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  1. #1
    Senior Member PandaExpress's Avatar
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    Picking a frame for single speed build

    Hi, I'm thinking about building a single speed commuter/city bike and I'm wondering which frame I should pick:

    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_511239_-1___

    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...0052_516649_-1

    My main concerns are, I need to be able to attach a rear rack for panniers and I'm not sure if they have the right dropouts to bolt a rear rack directly to the frame. Secondly, which one would work better in a city environment with drop bars? Any other suggestions would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    hamcycles.com hamfoh's Avatar
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    I would consider looking at pre built bikes and just adding a rack to that. building up a bike is pretty expensive.

    The first frame you chose is a road (touring) frame, it drops vertically for a derailleur. For one speed, a horizontal dropout is more ideal so you don't have to have a chain tensioner or actually take links out of your chain anytime you changed your ratio.

    maybe check out the Motobecane Fantom Cross or something
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  3. #3
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    I second the idea of buying prebuilt unless it's the fun of the project you are after. You will spend more money doing it.

    Googling "Singlespeed commuter city bike" brings up:

    http://urbanvelo.org/singlespeed-com...ikes-for-2009/

    http://urbanvelo.org/singlespeed-com...ikes-for-2010/

    BikesDirect has the Essex and you can get it with color matched fenders and rear rack, too.
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/essex.htm

    Schwinn has the Coffee
    http://www.roadbikeoutlet.com/2011-s...mpaign=product

    here's somebody that built his own commuter bike: http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor...uter-Bike.html

    The Trek Soho
    http://bicycling.about.com/od/bikeeq.../Trek_Soho.htm


    I'd be hitting yard sales, estate sales, Goodwill stores, etc. to find a 70's-80's road frame like a Raleigh Grand Prix, Record, Sprite or a Schwinn Varsity, Collegiate, Super Sport, etc. Or a Miyata, Univega, Bridgestone, Fuji, Panasonic; a lot of the 80's Japanese steel bikes were well made and still undervalued. Many of these will have brazeons for fenders, racks and can take wider tires.

    You could pick up a complete used bike for $100-200 then use it and most of the parts to make your SS commuter. If the rear wheel has a freewheel hub, you just remove the old cogset and put on a new singlespeed cog. A lot of the 70's bikes had 52-42 chainrings so you could keep that crankset and use a Surly Dingle to give you more choices for gearing.

    I took this:


    and made this:



    You can see I have a double crank with a Surly Dingle with a freewheel on the other side of the flip-flop hub. The long dropouts on the Sprite frame means this bike has six different gear options; four fixed and two free.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Spoonrobot's Avatar
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    Beautiful conversion!

    Thinking about the Dingle myself. Any issues with setting the chainline?

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    IRO phoenix

    Check out the IRO phoenix.
    quite affordable at 169$ for the frameset on jensonusa

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Frameset.aspx

  6. #6
    Senior Member PandaExpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fortunaz View Post
    Check out the IRO phoenix.
    quite affordable at 169$ for the frameset on jensonusa

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...+Frameset.aspx
    If you can clarify a bit, why would you recommend that one over the ones I have listed?

    And to everyone, how much would it cost to put together a single speed bike from scratch? I have some parts already that I can reuse, but they're rather limited. The only reason why I'm reluctant to buy a used bicycle from craigslist is that my area seems to highly inflate their price.

  7. #7
    hamcycles.com hamfoh's Avatar
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    well that all comes down to how good you want to make it. assuming you don't have a wheelset w/tires sitting around, or a frame, fork and headset, you're already looking at roughly the cost of a complete one from BD or something.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member PandaExpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamfoh View Post
    well that all comes down to how good you want to make it. assuming you don't have a wheelset w/tires sitting around, or a frame, fork and headset, you're already looking at roughly the cost of a complete one from BD or something.
    I suppose now I'm looking for a complete bike to upgrade with parts. How does this look for a base for a city bike? Thinking about adding bullhorn or drop bars and I'm curious about how that'd work with the frame geometry. Also, how many parts would I have to replace to make it a solid performing bike? Looks like the saddle and brakes are a minimum so far

    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...0_10000_202614

  9. #9
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
    Beautiful conversion!

    Thinking about the Dingle myself. Any issues with setting the chainline?
    The Raleigh bb was shot so we retapped the bottom bracket to fit a Shimano cartridge bb 109mm in there. Worked fine.

    I used the old bb lockring as a spacer for the freewheel cog on the left. Formula fixed/fixed hub.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Spoonrobot's Avatar
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    Thanks for the picture, that's exactly what I was needed to see.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PandaExpress View Post
    If you can clarify a bit, why would you recommend that one over the ones I have listed?

    And to everyone, how much would it cost to put together a single speed bike from scratch? I have some parts already that I can reuse, but they're rather limited. The only reason why I'm reluctant to buy a used bicycle from craigslist is that my area seems to highly inflate their price.
    I immediately thought of the IRO Phoenix because you mentioned that you were looking for an affordable SS commuter that can accommodate a rack. The phoenix has mounts for racks, fenders, and water bottle cages. It also fits tires up to 700x32 with fenders while many other (affordable) frames with horizontal dropouts don't have as much clearance (the only others I can think of off the top of my head are the Surly Steamroller and the Voodoo Maji, each of which being marginally more expensive). The frame is made out of 4130 CroMo Steel (this material has a much smoother ride than aluminum and is lighter/stronger than HiTensil steel) and has housing stops. These allow you to run a rear brake without having to use full length housing (most SS/FG frames don't have these housing stops).

    Other than that most people seem to be very satisfied with IRO's products and operation. From what I hear the dude Tony is a swell guy.

  12. #12
    Senior Member PandaExpress's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help guys. As I'm learning more about what to look for, I'm getting a bit more confident about buying a bike off craigslist. So far, I know I'm looking for a CroMO frame, 70s-80s road bike, horizontal dropouts, braze-ons for a rack. Possible choices are "Raleigh Grand Prix, Record, Sprite or a Schwinn Varsity, Collegiate, Super Sport, etc. Or a Miyata, Univega, Bridgestone, Fuji, Panasonic" (thanks bbattle!). Looking to pay $100, up to $150 if refurbished/like new condition, less if its in worse condition.

    Still need some more info though...

    1. What are some other good brands/bikes to keep an eye out for? I'm definitely not a bike historian, so I usually can't tell if the bike I'm looking at had a reputation for being a junker or not. I'd like to build this bike with some solid components, so I'd like to avoid a low-end frame at least.

    2. What do braze ons look like? Looking to attach a rear rack to the frame, I'd like to use this bike for commuting and some shopping.

    3. How can I tell if the bike is Cro-Mo or HiTen? I know there's a sticker somewhere, but not exactly where on the bike? And what do all the branded steel names mean ("Schwinn" signature steel, etc.)

  13. #13
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    op's #1 post asked about the nashbar nekkid frame which is on sale atm for only $70. http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_516649_-1___

    unfortunately for me, i got run down yesterday & my beloved lugged maxway frame is kaput
    to make things worse, this is the 2nd time this has happened to me, with the same type frame, within the past 6 mos

    due to severe budget constraints & my desire (& need) to get riding asap, i am seriously considering going with that alu nekkid frame to get me back on the road.

    i found some guy that loves it so much he actually bought 2 of them, each for a slightly different build:

    cheap nashbar frame urban build.jpg cheap nashbar frame commuter build.jpg

    apparently it may take a while to receive any insurance reimbursement, if one is even coming & i can not wait to get working on something to ride.

    so...could that frame with a new cheap wheelset & a conglomeration of parts from my leftovers bin be such a bad temporary fix?

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