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)

Money pit?

Old 07-24-09, 11:13 AM
  #1  
stateskool
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Money pit?

You know what Im talking about... The simple 80s road bike fixed gear conversion, which ends up costing lot more money than you expected. Im curious to hear some stories before I try attempting my own conversion/build. If you dont mind letting us know how much you have spent so far and any words of wisdom you would like to pass on for anyone thinking about building their own...
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Old 07-24-09, 11:21 AM
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$0.00 - 1988 Trek 400 from a dumpster
$8.00 - 2 rolls of Tressostar bar tape
$25.00 - Salsa M-A Bell Lap bars
$55.00 - 2x Vittoria Rando-Cross 700 x 28
$25.00 - Surly 18t cog
$40.00 - IRO fix/fix high-flange
$25.00 - spokes

Under $200 total. The rest of the parts came from the spares bin in my garage.
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Old 07-24-09, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
The rest of the parts came from the spares bin in my garage.
There's the kicker. If you don't have spare junk laying around, and you don't have bike tools already, you can tack on another $100 easily.
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Old 07-24-09, 11:49 AM
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yep. i didn't have any spare parts when i built up my conversion and it cost me way more than I would have liked.

OP- if you can reuse your crank, then the only real cost you need to worry about is a wheelset which will be $120. This is assuming you buy a complete 70s/80s road bike. if you are doing a build from a frameset (like I did) it will be a lot more expensive.
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Old 07-24-09, 11:50 AM
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I have about 500 bucks in mine, but I didn't do it all at once. It's a Zebra Tempest, Sparkle Day find. A nice early 80's steel frame with Sugino crank. I rode it quite a while before I decided it would be fun to upgrade. Performance carbon fork, Cane Creek Headset. + stem , $150. Easton carbon seatpost, $40 used, ebay. $200 for a real track wheel set, $15 Textro brake, $20 Felt bargain bin saddle, Dura-Ace cog & IG chain, and a few incidentals. Rides great, less than 19 lb.s. I'd have to spend a lot more to get a better store-bought bike.

My advice would be to start with a good frame that fits you, with standard sizes for BB, seatpost, etc.- stay away from French. Not that they don't ride great- I had a Motobecane- but odd-ball sizes are a nuisance to impossible to upgrade/replace parts. Oh, and for it to really be worth it (and fun) you have to do your own wrenching. I even ghetto-rigged a headset press using a giant C-clamp from work.
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Old 07-24-09, 11:54 AM
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Just wait til the fatigued frame cracks and other **** starts breaking.
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Old 07-24-09, 12:00 PM
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0 dumpstered road bike
150 wheels
30 bars
25 new bb
5 chain ring bolts
5 grips
30 brake shoes
15 basket
10 used pedals
total was 270
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Old 07-24-09, 12:12 PM
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I hear people talking about track wheelset. Is there a difference between track front wheel vs. road bike front wheel. Outside of wanting a matching set, is there a reason to buy both front and rear wheel together?

I've also heard that, 80s shimano parts like crankset can make excellent fixed gear conversion parts if they are still in good shape. Any opinions about that?
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Old 07-24-09, 12:14 PM
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wheelsets are just cheaper to buy as a set usually

yes old road cranks work great
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Old 07-24-09, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by stateskool View Post
I hear people talking about track wheelset. Is there a difference between track front wheel vs. road bike front wheel. Outside of wanting a matching set, is there a reason to buy both front and rear wheel together?

I've also heard that, 80s shimano parts like crankset can make excellent fixed gear conversion parts if they are still in good shape. Any opinions about that?
I have the front wheel from a '91 PDG Series-5, and the rear is the matching rim built with a new hub/spokes. No reason other than wanting stuff that matches to buy a set if all you need is the rear wheel.

I don't know about 80s, but the 1991 105sc group works fine. That's what I have for the front hub, crank, front brake and brake levers on mine.
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Old 07-24-09, 12:22 PM
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Track front wheels normally (but not always) have a high flange hub, to match the rear hub. They also have a traditional bolt-on axle. Road wheels generally have a lower flange hub and quick release. Some road wheels are also built much lighter (but there are exceptions, of course). However, basically a front wheel is a front wheel. A road or track wheel will work the same.

Retem is correct, however....they are usually cheaper per wheel when bought in pairs.
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Old 07-24-09, 12:30 PM
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For my first conversion I did everything the wrong way. I spent way more money then I was willing to spend.

But in the end I had a alright bike, with fairly nice components. Thus when I bought a new frame I was able to just strip my old frame and now i have a fairly nice bike. I also learned how to build wheels.

Today I probably have around $500 in my current build.
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Old 07-24-09, 01:44 PM
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hell yes.

hang out here and you'll be putting nitto/campy/phil on your columbia hi-ten dumpster frame, then ditching the frame to get something worthy of the $1k you've spent on parts, then upgrading the parts to match the frame, then...

don't forget the $100/mo tire budget in order to bust the madd skidz.

what have i forgotten? sambas? double toshi straps? chrome bag? case of PBR? hospital bill when you faceplant after your backwards 'heads-up' fails?

hope you got a good job. if not, you can always sell the bike. CL is good for at least 3x what you have invested.

Last edited by dookie; 07-24-09 at 01:47 PM.
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Old 07-24-09, 02:02 PM
  #14  
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Personally, I'm of the opinion that if you haven't been cycling enough to have a small spare parts bin or a spare older bike to gut (and a resonable set of tools), and you're building your first new fixed-gear from scratch, you're doing something wrong in general.

A conversion shouldn't cost more than about $200, + the cost of the original bike/frame.
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Old 07-24-09, 02:07 PM
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I've pretty much nicknamed my schwinn traveler conversion "money pit." I've put a little over $350 in parts and upgrades, and about $70 on tools. Honestly, I was riding it after putting a little more than $150 total into it before I got the upgrade bug. The bad part is I'm cheap/broke and upgraded to just barely mid-level components like a Sugino xd crankset and a serfas saddle that is a knockoff of the xlr, or course the saddle was $15 shipped so it was a steal. Not to mention the heavy as **** vuelta wheelset I have. Oh yeah, on top of that I haven't been able to ride my bike for the last 2-3 weeks because when I ordered the crankset I didn't think about chainline and now I have to buy a shorter spindle for my loose-ball BB.

However, before the conversion I couldn't have told you what a bb or headset was, I didn't know what the hell a "horizontal dropout" was and now I'm able to work on my own bike as much as I want, last night I repacked my bb (in attempt to flip the spindle and straighten my chainline, fail) so it's a very valuable learning experience that you won't get from buying any kilo tt. Also, my frame fits me perfectly and I love those steel lugs. I don't regret it.
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Old 07-24-09, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Raiden View Post
Personally, I'm of the opinion that if you haven't been cycling enough to have a small spare parts bin or a spare older bike to gut (and a resonable set of tools), and you're building your first new fixed-gear from scratch, you're doing something wrong in general.

A conversion shouldn't cost more than about $200, + the cost of the original bike/frame.
Eh I donno about that. I had been cycling for a while when I finally built up a FG bike. But I was into road cycling and had a stock Fuji road bike that I rode all the time. Other than an extra saddle, I didn't have a spare parts bin when I built up my fixed gear. I had been riding for a while, but I just wasn't really into the equipment side of things. I didn't know much about different types of frames or upgraded parts or anything like that until I got into FG and became obsessed w/ bike porn haha.
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Old 07-24-09, 02:16 PM
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I spent about $200 on saddle and pedals alone for my conversion...but I got the bike for free so it evens out I guess.
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Old 07-24-09, 02:22 PM
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free bike
$50 hub
$30 spokes and nipples
$60 brooks
$12 bar wrap
$40 tires and tubes

so almost 200, and i got the bike stolen in like 6 months. my new conversion has cost a good bit more though. more in the ~400 range i think. next build is in the $650ish range it's looking like.
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Old 07-24-09, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Zachee View Post
But in the end I had a alright bike, with fairly nice components. Thus when I bought a new frame I was able to just strip my old frame and now i have a fairly nice bike. I also learned how to build wheels.
This is a good point. The kicker is spending money on stuff that doesn't translate to a new frame if you eventually intend to migrate everything over. Watch out especially for non standard parts (parlez-vous frainçais?).

I love conversions, mostly for the utility of rack and fender mounts. But if you're leaning towards a conversion in order to save cash, source a complete bike where you can employ existing parts for most everything besides the rear wheel, cog, and lockring. And if you really want to stay cheap, there's nothing wrong with converting a threaded rear "suicide" hub if it's set up properly.
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Old 07-24-09, 05:08 PM
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Pedallingatx- That progression makes sense. I don't know if I was talking about you, though- was the first fg you built from the frame-up a conversion, or was it a track frame?
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Old 07-24-09, 06:15 PM
  #21  
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$90 centurion dave scott frame+fork+headset (ebay)
$180 wheels-campagnolo hubs+cog+lockring, velocity rimz (swapmeet)
$?? chain, cog, toe clips, uh other things totaling <$30
$0 cranket, seat post, pedals (from old bike)
$1 pair of toe clips (bargain shoebox at swapmeet)
handlebars, stem, uh, i forget. everything not mentioned here was cannibalized from old bikes/parts bin

so no more than $300
definitely worth it
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Old 07-24-09, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by stateskool View Post
You know what Im talking about... The simple 80s road bike fixed gear conversion, which ends up costing lot more money than you expected. Im curious to hear some stories before I try attempting my own conversion/build. If you dont mind letting us know how much you have spent so far and any words of wisdom you would like to pass on for anyone thinking about building their own...
Hey man, for every guy that has a story of the "awesome bike I got for under $200!!!" there are 10 guys that are quiet about the $800 that they sunk into a P.0.S.

Yes, you can luck up and have what you need, get awesome finds, and get lucky on ebay. But, that's really rare. What's more is that people fail to mention HOW LONG it took from start to finish to get the bike rolling.
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Old 07-24-09, 08:47 PM
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Here's the go/no-go scenario I put to friends regarding conversions:

Go:
- If the frame is really hot, rare, or has sentimental value and is in fair or better condition.
- If you have tools and know-how
- If you've got time and patience.
- If you've got a funds for the project...plus a little extra.

No-Go:
- If the frame is over 15 years old and looks like it.
- If the frame is under 15 years old and looks like it's been to hell and back.
- If you don't know what you are doing.
- If you just want to hurry up and ride.
- If you are on a budget. The budget ALWAYS runs over.


Remember: There is no such thing as a free puppy.
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Old 07-24-09, 10:03 PM
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I just made mine up:
$30 - complete (but dodgy) ebay bike
&250 - wheelset
$80 - cog, lockring, tyres, tubes
$10 - bartape
$100 - cranks and chainring
$30 - Cartridge bottom bracket
recycled bars, stem, frame, fork, pedals, front brake and lever

$500 all up. It's a bit much, but that's in australian dollars, so it's a bit less than it seems

and to the person who said that you shouldn't do this unless you're experienced, i'd strongly disagree. I've found this to be the best learning experience, and I could have done it even if I hadn't had experience installing and adjusting derailleurs and all that stuff.
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Old 07-24-09, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by hapul View Post
and to the person who said that you shouldn't do this unless you're experienced, i'd strongly disagree. I've found this to be the best learning experience, and I could have done it even if I hadn't had experience installing and adjusting derailleurs and all that stuff.
That's assuming that one is interested in learning how to build a bike.

I have no interest in learning how to fix the AC in my place. I just want it to work. Which is why I called a guy out to fix it in much less time that it would have taken for me to learn how to do it and cheaper than if I bough the proper job-specific tools. The same applies to bikes.
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