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Building SS from scratch: basics?

Discussion in 'Cross Country, All Mountain & Trail Riding' started by macko, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. macko

    macko Turbo Monkey

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    Here's my position, I'm a po' college student in need of a commuter. I'm really interested in putting together an SS (my first) but don't want to put a whole lot of money into it, as it will be locked up around campus and you just never know.

    So my plan is to initally pick up a cheap, used mtb and as I get the dough (re: components) I'll convert it into an SS. So I suppose my first question should be: Is it a fairly simple process to convert a geared bike into an ss and if so, what specifications do I need to look for in said geared bike.

    I've done a bit of reading and evidentally verticle dropouts are preferred, but not being much of a bike-tech-buff [yet!] I'm not sure if those are common on older bikes or in what circumstances they would be used. Okay, I'll let someone fill me in. Gracias!

    Just as an example, I'd love to be able to base the bike off of this fella:
    http://phoenix.craigslist.org/bik/114390152.html
     
    #1 -   Dec 1, 2005

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  2. BikeGeek

    BikeGeek BrewMonkey

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    I think you meant to say horiz. dropouts are preferred, but no matter, converting a vert. dropout bike is simple and can be done with very little cash. I don't think there are any special specs you need to look for in a geared bike to convert.

    Take the shifters off. Take the front derailleur off. Take off the small and large chainrings, assuming you want to go with a 32x? gearing. For commuting, you may want to consider a higher gearing. I used to run a 42x17 on mine. You'll need shorter bolts or spacers to run just the middle or large chainring, unless you go with a bashguard or leave the other ring on. Take the cassette off of the rear wheel and save the spacers and your cog of choice. You'll need some more spacers. Ask you LBS if they have any trashed cassettes you can have and harvest the spacers. I've also seen PVC pipe used for spacing. When putting the cog and spacers on your wheel, you'll need to play with it to get the chainline right. You want as straight of a line as possible from the rear cog to the front ring.

    The biggest consideration in converting a geared bike is chain tension. One dirtbag way is to use the rear derailleur. You can fix it in place either by adjusting the limit screws or with a short piece of shifter cable. There are write-ups all over the web on how to do it, so I won't get into it here.

    The conversion gets easier the more money you spend. There's more good advice on this forum and over at MTBR, just do a search on conversion, tensioner, etc.
     
    #2 -   Dec 2, 2005
  3. lux

    lux Monkey

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    #3 -   Dec 2, 2005
  4. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    #4 -   Dec 2, 2005
  5. Angus

    Angus Jack Ass Pen Goo Win

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    I concur, if I was in your shooze I would be scouring ebay for a cheap second SS, you should be able to find some winter deals, my first SS was a KHS Solo-One it was inexpensive($500 new) and a blast to ride. so good value can be found. Good luck
     
    #5 -   Dec 2, 2005
  6. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    Yeah I really think you're better off going that route, mainly because you'll get an SS-specific frame and group of parts, and you're more likely to get disc brakes (or at least compatibility) than if you get an old bike (like the Cannondale).
     
    #6 -   Dec 2, 2005
  7. macko

    macko Turbo Monkey

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    That is a good point, a built up SS with disc brakes for $500 is not bad at all! ****, my "real" mtb bike doesn't even have disc brakes! :eek:

    The other line I'm considering is "obtaining" an old hardtail from a buddy of mine or basically collects old bikes from people. I think half the fun of riding an SS would be knowing I made it. We'll see.

    Anyways, thanks all for the helpful info and links!
     
    #7 -   Dec 3, 2005
  8. lux

    lux Monkey

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    There you go, baby.

    I've built three so far. Here's my latest (and cheapest build so far).

     
    #8 -   Dec 3, 2005
  9. Bicyclist

    Bicyclist Turbo Monkey

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    If you go the conversion route, there are a few things you don't want:
    -Chainrings that can't be easily removed (old XTR style)
    -Freewheel rear hubs
     
    #9 -   Dec 3, 2005
  10. macko

    macko Turbo Monkey

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    I may be getting an old '96 (or so) Diamondback Outlook to use for this project. I'll probably keep her rigid for a while but in time I think a vintage Rock Shox swap may be in order..

    The stem/headset is one of these crafty jobs:


    Not sure of any specific sizing yet, but I would assume that a new headset and stem would be needed (or at least wanted). Easy conversion?
     
  11. lux

    lux Monkey

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    With that fork/headset/stem combo, you're stuck -- the steerer is already cut to fit the application. Appears to be 1-1/8" threaded, which is good. You may replace the fork, install a threadless headset and stem and you're good to go.
     
  12. Angus

    Angus Jack Ass Pen Goo Win

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    Nice bike! but what really caught my eye is the older Trek Roadie, what year and model? I have been on this steel Trek jones lately...
     
  13. BikeGeek

    BikeGeek BrewMonkey

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    I used to own an outlook of that vintage. The fork is 1" threaded, not 1 1/8", the frame is not corrected for suspension, and the frame weighs a ton (high-tensile steel). I used it as a commuter for years, but it just didn't hold up to offroad use.
     
  14. lux

    lux Monkey

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    Not sure of the year. It's a 560 that I built up fixie. Fun and I'm not an art-school denizen, either. I used to ride a track bike back in the 80's to train for racing.
     
  15. lux

    lux Monkey

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    Well, there you go. If you do wanna go that route (I'd look elsewhere, if possible), I have an old Z2 with a 1" threaded steerer.
     
  16. macko

    macko Turbo Monkey

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    Yeah, looks like I've got some decision making to do. Hurmmmm...
     
  17. BarbaRosa

    BarbaRosa Monkey

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    good links on here.. i have not been able to find parts for my 1988 stumpjumper comp that i love and cherish... so thinking it is time to singlespeed it.... been a while since i posted anything here... ha ha justin das red beard
     
  18. BarbaRosa

    BarbaRosa Monkey

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    HEY! ..... i had over a thousand posts.. WTF happened? have i been gone too long?
     
  19. BikeGeek

    BikeGeek BrewMonkey

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    Server purge...noob. :p
     
  20. BarbaRosa

    BarbaRosa Monkey

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    well that figures... i used to be old guard, new my tech new my specs, now i want to bleed my hayes and rebuild my shermans and i am realizing none of my old guard tools fit, my motorcycle gnosis doesn't apply and
     
  21. robdamanii

    robdamanii OMG! <3 Tom Brady!

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    Well, if you're looking for a dedicated SS, check out ebay. I know there are a few Konas up there now (I watch Kona frequently) and a few frames. I'm sure you can find most of the parts you need online for less than 500 bucks.
     
  22. Angus

    Angus Jack Ass Pen Goo Win

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    You like kona's? I am building up another bike this year, and the Kona 2*9 unit is in the running.

    anything that makes Kona better other than a cool name and cool graphics?
     
  23. BarbaRosa

    BarbaRosa Monkey

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    any one seen a 1988 stumpjumper 17.5" frame made into a single speeder?....