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  1. #1
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    New member! Please help with Frankinstein bike

    Hello,

    I'm just returning to bicycling. Yesterday I built a mountain bike from used parts and lots of help at a bicycle co-op. I just wanted a bike to get me back into riding. But, now that I know I can go back to the co-op at any time, I want to build the exact bike I want.

    Here's what I want my next bike to do:
    It will be ridden on paved streets mostly.
    I want to ride it in an upright fashion like one would ride a beach cruiser. I'm 6'1" and I don't like to ride hunched over the handlebars when I'm sitting.
    I want it to be lightweight.
    I want it to need very little maintenance.
    I want it to have the ability to be ridden off road.

    Here's my idea:
    Older (pre-1990) Touring Frame: Lighter than a mountain bike frame yet rugged
    Longer Seat Post: So I can fully extend my legs
    Mountain Bike Handle Bar with Longer Stem: Positioned so I can ride upright.
    Internal Gear Hub: Requires less maintenance than a derailleur system.
    On/Off Road Tires: Those tires that have street tread down the center and knobby tread on the sides.

    It'll look weird. I don't care. I think it'll work. Do you have any advice?
    Last edited by enter_narne; 04-19-08 at 01:44 AM.

  2. #2
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    First off,I think the BMX frame is a bad idea. BMX frames aren't necessarily lighter than MTB frames. Remember,they're specifically designed to take hits. They're also not designed for any kind of distance riding,so at 6'1" you may find the ergos cramped and uncomfortable after a few miles. I'm pretty sure they also don't have wide enough spacing to take anything greater than a 3 speed hub,which will be limiting if you have any hills. And finally,you'll be stuck with small wheels. I don't think they make any light weight BMX wheels,they'll reduce your gearing,limit your tire selection,and combined with the short wheelbase will make for a twitchy ride at high speed.

    The IG hub is a good idea,but will require semi- or full horizontal dropouts or a tensioner.

    Those combo tread tires suck. They make for squirmy handling in turns. A tire with deep round-profile tread will ride much better on the street and still handle light trail work.

    A hybrid or MTB with the right tires would do what you're asking. Realise that if you want exotic bits like multi-speed hubs and light weight components,you're going to have to shop outside the co-op.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L

  3. #3
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Rather than a BMX frame, I'd look for an older touring frame. They're strong enough to ride unpaved trails, will take wider (up to 32mm?) tires, and would have horizontal dropouts to run an internal hub.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Dynaryder, thanks for the advice on the bmx. I'll look into those tires you mentioned.

    Caloso, I traded in an old touring bike for the mountain bike. Crap! Oh well. Hopefully someone else will find it useful. I like the idea of using an older model touring bike frame though. Someone had mentioned that to me a while ago and it was only when I read your post that I remembered. When you say find an old touring bike, what years should the bike have been manufactured? Thanks
    Last edited by enter_narne; 04-09-08 at 03:05 PM.

  5. #5
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Since you're interested in an internal hub, you'll need horizontal dropouts to get proper chain tension. I'm not positive but it seems that anything before 1990 is a good bet for that.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  6. #6
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enter_narne View Post
    ...Here's my idea:
    BMX Frame: Lighter than a mountain bike frame yet rugged
    Longer Seat Post: So I can fully extend my legs
    Mountain Bike Handle Bar with Longer Stem: Positioned so I can ride upright.
    Internal Gear Hub: Requires less maintenance than a derailleur system.
    On/Off Road Tires: Those tires that have street tread down the center and knobby tread on the sides.

    It'll look weird. I don't care. I think it'll work. Do you have any advice?
    I knew someone who had one of those (single speed) and it worked ok for them. It did look wierd as heck though.
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
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  7. #7
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    What about a using a bike frame that is smaller than what a 6'1" person would use? I would think using a longer seat post, a longer stem and longer cranks on a smaller bike would work. Would there be any reason this wouldn't be recommended?

    I'm thinking about finding an older touring bike that is smaller than what is recommended for a 6'1" person. Smaller frame means smaller wheels. That means less weight.
    Last edited by enter_narne; 04-19-08 at 01:47 AM.

  8. #8
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    A frame that's too small for your body will have too short a top tube. You could compensate for this with a tall stem with a long reach, but eventually this makes the steering feel weird. I'd personally try to shoot for just right rather than too small.

    Wheel size isn't everything for weight...an old steel Chicago Schwinn wheel at 597 mm probably weighs more than a full pair of modern aluminum 622 mm wheels.

    Too bad weight is a concern. An old Schwinn or Raleigh 3-speed fulfills all of your other requirements. The off-road capability is debatable, but I think it would be sturdy enough for this.

    It sounds like you want to go for a used frame (for cost reasons?), but in the new market you could build up a Surly Cross Check that would satisfy all of your requirements, including relatively light weight. I'd been planning on exactly such a bike for my first new build. But now I'm leaning more toward an internal-gear road bike with drop bars with a more road-oriented frame like the Salsa Casseroll.

    Edit: Or how about finding a lightly used hybrid bought relatively recently? I know that Giant makes reasonably nice, reasonably light aluminum hybrids for about $300 new. They have flat riser bars giving an upright ride. Buy one off a graduating college student or somesuch, and you might get a really good deal. Later, you could replace the rear wheel with internal-gear equipment with a tensioner.
    Last edited by FLYcrash; 04-19-08 at 05:00 PM. Reason: another idea

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