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  1. #1
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    Building a bike. Help?

    I'm planning on building a bike. (couldn't you tell?) Ideally, I'd like to purchase a cheap, used bike and use its frame to build off of. I'm a student, so the bike will be used as transportation to/from class and the occasional leisure ride. During the summer however, I would like to tour with the bike. Nothing extravagant; something like 4-7 day tours. I would like to spend less than $1000 on this project. I'll list some things I would like to see on the finished product and am hoping that someone can give me an idea of where to start. (Which old, used bike to purchase and any other suggestions that you feel are necessary).

    Here is what I'm looking for in the final product.
    -more of a mountain bike, less of a road bike (by this I mean my focus is on strength, durability, and toughness instead of speed, weight, and agility.)
    -straight bars
    -able to support front/rear panniers and racks
    -able to support front/rear fenders
    -friction shifters

    If it's possible to purchase a used bike in which I can use multiple parts from, then that is even better.

    Thanks for all of your help!

    P.S. I have no problem using only the frame and purchasing new parts for the bike, I only figured I could keep the cost down if some parts were reusable. I should also mention that this does not need to be a full-blown 520 or LHT. I don't need extremely expensive parts, rather high-value ones (parts that offer a compromise between price and quality)
    Last edited by Captain7; 10-25-09 at 11:21 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    Probably starting with a 90's MTB! don't you think? You can replace parts later on, like hubs rear cassette, shifters, crank, etc., as much as you wich, or as long as the money lasts.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain7 View Post
    I'm planning on building a bike. (couldn't you tell?) Ideally, I'd like to purchase a cheap, used bike and use its frame to build off of. I'm a student, so the bike will be used as transportation to/from class and the occasional leisure ride. During the summer however, I would like to tour with the bike. Nothing extravagant; something like 4-7 day tours. I would like to spend less than $1000 on this project. I'll list some things I would like to see on the finished product and am hoping that someone can give me an idea of where to start. (Which old, used bike to purchase and any other suggestions that you feel are necessary).

    Here is what I'm looking for in the final product.
    -more of a mountain bike, less of a road bike (by this I mean my focus is on strength, durability, and toughness instead of speed, weight, and agility.)
    -straight bars
    -able to support front/rear panniers and racks
    -able to support front/rear fenders
    -friction shifters

    If it's possible to purchase a used bike in which I can use multiple parts from, then that is even better.

    Thanks for all of your help!

    P.S. I have no problem using only the frame and purchasing new parts for the bike, I only figured I could keep the cost down if some parts were reusable. I should also mention that this does not need to be a full-blown 520 or LHT. I don't need extremely expensive parts, rather high-value ones (parts that offer a compromise between price and quality)
    You want an older style MTB that has the braze ons for racks and fenders, you need similar braze-ons on the fork, which should be a sold fork, BTW. You also want water bottle mounting points, at least 2. Pass if the frame has a one piece Ashtabula crank. While they can now be upgraded, it's another piece you need to get. I would avoid 27" wheels, you want 700C or 26" wheels. 27" wheels haven't been used on new bikes in 20 years, when they were replaced with 700C. Finding tires in major cities are fairly easy, finding a tire in one of those little places where the only 4 businesses are the liquor store, the gas station the general store, and the hotel ..... well. Okay, maybe you find one at the general store, it's older then you are

    You have to be careful what you upgrade, if you get a used bike for $100, and spend $800 on fixing it up, you can buy a suitable new bike for $900. I wouldn't replace anything other then tires and brake pads.....

    Add racks and fenders, put on some of touring tires, some panniers and your good to go. With flat bars it's often a good idea to add bar ends, to give you some hand positions relief.

    As parts are found wanting or wear out, replace them with more suitable ones.

    A comment though, don't be so fast to discount the hooked road bars, they do not always mean a racing bike, most touring bikes are set up with them due to the myriad of hand positions, and an easier ability to "tuck in" in windy conditions.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sonatageek's Avatar
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    If I had a $1000 budget for a bike and wanted to do the things you do, well, I would be thinking of getting a new bike. There are a number of solid choices that you could find within your budget. One possiblity might be:
    http://www.performancebike.com/webap...00_20000_51505



    Or there are some things from bikesdirect, Fuji has a few models etc etc

  5. #5
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    How about getting a used mtn bike for $300, disassemble it then reassemble it then use $700 for racks, panniers and travel expenses?

  6. #6
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    Get something like this early 90's Peugeot mountain bike. I picked it up for $60 (saddle and rack are mine).
    Yan

    2013 True North custom touring; 2010 Novara Randonee; 2009 Unicycle.com Club 24"; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

  7. #7
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    Trek 520, 720

    or similar models.

  8. #8
    just pokin' along desertdork's Avatar
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    I've heard positive comments about the Novara Safari. Within your budget...plus you'd have a warranty and guarantee, all on a new, complete bike. Just a thought.

  9. #9
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    I did the same i built up my old mountain bike the best i could then i bought a complete LHT for 1107 and can't belive the difference I love love my LHT couldnt be happier.

  10. #10
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    I've toured on eight different bikes, one of which cost me $600, and the rest of which combined cost me far less than $1,000 (my current tourer cost $60). The folks here who endlessly debate the merits of $1,000 bikes are middle-aged wage slaves. You're a student! Buy a 1980s mountain bike for $100, spend $100 fixing it up, and let the $800 go to making your tour more comfortable and longer.

  11. #11
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    Lots of people dont fit their MTBs for touring after they buy them, no wonder a touringbike (that comes pretty much spot on for this) feels a lot better. It is not that hard to fit it according to touring but far from everybody does. The biggest diffrence I feel is the distance between steeringwheel and saddle, I have built four conversions (not just for myself) and had to change the stem on all of them to fit touring. My advice is also to get the cheap old MTB and just ride it. There are plenty of homepages that shows you how to fit it afterwards. Check the size you need here

    http://bicycling.about.com/od/howtor...MTB_sizing.htm

  12. #12
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    If you don't mind listing it, let us know where you are living so we can make some craigslist suggestions for bicycles.

  13. #13
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    If you use the word "Vintage" in you're search on craigslist you'll find many bike that would fit the bill.
    09' LHT
    06' Specialized Tarmac
    82' Eisentraut Custom
    76' AD Vent Noir

    I have Chuck Norris on speed dial

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Takara View Post
    I've toured on eight different bikes, one of which cost me $600, and the rest of which combined cost me far less than $1,000 (my current tourer cost $60). The folks here who endlessly debate the merits of $1,000 bikes are middle-aged wage slaves. You're a student! Buy a 1980s mountain bike for $100, spend $100 fixing it up, and let the $800 go to making your tour more comfortable and longer.
    you hit it. My daughter rode on couple week tour with her old mtn bike that I fixed up. Dialing in the bars and seat position is step one then putting on the appropriate tires. The really important part is that there's air in the tires.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by univegator View Post
    Lots of people dont fit their MTBs for touring after they buy them, no wonder a touringbike (that comes pretty much spot on for this) feels a lot better. [/URL]
    A slightly oversize MTB makes a better tourer in my experience. Instead of 10 cm standover, go for about 5 cm (a bit closer to a road bike fit). This applies to older steel horizontal top tube frames.

  16. #16
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    Thanks for all of the responses; they were just answers I was looking for. By the way, I live on Long Island and go to school in Central Pennsylvania.

  17. #17
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    I'm having a hard time finding a suitable bike on craigslist. Like I said, I live on Long Island and go to school in central Pennsylvania so a bike in these locations is ideal. If anyone could point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.

  18. #18
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    Do you know what size of bike you need, specifically have you dialed in a seat-bb height and seat to bars length? That should be step one.

    Rereading this thread I don't see a mtn bike being a necessity as you aren't trail riding and most of your riding is transportation with backpack or easily removed pannier. You won't get any benefit to riding with 2.1" tires and there's a lot of cheap "hybrid" bikes from the 90's. My gf has a steel Specialized Crossroads hybrid that surprises me how light it is for a cheap bike. It can fit 700x35 tires with no problems and is lighter than my LHT with front and rear racks. If you're pushing 250lbs then a mtn bike could make sense just for the likelyhood that cheap 26" wheels will hold up better than cheap 700c but it seems that spoke breakage happens on any used and abused bike.

    My suggestion would be to open up your parameters to any kind of bike that can take fenders and racks.

    Given that you're a student the bike is most often used for quick dashes and carrying up and down stairs. That's worth a few lbs lighter bike compared to cheap used mtn bikes with big tires.

    The idea of seeking an old mtn bike makes sense if you're carrying BIG loads and the simple fact that a lot of cheap mtn bikes were available as hybrids showed up on the scene.

    Between good will, yard sales, craigs list, local shops in both locations there's a bike. Seems to me if you haven't found it in a few weeks time there's something amiss in your criteria and you need to rethink what it is you're looking for. Getting a cheap beater for it's frame and spending big bucks on new parts is a waste of money IMHO. Reread Takaras comments. Get that beater where everything works and maybe replace the tires because they're knobbies, or replace a stem because it's the wrong length, or replace a cable because it's rusty. But getting that beater and wholesale rebuilding it with retail parts is simply a waste of money. People tend to build up frames when they have a stock of used parts laying around. For a $900 budget I'd buy a new $600 bike and cosmetically trash it with spray paint and tape then fix up a convenient SOLID lock system. Otherwise go for the $100bike.

  19. #19
    Senior Member semperfi1970's Avatar
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    For a short 4 to 7 day tour I would call up Surly and see if they make a short haul version of the LHT
    Its more than just a bicycle, it changed my life.

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