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  1. #1
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    Need help finding/building a bike that meets my needs

    Hello all, I'm sure a bike exists that matches what I'm looking for, but I'm still relatively new to biking (about six months at this point), and there are a few things I simply either don't know how to ask for, or I just don't know what's out there.

    I should also note that I don't need anything fancy or cutting edge; I've been using a Concord New Yorker from the 1980's and would use it indefinitely if it could do what I'm about to ask for.

    I basically would like to have one bike for the entire year (I live in Wisconsin, so what is ideal for summer here may not be so ideal for winter). I would like to be able to have 26 x 1.90 (or wider) wheels on my bike in the winter, and something like 26 x 1 & 3/8 wheels for the rest of the year. What's more, I'd like to have coaster brakes on both wheel sizes (easier to maintain in the winter, plus I just enjoy them!). I have no experience using a chain tensioner (if I'm forced to have a frame with vertical dropouts), but I'm willing to learn.

    One of my foremost worries is if I can even get a good coaster brake rear wheel at wider than 26 x 1.75 ... all I've seen online is from Wheel master, who apparently aren't very good. Would I be better off buying a coaster brake hub and having a LBS build a wheel at the desired width?

    And as I'm guessing nobody is making bikes that come standard with coaster brake wheels in such wide widths, will I have to simply buy a frame and add my wheels on? What should I look for in a frame to ensure both sets of wheels will fit? (I'm also VERY open to cannibalizing older frames if something already exists that would work for me).

    Sorry that was so long-winded ... thanks in advance for any help!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Welcome to the Forums

    Well, first off, I think that you mean "tires" when you are stating "wheels". Most rims can handle a wide variety of tire widths- the deciding factor will be whether or not if the frame and fork has clearance. The Electra Townie can be had in a 3spd IGH w/coaster.
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  3. #3
    Bike hoarder. Murray Missile's Avatar
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    I'm planning an dedicated "ice bike' for next Winter and I'm planning on having a rear wheel built (unless I muster the nerve to try it myself) with a Bendix 2 speed kickback hub with coaster brake but I will also be using cantilever brakes, that way I can brake without shifting. The coaster brake will be my "emergency" brake in case the rim brakes get gunked up. This is will be a limited use bike so I don't want to spend a lot on it. I already had the Bendix hub and a suitable MTB rim, in fact pretty much the only piece I lack right now is the right horizontal dropout MTB frame, a crank set and tires. You didn't mention a budget but have you considered front and rear drum brakes? Or possibly a coaster brake rear with a rim brake backup and a drum front brake? I know it would add weight but having a backup brake system available is never a bad thing on an all season bike. Just throwing out some ideas........ it's a good thing I don't have the budget to go along with my ideas, I'd need a warehouse to store all the oddball creations I come up with.
    Analog man in a digital world.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Welcome to the Forums

    Well, first off, I think that you mean "tires" when you are stating "wheels". Most rims can handle a wide variety of tire widths- the deciding factor will be whether or not if the frame and fork has clearance. The Electra Townie can be had in a 3spd IGH w/coaster.
    I've never been entirely clear on how that worked with the rims and tires; I've had some struggles getting some 1 & 3/8 tires on to 1 & 3/8 rims, so I didn't believe anything wider would be possible. That said, my current frame definitely does not have the clearance for something like 1.95 tires. I have a feeling I'll need something like a mountain bike frame, though I'll have to look into the Townie some more; never really considered it for use with such wide tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
    I'm planning an dedicated "ice bike' for next Winter and I'm planning on having a rear wheel built (unless I muster the nerve to try it myself) with a Bendix 2 speed kickback hub with coaster brake but I will also be using cantilever brakes, that way I can brake without shifting. The coaster brake will be my "emergency" brake in case the rim brakes get gunked up. This is will be a limited use bike so I don't want to spend a lot on it. I already had the Bendix hub and a suitable MTB rim, in fact pretty much the only piece I lack right now is the right horizontal dropout MTB frame, a crank set and tires. You didn't mention a budget but have you considered front and rear drum brakes? Or possibly a coaster brake rear with a rim brake backup and a drum front brake? I know it would add weight but having a backup brake system available is never a bad thing on an all season bike. Just throwing out some ideas........ it's a good thing I don't have the budget to go along with my ideas, I'd need a warehouse to store all the oddball creations I come up with.
    I wouldn't want to go with disc brakes yet as I don't want to put anything on the bike that I don't know how to fix (and I don't know the first thing about disc brakes). But I will be adding a cantilever brake in the front (though in my case the coaster brake will be my primary brakes).

    Are there any particular brands or models of mountain bikes that are known for having horizontal dropouts? So far I haven't come across a single one.

    And I completely understand where you're coming from - one of the main reasons for me wanting to get a bike that can be my summer bike and my winter bike all in one is because I fear my wife is right on the verge of saying we have "too many bikes".

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    One further question - you say you already have a hub, but doesn't that mean you need to find a frame that will fit the width of that specific hub? Or can frames fit smaller width hubs simply by cranking down on the axle nuts? This has been a point of confusion for me.

  7. #7
    Bike hoarder. Murray Missile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mornview View Post
    I wouldn't want to go with disc brakes yet as I don't want to put anything on the bike that I don't know how to fix (and I don't know the first thing about disc brakes). But I will be adding a cantilever brake in the front (though in my case the coaster brake will be my primary brakes).

    Are there any particular brands or models of mountain bikes that are known for having horizontal dropouts? So far I haven't come across a single one.

    And I completely understand where you're coming from - one of the main reasons for me wanting to get a bike that can be my summer bike and my winter bike all in one is because I fear my wife is right on the verge of saying we have "too many bikes".
    I was referring to drum brakes not discs but I understand wanting to keep it simple. Many 1980's vintage MTB's had horizontal dropouts and a bolt on derailleur hanger which makes them perfect for this type of build. My current Winter bike is an early 80'ds MTB frame but I have no idea what brand it was but it did have forged dropouts so I'm betting it was an LBS grade bike not a box store bike. I use eBay as a research tool when looking for frames with certain characteristics. You can find some decent close ups of stripped frames so you can make out details of the dropouts, braze-ons, etc. As far as the wife saying we have too many bikes, I crossed that thresh hold a few weeks ago.
    Analog man in a digital world.

  8. #8
    Bike hoarder. Murray Missile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mornview View Post
    One further question - you say you already have a hub, but doesn't that mean you need to find a frame that will fit the width of that specific hub? Or can frames fit smaller width hubs simply by cranking down on the axle nuts? This has been a point of confusion for me.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-into-MTB-fram
    Analog man in a digital world.

  9. #9
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    A little after making my last post I did some searching and found some good recommendations on vintage MTB's to look for.

    That dropout bending thread is extremely helpful ... and a bit intimidating to someone who has had about zero handyman experience up until I got into working on bikes six months ago. And it also makes me wonder - I was looking at getting an old Trek 800 or 900 series MTB, as they are plentiful around here. I was thinking about going with the 900 series and treating myself to a lighter bike, but it sounds like I'd be better off attempting to bend the dropouts on a steel frame?

    How do you know how far apart the dropouts should be? Simply measure the width of the hub? Because I'm pretty sure most of my bikes have a bit of space between the hub and the dropouts until I crank down on the axle nuts.

    One other point of confusion for me - as I understand it, only axles of a specific diameter will work with a given hub. If the axle I use is smaller in diameter than the axle originally on the bike, will I have problems securing the wheel to the dropouts?

    Thanks again for all of the info; I've been meaning to ask these questions for a long time; I just wish I'd done it sooner! (my LBS is more interested in selling me a $2,000 bike than answering questions like these)

  10. #10
    Bike hoarder. Murray Missile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mornview View Post
    sounds like I'd be better off attempting to bend the dropouts on a steel frame? For your first attempt steel would probably be easier on your nerves.

    How do you know how far apart the dropouts should be? Simply measure the width of the hub? I just bend to fit, a little at a time.

    confusion for me - as I understand it, only axles of a specific diameter will work with a given hub. If the axle I use is smaller in diameter than the axle originally on the bike, will I have problems securing the wheel to the dropouts? Good question, I hadn't given that much thought but there are cone washers available that would allow a smaller axle to center itself vertically in the slot as the nuts were tightened. I'd be willing to bet whatever hub you end up with is going to be very close to the original axle size of any older MTB, if not exactly the same.
    This is what I started with for my current beater/Winter bike...

    $(KGrHqN,!k8FF-p5pwp+BRhOsd4zFQ~~60_57.jpg Beater (1).jpg

    ....and this is its current configuration. It's the perfect frame for my "ice" bike BUT it works too well to mess with.

    S5001964.jpg
    Analog man in a digital world.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mornview View Post
    I've never been entirely clear on how that worked with the rims and tires; I've had some struggles getting some 1 & 3/8 tires on to 1 & 3/8 rims, so I didn't believe anything wider would be possible. That said, my current frame definitely does not have the clearance for something like 1.95 tires. I have a feeling I'll need something like a mountain bike frame, though I'll have to look into the Townie some more; never really considered it for use with such wide tires.
    Spend a couple of minutes reading this article- http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html
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    Ride what and in what manner pleases you. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind. srsly.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
    This is what I started with for my current beater/Winter bike...

    $(KGrHqN,!k8FF-p5pwp+BRhOsd4zFQ~~60_57.jpg Beater (1).jpg

    ....and this is its current configuration. It's the perfect frame for my "ice" bike BUT it works too well to mess with.

    S5001964.jpg
    Looks like an interesting choice of a basket/crate on your commuter.

    I kinda figured coaster hub axles would be about as beefy as those found on MTB's; I'm glad that should be one less thing to worry about.

    Thanks again for all the info; I think this project is within my capabilities so I'm going to give it a shot!

    BTW, the quote in your signature wouldn't happen to be from Anthony Wilden, would it?

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    Thanks for the link. Incidentally, I have came across that article but, as I do far too often with Sheldon's articles, I kind of neglected to read it due to the shear amount of information provided. Time to give it another go!

  14. #14
    Bike hoarder. Murray Missile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mornview View Post
    Looks like an interesting choice of a basket/crate on your commuter.
    WalMart - $6.00, attached with machine screws and fender washers bolted through Adel clamps wrapped around the rack frame. It buzzes when you apply the brakes in sub-freezing temps, very strange.......

    Quote Originally Posted by mornview View Post
    Thanks again for all the info; I think this project is within my capabilities so I'm going to give it a shot!
    Be careful, it's addictive.

    Quote Originally Posted by mornview View Post
    BTW, the quote in your signature wouldn't happen to be from Anthony Wilden, would it?
    Not that I'm aware of, it kind of morphed from a line in a Rush song and I couldn't tell you which one now, been using it for several years on other forums.
    Analog man in a digital world.

  15. #15
    Bike hoarder. Murray Missile's Avatar
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    More of my "addiction", this was supposed to be the new beater bike and I was going to sell the blue one but I couldn't bring myself to take this one out in the muck and slush and the blue one works so good I hate to part with it. This one does handle nicely in the snow though, during it's shakedown ride it started snowing heavily. I thought I was going to have to walk it home because it was getting hard to see due to blowing snow. This was within an hour of these pictures being taken.

    P1010003.jpg P1010004.jpg

    I've since added a rear rack, lights, etc..

    S5001974.jpg
    Analog man in a digital world.

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