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  1. #1
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    Noob's 1st singlespeed/bike build

    Hello all, this is my first real meaningful post. I've been a long-time lurker, and recently joined to lurk some more, and now I'm looking forward to being a part of the community.

    I am beginning to undertake my first bike build, and hoping to really learn a lot and love my bike even more as a result. My everyday ride is a Giant XTC1 26er, having recently replaced the Trek 820 which will be the center of this thread.

    First a little about me, I'm a pharmacy student (so I have basically ZERO funds), and I first got into mountain biking when i was about 14 through my bro-in-law and other friends. The Giant was really my first big bike purchase, even if it was used and not that expensive. Now that I have a bike which can reliably get me around the trails for a while, I figure it's time to build a back-up and loaner bike, and learn a lot more about my bikes.

    When I looked at bikes, SS hardtail 29ers kept popping up as my main focus, but here in WV we have some hills, and I didn't want to go all-out on a SS. Most of these bikes were steel framed, and in my revelation, I already have a steel HT, albeit a 26er.

    So, here's my plan:
    Very, very, very low budget SS, and (I'm sure this will bring flaming) I'm building this bike solely off the image I've seen in my head. (the image in my head is of a much cheaper Kona Honzo, but with smaller wheels, low-end components and a much higher smiles/miles ratio and a lower bottom line)

    Frame- Trek 820
    Wheels- Stock at first, switching out later as funds allow
    Crankset- I currently have an old Deore XT crankset, so I hope to use it's middle ring
    Saddle,Bars,Stem - Cutter MTB saddle and lock-on grips, Ritchy comp stem 120mm, Sunline V1 flat bars
    Brakes- Stock V at first, then a cheap disk set as $ allows
    Fork - Probably going to end up with an XC32. Finding a decent super-cheap fork with lock-out and v-brake posts is difficult.

    SS gear -Sette tensioner, Surly conversion, 18-20t cog




    I want this bike to be my have fun, take a load off and enjoy the outdoors bike, with no gears to fiddle with, and no worries. I don't care if it comes out heavy, if it doesn't have the name factor that it should, I'm building it for me.... I would appreciate any input you guys have, anything you think I'm leaving out or forgetting, or any advice. I'm here to learn and have fun guys...
    Last edited by scamry; 06-14-2012 at 06:09 AM.

  2. #2
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    WV huh? Morgantown I assume since you're in pharm school. I'm in Romeny, out in the eastern panhandle. I'm building my first SS bike too. Hoping to have it on the dirt by end of this month. Good luck with your build, sorry I don't have much to add, I'm still learning about this myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    WV huh? Morgantown I assume since you're in pharm school. I'm in Romeny, out in the eastern panhandle. I'm building my first SS bike too. Hoping to have it on the dirt by end of this month. Good luck with your build, sorry I don't have much to add, I'm still learning about this myself.
    I'm actually from the Charleston area, but going to school in VA.

  4. #4
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    Ah, ok. Still good though...always nice to see another mountaineer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  5. #5
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    well, i think my build is going to be a longer and more expensive build. while i just want to learn, i also want a decent bike in the end. So far i have accumulated grips, bar, saddle, stem, chain, headset, and some other odds and ends, and now getting to the bigger, more important stuff.

    so i think i am going to go with a RS Recon fork once funds allow.

    School me on cranksets though. I see some SS cranks for ~$100, and if these are any good, i'll probably go with one of them, like a RaceFace Evolve, or a truvativ stylo 1.1, or something similar.

    Any thoughts?



    Well it's quite clear that no one cares, as i expected the reaction would be to a new poster, but,

    Today a craigslist gem appeared and i picked up a Dart3 with poploc for $50. And a new multitool and YAWYD cap from the new shop i found.

    Alas. I don't need the internet to approve of my project.
    Last edited by scamry; 06-19-2012 at 06:28 PM.

  6. #6
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    arming my flame-o-matic!

    honestly, the Trek 820 is a heavy, weak, flimsy bike to start out on. enjoy the process but don't expect too much out of that. an 820 with a Dart 3 is going to ride like a ton of bricks.

  7. #7
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    If you want the building experience, then you can certainly do what you mention. However, after recently going through a similar thought process, I decided I could by a BikesDirect Bullseye or a Nashbar 29er much cheaper than cobbling together a budget SS on my own (especially factoring in that I would need to buy headset & bottom bracket tools). Those bikes are around $400 delivered. I ended up with the Nashbar, and am pleased with the bike and that I saved time and money.

    So, IMHO I'd sell the Trek and the Dart, get one of those SS 29ers, put on your saddle, grips, bar if you like them better, and head out to the trails (or hit the books) with the extra time and extra money in my pocket. However, YMMV, and if the project itself is your stress outlet then by all means do it.
    I ride at night - see my tips for Night Cycling
    My Blog: Cycling For Beginners

  8. #8
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    thank you for the replies. and yes, i know i could buy a bullseye(which i do like that it's steel) or a nashbar, but if i am going to do that, i may as well buy a peace9r, and then i may as well get a rig, and then if i do that i may as well get a honzo.

    But then i'll have a very pricey bike and no real knowledge of how to take care or repair it when the instance arises. And at my riding skill, I won't outride the bike i'm sure. (i think that's one thing that many people tend to forget, having a baller bike does not make you an awesome rider)

    As you said, this bike is my stress outlet, the thing i can come home to, turn a wrench for a bit, and surf the web for parts. This bike will be a SS for cheaper than either the bullseye or nashbar bike.

    I'm actually amazed that the dart is lighter than i expected it to be. still not a feather of course.

  9. #9
    burnedthetoast
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    I wouldn't waste $100 on a SS-specific crankset for this build - just find something that will run a 32-34 tooth chainring (generally 104 BCD) and spend $15-30 on a SS-specific chainring (so your chain doesn't fall off as easily). I like Surly steel chainrings, they run around $30.

    Also, I suggest nixing the idea of getting a cheap set of disc brakes - you'd also have to swap out wheelsets and depending how low you go, both the wheelset and the brakes might end up being no better than what you've got on there. If you want to improve your brakes, get some new pads and some Avid FR-5 levers - $30-40 all told and a pretty significant improvement over most stock setups.
    Ride to Work, Work to Live, Live to Ride
    Blog: Daddy Rides Bikes

  10. #10
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    definitely true. the only way anything disk will end up on this bike is if i upgrade the giant. i didn't make that clear. i'm still changing my plans as i go, but i really see no reason that this can't be a functional bike that can get me or a friend around when necessary.

    it's more about the fun of building it for me, and the fun of it being something i put time and sweat into instead of something i bought for really cheap online.

  11. #11
    burnedthetoast
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    Understand the fun of doing stuff yourself, I'm still riding the first singlespeed I built up and have done 2 others since then. Just a warning not to think $ = fun in terms of components - you're doing a budget build so don't get carried away! My 27-28lb SS (Monocog 29er w/ heavy wheels) is still a blast to ride, and the brakes on my budget/leftover-parts build (cheap shimano V's w/ Avid levers) stop me just fine.
    Ride to Work, Work to Live, Live to Ride
    Blog: Daddy Rides Bikes

  12. #12
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    I just finished my first SS build literally 5 minutes ago and you're right, the build is definitely a big part of the fun.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
    Friggin' coward. Give me a red chiclet instead of debating like a man. You don't deserve your green blocks.

  13. #13
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    Exactly nubster and toast! Your bike looks awesome btw nubs. I actually already have a set of fr-5 levers and surly cog and chainring in my cart on amazon.

    I'm really excited to get home and start tearing the bike apart.

    And trust me, I can't get carried away with the budget, you have to actually have funds to do that.

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