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upgrading a cheap frame w/ decent parts?

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upgrading a cheap frame w/ decent parts?

Old 06-28-08, 01:20 PM
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ablang
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upgrading a cheap frame w/ decent parts?

Hey guys.

I have a few leftover bikes (Huffy, Magna, Roadmaster) from my earlier days of biking when I didn't know what I was buying. Since I have them laying around, I was wondering if it would be possible to take the frame and upgrade all of their parts, similar to what you would find on any low-end Trek or Specialized bikes?

What that then make them decent beater commuter bikes? I was thinking that maybe bike thiefs probably quickly decide whether to steal a bike or not based on the brand name of it's frame. These frames would make much less theft appeal.

Can it be done? Why or why not to?
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Old 06-28-08, 02:51 PM
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rhenning
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It could be done but you will have way to much money tied up in any Huffy if you just put tires and tubes on it. Start with a better frame and at least you might get your money out of it. Roger
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Old 06-28-08, 03:36 PM
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To turn them into a decent beater errand bike for shorter rides just clean up and tune the parts they have now. But if you want to ride further distances then you're going to find that the frame fights you rather than works with you.

When I first started I thought I had a pretty decent bike. Yes it was your basic water pipe special but DAMMIT it was a RACING bike... had the drop bars and EVERYTHING ! ! !

Now while tuning it to the Nth degree did help and made it ride quite nicely going from that one to my then new mid line CrMo framed mountain bike was like night and day better. A water pipe special is always going to be a water pipe special.


All the tuning and fussing paid off though. It sold at the local consignment shop for $70 while the typical and similar rough running 10 speeds went for about 1/2 that much.... so that meant my time got me back about 27c an hour....
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Old 06-28-08, 04:40 PM
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The phrase "making a silk purse out of a sow's ear" immediately comes to mind. A cheap frame is heavy and poorly built. Don't throw good money into a bad frame.
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Old 06-28-08, 05:22 PM
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I didn't mention that rebuilding and tuning the old stuff that's on the clunkers is also excellent and low risk training for working on bicycles. Anything you do short of spending money on upgrade parts is worth it. This doesn't include new brake shoes, housings and cables which may be needed to restore the old iron to pimped condition. Or replacement of rusty bearings or bottom brackets with similar quality items. That's just the cost of learning and servicing.

Out of the rebuilds pick the one you like the best be it for function or nostalgia or just plain looks and keep it as a short range errand bike or a loaner. But once you're done with the rest I'd sell or give them away to someone in need.
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Old 06-28-08, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
Anything you do short of spending money on upgrade parts is worth it.
+1. A beater is an excellent learning device but don't get carried away trying to make it a high quality bike.
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Old 06-29-08, 06:33 AM
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Hi,
.
You can find MUCH better quality mid-80s vintage bikes
in all-original and excellent condition for far less
than you can buy individual parts to upgrade a low-end
frame. It's just the way the market it is for parts vs.
complete bikes with the same decent parts.
.
EBay and Craig's List pricing of mid-80s Japanese-made
lugged CrMo steel framed bikes are very reasonable given
the quality of the higher-end bikes from this period.
.
Frank Berto's 1988 Complete Guide to Upgrading Your Bike
discusses up front the question of frames worthy and not
so worthy for upgrading. Sheldon Brown discusses this
question too in the articles section of his website:
.
www.sheldonbrown.com
.
Berto's book as a treasure trove of information on parts
from the period, including quality and pricing comparisons.
.

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Old 06-29-08, 10:34 AM
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I turned a Magna 10 speed into a 3 speed gents bike and cleaned up a Barklay (Korean WP Spl) into a 10 speed bike path with flat moutain bike bars and as a "go to the Post Office" ride. Both ride very well for just puttering around on morning rides of 10 miles or less, actually as well as my fancy custom built double butted 531 silver brazed road/touring bike. They also aren't as likely to be stolen. But for a longer ride or tour I would definitely choose my 531 bike.
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Old 06-30-08, 08:18 AM
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Yeah, I'd say, combine the best parts into a single acceptable bike. Take the lightest frame that doesn't have an ashtabula BB, with the derailleurs that aren't bent, with the wheels that are true, with the handlebars that are comfortable, and see what you come up with. Keep your eyes open at tag sales and stuff, too. A totally ****ty bike for $5 is worth it if it has the shifters you need.

(You know, the censoring thing is really funny. Replace the censoring in that last sentence with "feces-splattering")
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