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Do your “budget bike” builds go over budget?

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Do your “budget bike” builds go over budget?

Old 12-27-19, 12:10 AM
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mountaindave 
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Do your “budget bike” builds go over budget?

Am I the only one who buys a low-cost bike then invests two to three times its purchase price in upgrading it?

Case in point: an ‘81 Trek 400 for $100 even. Parts are low end so this turns out to be mostly a frame/fork/headset purchase. Everything else got swapped out - even the wheels! (The wheels, which were not bad at all, got donated to my uncle’s bike in need.)

My first project like this was my ‘79 Trek 700 frame. That one got ridiculous - but it’s also got a dynamo hub + Edelux light and Grand Bois rims and RAID brakes, etc., etc. etc. But I have ridden that more than any other bike so I don’t think it qualifies lipstick on a pig.

I’ve tried the twelve step plans, but I haven’t been able to limit myself to twelve bikes.

Not even going to try to make a New Year’s resolution...

Just keep wrenching and pedaling I guess...
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Old 12-27-19, 12:38 AM
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Yes, it just kind of happens when you buy a bike for cheap as parts adds up. I usually sell the parts I replace to offset the additional cost.
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Old 12-27-19, 01:06 AM
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Yes Yes they do I am guilty , if I even think for a little bit the bike might be a keeper then things can go south in a short amount of time...

It really helps if I build bikes I have no intention of keeping .
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Old 12-27-19, 01:38 AM
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If you had started with a worse frame than an early '80s Trek 400 series, then it would've been a lot easier to save money. Next time start with something like a Schwinn World with a dent in the top tube.
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Old 12-27-19, 02:03 AM
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I tend to go overboard on any project bike that I am using a lot.
I expend lots of labor, but no, I don't spend much, just try to complete the build with what I have in my used spare parts inventory.
I will sometimes go with new tires, brake pads, bearings, tape, hoods or chain, but I seldom use many other new parts.
Even cables/housing get cleaned up and cleaned out or replaced with good modern used ones in most cases, unlike modern bikes needing brand-new cable wires.
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Old 12-27-19, 03:34 AM
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What is this budget of which you speak? Is it wrong to put 20.00 worth of handlebar wrap on a 20.00 Schwinn Voyager with a dented top tube?
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Old 12-27-19, 04:18 AM
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They always go over for me. Eventually I get to a point where I can stop spending and be OK with riding it but I always want to spend more. A better question is who sets or stays within their budget 🤔
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Old 12-27-19, 05:01 AM
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I buy them to ride them. I upgrade to a better model in the correct size instead of upgrading components. Sometimes the frame size is near perfect, though, and that is a game changer. It does seem more difficult to keep within budget lately, since some of the best low-cost suppliers and deals are gone. Donor bikes have always been a big help for me. Amazing how valuable a $10 bike can be when you break it down into parts for another bike.
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Old 12-27-19, 07:02 AM
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Depends. I primarily buy framesets or with only a couple of components attached.
I can usually get a bike on the road cheaply.
Then come the 'upgrades'.
$50 for Rustines brake lever hoods for Universal.
$100 = new tubulars
$20 = nos shifter covers
$XX = a better saddle

You know - it's all the little things that get improved over time.
Good BF friends help control costs!
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Old 12-27-19, 07:07 AM
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You're assuming we started with a budget. I usually have a rough idea of what I want to spend. Also I don't worry about budget on keepers, flips, yeah it matters
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Old 12-27-19, 07:17 AM
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I don't always spend more than a bike's worth when I fix one up but when I do I spare no expense LOL.
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Old 12-27-19, 07:20 AM
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My goal on the $12 Hardrock Comp is $0.0
Just elbow grease and, well, grease.
Wish me luck
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Old 12-27-19, 07:25 AM
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“Consumables” do start to add up... and then “extras” of which Wildwood speaks have a bigger impact. The bars and saddle are typically the biggest offenders, but those are “touch points” and I can easily rationalize those for all-day comfort.

I would try to say this is a parts “low cost parts bin build,” but then those parts made their way into the bin somehow...

I also typically have a specific goal in mind for each build: each bike typically has a specific purpose (but there are there are at least 50 shades of gray).

And what is this “flipping” thing people are referring to? Does that involve selling a bike??
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Old 12-27-19, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
You know - it's all the little things that get improved over time.
Good BF friends enablers help control costs!
Fixed it for you. And amen!!
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Old 12-27-19, 07:36 AM
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Absolutely. But this is big kid Legos. I'll be shifting $700 of parts from a $150 Koga Miyata frame to a more suitable for touring $60 Canondale frame. The sunk cost is in the consumables. Which is why "free" bikes are rarely free. I hauled a couple dozen free or "budget bikes home last year. Four are keepers. To filter through the pile of raw material my collecting tendancys have provided, I've decided to focus my recources on good wheelsets. If the free bike performs on a $400 wheelset, then it may deserve to get a $200 paint job. If not it will either head it down the road as a rideable budget bike or transfered to our newly formed chop shop division.....

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Old 12-27-19, 07:37 AM
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Really?

"Budget bike build"



Y'er killin' me, man, just killin' me!
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Old 12-27-19, 07:45 AM
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I spend very little on my bikes. I will buy bikes, part them out and keep the part or parts I am looking for. I reuse bartape, cables and housing, and rotate tires from bike to bike. I think I have bought two sets of brake pads in the last 10 years, just use whatever comes on the bike. I do buy chains. The modern chains are really good.
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Old 12-27-19, 08:06 AM
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Yes they do, My 2 Pro tours were supposed to be inexpensive rides but both took way too much to finish off. My Zunow could cost me a lot of money and who know what the Gugiefication of my Witcomb could cost when i finally finish it up.
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Old 12-27-19, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave View Post
Am I the only one who buys a low-cost bike then invests two to three times its purchase price in upgrading it?

Case in point: an ‘81 Trek 400 for $100 even. Parts are low end so this turns out to be mostly a frame/fork/headset purchase. Everything else got swapped out - even the wheels! (The wheels, which were not bad at all, got donated to my uncle’s bike in need.)

My first project like this was my ‘79 Trek 700 frame. That one got ridiculous - but it’s also got a dynamo hub + Edelux light and Grand Bois rims and RAID brakes, etc., etc. etc. But I have ridden that more than any other bike so I don’t think it qualifies lipstick on a pig.

I’ve tried the twelve step plans, but I haven’t been able to limit myself to twelve bikes.

Not even going to try to make a New Year’s resolution...

Just keep wrenching and pedaling I guess...
@mountaindave, You are not alone! I go nuts on every bike I build. If its not perfect to my liking, it'll never leave the shop until it is.

Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post


I don't always spend more than a bike's worth when I fix one up but when I do I spare no expense LOL.
So true, MM. Typically, when I look at a bike, all I really see is the frame, and how much I want to spend for it, because I just know that I won't rest until its new and perfect inside and out. I got a fancy new camera, which I'm trying to learn, and as soon as I do, I will start a thread in here about the '78 Raleigh Carlton Competition GS I just bought. I'm already planning on going overboard with it!
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Old 12-27-19, 08:53 AM
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If only. I usually have an idea what I want to do with the bike but no fixed budget in mind. I have started making an overview of what I am spending at least so I get a better feel for what I'm spending. Otherwise it's just a few months of spending money on a bike until it is done.

It helps that I have paid between €50 and €150 on all bikes that I've ever turned into a project. Most I ever spent on a bike after that however is probably in the €800+ range for the Batavus. But I built new fancy wheels for it and upgraded various bits to turn it into one of my favourite builds

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Old 12-27-19, 09:42 AM
  #21  
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One thing that I can’t really put a price on is the value of “bike therapy.” I’ve been able to build some wheels recently in brief free moments, but this Xmas break is the first time since October that I’ve had a large amount of time to putter creatively with a bike and it’s been heaven!

I love my family and in-laws, but it’s nice to have some “me time” again.
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Old 12-27-19, 09:58 AM
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I don't set budgets for bikes. Sometimes when I'm done I find I've spent more than I would like. I guess in the middle of it, I progress with intuition.
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Old 12-27-19, 10:35 AM
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Budgets are relative. Also depends on usage. If you invest a lot and ride a lot, then the budget might be reasonable or even a bargain. Just remember to ride as much as possible!
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Old 12-27-19, 10:43 AM
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Well, this is why the annual BF Velo Cheapo contests are fun and challenging.

I’m currently working on a late 70s Raleigh Grand Prix that was basically given to me as a frameset plus some original parts because the fork was bent. It’s too small to be a keeper, so my intent has been to keep it cheap, and sell it for cheap or give it away. I tried straightening the fork, but it was too far gone. I found a replacement fork in my stash that I must have bought new at some point, but sunk costs and all that, I figured it would work for this project. Well, next wrinkle is that fork has the dreaded .833” steerer (I have a vague memory of removing it from or buying it for a 70s Schwinn). Lo and behold, I have a .833 stem in the bin. Next challenge are wheels. This frame was made for 27” and I have lots of Weinmann 610 cp brakes in the bin, but no decent 27” rear wheels, only a front. Hmm. Then, I remembered I have a 27” Sun CR18 rim that I also bought years back for some project that never happened (more sunk costs), and saw somewhere that I could get a single-speed, coaster-brake hub for less than $15 shipped on eBay. Done! Hub arrives after a few weeks (it was literally on the slow boat from China), a few weeks later I go to build the wheel (yes, I had the right length spokes in the bin), and I realize that the hub us 32-hole and the rim 36. Hmm. I did check the order and saw the mistake was theirs, not mine, but re-lo and behold, I have a 32-hole 700c Sun CR18 rim in the bin! With a coaster brake on the rear and reasonably matching tires (which I have in the bin), I can run two different wheel sizes, right? I build up that wheel with spokes in hand, but when I go to true it up, about a half dozen nipples pop off of their threading, Argh! I go to eBay and order 32 new spokes and nipples from the next slow boat from China.

Well, that’s all worked out, so now I just have to deal with the bottom bracket and crankset. It came to me with its original cottered steel boat anchor crank, and I have a decent single speed crank and cartridge BB that came in some sort of trade with a BFer. I get the original set out ( no need to drill the cotters—victory!) and go to install the cartridge unit. Drive side goes in though somewhat reluctantly. NDS threads about a 1/4” in and stops. Ugh. The BB threads are just too shallow for this particular cup. I try about nine other fixed cups, both cartridge and cup/cone that are in my bin, but it’s a no go. About a week or so ago, I ordered a BB tap/chasing tool to get the job done. With luck I’ll be finished with the build by spring.

Yeah, budget build.
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Old 12-27-19, 10:51 AM
  #25  
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I'm a sucker for a $20 bike with $60 worth of new tires. So yes, I usually overlook all the other borked stuff and end up investing more than planned. Its therapy for me, so I'm not complaining...
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