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  1. #1
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    One More Question: Building

    I keep reading that the complete fixes in the $500 range are decent frames with cheap parts.

    I could spend more money on a premium complete, but...no.

    And building my own fixed is a happy challenge.

    The problem is that I can't afford BOTH a good quality frame AND good quality parts -- wheels, hubs, crank, etc.

    So which is the better choice -- (A) spend $500 on a good quality frame with cheap parts, or (B) spend $500 on a cheap frame with good quality parts?

    (All opinions welcome.)


    Chris

  2. #2
    Senior Member shishi's Avatar
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    Good frame

    I would get a good frame and upgrade the parts later. What bikes are you looking at?

  3. #3
    Crapzeit! mcatano's Avatar
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    You can find a good quality lugged steel road bike frame for a lot less than $500. You can also get a great wheelset for less than $200. Unless you're set on a track frame, you can put together a really nice conversion for less than $500.

    m.

  4. #4
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    Are you going all new or what?

    Find a good 80's road bike on ebay with geometry that suits you, figure $150. Hubs and spokes for another $100 front and rear, keeping the original decent rims. Then another $100 for a crankset, as well as $50 for cog/lockring/chain etc. Handlebars and seat are your choice. Then sell everything you didn't use, and you're done.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by shishi
    I would get a good frame and upgrade the parts later. What bikes are you looking at?
    I've been looking at every bike under the sun -- IRO Angus, Surly Steamroller, Redline 925, Mercier Kilo TT -- you name it.

    I know this sounds silly, but I really don't care about the looks of the finished bike. I only want a good solid machine that can take a little hardship. Scratches, stickers, who cares?

    (And to be honest, there is something cool about beaters.)


    Chris

  6. #6
    Senior Member mattface's Avatar
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    Iro makes good quality frames, the wheelsets are great, the rest of the bike is solid, but not stellar. IN the $500 range I think that is the best starting point. Good frame and wheels are most important. Upgrade the rest later if it breaks or if it bugs you.

  7. #7
    Senior Member shishi's Avatar
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    If that is the case I would keep your eye out for a decent road frame, $0-$150. I found mine in the trash about 4 years ago(lugged panasonic). Upgraded the rear wheel and crankset. Total cost thus far has been under $200, easy. oh, and a wonderful beater it is.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonPenguino
    Are you going all new or what?
    I don't need all new [unless used is a bad idea].

    I was considering a cheap used frame -- Salvation Army or Ebay -- and adding good quality parts.

    (And I really don't know the difference between a road frame and a track frame. I'm a lost newbie. I just want a new bike. I want something simple, durable, and low maintenance. And the fixes are a good match. I'll only be riding on the streets, but in all honesty I will probably beat the crap out of the bike. There is sure to come a time when I am riding along and think, "Hmm...that looks kinda like a ramp.")

    Does that answer the question?

    Thanks.


    Chris

  9. #9
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    CJ, the last few years have been this question over and over again in both of my shops.
    People want to try out track bikes, and they want the cool look but they don't want to spend the money.

    Your initial postings led many people, myself included, to believe that you wanted to build a conversion.
    Complicated but cheaper.

    You could build a real bike, complicated and expensive.

    Or you could buy a built bike, simple, less expensive though you may want to upgrade later (that is fine and normal).

    Surly, nice frame geometry, solid frame, but 450 for the frame and then you still have to build a bike.

    The redline is very cool even as a single speed. It is modeled after a number of conversions. The moustache bars for instance are always hot sellers especially among fans of grant petersen.

    The Mercier, the Windsor, etc. Are probably fine, though looked down upon by snobs. The best among these is the Fuji and you can save some money to put a good gearing on it...46x18 in DC.

    The pista is a bike shop version of the mercier and windsor, a little better but still lacking in parts and weight. But it does look very good.

    The Langster and San Jose are other cool single speeds that can be converted with a little or lot of effort. The Langster in particular looks great with straight or riser bars, bright oury grips and mtn brakes (LEVERS).

    However, all other things being the same I think you get the best deal from Tony. IRO's are well designed, put the emphasis on what is important and are not snobs about the details.

    Go for the IRO.

    If you want more advice feel free to message me directly.

    But go to your local shop (avoid trek stores, they will probably not carry these brands) and ride a few bikes. Also, you usually get a years of fre labor from your local shop, so if it costs a hundred bucks more, factor that in too.

    Lock, helmet,lights etc.

  10. #10
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    track dropouts face back.
    you need something where the axle enters from the back or from diagonal from the lower front.
    Not from below.

    Um, use the fattest tires you can run, Surly is good for this.
    But get help setting it up.

    Stock Surlys go for way too much.

  11. #11
    Senior Member shishi's Avatar
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    Do you want this:

    or this:


    I would go with the IRO.

  12. #12
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    Thank you so very much for the explanations. (I needed it.)

    The IROs are a lot more expensive with brakes, shipping, etc. And the others are okay [but I do not want to buy a complete bike and have to replace all the parts in one month].

    The conversion is sounding a little better at the moment.

    (And I should probably clarify what I mean by "good quality parts". I am not talking about high end performance parts. I am talking about durable parts. I don't care if the hub stamp reads IRO, SURLY, or BOB'S BEATER BARN. As long as it lasts for a while.)

    Does that make sense?


    Chris

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shishi
    Do you want this...or this?
    I'm good with the bottom one.


    Chris

  14. #14
    ya rly!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJBianco
    I keep reading that the complete fixes in the $500 range are decent frames with cheap parts.

    I could spend more money on a premium complete, but...no.

    And building my own fixed is a happy challenge.

    The problem is that I can't afford BOTH a good quality frame AND good quality parts -- wheels, hubs, crank, etc.

    So which is the better choice -- (A) spend $500 on a good quality frame with cheap parts, or (B) spend $500 on a cheap frame with good quality parts?

    (All opinions welcome.)


    Chris


    what size are you looking for? if you need a 53cm then PM me i have the perfect thing for you

  15. #15
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    I took the measurements [a bazillion times]:

    Height = 179cm
    Inseam = 85cm

    So using the online calculations:

    Frame (C-T) = 56.95cm
    Frame (C-C) = 55.25cm

    I think the 53cm is a little small. (But I appreciate the offer. Thanks.)


    Chris

  16. #16
    Senior Member mattface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJBianco
    Thank you so very much for the explanations. (I needed it.)

    The IROs are a lot more expensive with brakes, shipping, etc. And the others are okay [but I do not want to buy a complete bike and have to replace all the parts in one month].

    The conversion is sounding a little better at the moment.

    (And I should probably clarify what I mean by "good quality parts". I am not talking about high end performance parts. I am talking about durable parts. I don't care if the hub stamp reads IRO, SURLY, or BOB'S BEATER BARN. As long as it lasts for a while.)

    Does that make sense?


    Chris
    People can get kinda snobby here about cheap bikes sometimes, but nothing in the $500 range comes with parts that will break in a month. You can get a Fuji for that (maybe a bit less) Probably a Raleigh Rush Hour. If you've got an old brake and lever around, you can slap it on the IRO. If you've got a LBS who will sell you an IRO that should save you shipping, but figure on sales tax.

    The thing about wheels is wheels are expensive. Cheap wheels are expensive, decent wheels are even more expensive, so if you can get an inexpensive bike with decent wheels that'll save you money in the long run. Why spend $100 on cheap wheels only to spend $200 later to replace them with decent ones. Then you'll have $300 $200 wheels

    If you build a conversion Start with decent wheels. A 70s double butted frame if you can find one. Reynolds 531 tubing was great stuff, and it's in at least the main triangle of a lot of older frames. A good quality older road crank, like Shimano 600, and some short BMX stack bolts can get you a good durable stiff crank for ~$30. Buy decent headset, and Bottom bracket (spend $ on anything with bearings in it) The rest of the stuff is not gonna break unless you crash it, so get stuff that is as nice or as crappy as you want as long as if fits right. In the end you might not spend much less than a new $500 bike and it will be a lot more work, but that can be half the fun.

  17. #17
    Senior Member shishi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJBianco
    I'm good with the bottom one.
    Well, if that is the case then you can do it on the cheap. Most of the bike is stock minus rear wheel ($60, used), New BB and crankset ($80, shimano), Pedals/clips/straps ($40, MKS sylvans).

    I would look for a good frame that is the right size. Have fun.
    Last edited by shishi; 03-31-06 at 09:14 AM.

  18. #18
    ya rly!
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    ah damn just a few off!!!! ok ok. well good luck with your build!
    btw if you ever need a bar end brake lever let me know
    also i have a ton of other random stuff good for a beater
    let me know and id be glad to help you out

    Quote Originally Posted by CJBianco
    I took the measurements [a bazillion times]:

    Height = 179cm
    Inseam = 85cm

    So using the online calculations:

    Frame (C-T) = 56.95cm
    Frame (C-C) = 55.25cm

    I think the 53cm is a little small. (But I appreciate the offer. Thanks.)


    Chris

  19. #19
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJBianco
    So using the online calculations:

    Frame (C-T) = 56.95cm
    Frame (C-C) = 55.25cm
    Just about any 56cm road frame will do you well. Go to it, have fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Irwin Goldstein
    Men should never ride bicycles. Riding should be banned and outlawed. It is
    the most irrational form of exercise I could ever bring to discussion.

  20. #20
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    www.sheldonbrown.com might be of use to you.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mattface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk
    www.sheldonbrown.com might be of use to you.
    + elevendy zillion!
    www.sheldonbrown.com might be of use to anyone who rides a bike

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk
    www.sheldonbrown.com might be of use to you.
    I agree. I'm on the SB and the current website all the time now.

    (And I am still a lost little newbie! LOL)

    Thanks.


    Chris

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shishi
    Most of the bike is stock minus rear wheel ($60, used), New BB and crankset ($80, shimano), Pedals/clips/straps ($40, MKS sylvans).
    Is this the right idea?

    The most important parts to replace with good quality parts are: (1) Wheels & Hubs, (2) Crank & BB, (3) Cog & Lockring, and (4) Chain -- the bottom half of the bicycle.

    The other parts -- Headset & Stem, Handlebars, Seat & Seatpost, and Pedals/Clips/Straps -- are okay if a little on the cheap side. (At least for a while.)

    (I am still unsure on the frame.)

    Is this correct?


    Chris
    Last edited by CJBianco; 03-31-06 at 11:45 AM. Reason: Correction

  24. #24
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    I would even go so far to say that the front wheel doesn't matter much. Framewise, geometery matters more than quality (if it fits and rides nice). Same with handlebars, seat, seatpost and stem. These are what you'll probably end up mucking around with later to dial in the fit.

    Just beware that building yourself ends up costing more than you think, but it's also more satisfying than you think. Mostly you forget that you need to buy things like grease, odd little tools you didn't know existed, and other stuff that just creeps up. But, it's really fun. In fact I'm ditching my perfectly fine 2003 Bianchi Pista in favor of building up a used frame and parts I bought off Ebay. I miss the satisfaction of riding something I build and I wanted a nice old lugged steel frame.

  25. #25
    Cornucopia of Awesomeness baxtefer's Avatar
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    i'd put the frame on par with the wheels, if not higher. it's easier and cheaper hang new parts on a frame than replace it. (if you swap frames you might also have to change seatpost, headset, stem, BB.....)
    and for comfort's sake I'd also put more emphasis on your contact points: saddle, bars, pedals
    a midrange drivetrain would be fine (don't go too cheap on the cog and lockring though)
    to you a headset's a headset, generic stem/seatpost won't matter.
    {o,o**
    |)__)
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    O RLY?

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