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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 09-13-07, 02:17 AM   #1
Dan515
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Building vs Off the shelf

So I'm very tempted to buy one of the Jamie Roy group buy framesets, but I'm thinking that buying the rest of the bike will cost me quite a pretty penny, and that I should just look into getting an off-the-shelf bike.


Would it be more economical to get a bike such as, say, the Kona Paddy Wagon or KHS Flite 100 and swap out certain parts, or simply build up a frameset?
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Old 09-13-07, 02:32 AM   #2
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exactly!
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Old 09-13-07, 02:34 AM   #3
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Buying an off-the-shelf bike and swapping parts provides you something to ride from the get-go. Buying a frameset and building it up gives you a sense of everything that goes into what's between your legs.

With the latter you eventually gain the knowledge of the former, but the former gives you somewhat of a crash course and alongside it a sense of a pride.

Either/Or. Whichever suits your own immediate interests is probably what's best. I personally would say go with the frameset, but then again, figuring out all the nitty gritty details over time is just as fun and effective.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:13 AM   #4
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the khs or mercier isn't a bad frame, and it's cheap enough that you won't feel remorse about changing practically everything if you feel like it. the 08 kona is a slick looking bike but aesthetically the sloping top tube bothers me. i would recommend the scratch-build if you can get all the parts together before the GB frames ship, which is what I did on my SE. i had the thing built the day after it came to me.

if you want a quality off-the-peg bike that needs little more than decal removal or paint, look at the schwinn madison, c'dale capo, or trek T1.
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Old 09-13-07, 09:43 AM   #5
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off the shelf = cheaper, instant satisfaction/ridability

building = more $, more time, more gained knowledge and experience, custom parts you'd just want to buy anyway a few months after getting your off the shelf model.

just depends what your priorities are.
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Old 09-13-07, 09:52 AM   #6
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If it is your first ss/fixed i recommend buying an off-the-shelf. That way you don't have to worry about the hassles of a build while you are learning.
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Old 09-13-07, 09:54 AM   #7
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Do you own the tools?
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Old 09-13-07, 11:10 AM   #8
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Jamie roy GB? t I thought it was a rob roy?
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Old 09-13-07, 11:39 AM   #9
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The Jamie Roy GB was the first one.
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Old 09-13-07, 12:24 PM   #10
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If it is your first ss/fixed i recommend buying an off-the-shelf. That way you don't have to worry about the hassles of a build while you are learning.
ditto. Unless of course, you are knowledgable without having ridden one.

I am very glad a built up my irose as i learned a lot about bikes in the process. it wound up costing me much more than i intended, but it was a good trade off. I am also very glad I bought my first fixed gear (pista) off the shelf. At least speaking for myself, its better to get to know something first-hand before you go trying to mess around with it on other people's directions. If you don't know anything, you are more likely to muff something up and worse, not even know you did it. Having some experience under your belt and the knowledge you gain by riding and swapping parts will leave you in a position to know exaclty what you want for your own build and you will know what you can do yourself and what you need to get done for you.
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Old 09-13-07, 12:28 PM   #11
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The Jamie Roy GB was the first one.
man, I missed out.

Building is way harder, but if you know exactly what you want, and will end up buying a new bike, then replacing the parts, you may want to build. I knew that I wanted lugged and double butted. new, that's real expensive. so I built.
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Old 09-13-07, 12:32 PM   #12
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The Jamie Roy GB was the first one.
there was a Jamie Roy group buy?
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Old 09-13-07, 12:50 PM   #13
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off the shelf = cheaper, instant satisfaction/ridability

building = more $, more time, more gained knowledge and experience

just depends what your priorities are.

I'd agree with this. I just bought a second hand IRO frame and am trying to build it up. Since I'm a complete novice this has required lots of reading and lots of questions. I'm still in the deciding what parts I want and buy those parts phase. I've decide I'm going to build it at the local bike CO-OP so I can get help when I need it. Assuming things go well I think this should be a great experience and I'm sure I'll be much more satisfied in the end. However, it does end up costing more. You're always tempted to get something a little (or a lot) nicer than what would have come on a stock bike.

One thing I'm realizing is that some of the basic/no frills parts are so cheap that its almost not an issue to make a build with them and then upgrade later. You can get Bulletproof cranks for $35, ride them for a while and get a Sugino later. Your out $35 bucks and maybe less if you can resell it. Also you're not going to need to upgrade every part.
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Old 09-13-07, 01:23 PM   #14
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ditto. Unless of course, you are knowledgable without having ridden one.

I am very glad a built up my irose as i learned a lot about bikes in the process. it wound up costing me much more than i intended, but it was a good trade off. I am also very glad I bought my first fixed gear (pista) off the shelf. At least speaking for myself, its better to get to know something first-hand before you go trying to mess around with it on other people's directions. If you don't know anything, you are more likely to muff something up and worse, not even know you did it. Having some experience under your belt and the knowledge you gain by riding and swapping parts will leave you in a position to know exaclty what you want for your own build and you will know what you can do yourself and what you need to get done for you.
I agree. I bought a 2007 Madison that I learned a lot from. Figuring out the way things work by having something to take apart and put back together can teach tons.
Of course now I'm looking for something new to spend time/money on.
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Old 09-13-07, 01:33 PM   #15
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Hello there. I am going to get a fixed gear for the first time and I have a question. When you guys say purchase a fixed gear do you mean it comes that way or do you mean you buy a new bike and just change the back wheel? I live in calgary and am going bike shopping this weekend but I don't think I have ever seen a fixed gear new.
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Old 09-13-07, 05:33 PM   #16
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Hello there. I am going to get a fixed gear for the first time and I have a question. When you guys say purchase a fixed gear do you mean it comes that way or do you mean you buy a new bike and just change the back wheel? I live in calgary and am going bike shopping this weekend but I don't think I have ever seen a fixed gear new.
Check out IRO Cycles (http://www.irofixedgear.com), Bianchi Pista, Bianchi San Jose just to name a few.

You can buy a fixed gear bike or do a conversion. Check out BikeForms' resident guru, Sheldon Brown's website and you'll learn a lot. Its a great resource.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:02 PM   #17
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my latest nashbar catalog had a schwinn madison listed for $475. not online but pretty hard to beat.
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Old 09-13-07, 07:21 PM   #18
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I bought a pre made bike. I dont like it that much. Id go for building your own. It will teach you A LOT more when you are sitting there putting it together yourself.
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Old 09-13-07, 07:47 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by wearyourtruth View Post
off the shelf = cheaper, instant satisfaction/ridability

building = more $, more time, more gained knowledge and experience, custom parts you'd just want to buy anyway a few months after getting your off the shelf model.

just depends what your priorities are.
Nicely put. You forgot one (minor?) point. The satisfaction of throwing your leg over and riding something that you just created.

I just finished mine, based on a late 70's Shogun 200. It was built primarily because: a. A coworker gave me the bike in return for a Bianchi that I resurrected for him, and, b. I needed an excuse to do some wheel building (the ultimate relaxation ). Now I get to go and learn how to ride it.
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Old 09-13-07, 07:51 PM   #20
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So I'm very tempted to buy one of the Jamie Roy group buy framesets, but I'm thinking that buying the rest of the bike will cost me quite a pretty penny, and that I should just look into getting an off-the-shelf bike.


Would it be more economical to get a bike such as, say, the Kona Paddy Wagon or KHS Flite 100 and swap out certain parts, or simply build up a frameset?

Jamie Roy group buy?

If you are starting with nothing, buy. If you have some nice parts already, build. I really don't think you could go wrong with a Paddy Wagon or Flite 100.
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Old 09-13-07, 08:05 PM   #21
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Hello there. I am going to get a fixed gear for the first time and I have a question. When you guys say purchase a fixed gear do you mean it comes that way or do you mean you buy a new bike and just change the back wheel? I live in calgary and am going bike shopping this weekend but I don't think I have ever seen a fixed gear new.
You can either buy one complete and turnkey - the Schwinn Madison that's been mentioned in this thread is a fairly highly thought of example, lists for about $500.00, is nicely done, and you're out the door and riding. Raleigh (can't remember the model name) makes a slightly nicer one, although it's more expensive.

The "get a bike and change the back wheel" route is slightly oversimplified and usually doesn't involve buying a new bike. This is the low-buck method, where sweat equity takes the place of a healthy VISA card. To give you a decent example, I just built my first fixie (I've been building bikes since the late 60's, so this is not a new thing to me, just a new type of bike), based on a late 70's Shogun 200 that I was given (low buck but decent quality road bike, what they called a '10-speed' back then).

It's a little more involved than just replacing the rear wheel. Remove the back wheel, dérailleurs, shift levers and cables. The back wheel is replaced by another of the same diameter (27" or 700c, usually, depending on vintage) with a track hub, single gear freewheel cog on one side, fixed cog on the other. Change your chainwheel as the geared bike's two are probably too large in diameter (tall), and put it on the side the crank nearer the seat tube (to get a straighter chain line). Break your chain, take out the necessary links to shorten, and reassemble. And you're ready to ride.

That's the quick and dirty - being a bit of a perfectionist, I spent a bit of time on the crankset axle to get the chainwheel in closer to the frame to get a straight chain line, and I built my own rear wheel (I LOVE building wheels). Total cost? The bike was free, and not in bad nick. $30.00 for a rim, the hub was donated, $30.00 for spokes, $4.00 for a used 40 tooth chainwheel, $13.00 for the freewheel cog, $12.00 for the fixed cog. Any other changes came from my parts bins. $89.00 total, and the wheel was built using all new parts.

Oh yeah, one suggestion (and I have a feeling that a couple of others on this thread may disagree with me). Spend the first few days riding the bike as a single speed, get used to the feel of the bike. THEN switch over to the fixed side. One experience at a time.

Got out on the fixed gear tonight for the first time. I was glad I'd run it single speed for a while first, especially as the frame is about the maximum size I can ride. If it turns out I like this, I'm going to find a shorter frame and transfer everything over.
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Old 09-13-07, 11:29 PM   #22
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Y
Oh yeah, one suggestion (and I have a feeling that a couple of others on this thread may disagree with me). Spend the first few days riding the bike as a single speed, get used to the feel of the bike. THEN switch over to the fixed side. One experience at a time.
I agree..

1) Ride the bike Single speed first so you have a feel for it
2) Ride with front AND rear brakes when you are first riding fixed. This isn't "cool", but until you can stop the bike with the pedals I consider this a must.

Jer
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Old 09-14-07, 12:35 AM   #23
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Hello there. I am going to get a fixed gear for the first time and I have a question. When you guys say purchase a fixed gear do you mean it comes that way or do you mean you buy a new bike and just change the back wheel? I live in calgary and am going bike shopping this weekend but I don't think I have ever seen a fixed gear new.
i would suggest the following:

1. go to campione on the infamous (to me at least) 12th avenue around 8 st and talk to them. they carry pistas so you can at least look at an off-the-peg fg bike. they also carry just about everything you will need for a conversion including short stack bolts and bolt spacers. be prepared for giuseppe to go on for an hour about some totally unrelated topic.

2. walk the two or so blocks to "the bike shop" on 11th. go to the service centre and find the young guys with tattoos. talk to them about conversions. they have more knowledge in this department than campione but less stuff.

3. if you decide to buy an off-the-rack, call bow cycle and ask them what they have. don't go there for advice -- they're always way to busy to talk and most of the guys on the floor are 'salesmen' types. the do, however, have the best selection of everything and passable prices.

4. if you decide to build, pick up your parts from campione if you can afford it. there will probably be some things you can *only* get there. otherwise, the 'bike shop' will have most of what you need.
3.
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Old 09-14-07, 05:35 AM   #24
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I agree..

1) Ride the bike Single speed first so you have a feel for it
2) Ride with front AND rear brakes when you are first riding fixed. This isn't "cool", but until you can stop the bike with the pedals I consider this a must.

Jer
Funny, I never even considered building mine without brakes - then again, I'm 57 years old, and the broken wrist I suffered last August (rear wheel lockup, vintage 10-speed threw a chain on a downhill run) still gives me periodic pain.
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Old 09-14-07, 07:55 PM   #25
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You'll end up rebuilding it if you own it long enough.

A taco'd wheel here, a new stem there... chain ring/cog swaps. Headset takes a set. Pedals crap out a bearing... Bottom bracket grinds, cranks squeak. ETC!

Build what you want to start with and you'll be rewarded.... instead of being a cheapskate and ending up with a parts bucket after years of ownership, you'll have yourself quality parts from the start.
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