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Next project - low budget high school girl's bike.

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Next project - low budget high school girl's bike.

Old 10-25-15, 01:27 AM
  #1  
jyl
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Next project - low budget high school girl's bike.

I'm building a bike for a high school girl, a friend of the family, to replace her stolen bike. Poor girl is now walking 25 blocks to school every day.

The goal is a very low cost project - since it will be a Xmas present, she hasn't money - but I still want to build her a good bike that she could potentially take to college and keep for a long time. Yes, I'll give her a U-lock too.

The frame is a nice Miyata mixte that I got from @Velocivixen. It has quite a lot of paint chips but is otherwise very sound and straight. If I wanted to spend $100, I'd have it powder coated in the color of her choice. Not sure I do (want to spend $100).

The components are coming from a crashed Nishiki mixte that I curb picked a couple years ago. Decent bits that should transfer right over.

The donor bike has stem shifters and drop bars with turkey lever brakes. I guess that's okay, not what I'd personally want to ride but she won't mind. But I might still swap in some upright bars. Need to find out if she prefers drops or upright.

A bit of a dilemma on the wheelset. The donor Nishiki had decent high flange hubs, Normandy, that will polish up nicely. But the rims are crap, single wall Weimanns, and half of the nipples are rounded over and/or corroded. I was messing with them tonight and quickly decided that truing these wheels will be too much hassle. Looking around the garage, I don't see any suitable wheelsets, but I do have some rims in the appropriate drilling. Some lightly used Mavic MA-40s and a lightly used pair of Mavic SUP rims, all gray anodized. I'm not entirely happy with either choice, in addition to being arguably too lightweight for a high school girl's urban runabout, these are narrow rims, and I had planned on fitting th widest tires that the frame will take. So I may head down to the coop and see what they have for used wheels, or buy a pair of CR-18s to build on the Normandy hubs. Any other suggestions?

For tires, I have some Continental Touring tires and some other random tires. These are 25-28 mm. I thought I'd try to find a cheap price on 32 mm tires with reflective sidewalls for safety, but budget may require using the Continentals. They will probably last her for many years.

Finally, I'll look for some used fenders and some inexpensive lights.

I think it will be a fun project, for a good cause, that will get some of the clutter out of my garage.
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Old 10-25-15, 02:04 AM
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It sounds like a lot of work., but should turn out nice.
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Old 10-25-15, 03:55 AM
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Really kind-hearted project. What bars did her stolen bike have? Be good to put similar bars on this so it's a familiar layout for her. Agree wider rims and tyres would be best - maybe find a pair of used rims at your co-op and build them onto your Normandys? I'm sure that currently having no bike at all, she won't be critical of any bike given as a gift so maybe hold off on the powder coating? It might just make her new bike more attractive to another scumbag bike thief. Depends on the position and size of the paint chips, but I've often toyed with the idea of placing different sized coloured star-shaped stickers on suck a bike and sealing them in place with clear-coat. It might do the job and make it a bit different. Also maybe add the owner's name on the frame? Just throwing ideas out there! Keep us updated with pics on how it goes!
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Old 10-25-15, 09:27 AM
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@jyl - pm sent. I have some things I'd gladly donate.
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Old 10-25-15, 10:02 AM
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FYI, Merchant Village on Division has a brand new set of Planetbike fenders for 8 bucks.

Consignment Resale Shop Portland, OR I Village Merchants
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Old 10-25-15, 10:51 AM
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Do kids still walk "uphill both ways" like we did?
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Old 10-25-15, 11:35 AM
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For older frames that have a lot of paint chips and scratches that will be used for any type of riding in low light conditions I use Engineering grade 3M reflective tape to cover larger areas. It's the stuff they make road signs out of so it will hold up to weather and UV rays for years. I try to use matching or complimentary colors on main tubes and forks and often use red on the rear stays. I've worked black into the black graphics on some of them. It's not outrageously expensive and is fairly flexible.

This was my best effort, rattle can DupliColor Metalcast Blue Metallic with blue 3M tape.



At night:



This Trek had a large area of paint and decal damage on the top and main tubes from a bike carrier but the rest of the paint was good:

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Old 10-25-15, 04:50 PM
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Thanks, everyone.
@Murray Missile, what is a good online source for the tape you use? I would dearly like my friend to light up like a UFO at night.
@Velocivixen, thank you so much for your PM. I've replied, check your PMs.
@michael k, I head over there when I get back in town, hopefully the fenders are still there. Otherwise, CityBikes and CCC sometimes have used fenders.

On the wheels, the friend who donated the Mavic Open SUP rims tells me he's never had any issue with their strength, and he weighs >80 lb more than the girl, so I think I will strip and polish the donor bike's Normandy hubs and lace them to the Mavics. The donor bike's spokes might be reusable. Otherwise, I have a few used spoke sets and hopefully one will be the appropriate length. Possibly I will end up doing a four-cross build, since the used spokes came from wheels with low flange hubs.

For fun, I decided to keep track of the cost of this project. So far we are looking at (and I'll keep this updated)

Frame $40 Miyata mixte with BB/headset from @Velocivixen
Brakes, crank, stem, $0 Diacompe brakes, Sugino crank, and no-name stem from curb picked donor bike
Bar $0 a nice alloy SR from @nazcalines
Bar tape $0 magenta tape from @Velocivixen
Chain $8
Seatpost $10 generic pin from CityBikes
Derailleur $0 Ultegra RD from my pile
Barend shifter $0 traded with a friend
Chainrings $10 steel from CityBikes
Wheels $0 Quando hubs/alloy rims donation from @nazcalines
Freewheel $0 Shimano from @nazcalines
Pedals $0 from pile. @michaelk was ready to donate some nice ones, thank you, but I decided she'd never use toe clips.
Tires $30 Michelin Protex 32mm w/ reflective sidewalls
Saddle $0 used Terry, traded w/ someonE
Lights $0 battery front and rear from @Velocivixen
Tubes $0 from my pile
Fenders $30 SKS
Reflective tape $6
Cables, housing $17
Misc little bits and bolts $5
Mirror $0 from my pile and @Velocivixen
U-lock $40 est?

I'm hoping to give the girl a very solid bike and keep my out of pocket <$100, and this looks EDIT like a slight underestimate.

Last edited by jyl; 11-10-15 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 10-25-15, 04:58 PM
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I decided to build up a vintage Mixte for my daughter to use while touring and riding locally while visiting. I found a 1978ish Nishiki Olympic in good condition. The bike had clearly been idle for many years.




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Old 10-25-15, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
@Murray Missile, what is a good online source for the tape you use? I would dearly like my friend to light up like a UFO at night.
I get most of it off Ebay but have also been able to collect "scraps" from a local sign shop for free. They're ends of rolls and pieces they have trimmed off and were going to throw away. The sign shop stuff isn't usually 3M though and the 3M is a bit nicer, on the other hand the shop sometimes has a better color selection.
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Old 10-25-15, 08:34 PM
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I have a box of Salsa Gel Cork tape in "Magenta" that I used on my Surly Cross Check for no longer than 3 days. Lovely color, but not for me on that bike. I removed it, rolled it back up and put it in its original box. Take a look at it and see what you think. It's very bright.
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Old 10-25-15, 10:24 PM
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I have a 700c wheelset with quando hubs and what look like sun cr-18 (wide rims). The rim surface is worn, but I'm sure has a good amount of life left. We just switched over to cassettes, so I was going to drop them off at the coop. They're yours if you want them.
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Old 10-25-15, 10:39 PM
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@nazcalines - PM sent!. By the way, I assumed you are in Portland. My PM won't make much sense if that's wrong!

Also, ordered the blue 3M tape. Should look good.

Last edited by jyl; 10-25-15 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 10-30-15, 07:18 PM
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Started working on the bike.

Rear derailleur from the donor is really low end, pulleys missing teeth, pulley bolts frozen to the cage (the kind of bolts with really shallow hex heads that are hard to grip, and made of soft steel too). Ick. I mess around with it for too long, then give up and go to the "random parts bin". Boy, lots of the random RDs there are junk. Rusty old delrin Simplex, battered Acera, ick ick. I throw some of them out. Finally I find a, um, suitable RD and mount it. Nice clean Shimano Ultegra. Hey, it is that, or dive into the "vintage parts bin". I'm not building her a Campagnolo or Mavic bike.

Lightly used chain rings are $10 at CityBikes. I choose a steel one for durability, and because it is on the smaller side. I'm probably going to build this as a 1x and skip the FD. The donor bike's FD is also really low end (Falcon?). For a city bike, a single chain ring seems simpler and more reliable. Maybe I will get lucky and not need a chain keeper. If she wants a double, I have a spare Shimano 105 FD and can do that for her later.

Donor bike's Sugino crank is super ugly. I'm getting disillusioned with this donor bike. I'm glad I dumped its bent and stripped frame outside CityBikes for the metal recyclers. I get out the wire wheel, sandpaper, then the buffing wheel and metal polish. Now the cranks look, well, not super pretty, but not ugly anymore.

Brakes - here the donor bike comes through. Just your basic Diacompe sidepulls but they will polish up okay. Again, we are just aiming for "not ugly". They are getting some mildly used, but freshly dressed, pads.

I don't know if she prefers drop bars or upright bars, so my son (who is in dance with her) has been assigned to discreetly find out.

If she prefers drop bars, I can mount a single downtube shifter, which won't look weird, or a single bar-end shifter, which will look weird (in my opinion). If she prefers upright bars, no problem, I'll use a single friction thumb shifter. I assume there won't be any issue using an old friction shifter with the Ultegra RD?

Last edited by jyl; 10-30-15 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 11-01-15, 11:56 PM
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Talked to the girl's mom. The stolen bike had upright bars. Hmm. My pile contains only drop bars and brake levers. So, I can either go find some used upright bars and stem, grips, levers etc. Or, I can introduce the young lady to the glories of drop bars.

This may be presumptous, but I'm leaning toward drop bars.

Last edited by jyl; 11-02-15 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 11-02-15, 01:27 AM
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If the need arises I can donate a set of decent pedals. I found two pairs today in my dresser that I don;t even recall where they came from.
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Old 11-02-15, 02:15 AM
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A bike that can be ridden 25 blocks, or about 2 miles to school doesn't have to be too fancy of a bike. Cheap MTB?

I set my nephew up with a drop bar bike. He loves the bike. Has LOTS OF FLATS and complains about the drop bars.

I'm planning on getting my niece a drop bar road bike too

Anyway, if you think she is going to use the bike to ride the 2 miles to school, I'd seriously consider getting her a cheap MTB with durrable slicks. On the other hand, if you are going to try to get her into more biking, and longer distances, then go for the drop bar road bike. It seems like it is almost 50 miles from one side of Portland to the other.

It never hurts to start a person early with the (N+1) bike concept
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Old 11-02-15, 06:32 AM
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I would consider a single speed with flat bars or with trekking bars. Uncomfortable or complex bikes are less user friendly.
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Old 11-02-15, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I would consider a single speed with flat bars or with trekking bars. Uncomfortable or complex bikes are less user friendly.
Kids can learn to use the gears, if there is someone to teach them. And, if they are willing to experiment rather than just leaving it in one gear. And, you don't want them to have a fear of gears later in life.

Perhaps rather than just giving the girl the bike, you should invite her over to MAKE HER OWN BIKE. That would be an excellent learning experience. And, it would give her a vested interest in not getting the next bike stolen.
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Old 11-02-15, 10:33 PM
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Making progress.



Fitted the donor bike's stem, dropbar, and brake levers. I think turkey levers work well if the brakes are adjusted right.

Fitted the donor bike's brakes with new Koolstop pads. The rear doesn't quite reach the 700C rims, so i need to lengthen the slot by 1/8".



Fitted the Ultegra RD from my pile. Going to Community Cycling Center to look for a single barend shifter, or alternatively a single thumb shifter.




Fitted the donor bike's Sugino cranks and a used steel chainring. Still rummaging in my pile for pedals. The frame from @Velocivixen came with BB and headset.



The wheels were a donation from @nazcalines, and they are perfect. Thank you! I found a newish Suntour Winner Pro freewheel in my pile.

Blue cable housing to match the frame. Should look nice with the magenta bar tape from VV.

Cheapo seatpin will do okay. I'm going to find a cheap used saddle, as my pile doesn't have anything too suitable (Brooks Swift Ti, vintage Ideale, old Selle Italia Flite, VO Swallow copy, etc - none seem appropriate.)

Tires are TBA.

Last edited by jyl; 11-03-15 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 11-03-15, 03:38 PM
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Looking good!
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Old 11-03-15, 05:30 PM
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@jyl - thanks for the update. So she likes drop bars? Cool. Can't wait to see the final product.
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Old 11-03-15, 06:30 PM
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Well, that is a bit uncertain. Her mom told me the stolen bike had upright bars. But the girl told me the thing she liked about her old bike was "it was fast". Hmm, so she likes speed. My son, her classmate, weighed in. "Dad, you should get her drop bars, everyone needs to learn to ride with drop bars". He is an old school rider: drops, downtube shifters, toe clips.

She is flexible and skinny (dancer) and won't have a problem with reaching the drops. And I don't have any upright bars or stems in the pile. So . . . I'm taking the gamble of building her bike with drop bars. She'll be able to brake from the tops as well as the hoods/hooks. Currently have fitted the steel drop bars from the donor. But if the bar ends won't fit in those, I have some alloy drop bars here. A couple of Cinellis and a Mavic.

If she just hates drops, I'll switch it to upright bars. The bikes I give away always come back to me for service. They never fully go away.

Picked up saddle, fenders, minor bits. Will get shifter and tires tomorrow. The hold up at this point is the eBay'd blue 3M reflective tape, which is in transit from, I guess, China.

Last edited by jyl; 11-03-15 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 11-05-15, 05:22 PM
  #24  
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Hey, @Murray Missile, is there a trick to applying the tape?

I got 1" and 1/2". It is pretty stiff and the adhesive is not very strong. I was able to get the 1" to bend around the downtube and adhere, but the 1/2" will not do that on the stays - even using a blow dryer to warm the tape, it doesn't bend easily and lifts off at the edges.

It is possible, I suppose, that I got crappy tape. It wasn't 3M. Some knockoff, I'm afraid.

Bike is done except for the tape. Rides nicely!

Last edited by jyl; 11-05-15 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 11-05-15, 06:47 PM
  #25  
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Good deed points filled for a while to come on this one, nice work.
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