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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 09-18-09, 02:22 AM   #1
Norcalz71
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First post - suggestions on where to start

I'm sorry I am sure you guys get this a lot, I'm not newb to forums and using the search feature but truly I am new enough to this scene that I don't even really know what to punch into the search to find what I'm looking for yet.

Basically, I want to build a simple, inexpensive bike for cruising to and from campus this year. I'm talking a craigslist cheapie frame/complete score for a base to build off of, and then go from there making it a single speed, like to keep costs to a minimum. This is my first foray into single speed stuff (my brother is huge in DH and my dad rides DH and XC quite a bit), its much simpler to just get a bike to ride around, but I like building stuff.

5'10" tall, ~150 pounds, just wondering what I should be searching on craigslist in terms of models/frames to look at, given the inexpensive factor I'm sure I'm looking at older stuff. I was seeing a lot of schwinn Varsitys on CL (i'm in the bay area) for less than $100, but then I came across a thread or two on here suggesting not to start with that frame for a SS/fixie conversion. Just trying to get an idea of what frame models the experts would recommend for my first SS build. If I love it, I'm sure I will step up to some more expensive, purpose built stuff in the future.

Thanks
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Old 09-18-09, 02:28 AM   #2
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Step 1: go to Bikes Direct and order a Motobecane Messenger

Step 2: ride it like you stole it.

Note that step one can be replaced with pretty much any other track/singlespeed bike on Bikes Direct. It's honestly the cheapest way to get up and running. I understand that the parts aren't necessarily the best, but by the time they wear out you'll have a better understanding of what you like/need.
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Old 09-18-09, 02:31 AM   #3
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Whats your budget? If you do not know much about bikes I would not recommend building one up. You may get very overwhelmed. You may also really enjoy it. You should look into the bikes direct bikes. They are descent quality for a really good price.

This is a cheap good bike
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...cane/track.htm
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Old 09-18-09, 02:51 AM   #4
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get a complete, don't build your own until you have some idea of your riding style and what you like in a bike.

also don't get a conversion. the bikes direct bikes are great bikes and there is simply no better fg alternative value out there.
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Old 09-18-09, 11:05 AM   #5
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thanks guys, I'll have to check those out as well. Reason I had listed CL bargain vintage bikes as a starting place is #1 - I love projects, like building/restoring stuff on my own, and I'm pretty mechanically inclined so I'm not too worried about not being able to do the work myself once I do some more reading. My little brother also knows quite a bit about bikes, his two DH bikes are probably halfway apart in the garage with him working on them more than he actually rides them. #2 - Cost, since I love projects, I always have multiple projects going on at once and given I still have a year of grad school left, I'm not quite rolling in the dough yet. I was figuring sub $100 for a "complete" bike off CL to start with and then spending another $100-$250 plus whatever parts I need that are around our garage at home from my brother.

So if i were to MAYBE get an older, used bike to start...what would be a decent one? Doesnt have to be awesome, doesnt have to be super high tech, just a decent place to start. If its truly cheaper to start with a newer frame though just to get up and running then I am totally game for that.
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Old 09-18-09, 11:10 AM   #6
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Bikes Direct is what i did.

Couldn't be happier
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Old 09-18-09, 11:13 AM   #7
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anything chromoly butted steel with horizontal dropouts is good, but for a nice one you will have to hunt for a deal and even then, you're just a hundred or so dollars less than buying a nicer, new frame.

honestly the best 70 dollars i ever spent was on a complete although krylon'd univega conversion. that was a long time ago and i doubt you'll find a deal like that again that isn't stolen or extremely dangerous/broken.

600 dollars later i had a MUCH nicer bike built up myself and i could have just spent 300 and had something 80% of the way there.

conversions are iffy. you want a complete.
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Old 09-18-09, 12:18 PM   #8
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so without trying to sound like I'm beating a dead horse, what might be some models to look for on CL, searching horizontal dropout or chro-mo butted steel doesn't pull up much lol. Univega is apparently one option, is there any list/database/thread on here detailing some of the more desirable older, bargain frames for a SS and/or fixie conversion?

We have seats, stems, posts, cranks, bars, brake parts etc etc all over the garage from my brothers bikes so I am not planning on things like that nickel and diming me to death, mostly will just need the parts specific to the conversion itself.
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Old 09-18-09, 12:45 PM   #9
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A complete BikesDirect bike will have you rolling in a week or a little more, while the conversion takes some time to get deals on the parts, learn how to properly assemble, troubleshoot your chainline, etc.
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Old 09-18-09, 12:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norcalz71 View Post
so without trying to sound like I'm beating a dead horse, what might be some models to look for on CL, searching horizontal dropout or chro-mo butted steel doesn't pull up much lol. .
Old Schwinn's are a popular choice. "Varsity" should give you some results.

This won't be a blazing fast superlight tarckstar TT bike, but it'll hold the wheels in place and you can sit on it.


But really you're unlikely to find something cheap that is better in quality than what you'd get in a Kilo or Scrambler or something.
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Old 09-18-09, 03:50 PM   #11
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located a Centurian IronMan, 57cm frame, fork, Bottom Bracket and headset for $100. Read up a little about them in sheldon's website, knowing as little as I do at this point it sounds like a possible potential good starting point?

Again a big part of this is the build, I WANT to build something, dont mind putting in the hours learning and wrenching, I have never been a buy it complete kind of guy. Its as much another project for me to tinker with as it is a mode of transportation.
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Old 09-18-09, 07:11 PM   #12
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I went with a conversion for my first fixie and it was a huge ****in mistake. I just ordered a Kilo Stripper off of Bikes Direct and it's going to be a much better bike for hundreds less.
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Old 09-18-09, 08:11 PM   #13
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alright so I browsed a little more on bikesdirect, seems maybe (as you guys have said) that a Mercier Kilo or a Motobecane Messenger might be up my alley...any reason to go for one or the other for someone who probably doesn't know enough to tell the difference yet? Also at around $375-$400 for the complete ready to roll bike, would I be looking at spending more than that if I were to start with a "complete but needs some work" older frame and convert it over? I like the flip flop rear that these seem to have as I plan to run SS but wouldn't mind playing around with the fixed setup every now and then for kicks.

Any other bikes besides those two I might want to check out as well in addition to older frames I would want to restore and start with?
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Old 09-18-09, 11:00 PM   #14
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if all you want is a beater bike to cruise around on, all you need is any old 10 speed bike, and a prebuilt cheapo singlespeed wheel. you should be able to find a bike for under 100 easy, and the wheel for around 50. done.

strip the derallieurs, shifters, and rear wheel off your bike, pop the new single speed wheel in. Use a chain tool to pop a rivet out of your chain, remove a small section, and refasten it back together.

total cost in bike parts- 150 bucks tops.
total cost in tools (if oyu don't own any yet- adjustable wrench and chain tool. 20 bucks tops.


thats for a budget, beater bike to mess around on. the kind you don't mind leaving out in t he rain when you're at class, or locked up in a high theft area. it probably won't be the prettiest bike, it definitely won't be the fastest out there, or the lightest. it all depends on your priorities, budget, or quality parts.
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