So I put this bike together:
I would like to type out my trials and tribulations from putting this bike together from a beginners perspective. I wanted to do this bike project for $200...came out closer to $300 and will be probably be about $50 for some other odds and ends pieces.
Between surfing this forum, multiple calls to many local bike stores, scouring the internet bike stores, countless youtube videos, and much wasted time on craigslist and the purchase of a bad bike; this was a lot harder than it looks. Maybe I have too much bad luck or maybe I am not as mechanical as I thought I was but I encountered way more trouble than a couple of the youtube videos and instructables that I looked at. So I wanted to share those troubles fro those thinking it will be quick, easy and cheap.
For instance my brakes weren't long enough for a 700c conversion so I stuck with the 27inch wheels. Otherwise I would have had to plunk down another $40-$50 for a new set of brakes. I tried to convert the original wheel to single speed by taking off the rear cassette only to encounter outrageously priced tools, condescending bike store staff, and a stripped rear wheel axle. So i just bought a brand new rear wheel. I came across 90mm front hub spacing, so no new wheel for me unless I want to monkey around with spreading the front fork. It also turns out in my area, Metro Detroit, that most old ten speeds are ridiculously over priced. I paid $40 for my Free Spirit but most of them are going for $80 plus, never mind the schwinns if you are considering a budget build. I pinched a tube while trying to put on a new tire, back to the bike shop for a new one and more money. I bought a Peugot frame from some garbage picker off craiglist that looked sweet and was only $40! Buuuuut, with my lack of experience turns out the fork was bent to **** and the frame was bent as well. Lesson learned. Also if you are considering buying tools to get some of this work done you may as well add $50 to your price tag! Couldn't believe how much a set of cone wrenches and a chian tool were going to be. I was actually thankful for this bike having an ashtabula type of crank.
So there are the things that don't get posted about when trying to tackle a single speed conversion. I know I did some stupid things and had some bad luck but I just wanted to share to those who think this may be quick and easy.
The good side of all of this: I found one of the coolest, down to earth bike shops in Metro Detroit: Eastside Bikes. Not huge on the single speeds, but they were nice enough to install my chain for free and gave me a nice compliment about some of the work I had done to the bike. Plus they were cool about my kids almost knocking over a whole row of bikes. And they had the sweet blue chainring for sale, used for $10. best online bike store I dealt with was Harris Cyclery. Fast shipping and seemingly knowledgeable staff when I called. And now I know more about bikes than I ever did, can't apply it all but it's in my brain so I sound like I know what I am talking about now. Oh and thanks to this forum for information too!