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Older Bikes for SS conversion - what makes to look for?

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Older Bikes for SS conversion - what makes to look for?

Old 08-04-08, 09:51 AM
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somegeek
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Older Bikes for SS conversion - what makes to look for?

Pondering a fixed build using an older frame. I see a lot of 10-speeds on Craigslist for ~$75-100. Not having any knowledge regarding older road bikes, I am curious what makes I should look for? I see Mizoutani, Centurion, Peugeot, Motobecane and then some Schwinns and the like.

Appreciate any input.

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Old 08-04-08, 10:05 AM
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Peugeot you should avoid.

Take a fish scale with you. If the frame weighs 87 pounds move on.
 
Old 08-04-08, 10:24 AM
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I would mess with centurion or schwinn on that list.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:25 AM
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Old 08-04-08, 10:46 AM
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My rule of thumb is to look for forged dropouts, avoid Ashtabula cranks and bikes that use French components. While you can find French stuff with some effort, some things, like 24 mmm seatposts are pretty hard to find.

In terms of makes, Sheldon's vintage lightweight guide is handy for a thumbnail of general build quality http://www.sheldonbrown.com/vrbn-a-f.html
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Old 08-04-08, 10:59 AM
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typically good brands (in my opinion): miyata, takara, nishiki, bianchi, univega.
brands that have terrible low-end stuff, but good high-end stuff: raleigh, schwinn.
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Old 08-04-08, 05:48 PM
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I've got a centurion Dave Scott that I absolutely adore. Some of the higher end models have some really good parts still on them. Mine came with Shimano 600 parts, a Nitto stem and bars, selle turbo saddle, and a (slightly rusty) sugino seat post. No complaints here!
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Old 08-04-08, 05:59 PM
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Look for frames with parts on them, especially headset, bb, seatpost. If you have a complete bike, the conversion is $160-250. With just a frame and fork, it can be $500 and up. I like Craigslist better than eBay because the eBay guys are smart - they will buy a decent bike, part out the components in separate auctions, then sell the frame for the same as they bought the whole bike.

Use crazedlist.org if you want to search outside your immediate vicinity.
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Old 08-04-08, 06:11 PM
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ZiP0082 made me laugh. good one!
 
Old 08-04-08, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by harrier View Post
Look for frames with parts on them, especially headset, bb, seatpost. If you have a complete bike, the conversion is $160-250. With just a frame and fork, it can be $500 and up. I like Craigslist better than eBay because the eBay guys are smart - they will buy a decent bike, part out the components in separate auctions, then sell the frame for the same as they bought the whole bike.

Use crazedlist.org if you want to search outside your immediate vicinity.

+1

After a few years messing with fixies, I probably wouldn't even bother getting just an old road frame unless it was complete with decent components, and instead buy Kilo TT frame...
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Old 08-04-08, 06:47 PM
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I've read that it's much easier to do the conversion on a bike with horizontal drop outs. I can get some nice bikes for good deals but they're a little newer and have vertical drops.

Is it possible or how hard to do a fixed gear conversion on vertical drops?
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Old 08-04-08, 11:15 PM
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Thanks for the replies! I'm keeping an eye on craigslist... set up some shortcuts to the searches for the different makes suggested above. I'd like to pick up a $100 bike and put ~$200 into it to convert it.

I'm 6'5"... what size bike frame should I be looking at for a SS? I see ~61/62cm quite a bit being mentioned for 'tall' folks around 6' to 6'4"... would a 58-62 work for me?

Appreciate any input.

somegeek
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Old 08-04-08, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by somegeek View Post
Thanks for the replies! I'm keeping an eye on craigslist... set up some shortcuts to the searches for the different makes suggested above. I'd like to pick up a $100 bike and put ~$200 into it to convert it.

I'm 6'5"... what size bike frame should I be looking at for a SS? I see ~61/62cm quite a bit being mentioned for 'tall' folks around 6' to 6'4"... would a 58-62 work for me?

Appreciate any input.

somegeek
Let me short cut all the responses. There is no way you can size a bike by height. Leg length, age, all sorts of stuff factors in.

With "old" bikes, the top tube would be high, almost touching the crotch, and there would be very little seatpost. In this case, I would be very surprised if a bike under 61/62 would work (I am 6'3" and my 62cm is just on the small side of ok- Grant Peterson suggested 64cm). However, if you are ok with a lot of seat post, and you want the bars lower than the seat, track style, then you can go smaller IMO.
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Old 08-04-08, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by somegeek View Post
Thanks for the replies! I'm keeping an eye on craigslist... set up some shortcuts to the searches for the different makes suggested above. I'd like to pick up a $100 bike and put ~$200 into it to convert it.

I'm 6'5"... what size bike frame should I be looking at for a SS? I see ~61/62cm quite a bit being mentioned for 'tall' folks around 6' to 6'4"... would a 58-62 work for me?

Appreciate any input.

somegeek
It is impossible to size by height alone, but at 6'5" you will need quite a big frame. I would say 62cm at the smallest. Prefereably 64cm or 66cm if you can find it.
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Old 08-05-08, 12:01 AM
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Right on - thanks guys... I figured that was a bit of a laughable info request but your info shed some light for sure.
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Old 08-05-08, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Jerseysbest View Post
+1

After a few years messing with fixies, I probably wouldn't even bother getting just an old road frame unless it was complete with decent components, and instead buy Kilo TT frame...
But there is so little satisfaction in buying a completed bike. I feel a much deeper connection to my Bianchi than I do to my road bike and just because I built the Bianchi myself. I understand how everything works, how to take it apart, service it, and put it all back together.
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Old 08-05-08, 12:30 PM
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completely subjective. I find it very satisfying buying a complete bike and riding it. Also when buying a Kilo TT, you're practically going to take it apart and build it whole anyway.
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Old 08-05-08, 01:13 PM
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Agreed. Buy a new bike and take it apart and re-grease it. You'll get the same satisfaction.
 
Old 08-05-08, 01:28 PM
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Avoid any frame constructed from high tensile steel tubing (also marked as Hi Ten and Carbolite, though there are other permutations on this theme). Too heavy and cheap to be worth your time.
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Old 08-05-08, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by _hollister_ View Post
Agreed. Buy a new bike and take it apart and re-grease it. You'll get the same satisfaction.
i can see how building your own bike piece by piece would be very rewarding...taking apart a complete and putting it back together with the same parts wouldn't cut it

taking the time and selecting the parts you want is the way
 
Old 08-05-08, 03:50 PM
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Old 80's Fuji Supremes, Allegros, and Royales would be perfect. Nice double or quad butted, lugged, vanadium steel frames, but not so nice that you'd feel guilty converting it. My Supreme came with a Nitto stem, Suntour hubs and a Sugino crankset back in the day. I've seen them on craiglist for 100-120.
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Old 08-06-08, 10:50 AM
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Any thoughts on these bikes?

Nishiki Road Bike - $180
Centurion Road Bike 10 Speed, 62cm, Tall - $150
Centurion LeMans Raod Bike 25 Inches Tall - $150
FUJI ROAD BIKE 12 spd. 24.5" FRAME $200

I'd like to haggle to get one for $100 but who knows.

somegeek

Last edited by somegeek; 08-06-08 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 08-06-08, 04:14 PM
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I'd have a bias against 27" wheels. Easier to get 700c track wheels and why assume the hassle of replacing the brakes?
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Old 08-06-08, 04:23 PM
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In defense of Peugeot

Originally Posted by _hollister_ View Post
Peugeot you should avoid.
For all the reasons I have enumerated in the past, Peugeots can be a pain.

However, it should be noted that the 70s PX-10 has NO BRAZE ONS!. Everything, from brake cable clamps to bottle and shifter bosses to cable stops, is done with removable clamps. You strip it, and you have no frame warts (ok, there is a little housing stop on the right seatstay and a little hole for the RD, so sue me...).

As such, if you can find a Peugeot with bottom bracket, headset, and seatpost intact, then it makes an clean, light, beautiful SS/FG conversion.
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Old 08-06-08, 04:32 PM
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i have a 1972 schwinn speedster w/ a archer-sturmey 3 speed that i want to convert to a single speed. looking at bikeisland.com i saw a wheelset for $109. (700cc) so all i'd have to get is a freewheel cog and lock ring...all for $150 with free shipping...not bad...now the technical question: am i going to have an issue with the chain geometry?
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