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Thread: BSO Options

  1. #1
    Senior Member BruceHankins's Avatar
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    BSO Options

    Not sure if this should be in hybrid, mountain, commuting, or anywhere really.

    I have a Magna Great Divide 21 speed BSO that I use for limestone trails and family rides. I'm looking to upgrade it on the cheap, like really cheap. I've put on some 26x1.75 Forté Gotham tires, added some MKS pedals, changed out the from suspension fork for one only slightly better, changed out the rd for a shimano tourney, and I'm in the process of repacking all the bearings. I have a Forté saddle and alloy seat post I'm going to buy, it has panniers and a cheap rear rack. I'm going to get a set of trigger shifters, just like them better. What other changes or upgrades can I make to make it a little more comfortable and ride just a little bit better? Keep in mind I got this bike for $15 to use as something I can not care about and other than tires (which cost just under $30/pair), everything have been out if the parts bin. The budget is a low as possible.
    In the words of the great Col. Sanders, "I'm to drunk to taste this chicken."

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    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Moved from Foo to General Cycling.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddles View Post
    So Tom only hires people that are nutty? Is part of the requirement to be a moderator on this site is that you have to be nuts??
    Forum Guidelines *click here*

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The trick with a project like this one is to buy as few parts as you can manage. If it was my bike I'd tour the neighborhood on garbage day. Do that enough and you'll find a "donor bike" or two that you can scrounge upgrade parts from.

    Rear wheels are gold. Fronts not so much.
    Brake parts are gold. Derailleurs and shifters, not so much.
    Cables and housings you will probably have to source new ones.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CbadRider View Post
    Moved from Foo to General Cycling.
    Now there's an interesting switch.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  5. #5
    Senior Member BruceHankins's Avatar
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    I will start doing the rounds in the neighborhood to find usable parts. I gotta admit, even though it's a big box bike, sourcing good parts and trying to build a higher quality BSO for little to no monetary investment is kinda fun.

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    Senior Member BruceHankins's Avatar
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    Would it be worth changing the crank if I found a suitable donor? Also, say you find a donor or two but the frames are no good, what would you do to the BSO to make it more fun or just plain better?

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    wally world has a craptastic single speed

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceHankins View Post
    Would it be worth changing the crank if I found a suitable donor? Also, say you find a donor or two but the frames are no good, what would you do to the BSO to make it more fun or just plain better?
    If I found another crank that was lighter in weight, had better gearing choices, or just looked better to me - I swap cranks in a heartbeat. The same is true of any other part on the bike. Handlebar, saddle and seatpost are also common parts that deserve to be swapped.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

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    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceHankins View Post
    Not sure if this should be in hybrid, mountain, commuting, or anywhere really.

    I have a Magna Great Divide 21 speed BSO that I use for limestone trails and family rides. I'm looking to upgrade it on the cheap, like really cheap. I've put on some 26x1.75 Forté Gotham tires, added some MKS pedals, changed out the from suspension fork for one only slightly better, changed out the rd for a shimano tourney, and I'm in the process of repacking all the bearings. I have a Forté saddle and alloy seat post I'm going to buy, it has panniers and a cheap rear rack. I'm going to get a set of trigger shifters, just like them better. What other changes or upgrades can I make to make it a little more comfortable and ride just a little bit better? Keep in mind I got this bike for $15 to use as something I can not care about and other than tires (which cost just under $30/pair), everything have been out if the parts bin. The budget is a low as possible.
    I don't know about this Magna, but brakes are usually an easy cheap upgrade.


    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    wally world has a craptastic single speed
    I was going to buy one, but looking at it closely I just couldn't bring myself to do it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member buffalowings's Avatar
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    Is a bike equipped stock with tiagra or 105 a BSO? Really hate that term.
    Noooooo! My thread!! -_________- http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/896498-Do-you-pack-quot-heat-quot-while-cycling

  11. #11
    Senior Member BruceHankins's Avatar
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    Is a bike equipped stock with tiagra or 105 a BSO? Really hate that term.
    I don't know which bike you are referring to as a BSO. But mine is a Magna that came from Target and I grabbed second hand basically for just taking it away. I used to only ride big box bikes (except for my bmx) until about 2 years ago when I got my first real bike. An entry level Japanese built Kuwahara Newport Road bike sold in Canada. I still love the big box, BSO, what ever you want to call them bikes. For riding slow paces, short (no more than 10 miles so far) distances with the family they're great. I can get 2 of those bikes and clean/lube them for less than what one tire costs for my road bike.

    Now I know I'm crazy upgrading such a lowly frame, but it's fun. Plus I let my son help and he enjoys learning and spending time together. And any parts I use can alway be taken back off to use elsewhere.

  12. #12
    Warning:Annoying to jerks RaleighSport's Avatar
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    If it was me.. I'd probably watch CL for a "donor" bike "for parts".. then probably ride said "donor" bike instead of the BSO.
    “Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”


    ― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson in His Journals

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    Senior Member Tim_Iowa's Avatar
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    Bruce- Is there a bike co-op or community bike shop in town? If so, that could be a great resource for cheap parts. The one in my town gets tons of cheapo bikes donated. The volunteers tear them down and/or build up the better examples. They have bins of spare parts, and can help find the decent stuff buried in there. Plus, they're okay with wrenching on cheap bikes to make them usable for anyone.

    If you can swallow your pride, the dumpster outside a bike shop will have gems in it sometimes, especially if they don't donate the cheap bikes folks trade in.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BruceHankins's Avatar
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    Unfortunately there is no co-op in town or reasonably close by. I haven't tried dumpster diving the bike shop l, all though that's not a bad idea. CL is almost not an option. People around my area sell Next bikes for about $75 and schwinn bikes that are not close to rideable for $60. If it's a road bike expect $150+ and that's for turkey levers and stem shifters. They are a bit crazy. I saw a Bridgestone MB-4 listed for $395! I just like the idea of building it up a bit. Plus it's fully rideable now and I've put 100 miles or so on it. See how comfy/nice/smooth/more performance I can get out of it for little to nothing.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceHankins View Post
    Plus I let my son help and he enjoys learning and spending time together.
    How old is the son?

    Some of my favorite memories are of working in my home shop with a grandson. I even once paid a 13 year old grandson to sag/wrench a big week long ride across Missouri. Got to know him a lot better and really respected how good he was working with our customers.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  16. #16
    Senior Member BruceHankins's Avatar
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    He is 6. He's been helping work on all the bikes with me, but of course he prefers working on his.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaleighSport View Post
    If it was me.. I'd probably watch CL for a "donor" bike "for parts".. then probably ride said "donor" bike instead of the BSO.
    Look for bikes with weird frame sizes. Bought a 63cm Univega Gran Rally with Shimano 600, a nice aftermarket seat, and a great set of rims. Sold the frame off fer cheap.

    I have respect the bottom of the market bikes. The average bike commuter in my hood is on an old BSO, not a fancy boutique bike.


    Retro Grouch:

    "Rear wheels are gold. Fronts not so much.
    Brake parts are gold. Derailleurs and shifters, not so much.
    Cables and housings you will probably have to source new ones."

    Pretty much sums it up. My beater mountain bike was sourced from a junkman. I'm using friction shifters. Makes life easy.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

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