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  1. #1
    was fixed, now i am free
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    newbie suggestions / help

    Ok, so i am in my second year in college in Boston. And I have decided that i need / want to get a fixie. I am on a very tight buget, so keep that in mind. I want the bike to get to classes and to just plain get around the city (and maybe get in shape).

    First, my father has 2 or 3 old road bikes (which i should be getting specs on them tomorrow) which he would give me. I am guessing that they are pretty heavy. One is prob 15 years old and never ridden, and the other(s) are prob around 30+ years old. second, i am 5' 11 3/4" tall and have an inseam around 83 cm (33").

    So, will one of the *free bikes from my dad work as a conversion bike, or should i get a different used bike? What size should frame should i shoot to get?

    Another thing i have heard is since the boston roads are so bad, i need to get heavtier tires...is that true?

    (p.s. this is my first post!)

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    you'll want to size the bikes your daddy has to see if they fit you

    if they do fit you, you can probably convert one to a fixie on the cheap, otherwise you can convert your own

    i'm sure there's some kind of bike coop in boston that will help you out..

  3. #3
    was fixed, now i am free
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthavener
    you'll want to size the bikes your daddy has to see if they fit you

    if they do fit you, you can probably convert one to a fixie on the cheap, otherwise you can convert your own

    i'm sure there's some kind of bike coop in boston that will help you out..
    i am having my bro check them out tomorrow (the bikes are in Maine) if there is no written size on frame, what should i have him measure?

  4. #4
    Senior Member john_and_off's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by viper_04649
    Ok, so i am in my second year in college in Boston. And I have decided that i need / want to get a fixie. I am on a very tight buget, so keep that in mind. I want the bike to get to classes and to just plain get around the city (and maybe get in shape).

    First, my father has 2 or 3 old road bikes (which i should be getting specs on them tomorrow) which he would give me. I am guessing that they are pretty heavy. One is prob 15 years old and never ridden, and the other(s) are prob around 30+ years old. second, i am 5' 11 3/4" tall and have an inseam around 83 cm (33").

    So, will one of the *free bikes from my dad work as a conversion bike, or should i get a different used bike? What size should frame should i shoot to get?

    Another thing i have heard is since the boston roads are so bad, i need to get heavtier tires...is that true?

    (p.s. this is my first post!)
    if you're looking to keep it on the cheap, you might want to consider doing a single speed to start and going fixed at a later time - it's hard to keep it safe if you're on a really tight budget with fixed.

    if you are determined to go the fixed route though, you'll need at least a new rear wheel with a cog and lockring, and if the original cranks are cottered, a new bottom bracket, crank set, and chainring. in my opinion, it's not worth your trouble if it has a one-piece crank. make sure the bike has suitably long horizontal dropouts before you invest in anything, and no matter what, expect it to turn into a money-pit. if this sounds confusing, check out http://sheldonbrown.com/ - everything you could ever want to know on the subject.

    there are a lot of other boston riders on these forums, so if you want advice on where to pick things up for the best prices, there's plenty of opinions to go around.

    good luck, be sure to keep us updated on your project, and have fun!

    ps. where do you go to school?

  5. #5
    was fixed, now i am free
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    Quote Originally Posted by john_and_off
    if you're looking to keep it on the cheap, you might want to consider doing a single speed to start and going fixed at a later time - it's hard to keep it safe if you're on a really tight budget with fixed.

    ps. where do you go to school?
    I go to Northeastern. I see a lot of fixed on campus.

    What kind of cost coparison am i looking at for a fixed vs. a single speed (i take it a ss is on gear, but can free turn)? what is an avg cost to convert, say i have a bike w/ horizontal? w/ vertical?

    how does this look for a bike to convert?
    or this one to buy and start with?

  6. #6
    Senior Member john_and_off's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by viper_04649
    I go to Northeastern. I see a lot of fixed on campus.

    What kind of cost coparison am i looking at for a fixed vs. a single speed (i take it a ss is on gear, but can free turn)? what is an avg cost to convert, say i have a bike w/ horizontal? w/ vertical?

    how does this look for a bike to convert?
    a single speed can coast, whereas fixed, the pedals are constantly in motion as the wheels turn.

    a bike with vertical dropouts is incredibly difficult to convert to ss/fg without an eno eccentric hub, so i won't recommend just avoiding that altogether, especially since you're on a budget.

    here's a breakdown of the different parts you would need to convert the bike you linked to fixed gear:

    new rear wheel: probably about $100. (if you're willing to mailorder, you can get a very nice wheel SET for 135)
    cog: $20
    lockring: $5
    chain: $10
    probably a new bottom bracket (i can't tell from the picture): $20
    new crank set: $40
    chainring: $20

    so you're probably looking at about 200-250 dollars in addition to the cost of the frame, and you might want to replace things like tires and tubes, re-wrap the bars, etc.

    no matter what, don't let anyone talk you into a "suicide hub" - if you go fixed, use a real track hub! sure, it's cheap, but it'll cause problems long-term.

    if you wanted to do single-speed instead of fixed, you could conceivably get set up for about 150 dollars with a very solid setup. try someone's bike out to see if fixed is for you.

    of course, used parts make everything cheaper, too.

    did i answer your question?

    oh, and i asked about school since i go to bu - always good to meet more bostonians!

    EDIT: i didn't see that second bike you linked to - i can't really tell from the pictures, but it looks like it would be ok. that's the going rate here in boston (i've sold a few similar bikes for similar prices) but to be perfectly honest, it's not WORTH it... hold off and find a bike to convert - you'll learn how your bike works, so you'll be able to fix it when (and i do mean when, not if) it breaks. i mean, you said you're on a budget and shop repairs = $$$

  7. #7
    was fixed, now i am free
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    What about a flip-flop hub? is it that much more? would i loose proformance or quality?

  8. #8
    Geek Extraordinaire sivat's Avatar
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    Flip flop hubs are fine. It will cost about the same. If possible, get a fixed/fixed hub. You can run a single speed cog on a fixed thread, but you can't run a fixed cog on a single speed thread. Formula/nashbar/soma/iro/surly are all decent flip flop hubs that aren't too expensive. The suzue basics are also decent, but living in Boston, I would want a sealed hub. The only problem with french (peugot) bikes are that replacement bottom brackets can be expensive. YST just started making a threadless bb that will work for under $20, but I haven't heard how good/reliable they are yet.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

    Sintesi Conversion Serotta Track

  9. #9
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    Both of those bikes will be way too small.

    Read the sheldon brown website, think about it, then ask questions.

    www.sheldonbrown.com/fixed
    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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sivat
    The only problem with french (peugot) bikes are that replacement bottom brackets can be expensive.
    My circa 1979/1980 Peugeot takes a plain old 68mm BB. I found a drivetrain (BB, chainring, crankset) on eBay for $60 and it popped right in.

    Both of those bikes you linked to are too small for you. That aside, I recently converted my 10 speed Peugeot into a fixed and it cost the following, for reference purposes:

    Mavic CXP22 wheelset with Formula Sealed Bearing Hubs Silver ( Fixed-Free ) = $135
    drivetrain = $60
    DuraAce track cog = $15
    DuraAce lockring = $8
    WSD saddle = $35
    2 Avocet tires and 2 presta valve tubes = $60
    purple BMX chain = $12

    So that's about $300 just in parts. If you don't have tools or any of the other misc. crap you need to do all this stuff, you're looking at another chunk of change.

  11. #11
    Senior Member john_and_off's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fixed_but_free
    My circa 1979/1980 Peugeot takes a plain old 68mm BB. I found a drivetrain (BB, chainring, crankset) on eBay for $60 and it popped right in.

    Both of those bikes you linked to are too small for you. That aside, I recently converted my 10 speed Peugeot into a fixed and it cost the following, for reference purposes:

    Mavic CXP22 wheelset with Formula Sealed Bearing Hubs Silver ( Fixed-Free ) = $135
    drivetrain = $60
    DuraAce track cog = $15
    DuraAce lockring = $8
    WSD saddle = $35
    2 Avocet tires and 2 presta valve tubes = $60
    purple BMX chain = $12

    So that's about $300 just in parts. If you don't have tools or any of the other misc. crap you need to do all this stuff, you're looking at another chunk of change.
    what did you use for the drivetrain components? a bulletproof crank, shimano bb, and a rocket ring? or did you find used stuff?

  12. #12
    The quieter you become... Falkon's Avatar
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    You need anywhere from about a 54cm frame to a 56cm, depending on how long your legs are. If most of your height is in your legs, go for a 56cm.
    Quote Originally Posted by TechKnowGN
    San Jose has to be the most boring place I've ever been. And I live in Ohio.

  13. #13
    jack of one or two trades Aeroplane's Avatar
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    Maybe even bigger. Ride a ton of bikes to figure out what size you need.
    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.

  14. #14
    Senior Member john_and_off's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aeroplane
    Maybe even bigger. Ride a ton of bikes to figure out what size you need.
    +1

    you will be P!SSED if you spend all this time, money and effort converting a frame that doesn't fit you

  15. #15
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Dude, just go buy a bike from a bike shop and get to ridin'

    Here's what you are guaranteed:

    1) It will fit
    2) It will work
    3) It will have a warranty
    4) You won't have to buy tools to convert it
    5) You won't have to pay someone to convert it
    6) You will be riding *5 minutes* after you buy it. (not 5 weeks)
    7) If you leave now, maybe you can make it to the shop before it closes tonight.

    If you want it to be unique, just then customize that one.

    I know this sounds harsh, but this is sort of like saying, "I saw this 65 mustang. It doesn't run. But, I need a car to drive to work and class an stuff. I don't know much about cars. Should I restore it?"

    Restoring it would be great...if it were your second car/bike. If you need to get riding, buy a bike that already does what you want it to do.

  16. #16
    dutret has a posse ryand's Avatar
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    carleton, sometimes i absolutely love you.


    (this is one of those times)
    Quote Originally Posted by kemmer View Post
    get drunk, ride a scooter, don't steal your girlfriends bike back, get laid anyway, post about it on the internets.

  17. #17
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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  18. #18
    was fixed, now i am free
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  19. #19
    yo yo yo yo yo
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    too expensive. has vertical drops, not sure if the fixed side is a magic gear or what but still, too expensive

  20. #20
    Senior Member SingleSpeeDemon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by viper_04649
    NOT a fixed gear. You cannot run a fixed gear with a chain tensioner of that sort.
    My Current Bikes:

    • 1993 Giant Kronos
    • 1974 Zeus (in restoration)
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton
    Dude, just go buy a bike from a bike shop and get to ridin'

    Here's what you are guaranteed:

    1) It will fit
    2) It will work
    3) It will have a warranty
    4) You won't have to buy tools to convert it
    5) You won't have to pay someone to convert it
    6) You will be riding *5 minutes* after you buy it. (not 5 weeks)
    7) If you leave now, maybe you can make it to the shop before it closes tonight.

    If you want it to be unique, just then customize that one.

    I know this sounds harsh, but this is sort of like saying, "I saw this 65 mustang. It doesn't run. But, I need a car to drive to work and class an stuff. I don't know much about cars. Should I restore it?"

    Restoring it would be great...if it were your second car/bike. If you need to get riding, buy a bike that already does what you want it to do.
    1) the vast majority of shops are staffed with incompentent or dishonest ****s. Unless you yourself are knowledgeable there is a reasonable chance you will be sent away with an improperly assembled or ill-fitting bike.
    2) If you want to ride five minutes after you get it you will likely have to go to numerous shops, get a bike that is ill fitted or illsuited to your needs.
    3) the expertise gained from building your own conversion saves you lots of money and hassle in the future. Why not obtain it right away. Same with tools
    4) If you are going to "customize" it you need the tools anyway
    5) Making a conversion != restoring anything. You just have to replace a wheel and maybe those parts that are meant to be periodically replaced.

  22. #22
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    1) the vast majority of shops are staffed with incompentent or dishonest ****s. Unless you yourself are knowledgeable there is a reasonable chance you will be sent away with an improperly assembled or ill-fitting bike.
    2) If you want to ride five minutes after you get it you will likely have to go to numerous shops, get a bike that is ill fitted or illsuited to your needs.
    3) the expertise gained from building your own conversion saves you lots of money and hassle in the future. Why not obtain it right away. Same with tools
    4) If you are going to "customize" it you need the tools anyway
    5) Making a conversion != restoring anything. You just have to replace a wheel and maybe those parts that are meant to be periodically replaced.
    Dude, are you serious? Did a bike shop beat you up every day and take your lunch money when you were a kid or something?

  23. #23
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trons
    too expensive. has vertical drops, not sure if the fixed side is a magic gear or what but still, too expensive
    Do you mean "$350 is too expensive for a fixie" or "That bike isn't worth $350"?

    Not being snarky, but how much do you think fixies cost?

  24. #24
    antisocialite dirtyphotons's Avatar
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    i'd say too expensive for a bike that's still an ENO hub away from being a fixie (magic gears notwithstanding)

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton
    Dude, are you serious? Did a bike shop beat you up every day and take your lunch money when you were a kid or something?
    no but i have had dozens of experiences with incompetent bike shop employees. To suggest that buying your bike at a shop garauntees any of the things you said it does is absurd. I know you are just a schill for the NBDA but seriously, did a conversion beat you up everyday and take YOUR lunch money or something.
    Last edited by dutret; 10-18-06 at 09:20 AM.

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