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  1. #1
    Newbie nightbiker's Avatar
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    Lightweight Road Bike for conversion to a fixed gear? Cheap, Vintage, aluminum ideas

    Hey All,

    I'm new to this forum and writing to see if anyone has any ideas for a bike project I'm about to build. I'm looking to pickup a cheap light weight road bike frame 56 or 58cm to build a glow in the dark night bike similar to the Blackberry ad from a couple of years ago.

    (see picture below)
    maxresdefault.jpg

    Brand names don't matter so much to me as the labels will be coming off anyway. My other bike is a Cannondale R300 that weighs in at 23.7 pounds and I love how light it is after riding a 40 pound tank made by Columbia for awhile. My question is if anyone knows of any cheaper light quality frames that can be converted to a fixie. This bike will be for a short commute to and from work and the main requirement would be that it has horizontal dropouts.

    Vintage and aluminum are cool with me.

  2. #2
    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    Don't you have craigslist in your area? As long as you stay away from Department Store Bikes, hi tensile framesets, and Schwinn electroforged frames, you should do well.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
    2014 Additions: 1985 Trek 560, 1992 Trek Multitrack 700 (my 2nd), 1994 Trek Carbon 2200, Peugeot PX-10, 1981 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8, 1989 Bridgestone RB-1, Miyata 912

  3. #3
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    You need to go back pretty far to find aluminum road frames with horizontal dropouts. Vitus and Alan made these up until the mid-80s, but after that horizontal dropouts become increasingly rare on road frames. Is there a reason you won't consider steel? Steel road frames with horizontal dropouts are still abundantly available.

  4. #4
    Newbie nightbiker's Avatar
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    Hey John, Thanks for your reply. I am OK with steel just a little bit leery after riding the super heavy 40 pound bike around. The bike was a beast. My Cannondale is aluminum and 23 pounds fully assembled and I really enjoy riding that bike. Would you know of any specific models of steel frame from the 80's that were light and maybe cheap or easy to find now? I'm hoping to find one in the 20 pound range.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Where on the planet are you? Location matters. You're also confusing me by using "frame" for just the frame and for a complete roller. Of course fixies could weigh less that fully built 10 speeds as there may be fewer components. And for such a short commute how much do you wanna spend for that rare aluminum frame with horizontals. I have a steel '75 Gitane Gypsy that would be a perfect conversion (60cm ST c-c) and would be lovely for commuting and not worrying much about it getting stolen (low end frame). But that would not be worth the shipping costs. You need to source locally. The components will have a large impact on weight - alloy stem, bars, crankset, wheels and thin tires. Bob the bars and the seat post? Plastic pedals? Mill the crank arms? Grind off the braze-ons? No brakes? The frameset alone will be well under your 20 lb spec. That Gitane is only 9 lbs even though it was the bottom of their range. You can determine the final weight by the choices you make.

  6. #6
    SNARKY MEMBER CardiacKid's Avatar
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    There are literally hundreds of steel frames that are as light as or lighter than your Cannondale. Spend some time actually reading the forum and you will find plenty of good ideas. But I have to tell you, converting a vintage bike into a fixed gear is so 2010.

  7. #7
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    For $200 you can buy this one new from Walmart or if you look in returns like I did you might find one for $100. That would give you $100 to change what you want. Roger
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  8. #8
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightbiker View Post
    My Cannondale is aluminum and 23 pounds fully assembled and I really enjoy riding that bike. Would you know of any specific models of steel frame from the 80's that were light and maybe cheap or easy to find now? I'm hoping to find one in the 20 pound range.
    Look for frames made from quality steel tubing, e.g. Reynolds 531, Columbus SL, Tange Champion #1 or #2 , etc.

  9. #9
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Plenty of sub-24 lb steel roadies from the 80s. Conversion can often take about a pound more off.

    Shifters, extra cogs and ring, derailers.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  10. #10
    Newbie nightbiker's Avatar
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    Prowler
    I'm located in Western PA near Pittsburgh and can get to WV or Ohio if I saw the right bike pops up on ebay or Craigslist.

    JohnDThompson
    Appreciate the list of frames you sent, I'll keep an eye out for those.

    Thanks all for your input.

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