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Concept: World's cheapest new-parts build.

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Concept: World's cheapest new-parts build.

Old 03-18-11, 09:10 AM
  #1  
Pukeskywalker
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Concept: World's cheapest new-parts build.

I've got a project idea I'd like to bring to this forum. This could be conceptual, or actually happen if the numbers look good:

I want to map out the cheapest build possible, from brand new parts found online.

The idea came to me after seeing this set of sunlite brakes/cables/levers, for $28: http://www.amazon.com/BRAKE-Sunlite-.../dp/B0018MA1TE ...not a bad deal!

Combining finds like this to build the cheapest road bike possible.. I wonder how cheap it could get. ?

I realize cheaper parts can be found scrounging through parts bins and craigslist, but not everyone has the time or know-how to do this, especially beginners with busy schedules.

if there is interest in this idea, I'd like to propose some rules:

1. Wheel-building allowed (in the spirit of an educational build)
2. No dangerous design choices
3. Shipping prices factored in to final price

Last edited by Pukeskywalker; 03-18-11 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 03-18-11, 09:17 AM
  #2  
corkscrew
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They did something similar in the C&V forums awhile back.
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Old 03-18-11, 09:59 AM
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I remember some contest for the cheapest, but I think that allowed for found parts/lucky finds. I want this one to be stock parts readily available
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Old 03-18-11, 10:26 AM
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If you buy in lots of a thousand,like all the brands do in their various bike build contracts,
then by the each the parts are cheap..

retail you are at the end of several layers of business' markup margins.

Location (3X)
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Old 03-18-11, 10:55 AM
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The only problem with the concept is that the "winner" will either have or know where to buy the cheapest possible bike with the poorest parts available. If you want to do this and have it result in a decent bike you should include a "quality factor" of some sort where the parts are evaluated for quality in comparison to other known good parts. Otherwise someone is going to pick out a plasctic covered all steel crankset for super cheap but end up with a heavy lump on the bike. In other words there are not many folks around here that would want to ride the winning bike if price of the parts is the ONLY factor. I sure know that I wouldn't. If there isn't some sort of "Quality Factor" that is used to "normalize" the final prices to make it more of a "Cheapest Bang for the Buck" instead of just the "Cheapest" I doubt many here would bother.

For example here's a possible normalizing Quality Factor depending on prices.


From an average of 3 of the bigger online suppliers find prices on:
  1. The cheapest possible plastic covered steel cranks with riveted rings
  2. A set of forged alloy cranks with riveted rings
  3. A set of forged alloy cranks with screw attached steel rings.
  4. A set of alloy cranks with screw attached alloy rings.
Take the difference in prices and design factors to award QF price reduction points to each item. #1 is the cheapest so there's no QF involved. If #2 is more expensive by 20% then that style of crank for the competition would "play" with a QF fudge factor of 20 points. Meaning that the price of a similar crankset with the same feature of having alloy arms would be allowed to reduce the price used for the final scoring by 20%. Similarly the other options would recieve similar scores.

But someone would need to shop around and find not the best but representative prices on each such sub component and amass a list of all the QF's for each "style". To put together such a list would be a lot of work and it would end up being very confusing. But without such a list or some rules saying that each part needs to be of some sort of minimum design to avoid building the cheapest bike up with all the cheap steel parts out there intended for the most basic of department store bike something of the sort is needed.
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Old 03-18-11, 10:56 AM
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Walmart offers the GMC Denali road bike for ~$159 plus tax/shipping/etc. I'm guessing the cheapest road bike build possible using all new components purchased retail would be to buy a Denali, take it apart and put it back together.
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Old 03-18-11, 12:06 PM
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Buying in Yuan, at the factory loading dock.
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Old 03-18-11, 12:11 PM
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I get my parts at cost... still could not build a road bike as cheaply as a Denali though.

Of course... the Denali is a BSO.
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Old 03-18-11, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Walmart offers the GMC Denali road bike for ~$159 plus tax/shipping/etc. I'm guessing the cheapest road bike build possible using all new components purchased retail would be to buy a Denali, take it apart and put it back together.
Is that the one with the grip shifters? I like how the description says both 700C and 26". Unfortunately, that would ultimately be disqualified as a bike shaped object rather than a bike.
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Old 03-18-11, 02:40 PM
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+1 on a Walmart gruppo (even includes the frame). . WINNAR!
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Old 03-18-11, 04:39 PM
  #11  
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Buying a la carte will yield a pretty pricey group even with cheep-o stuff. Hard to find wheels with cogs for less than $100.

If you have a frame and want a buncha cheap parts I'd probably cannibalize one of these:

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...t_sport_al.htm
http://www.roadbikeoutlet.com/0featu...dlfg8df0vj0mf4

and recycle the frame. See if you can trade the bits that might not fit (seatpost, front derailer, etc)
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Old 03-18-11, 05:09 PM
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There's a long thread about BSO's over in the Commuting forum. A few people have nailed down the U.S. supplier of many of the replacement parts, but there doesn't seem to be a big price advantage.

I bought a brand new Huffy Blackwater on sale at my local sports megastore last month for $32. It was "fully assembled," but I had to replace the pedals, true the wheels, adjust the derailleurs, and put grease in the axles and BB to make it ridable. I bought it thinking I'd scavenge parts for a couple other builds, but it's turned out to be decent for my riding conditions. It has a Falcon grupo and alloy rims which aren't half bad, but I've already worn through 1/3 of the brake pads and the LHR tires are already showing wear as well.
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Old 03-18-11, 05:58 PM
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this 1's kinda scary too:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...Specifications

true story:
my bro back in Cali bought a Mongoose dual-suspension rig from walmart for like 70$.
Some1 actually lifted it, secured lock and all.
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Old 03-18-11, 06:01 PM
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Yep. Walmart, K-Mart, etc bikes are amazing deals.
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Old 03-18-11, 06:06 PM
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We'll assume that the builder is a complete nutter who has no problem riding a suicide fixie. This means the brakes can be eliminated and it won't really matter what wheel size is used. I'm assuming a 3-speed fork can be used with a modern frame; if it's 1", there is an adapter to go between the sizes for $6.

Aside from the frame, all items are from Amazon. Shipping is not included.

Nashbar Double-butted Aluminum Touring Frame $89.99
Wheel Master front wheel 26 x 1 3/8" $19.19
Wheel Master rear wheel 26 x 1 3/8" $17.83
Avenir Fixed Gear Cog 17 Tooth $ 5.99
English BB lockring $ 2.00
Q-tubes 26 x 1 3/8" $ 2.97 x 2
Bell Streetster tires $ 5.11 x 2
WTB Momentum Comp ST Threadless Headset $10.00
Cannondale MTN Bike Stem 115 x 25.4mm $ 6.93
Sunlite 26 x 1 3/8" econo fork $13.58
Pyramid Mountain Bike 3-1/2 Rise Handlebar $ 5.48
Inline MTB Bicycle Foam Grips Black $ 0.98
Sun Bottom Bracket Cup Set $ 5.37
Sunlite Crankarm 1Pc 5-1/2In 24Tpi $ 8.37
Wald Steel OPC Chainwheel 40T x 1/8" $ 3.46
Sunlite Bicycle Mountain Bike Pedals 1/2 in $ 3.49
KMC Z410 Bicycle Chain (1-Speed, 1/2 x 1/8-Inch $ 3.47
XLC Alloy Seatpost, 27.2 x 300mm, Silver $ 5.50
Sunlite Bicycle Saddle, Quilted Racing, Black $ 7.48

Total $225.27
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Old 03-18-11, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Pukeskywalker View Post
............this set of sunlite brakes/cables/levers, for $28: http://www.amazon.com/BRAKE-Sunlite-.../dp/B0018MA1TE ...not a bad deal!................


..........I'd like to propose some rules:..........

2. No dangerous design choices
I can't speak for anyone else, but I ride varied terrain on pretty much every ride I do, including almost always at least one 40-50mph descent. I depend on my brakes to stop me soon after I hit the bottom of the descent so that I don't blow through an intersection. I simply would not do that on the Sunlite brakes you linked to, I like staying alive too much. So in my opinion, for the riding I do almost daily, your rule #2 is a problem.
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Old 03-18-11, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by well biked View Post
I can't speak for anyone else, but I ride varied terrain on pretty much every ride I do, including almost always at least one 40-50mph descent. I depend on my brakes to stop me soon after I hit the bottom of the descent so that I don't blow through an intersection. I simply would not do that on the Sunlite brakes you linked to, I like staying alive too much. So in my opinion, for the riding I do almost daily, your rule #2 is a problem.
$28? The same set is listed as low as $6. I've never had problems with Sunlite parts, and I'd hardly call these the worst - Bell sells brakes with plastic calipers. I'd also guess that these work better than old 3-speed brakes which can have problems holding a bike in place when sitting on a hill.

Moreover, for $28 you can get a Shimano Tiagra brake caliper, which is hardly cheap crap.

"No dangerous design choices" is relative. I would definitely fit the Sunlite brake set to a cruiser for a little more braking power and safety, but if I was building a serious road/off-road bike I'd find something beefier. The example bike I built above is the type of fixie an idiot would build (no brakes, no pedal straps) but there are people who do that. There are also some things that may be must-haves for one type of bike, but not a big deal on another. For example, if you build a cruiser you'd probably opt for steel rims because they're shiny: Their braking performance doesn't matter because you have a hub brake.
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Old 03-18-11, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sillygolem View Post
I'd hardly call these the worst -
They're plenty bad enough. My point is that you can have cheap as your highest priority and you'll end up with something that's not functionally good enough to do certain things that a bike should be able to do dependably (like stop well). Like I said, I wouldn't be willing to do my normal riding on a brake that crappy, so it wouldn't do me any good to buy that brake even if the price were ten cents. If that brake is good enough for you, that's fine. I qualified my response by saying I would not do the riding I regularly do with that brake and that I can't speak for anyone else.

Edit: And now that I've looked back at the thread, in my earlier post I wasn't responding to sillygolem, I was responding to the OP.

Last edited by well biked; 03-19-11 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 03-20-11, 10:51 AM
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All replies are accurate. This idea was flawed from the beginning, but a learning experience for me

I did the math and made an excel spreadsheet... and found that the cheapest bike I could build would be a 20" lowrider with woefully low-quality parts, for about $200.

I guess we all knew building a bike from parts can be more expensive, but I never new it could be this bad.

Lesson learned: if you're building your own bike, do it with higher quality parts, and do it so you can have a bike with a specialized purpose... not to save money
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Old 03-20-11, 08:04 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Pukeskywalker View Post
The idea came to me after seeing this set of sunlite brakes/cables/levers, for $28: http://www.amazon.com/BRAKE-Sunlite-.../dp/B0018MA1TE ...not a bad deal!
Parts of that quality on my bike? Ha, never! This would be more like it...

Far better for bargain hunters to buy complete bikes second hand.

IMO you should amend this project idea to best bang-for-buck buys; fixer-upper builds by folks who want quality on the cheap.

Last edited by Kimmo; 03-20-11 at 08:11 PM.
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