As a long-time lurker I've seen the SE Draft mentioned on this forum (as well as just about every other bike message board) countless times. I know they have a bad rep to a lot of people.
Well, anyway, I own one. I purchased it about 1.5 months ago. I was really hesitant about buying one because of the reputation they have, but it was at a price I couldn't refuse. 100 bucks practically brand new. I've seen the bike compared to a department store bike and while this is perhaps true, I paid even less than department store prices so I think I won on that one. Not only was the price attractive but (probably more importantly) I was in a bit of a bind. I was about to move to a new place that would require a new transportation option (I usually walked everywhere...I'm in college) and I really didn't want to bring my car from home with me to school. Parking anywhere near my apartment would be $60-100/month and I would only use the car a few times/month.
That being said: I bought the bike. I've since put about 150 miles on it, mostly commuting to work and, now that school is back in session, commuting to school. The occasional bar run and grocery shopping. Overall, I'm pleased with what I got (relative to cost). Its fun to be back on a bike again, and the bike isn't as bad as I expected.
Its kinda heavy as everyone has said (but not really a problem for me). The frame is really stiff and is tough as nails. Because its so cheap, I don't really have to worry about theft as much (but I lock it of course); if its stolen, I've only invested 100 in it.
While I am overall happy with it, there are a few concerns. First the stock pedals are crap. They're literally falling apart. The bars are so uncomfortably wide its ridiculous. I have bad-ish wrists and they get sore after being in the same position for too long; being in a position for a long time is bad enough, but being in the same bad position for too long is hell. Those are 2 things I have to address immediately...
However, I'm also just getting the itch to upgrade. I know what everyone is thinking: Don't sink money into this, get a better bike. But even if I got a better bike, I'd still end up customizing this one. Its just how I am; stock isn't for me. Maybe its because I've spent my entire life around (and working on) classic cars.
To be honest, though I completely value you guys' (and gals') opinions, I'm not really looking for approval at all. Just information, suggestions, advice, cautions, warnings...etc. To be honest, I'm a bike noob, but I want to do this on my own hands (again, the car guy in me talking). While I'm new to bikes, I figure that my mechanical background could at least be marginally advantageous, as compared with someone who is completely lost in a tool box.
So anyway, here are a few things I had in mind:
-New bars (and probably stem as well). It has a 25.4mm clamp dia. as far as I can tell but I can't find many bars to fit. Would it be easier to just swap out the stem? 26.0 or oversized? I'm going either bullhorns or drops with hoods (btw, I'm running SS w/ front and rear brakes).
-New pedals. I've heard that normal road pedals aren't accepted on the stock crank so I may swap that out too (which means a new BB).
-New seat. The previous owner swapped the stock seat and it must have been a downgrade because the current saddle feels like a lump brick being shoved up my buttcrack..lol.
-Probably a new brake setup just for the hell of it. No real complaints yet. They aren't great, but they haven't killed me yet.
-Eventually new wheelset. Bottom of the list for now. I'm really rough on them (jumping curbs, running potholes etc) and haven't failed me yet, but I do get really nervous every time, because I've heard of them snapping spokes quite regularly (I'm a lightweight..only weigh 160 so that may be why I've had no problems, as compared to a 200lb rider).
My real reason for posting this is to gather as many suggestions and ideas as possible. Also advice on anything I should know about before I get into this. I want to have a general idea of what to expect before I tackle something like this on my own.
I'm not sure if this message board encourages (or allows) build threads, but if so I may make this a regularly updated build thread.
So yeah, any suggestions, cautions, internet parts sources, etc...lemme have it!
PS: Sorry for the long post. I was multitasking (type a paragraph...wash some dishes..type a paragraph...fix some lunch...etc...etc) and lost track of how much I had typed.
Road [racing] is one of the only sports where adult men can compete in a non-scholastic setting, so inevitably 8/10 racers are fiercely-competitive nobodies. It's fun as hell, but it's also the foremost refuge of defeated and aging jocks, turned middle-management types.
for 150 it's a rip off. don't put another part on that bike, ride it till it falls apart and then get something that won't kill you if you want to go more than 20 miles on it.
I used to ride centuries in the 80s on bikes that were not much better (hi-ten, crap saddles, crap pedals, etc). If you die from riding 20 miles on a Draft, ask papa to take the pea out from under your stack of goose-down filled, plump, satin mattresses.
To the OP, go ahead and upgrade your saddle, handlebars, brake and then port those upgrades to your next build/BD bike or whatever. If your pedals are truly breaking, get some cheap BMX pedals as I believe that is what the Draft cranks accept.