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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 05-17-07, 12:39 PM   #1
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Build vs Buy: Bridgestone 500

So I want a fixed gear. I have this Bridgestone 500 frame. Theres a headset intalled and a bottom bracket installed. I have NOTHING else. Its not the greatest frame ever (straight gauge tubes) but I dig the lugs and the eyelets. I have ZERO experience building bikes but I'm mechanically inclined so I think i can handle it. $$$ wise is seems like its probably cheaper to just buy a starter bike but I'd like to learn how to do it... I think. Am I going to need to drop serious money on special tools?

Anyone want to talk me out of this and into just buying a complete bike?
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Old 05-17-07, 12:45 PM   #2
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you will need a 100-200 dollar tool kit, i spent 100 on mine, but in hindsight i need to spend more, don't go with a pedros tool kit, there drivetrain tools are aweful
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Old 05-17-07, 12:50 PM   #3
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The "special tools" needed to build up a bike are for installing bottom brackets and headsets, neither of which you have to worry about. You're going to have to be choosy about cranks, as the crank-arm / bottom-bracket interface is far from being a single univeral standard. The most expensive item you have left is wheels. It also looks like you have a threaded headset, meaning you need an "old style" quill stem, which could be interesting to find. Plus side is that they're going to be cheap, and narrow-clamp-region handlebars that fit into quill stems are going to be cheap as well.

Generally building a bike up from scratch isn't any cheaper (and is usually more expensive) then buying one stock, but then again, you have the most expensive part (the frame) with the "hard" stuff installed (headset and bottom bracket), so you're well ahead of the game. I'd just price it all out -- brakes (if you're going to be using them), cables, brake levers, stem, handlebars, seatpost, saddle, etc... If you go the Ebay route, you'll almost certainly come out ahead. A 5mm allen wrench is going to be sufficient to put virtually everything on.

Edit: ok, cranks don't install with a 5mm allen wrench -- that's a bolt that's somewhat bigger. I think mine went on with an 8mm allen wrench. And a cable stretcher (third hand brake tool) saves a lot of aggravation with brake installation.
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Old 05-17-07, 01:55 PM   #4
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Who's STI Limited in the background.

Send the frame to me. I'll send you some $$$.
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Old 05-17-07, 02:16 PM   #5
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i have that frame in pink. a bit bigger but yeah i built it into a cool coaster brake bike. you will need a 15mm wrench a 14mm socket and a few allenwrenches to put that thing together.
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Old 05-17-07, 03:40 PM   #6
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The only advantage to building vs buying is fun and learning. If spending more $ while solving a million annoying problems and learning lots of basics the hard way is your idea of fun, go ahead and build. I built, learned a lot and I think I came out ahead; but if you just wanna ride, skip it and buy a complete bike.
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Old 05-17-07, 03:46 PM   #7
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unless you want a specific piece or part, get a donor bike to get a stem, handle bars, brake and lever (optional but recommended). and crank and pedals
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Old 05-17-07, 04:21 PM   #8
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i loved the $50 tool kits from nashbar/performance. supplemented with my other mixed up dollar tree/donated/whatever tool goodness.
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Old 05-17-07, 04:45 PM   #9
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Definitely build it up. It will be fun, you'll learn some stuff, acquire some tools and the bike will feel more like yours. I'm on my 3rd fixed- the first I built up for myself based on an old Giant road frame with a mixed bag of low end parts. Worked great, I rode it for a few years and then wanted a track frame. Came across a like new complete Bianchi Pista in a thrift store (very weird but true) which I got super cheap. Great bike but not as fun. Didn't have the same connection. Sold it last year and bought a nice lugged Italian frame and build up a much nicer conversion. Hands down the best of the lot. Biggest expense was hand built wheels with Velocity Aeros and Suzue Pro Max hubs. But anything built around Formulas will do you.

Just buy tools as you need them rather than a kit and buy good tools. I have some Park tools I acquired as I built up bikes and they are great and I don't regret dropping cash on them. You buy it to use it once and end up using it a lot more than you'd think. Since the bottom bracket and headset are in, really the only special thing you might need is a lock ring wrench. Everything else you can get Craftsman or whatever your favorite tool brand is. Probably some allen keys (I like the Park tools 4/5/6 mm "Y" wrench, it fits everything on a bike), a 15mm wrench for axle bolts. A socket to fit whatever cranks you buy and not much else. Maybe a chain link tool. You can get threaded stems for cheap on Ebay or at a local store. Same with a seatpost. Cranks, it depends on how high end you want to go. For my first one I just bought whatever was cheap and available and it worked out fine. Become friends with your local bike store and fish through their used parts box (everyone has these).

Do it.
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