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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 04-25-06, 10:48 PM   #1
TrevorInSoCal
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Advice for a friend.

I know someone who wants to get into riding fixed on the cheap, and has been watching eBay.

eBay seems to be infested with a bunch of lousy conversion with suicide hubs, which even at a measly $115 bucks or so, look like a rip off to me. (Here's one she was recently looking at: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1

(Are we allowed to post links to closed eBay auctions outside the eBay sticky thread?)

I dunno exactly what her budget is, but would I be steering her wrong to advise against most of the crappy looking bum-bikes that seem to be showing up on eBay in favor of a Mercier TT?

Someone's selling those on eBay right now for slightly over $300, which looks to me like a killer deal. It's got a 48x16 so she'd probably want a different cog to run a little easier gear, and she'd want put a brake on it, plus shipping from the gulf coast to SoCal would probably run another $40-$50, so the total cost is going to come out probably closer to $400.

OTOH, as soon as she learns to skip/skid she's probably going to want to replace the rear wheel on the bum-bike with something with an actual track-hub, which means, at the very least, $60 or so for spokes and a hub to rebuild the wheel, or $100 or more to replace it entirely. Not to mention who knows what else could be wrong with the thing, and it doesn't even have pedals.

So I guess what it boils down to is, would I be doing a disservice to a friend by steering her away from eBay conversions in favor of a new, bargain-basement track-bike?

-Trevor
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Old 04-25-06, 10:51 PM   #2
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stay away from kristin77777. you are 100% right.
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Old 04-25-06, 11:02 PM   #3
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hah, i wanted to KILL her when i saw this stripped moser. LEAVE A NICE ROAD BIKE ALONE! arghghghhhh...
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Old 04-25-06, 11:09 PM   #4
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you might try checking lbs that have a lot of old stuff, maybe you can find an old steel road bike to convert. any coops or anything like that in your area?
personally, i would go the entry level track route because if she doesn't like it, she can probably sell it with only a minimal loss.

i guess it kind of depends on how much she's willing to spend. for people who aren't really into biking, it can be hard to drop $500 on a bike w/o gears. if you find a bike to convert, you'll probably end up spending the same amount after a year anyway because you'll realize some of the parts suck and want to upgrade.
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Old 04-26-06, 12:58 AM   #5
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I don't know. I looked at that bike for awhile. What are you gonna do if you want a small frame? Surely, 27" suicide wheel ain't where it's at, but at least you get a frame (47cm) and maybe some parts to boot. The cranks might have worked for a minute. For a hundred bucks, I would have bought that bike.
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Old 04-26-06, 02:01 AM   #6
mrbertfixy
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plus shipping and BOXING FEE? **** that. would you pay $200 total for that bike?? that's the problem with those ****ty ebay bikes.
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Old 04-26-06, 07:05 AM   #7
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I just got a fixed hooptie through ebay a couple weeks ago. I was hoping it'd be close to ready to ride, but the headset and cranks were noisy, the bar's flexy, the brake's flexible and the wheel's got a suicide hub. On top of that, the frame's full of abrasions and rust spots and some pud engraved the same security ID on the downtube and the BB, just a couple inches apart, straight through the paint into the steel.

The gearing is 52x18 on 27" wheels and 170mm cranks. The seller simply removed the inner chainring from a ten-speed crankset, which incidentally is some bizarre Schwinn thing where the outer chainring attaches to the BB on a spline. Since the left crank has no spider (it's a mirror of the right crank), I can't swap out for a smaller ring -- I have to replace the whole crankset and possibly the BB.

So my new-kinda ride had to sit in the basement for two weeks 'til I could find the time to repack the headset (in decent condition, but it didn't have seals) and work over the drivetrain. It works mostly OK now -- after I resecured the cog because it unscrewed itself. This weekend I hit a bikeswap to get the parts it really needs, like a modern crankset and drops that are symmetrical.

So, why did I get it? Well, it's still cheaper than a frame and wheelset, even a crap wheelset. It's ridden to work and back, a 4 mile round trip. I have something I can turn into what I want, one part at a time, and still have something to ride in the meantime.

If you want practice playing mechanic and don't mind a ghetto ride, they can be a cheap way to try out a fixie. But you don't introduce your mom to computers by sitting her at a Linux terminal and making her build a GUI from scratch, and you don't introduce your friend to bikes by putting her on a trashmo. Get them on things that work unconditionally.
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Old 04-26-06, 07:20 AM   #8
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if you're going to spend $400-500, buy a track bike-- a NEW Bianchi or a KHS can be bought somewhere in that price range, and then you have decent wheels, and a pretty good bike...

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