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  1. #1
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    Crank Recommendation for Budget Build

    I'm trying to build up a budget CX ride from an old Raleigh bike I bought in college. I don't really have any aspirations of racing, but I'd like something that is a little better for the road sections of the multi-surface routes I ride and an old steel frame with some beefy-ish tires sounds like it might fit the bill. Will also serve child-hauler duty this summer.

    Here's the donor:

    Crank Recommendation for Budget Build-6863124454_966c018ca9_c.jpg

    I'm still undecided on whether or not I want to keep the gears or set it up singlespeed. The biggest thing I'd like to replace at the moment is the crank. When I tore it down, I realized just how heavy this old cottered crank really was... plus I'd rather not deal with the cotters anymore. So, does anyone have a recommendation for an inexpensive replacement. Did I mention I'm on a budget?? Not really sure what to expect to pay for a crank, but I'd be willing to pick up a used one. I just don't know what to look for or what to expect to pay. It's a pretty heavy, lower end bike to start with, so no real use in any serious bling here.

    On a related note, the wheels are pretty rough (and, like the crank, heavy). I'd eventually like to look into a 700c alloy wheelset. Brake reach won't be an issue and I figure the smaller rims will give a little more tire clearance. Any recommendations for a decent, inexpensive wheelset (assuming the two aren't mutually exclusive :-/ )?

  2. #2
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    I have a compact crankset and wheelset that came with my cross bike up for trade in the singlespeed forum: SS Parts Swap Thread

    Even if its not mine, I think take-offs are probably the best way to go here. Newer stock components will probably still be an upgrade over your existing crank and wheelset, at least when talking weight. Its a cheap way to figure out your brake setup and find out if you like the ride before dropping any serious coin on the bike.
    Yeah I only carry cans cause I'm a weight weenie.

  3. #3
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    I really like this idea, you could end up with a very cool bike.

    Personally I'd ditch the front gears and go with a single speed crankset, you'll still have plenty of gears and you'll shed some weight.

    If you choose to upgrade the wheelset remember that you'll probably need to convert to 9/10 speed so that means a new chain, cassette, rear derailleur and shifter but your gears will be closer ratio and/or have more range. Personally I'd go with a Shimano Zee gearset...You could fit the crank now and fit the wheels and rest of groupset when you're ready to splash some more cash.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the tips! Take-offs sound like a good option. I'll have to look around locally to see if there are any shops that have a pile of take-off parts I could sort through.

    I like the idea of upgrading to a 1x9- or 10-speed setup, but my one concern would be with the hub spacing. It's currently at 120mm, so I believe upgrading to a 9- or 10-speed hub would involve respacing/"cold-setting" the frame to 130mm. Is this correct? This is one reason why I'm leaning towards just going SS. Track style wheels seem to be pretty easily had and would allow me to either run SS (not fixed) or throw on a 5 or 6 speed freewheel for some gears. I'm running friction shifters now, so indexing wouldn't be a problem if I were to add a sixth gear.

  5. #5
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    Gotta say, browsing the "Post your SSCX!" thread is doing a good job of motivating me to just go singlespeed!

  6. #6
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    In that case I'd recommend that on your next ride you keep it in one gear and try to ride your local routes to see how you get on with it. I tried it and quickly realised that single speed wasn't for me...It might be different for you.

  7. #7
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    The good news is used bike parts are pretty much worthless. Ask your local club/forum if they have anything.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, there's a bicycle co-op in town that I'm planning to check out. They get tons of bikes donated in various stages of disrepair. They fix up the ones that can be fixed, and cannibalize those that cannot. I would think they should be able to help me out. Hoping to find time to check it out this weekend.

  9. #9
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    so just a quick update.

    I found a deal on some parts, a guy was selling a wheelset, crank, bb, and some bullhorn handlebars in a single lot pretty cheap so I sprung on it. Nothing top of the line, but all functional. The parts are intended to make a fixie, but the rear hub is a flip-flop, so I can spin a freewheel on and be good to go. All I've got on so far are the wheels and I'm just using the track-cog for now. Soon as I get some bigger tires, and the rest of the parts on, I'll post some more/better pics, but this is where it's at right now:


  10. #10
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    Well, it's in full on fixie mode now. Next step will be 'cross tires and a front brake. If the fixed gear thing doesn't work out, then I'll add the freewheel and rear brake. I'm liking the SS thing though.


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