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Thread: CHEAP builds

  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    CHEAP builds

    Hello everyone. I'm new to the singlespeed game - as in, I haven't even tried it yet. I recently got a free GT Karakoram frame - an OLD one, still with integrated derailleur hanger. I've decided to build it up as a single speed. I'm going to try to do this on the cheap, with the idea that, if I enjoy singlespeed riding, I can begin the arduous upgrade process. If it's something that I just can't hack, I can at least use it as a beater around-town bike.

    I have the frame (in decent condition - no bad dents, no rust), fork, and stem - all original. I will probably replace the stem (quill stem - what fun I'll have trying to find a new one) and the headset (feels like there's no grease anywhere NEAR the bearings), but my more immediate concern is for the basics. I've got plenty of tires, but I'm looking for cheap suggestions for wheels, cranks, and cogs (freewheel or conversion kit?).

    Also, I'd love to know what you think of a dedicated singlespeed rear wheel versus a traditional rear wheel with a conversion kit. With a conversion kit, I'll have a chain tensioner, which I'll need with the vertical dropouts, and I'll be able to adjust the chainline relatively easily. If I were to get a dedicated rear wheel, I think I'd have to start with the White Industries hub and build up my own. It's not something I'd mind doing if I knew I was going to really get into it, but the WI option is a bit rich for my blood at the moment.

    Anyways, whatever input you'd be willing to share will be welcome. Thanks in advance!

    Edit: neither frame nor fork have disc brake mounts, so I'm limited to brakes that work with old-school mounting posts. I'm thinking about just putting on some cheapie Forte brakes and levers, but I'm waaaaay open to suggestions.

  2. #2
    Reputation: mattsavage's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Ebay, ebay, ebay....

    I just built up a NOS Bianchi WUSS frame with some spare parts and very minimal Ebay face time. I think I'm in $200 bucks.

    I'd definately go the conversion route. Its cheap, easy, works. You can get the cog, spacers, tensioner for under 50 bucks, nothing fancy.

    Buy some SS chainring bolts and turn any 3 ring crank into a single using just the middle ring.

    You could probably find some older XT or XTR v-brakes for pretty cheap on there. They'd work better than inexpensive new ones...

    Have fun and see how inexpensive you can do it...!
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

    Have Ashtray, Will Travel....

  3. #3
    808+909 = Party Good Time
    Reputation: chumbox's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Check the FAQ in the top right corner for conversion help.

    I love having a strong dishless SS specific rear wheel but if your going for cheap it's probably going to be cheaper and easier to convert a normal rear wheel. Then you can put gears on it if ya don't end up liking SS.

    If you just want cheap parts, get on Ebay, see a bicycle recycle place, go to your bike shop and see if they have old bit people have swapped out. The key to cheap parts is do some research and foot work.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Hahaha...that's sort of my plan. I work at a Performance, so some of the stuff (conversion kit, wheels) I can get with a pretty nice discount. Since I'm new to the SS world, I was just looking around to see what sort of special tips I might have been missing out on. Thanks for the suggestion about converting the 3 ring crank...I am afraid I wasn't thinking straight, and had been planning on buying something single-speed specific.

  5. #5
    Reputation: ferday's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    for less than $20 you might want one of these

    if you use a gearie ring in the front to save money, i recommend a chain device of some sort (ie. n-gear jumpstop) as it can be pretty painful when a chain falls off!
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    I just bought a 98 Karakoram converted to SS and with 32-15 it doesn't need a tensioner and def makes a nice ride.

  7. #7
    one chain loop
    Reputation: fishcreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    there's nothing wrong with conversion kits, most of my ss builds started with used cassette spacers and DX cogs, cheap and it works. +1 on stem adapters like ferday mentioned, i have one on my old raleigh and i can mount whatever 1 1/8 stem i wish. your threaded headset just need some repacking, and it will spin smooth like new again.

    and yeah, post your ss when its done.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

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