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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 09-03-08, 09:57 AM   #1
j3ffr3y
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cheap fixed gear for a noob?

I recently started biking a bit over the summer on my dad's old mountain bike, and want to get into it a bit more. After doing some research, I have decided that getting a fixed gear would probably be the best for my situation (less maintenance, city/path riding) Price is an issue,being 17 with college coming up next year, I can't really afford much over ~$200. Would it be ridiculous to look for something like a bianchi pista or fuji track in this price range?
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Old 09-03-08, 10:00 AM   #2
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crosslake sales/nashbar bike. whatever they are called. its garbage but what does it matter
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Old 09-03-08, 10:02 AM   #3
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if your budget is $200, then i'd suggest hoping for the best at the thrift store or craigslist and buying a new rear wheel with a fixed hub. still, unless you really have mechanical skills (or live near to and are willing to put some time in at a bike co-op), then it's gonna be hard to keep the costs under $200 if the bike you find isn't in mostly good shape to begin with.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:12 AM   #4
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At that pricepoint, your best option is an 80's vintage road bike off of Craiglist, or maybe even through the local thrift store. You are looking for a classic road bike, with a 5, 6 or 7 speed freewheel on the rear wheel, and semi-horizontal dropouts. A 7-speed rear-end could be either cassette or freewheel, and the 5 and 6 speed rears will be freewheel type.

If you don't have the knowhow or tools, take it to a local shop, have them pull the freewheel ($5), sell you a new single speed freewheel (ie BMX freewheel), which will thread right on ($15-20) and, if in good shape, resize your chain to fit. You can fit up a fixed cog, but not a great idea, even though there are some workarounds.

If the single speed approach fits your style, you can always, buy or build a proper wheelset later, around a fixed/fixed or fixed/free hub.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:15 AM   #5
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The cheapest complete fixed that I know if the SE Draft. MSRP is $280. However, there is much hearsay that these bikes are, well, not worth the money. You get what you pay for, and $200 ain't that much for a bike. Hell, that prolly isn't even 4 tanks of gasoline for some people. Your best bet is either to (1) save and get a decent complete, (2) do a conversion yourself, (3) craigslist (even there, you'll have a hard time finding a decent used bike for $200 or less.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:15 AM   #6
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mechanical skills/tools should not be a problem. I have the skills and the tools and can follow a guide, but have never built a bike before. So, converting a geared bike would be cheaper than buying a fixed gear? How much would the cost be, and which model(s) are easier to convert?
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Old 09-03-08, 10:19 AM   #7
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How much would the cost be, and which model(s) are easier to convert?
j3ffr3y, let me introduce you to our dear friend Sheldon Brown's web page.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:20 AM   #8
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the cheapest SS/FG available new is the SE Draft for $250.

for $300 you can buy:
a Crosslake sales / Nashbar FG - Crosslake sales on Ebay or www.nashbar.com
a Windsor Hour - www.bikesdirect.com

for under $200, you ain't gettin anything new. follow the advice other folks posted before...

and no you're not getting a pista or fuji track for $200 unless its stolen.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:44 AM   #9
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I wasn't planning on anything new, I was definately looking used.
would something like the columbia in this be good for the conversion?
http://boston.craigslist.org/nos/bik/824687825.html
edit: also, is something that old even worth it? keep in mind that I'm more than a bit of a noob.
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Old 09-03-08, 10:47 AM   #10
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I wasn't planning on anything new, I was definately looking used.
would something like the columbia in this be good for the conversion?
http://boston.craigslist.org/nos/bik/824687825.html
edit: also, is something that old even worth it? keep in mind that I'm more than a bit of a noob.
If your in Boston, check out the Bikes Not Bombs shop. The have cheap rebuilds, but might still be over $200.

Last edited by sedition; 09-03-08 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 09-03-08, 11:13 AM   #11
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cheapest I would go is the Windsor Hour at www.bikesdirect.com (same frame and more or less the same bike as the Fuji Track) . It is much more bike than the crosslake or the SE Draft for not that much more.
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Old 09-03-08, 11:23 AM   #12
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I've been working on a cheap fixed gear myself.
$30 - complete bike from pawn shop
$35 - ISO cog from london fixie
$25 - Shimano M475 Front disk hub
$10 - 1/8" chain
$14 - spokes

I took the axle out of the old rear hub and put it into the shimano hub, bolted the cog onto the disk mount and laced the hub into the old rear rim. I still need some pedals or clips.
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Old 09-03-08, 11:28 AM   #13
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If you're going to go under $200, convert an older bike as suggested. If the components are in decent shape, you'll only need a rear wheel, cog, and lockring, and maybe a bottom bracket spindle. It's a great project that doesn't require much mechanical skill. Take some time to read up on Sheldon's site so you'll be sure to get a suitable bike. Hunting around and spending an extra $25-$50 at the outset can save you wads of cash if it means you don't have to replace the cranks, front wheel, etc.
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Old 09-03-08, 12:57 PM   #14
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you can do a ghetto conversion on a road bike in about 45 minutes or so, for no cost. google for instructions...
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Old 09-03-08, 02:08 PM   #15
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either get a garage sale road bike and throw a fixed wheel on the back, or get a windsor the hour
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Old 09-03-08, 02:09 PM   #16
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steal a kid's bigwheel and make sure you will like the fixed riding 1st
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Old 09-03-08, 03:44 PM   #17
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doesn't matter, thing will turn into a money pit anyway.

i payed ..very very little for my masi and i've already dropped more on it than i payed.
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Old 09-03-08, 04:59 PM   #18
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how does this sound that I just saw on Craigslist

Lotus, 20" Fully Lugged Steel Frame in Excellent condition, 27" steel wheels, true, hubs regreased, Bottom Bracket regreased, Front and Rear Shimano center pull brakes, New brake cables, geared 40/16

pic:
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Old 09-03-08, 09:38 PM   #19
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Do forget to get a frame that is actually the right size for you, too.
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Old 09-04-08, 12:25 AM   #20
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That Lotus seems like a pretty good option if it fits and if they're reasonable on price.
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Old 09-04-08, 09:37 AM   #21
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the cranks on the Lotus are old and crappy. other than that, looks fine. set aside an extra $50 for some single-speed cranks off ebay and you're good to go.
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Old 09-04-08, 09:53 AM   #22
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If the cranks work, they work. Ride them until they have play.

How much are they asking for the Lotus? I have some plastic toe clips with nylon straps I'll send you. You'll need foot retention if you're going to go fast at all on a 40/16.
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Old 09-04-08, 10:26 AM   #23
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If the cranks work, they work. Ride them until they have play.

How much are they asking for the Lotus? I have some plastic toe clips with nylon straps I'll send you. You'll need foot retention if you're going to go fast at all on a 40/16.
+1. Cotters, one-piece setups, and steel would be deal-breakers (for me). Other than that, I kinda dig old cranks on old bikes. Even my old SR's with a really, really obscure BCD have held up great and only cost me $10 per chainring once I found a NOS supplier.
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Old 09-04-08, 11:50 AM   #24
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they are asking 120 on the craigslist ad. Is this a good price or too high?
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Old 09-04-08, 11:56 AM   #25
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i would not pay $120 for that thing.
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