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Old 11-26-03, 06:19 PM   #1
Jim311
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Thinking of building a campus cruiser...

For my girlfriend for a Christmas gift. Her bike is a total POS that doesn't shift or brake well since it's a Walmart special. I'm not looking to spend much more than 3 or 4 hundred bucks, though. Should I try and build the bike myself using low end bargain parts I find, or should I buy something from a LBS? Is it even possible to build something for under 400 bucks? The biggest thing is that it must be inconspicuous. I'd love to build her a nice Cannondale or something with disc brakes but I'm sure it'd get stolen pronto on campus. So what are my options here?
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Old 11-26-03, 11:23 PM   #2
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i got my gf a trek 800 for $50 used when she went to school. i had to true the wheels and strapped on a pair of fenders. i thought it was appropriate plus she didn't want a sporty bike.
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Old 11-26-03, 11:39 PM   #3
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I think the used bike idea is a good one. There would be less need to worry about theft (I'd still get a decent lock though). I was thinking earlier today that a Redline Monocog would be great to have for riding around campus and going to the local Fred Meyers. Alas, I doubt I'll ever find one of them for $50. Maybe I can steal my roomate's when he's not looking.
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Old 11-27-03, 01:33 AM   #4
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They have some very sweet cruisers now. Nerve, Schwinn, GT, and more all make very custom looking rides. Most are well under $400. My wife acted over a Nerve Sunflower like it was a pair of Italian leather shoes (she doesn't ride much).

I wanted to build her up a custom cruiser with a three speed hub, but the cost was just way too high. Unless you have lots of spare parts strewn around it's impossible to beat the price of a new complete bike. IMO even buying on EBay is a mistake right now for a custom crusier. I guess just because so many manufactures have entered the market.

Now if my wife really rode, I'd be tempted by a KHS Solo One or Redline MonoCog... but those are only cool if one really rides. For "fun factor" all the new custom cruisers are sweet.
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Old 11-28-03, 02:12 AM   #5
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They don't make decent looking cruisers anymore. I like the old 80's style beach cruisers that were on the cusp of being an MTB. My memory is fading but I think brands included: GJS, Knight Lawill, and Cook Bros.

Actually Cook Bros. has a retro beach/mtb cruiser. Check it out! Looks cool! http://www.cookbros.com/

For $400, check out Redline's single speed MTB Monocog at www.redlinebikes.com. It has that retro early MTB look.

Anyone else old enough to remember the Mongoose Kos Kruiser? That was more of a BMX on 'roids but it was "radical and gnarly" in its day.

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Old 11-28-03, 07:53 AM   #6
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Yeah.. I kinda want it to be a multispeed mountain bike with front suspension if possible. I'd like her to be able to shift gears and whatnot.
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Old 11-28-03, 08:46 AM   #7
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Get her a mountain bike and teach her to jump logs. Then she can ride around campus and singletrack. Actually, just teaching her to ride singletrack would be a great holiday gift.
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Old 11-28-03, 03:10 PM   #8
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Multigears? Then that may no longer be, by definition, a cruiser.

But if it's a multispeed mountain bike of modern vintage, the answer is easy. Just get her a good used MTB under 5 years old. $400 is more than enough for that.

But to answer your question:

As it's already been pointed out, don't try building a new bike from scratch. That's really expensive. I considered it a few months ago and researched the cheapest way possible and I couldn't find one so I just bought a good bike on sale. In the long run, it's cheaper to buy an entire new bike on sale rather than buying a frame and build-kit. Not to mention that you have to have the proper tools (and knowledge) to put together an MTB.

Buying a fixer upper that needs a few parts upgraded is different. That might be an inexpensive route to take.

Last edited by bentrim; 11-28-03 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 11-28-03, 04:28 PM   #9
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I have the tools and knowledge to build her a bike. I built my last mountain bike and it ended up being much cheaper than I could have bought it for from a dealer. I guess I didn't mean "cruiser" in the literal sense, just a bike she can cruise around campus on that shifts and brakes relatively well. So I guess I should scope out the LBS' in town. I'm thinking about maybe getting her a low end Kona or something. Something that will hold up if she decides she wants to ride with me on the trails occaisionally. It's also hard to find a bike that fits her considering she's only 4'10!!!
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Old 11-29-03, 09:03 AM   #10
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For $400, its hard to beat a Specialized Hardrock. Unlike a lot of manufacturers, they build good small bikes, down to 13", and fit proper small components, such as cranks.
With slicks, rack and fenders its an excellent utility bike; with knobblies, its a capable off-roader.
The women's version is a bit shorter than the standard version, but get whatever fits.
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Old 12-01-03, 07:34 AM   #11
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Here are the coolest cruizers I know of.. and they are within your price range!

http://www.nirve.com/main/cruiser/
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Old 12-01-03, 08:05 AM   #12
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Jim, what do you have for spare parts laying around?

I bought one of those steel Nashbar frames for $35.00 awhile back and have built it up as my SS. It works great! I only spent about $250 on the stuff I didn't have, but figure it's worth over $500 if I had to buy everything new. It's definately NOT a head turner, so it would be a pretty inconspicuous bike for campus.

BTW, what about that game huh? Good game, bad ending!

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