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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 03-25-08, 04:07 PM   #1
tgrssn
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Advice - Building a fixed gear on the cheap...

I've built a few bikes now. Now I have friends coming up to me asking me to build bikes for them. I'd love to, it's a lot of fun for me. The problem is, I don't feel right asking them to shell out some large amount of money to recycle some crappy old cro-moly frame. I want to be able to build them for CHEAP (less than 100 dollars). I feel like I've got building a fixie on the cheap down to a science. The original cranks, headset, frame, bars, and maybe brakes can be recycled.

Here's how I'd break it down...

UN53 BB - 20 dollars
Bar Tape/grips - 10 dollars
Cog/Lockring - 30 dollars
One Cyclocross lever - 10 dollars
Brake Cable - 5 dollars
Spray Can/Paste/etc - 5 dollars
Chain - 10 dollars

So, 90 bucks so far not including the frame which isn't part of the budget.

The only thing that's left is a wheelset. That's where things get hard. How can I put together a decent fixie without spending 200 dollars on a wheelset?

Last edited by tgrssn; 03-25-08 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 03-25-08, 04:09 PM   #2
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Suicide hub? I'd get a nice waiver together if you're selling those things.
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Old 03-25-08, 04:10 PM   #3
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How do you reuse the original crank? Just take the inside chain off? Wouldn't that throw off the Q factor? What wheels do you put on there?
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Old 03-25-08, 04:16 PM   #4
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How is repacking a bb hard?Put that $20 toward a hub.

Edit:i see you changed your post

Last edited by Build your own; 03-25-08 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 03-25-08, 04:17 PM   #5
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You could just not buy $200 wheels?
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Old 03-25-08, 04:30 PM   #6
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If you want to keep it cheap keep the frontwheel and buy a cheap 27" rear with a generic hub.
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Old 03-25-08, 04:37 PM   #7
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I would get some short stack bolts instead of keeping both rings (or the old bolts and some washers if you are super cheap).
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Old 03-25-08, 04:37 PM   #8
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re: selling the bikes - No way. I do this for fun and for free. Actually, I usually end up throwing a bit of my own money in. I just like to build bikes for friends. It's rewarding and it gets butts on seats.
re: replacing the bb - I like to. It's much smoother when it's done and it doesn't loosen up. I always get a 107mm because then I can get a nice straight chainline with an inexpensive set of Shimano 600s in the future.
re: just spending 200 on wheels- That's why I'm posting here. I can spend 200 on wheels no problem. It just sucks to ask not so fortunate friends of mine to shell out that kind of money when for less than $150 they could go buy a never used mountain bike that some yuppie around here bought on a whim and never rode. Or maybe a bike like this. http://phoenix.craigslist.org/bik/615735557.html
We're lucky here in Phoenix. Every day dozens of bikes are posted up for sale by people who buy them to hang up in their garage for a year. There's also a lot of serious racers with a lot of money who sell their bikes cheap when they outgrow them. It's great.
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Old 03-25-08, 04:47 PM   #9
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Since you mentioned MTBs and roadies,unless your friends are hellbent on a fixed,why not build SS with a freewheel on the original hub.Just redish.
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Old 03-25-08, 05:10 PM   #10
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perhaps just tell your friends that instead of dying on a suicide machine, they could just wait and put together some cash for a decent rear wheel, you know?

putting a fixie together with a nice rear wheel and proper chainline for less than three hundred is pretty freaking sweet as it is, you know?

sure they could get a cheapo huffy or something off of craigslist, but if you're converting a rig to do a completely different operation, it's going to cost no matter how you look at it.

and it's worth it.
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Old 03-25-08, 05:31 PM   #11
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Yeah, why not tack on fifteen bucks for an ss freewheel and not bother with a deathwheel?

Bikes that coast are superior anyway.
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Old 03-25-08, 05:35 PM   #12
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Yeah, why not tack on fifteen bucks for an ss freewheel and not bother with a deathwheel?

Bikes that coast are superior anyway.


they may be superior in mechanical theory, but not in the context of your anatomy. coasting often gives your legs time to stiffen up. they're harder on your muscles in that respect.

not to say that groupset-using cyclists are wrong, by any means.
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Old 03-25-08, 05:46 PM   #13
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The trick is that on a freewheeled bike you can choose to keep pedaling.
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Old 03-25-08, 05:49 PM   #14
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The trick is that on a freewheeled bike you can choose to keep pedaling.


true. ultimately it's arguable which gearing format is best for you. one only has to try em both and choose accordingly.

i ride fixed all over portland, but i grew up riding geared mountain bikes and bmxers. i've had great fun on all of them.
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Old 03-25-08, 05:53 PM   #15
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I know this is a bit backwards thinking...

300 dollars will get you a complete fixed gear bike at bikesdirect.com
http://bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/thehour.htm

sort of takes away the fun of what you want to do, but maybe you can just take the wheels off of these guys and then use the frameset for your own project?

there seem to be a pretty good selection of track/ss wheelsets for sale on ebay. if your friends aren't too concerned with having the best or the fastest, i see no reason why they couldn't make good use of some of the utilitarian listings.
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Old 03-25-08, 06:13 PM   #16
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buy someone's stock pista wheelset or equivalent alex wheelset. i've seen some sell for 50$
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Old 03-25-08, 06:23 PM   #17
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the bikeisland.com budget wheelset is apparently decent, i think it's like 120.
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Old 03-26-08, 08:58 AM   #18
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Thanks for all the advice.
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Old 03-26-08, 09:01 AM   #19
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http://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...ils&ProdID=960

That's the best advice I've gotten. 110 bucks is super cheap. They look like formula hubs. I've built two bikes with those and they're not amazing but they're sturdy and work fine.
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Old 03-26-08, 09:02 AM   #20
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Nah. Nobody I know is concerned with being fast. They don't know anything about bikes. They just want to hang out and build something that is uniquely theirs. Can't fault them for that.
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Old 03-26-08, 10:17 AM   #21
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Nah. Nobody I know is concerned with being fast. They don't know anything about bikes. They just want to hang out and build something that is uniquely theirs. Can't fault them for that.
This is ss/fg... we'll find a way.

Hahaha.
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Old 10-27-08, 10:26 PM   #22
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hey tgrssn, are you still building fixed gears on the cheap, and up to date with the market parts and prices? I am trying to help a friend potentially build up a fixie on a cheapie bike and frame. I just have several questions.

Where do you find the lowest price items? a website, local bike shop, more than one website?

Why the UN53 Bottom Bracket? is that the cheapest or best bang for the buck for bottom brackets?
How would the stock BB compare with the UN53, and what do you mean by it loosening up?

Is Bikeisland the cheapest you find a fixed wheelset? They seem to be out of stock at the moment, ya think they will restock quickly or frequently?
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Old 10-27-08, 10:32 PM   #23
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The problem is, I don't feel right asking them to shell out some large amount of money to recycle some crappy old cro-moly frame.
You're not forcing anything on them... it's their final say if they want to spend the $ - it is what it is. Don't feel bad since you're already donating your time to the project. Good on you.
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