrol of my subdivision on garbage day and found some useable stuff. Even if the frame's the wrong size, it can often turn into a donor bike to supply most of the other parts that you need. Once you have a frame, under $100.00 (mostly for things like cables, brake pads and handlebar tape) is a do-able budget.
    I am always amazed at what shows up in my local thrift stores. Check out this beautiful Raleigh SuperCourse composite bike I purchased for $20.

    The main problem with this bike required a replacement of a spoke on the rear wheel that was way too long which had been jammed on the nipple preventing the wheel from being trued properly. After cutting that spoke out I noted who ever put that spoke in had measured a spoke from the left side and installed it on the right side. I did replace the tires and tubes, as they were looking age worn. I also did a complete lube job as it had obviously sat somewhere in storage for a few years. It is equipped with exage components and an SG triple crank. Oh! It's 7-speed which would have made your day! I love this bike myself and it's a keeper.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I prefer 7 speeds. The cassettes last longer because the cogs are thicker. The rear wheels are stronger because they have less dish. None of my bikes has more than 7 speeds. I can get the parts cheap because most people want the "latest thing". Seven speed shifters are somewhat hard to find, but that's not a problem because 8 speed shifters work just fine.

    Here's the mixte I just finished building for my wife:

    It's all 7 speed Shimano 600 with 8 speed Ultegra 8 speed bar end shifters converted to thumb shifters. Almost all of the parts on it are used.

  18. #18
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    I'd go with a freewheel hub if I were you, lots of them around for practically free. 7-speed (also 6-speed) freewheels also cheep and abundant.
    a life well lived is the best revenge

  19. #19
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    I paid $40 plus $15 shipping for the wheelset on that mixte. They're like new. The hubs are Shimano 600, the rims are Mavic MA40 and the spokes are butted Wheelsmith. The Continental tires, tubes, Velox rim tapes and cassette came with them. I wouldn't go with a 7 speed freewheel because they're notorious for breaking axles. The bike was originally equipped with a freewheel hub, so I had to cold set the rear triangle to 130mm.

  20. #20
    numbtoes
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    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou
    I am always amazed at what shows up in my local thrift stores. Check out this beautiful Raleigh SuperCourse composite bike I purchased for $20.

    The main problem with this bike required a replacement of a spoke on the rear wheel that was way too long which had been jammed on the nipple preventing the wheel from being trued properly. After cutting that spoke out I noted who ever put that spoke in had measured a spoke from the left side and installed it on the right side. I did replace the tires and tubes, as they were looking age worn. I also did a complete lube job as it had obviously sat somewhere in storage for a few years. It is equipped with exage components and an SG triple crank. Oh! It's 7-speed which would have made your day! I love this bike myself and it's a keeper.
    I have this same bike but maybe one year newer. I bought it new in 1990, it sat for over 10 years in my garage and I finally broke it out and put all 105 componetents, truvativ BB and crank and brake shifters, it is real sweet. Oh I also put Mavic Open pro wheels with Ultegra hubs I bought everything off of ebay. the wheels were $58 which had a nice set of new tires (Serfus Secca I think) and I bought the front and rear derailers NOS in the box eight speed for $55 delivered to my door. New chain and rear cassette from LBS (shram). The bike rocks, PM me and I will send you pictures. Yours looks all original as when I bought mine I changed over to black tape and hoods and my new cranks are black it looks sweet. Yours looks great also. That brooks saddle is original, I almost sold mine twice in a garage sell for $200 glad I didn't. Jim
    Last edited by jstar1000; 12-29-06 at 09:04 AM.

  21. #21
    numbtoes
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    Here is a picture of my Raleigh.

  22. #22
    numbtoes
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    My raleigh

    My first attempt did not work with the picture so I'm trying again.


    Still did not work so I'll try a link.

    http://good-times.webshots.com/photo...62324395XdQAhU

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by yairi
    I'd go with a freewheel hub if I were you, lots of them around for practically free. 7-speed (also 6-speed) freewheels also cheep and abundant.
    Yes they are and for good reason. As mentioned above, 126 mm freewheel hubs are notorious for broken axles. There is just too much unsupported length. The only broken axle I've ever had to deal with was on a friend's late '80's Trek that had a 7-speed freewheel.

    7-speed cassettes are fairly easy to find and 7/8-speed chains are readily available too. You can use either 7-speed freehubs or 8/9/10-speed freehubs with a 4.5 mm spacer. The only 7-speed components that are getting difficult to find are shifters. STI (RSX), barcons and downtube 7-speed shifters can require some searching.

  24. #24
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jstar1000
    I have this same bike but maybe one year newer. I bought it new in 1990, it sat for over 10 years in my garage and I finally broke it out and put all 105 componetents, truvativ BB and crank and brake shifters, it is real sweet. Oh I also put Mavic Open pro wheels with Ultegra hubs I bought everything off of ebay. the wheels were $58 which had a nice set of new tires (Serfus Secca I think) and I bought the front and rear derailers NOS in the box eight speed for $55 delivered to my door. New chain and rear cassette from LBS (shram). The bike rocks, PM me and I will send you pictures. Yours looks all original as when I bought mine I changed over to black tape and hoods and my new cranks are black it looks sweet. Yours looks great also. That brooks saddle is original, I almost sold mine twice in a garage sell for $200 glad I didn't. Jim
    Yep! It's all-original including the Brooks saddle. It still has the Raleigh Bar tape on it as well imprinted with the Raleigh bird. I am exceptionally happy with this bike and I am going to keep it all original as long as possible. A few other bikers and I were about to go on a group ride and invited by a photographer to have pictures taken for an article about the local rail-trail MUP. The photographer placed me up front on each photo because this bike is so photogenic. One of the other riders was on a full comp carbon fiber bike that cost thousands of dollars but as it was all black the photographer said it would not show up very well and did not place him or his bike in any pictures taken.

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