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help choosing bike frame/parts from huge group of donated used bikes

Old 08-12-11, 02:01 PM
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help choosing bike frame/parts from huge group of donated used bikes

I've only had my Trek 700 for a couple of months but I already want something faster and with more than 7 gears. I need advice on what to get to replace it.

I want a new bike but I spent all I had to get my Trek hybrid, so I joined a local community bike shop that lets you volunteer your time and then you get a free bike frame and all the parts and help to build your own bike. (Revolutions Community Bike Shop: https://revolutionsmemphis.wordpress.com/)

The frames and parts are all from donated bikes that have been dismantled. They have this room full of frames that you can choose from when it's your turn and the stock is always changing as frames get taken and new ones get donated. I need to know what type of frame to look for.

I don't think I'm flexible enough now for a road bike's bent-over riding position, but I want more of that road-bike-type speed so I imagine I'll have to work my way up to the full bent-over posture. Presently my longest ride was less then 20 miles, I definitely want to increase that. This bike will be for exercise and relaxation.

So, what do I look for in the frames to be able to build a faster, yet still comfortable bike? How can I tell if the thing will be short enough for me since I can't sit on or ride it until I build it? I also will need to choose rims and tires from their huge stock of used ones. Also handlebars--they have a whole wall of shelves with handlebars.

Am I even going to be able to do this? I just don't know enough about what to look for in all these parts like pedals, brakes, deraillers, seats, etc.

Any advice would be appreciated. Please!

Last edited by nutmegTN; 08-12-11 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 08-12-11, 02:41 PM
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I suggest a crank forward bike, so you can put a foot down without getting off the saddle .
and a step thru. easy to get off.

Fast is a lot about how much Work You Do turning the pedals.

Ignore the rate of speed and enjoy the journey ..

Sitting up will present a larger frontal area to push thru the air. .

thats why racers are down like on all fours,
don't want to assume the downhill ski racer posture ?
don't worry about speed.

as to the various parts and their merits,
go spend more time
volunteering at the Revolutions Community Bike Shop and learn by doing..

There should be a library of bike repair books there to read up .. research.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-12-11 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 08-12-11, 07:47 PM
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Please don't think I'm trying to blow you off with this response, but these questions are going to be much better answered by an experienced person who can work with you face to face, not over the internet. I would think that there are people right there at Revolutions who can help you better than we can. Good luck.
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Old 08-12-11, 08:20 PM
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1. While you're waiting for your turn to come up, you can learn about bike sizes. Your first sort from the available frames is which ones are the right size to fit you. Then pick out one that appeals to your aesthetic sense.

2. Measure the sidtance between the dropouts of the frame you have chosen. That will drive your wheelset choices.

3. Everything else will be driven by the above two factors. Have fun with it!
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Old 08-12-11, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by nutmegTN
I've only had my Trek 700 for a couple of months but I already want something faster and with more than 7 gears. I need advice on what to get to replace it.

I want a new bike but I spent all I had to get my Trek hybrid, so I joined a local community bike shop that lets you volunteer your time and then you get a free bike frame and all the parts and help to build your own bike. (Revolutions Community Bike Shop: https://revolutionsmemphis.wordpress.com/)

The frames and parts are all from donated bikes that have been dismantled. They have this room full of frames that you can choose from when it's your turn and the stock is always changing as frames get taken and new ones get donated. I need to know what type of frame to look for.

I don't think I'm flexible enough now for a road bike's bent-over riding position, but I want more of that road-bike-type speed so I imagine I'll have to work my way up to the full bent-over posture. Presently my longest ride was less then 20 miles, I definitely want to increase that. This bike will be for exercise and relaxation.

So, what do I look for in the frames to be able to build a faster, yet still comfortable bike? How can I tell if the thing will be short enough for me since I can't sit on or ride it until I build it? I also will need to choose rims and tires from their huge stock of used ones. Also handlebars--they have a whole wall of shelves with handlebars.

Am I even going to be able to do this? I just don't know enough about what to look for in all these parts like pedals, brakes, deraillers, seats, etc.

Any advice would be appreciated. Please!
Okay, remember one thing, if you want speed the most important part is the engine. You could take an out of shape rider on a $25K bike and put Cadel Evens or Andy Schleck on a $69 Huffy, and they would still ride rings around the out of shape rider on the fancy bike. So the real gain for speed is to get that engine going as well as you can, the bike you have is sufficient for that. If you want more then 7 gears, then put a triple crank on it with a matching front derailleur and swap out the rear for a long cage, add a front shifter and cable and your good to go. Considering that you currently have a 42 tooth crank (IIRC) a 30/39/52 would probably be just about perfect.

If you really want another bike, do your research, don't be in a hurry, collect up the parts you want, if speed is your fancy go with a road bike, aim to have the bars in the touring position (tops are 2" above the saddle), much more comfortable and you still have lots of potential speed.
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Old 08-13-11, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Wogster
If you want more then 7 gears, then put a triple crank on it with a matching front derailleur and swap out the rear for a long cage, add a front shifter and cable and your good to go. Considering that you currently have a 42 tooth crank (IIRC) a 30/39/52 would probably be just about perfect.
That's a great idea. I still will build a bike on a "road" frame, but in the meantime I'll find those components to add gears to my bike.

Thanks!
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Old 08-13-11, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by nutmegTN
That's a great idea. I still will build a bike on a "road" frame, but in the meantime I'll find those components to add gears to my bike.

Thanks!
Keep all the original parts, if you decide at some point to sell the bike, then you can restore it to factory specs if the buyer doesn't like your mods. One more thing, buy a new chain, the one you have will be too short. Chains and cables should be considered consumables (along with brake pads, bar tape/grips, tires and tubes), that is once they are used, if removed, toss them, because they wear over time, and they should not be reused. When you build up your new bike, use new for these parts.
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Old 08-13-11, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Wogster
Okay, remember one thing, if you want speed the most important part is the engine. You could take an out of shape rider on a $25K bike and put Cadel Evens or Andy Schleck on a $69 Huffy, and they would still ride rings around the out of shape rider on the fancy bike.
Off topic, threat of hijack, but to stress this point.--- A few years ago we had a fun run/ride here in Smalltown USA. The ride was 10 miles, out and back. One of the HS footballers, an all-state linebacker, took off on a WalMart mountain bike. I met coming in as I was going out at about 3-1/2 miles. Two of his buddies weren't far behind him. I figured he had averaged close to 25 mph on a NEXT bike.
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Old 08-13-11, 08:49 AM
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That's all well and good, but everybody knows that's not how the world works, guys, thanks for the exaggeration.

Anyway, back to topic, you could try making a touring hybrid out of an older racing bike with a lighter frame, since faster usually means lighter. Just start weighing the bikes as they come in and pick out a light one, then make a decision on each part that you add or replace.

I wish they had a volunteer bike shop around here. That would be fun to just work on bikes for folks.
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Old 09-11-11, 07:58 PM
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Here's the type of thing I was looking for:

Some signs of quality:
Front fork welded, not pressed
Multiple-piece crank

Avoid:
Biopace crankset (https://sheldonbrown.com/biopace.html)
(Though since I'm replacing/rebuilding most of the bike I would just change this out.)


The frame I chose is this light blue Nishiki.



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