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erniefernandez's avatar

How can I build a bike very cheaply from parts? (including how-to sources and important details)

Asked by erniefernandez (556points) July 29th, 2009

I want to build a bike, probably a fixie since I never used the gears on my bike before and I imagine it would be a simpler mechanism, but I want it to be very cheap.

I am willing to do work and buy parts but past experiences have taught me that trying to fix something with parts can sometimes cost as much as a new, finished product. My goal is $50, $75 max, so a solid, simple bike.

What resources, like sites or books, will help? Also, whats a good place to find bike scrap?

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3 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Where I live there is a bike cooperative that teaches adults and kids how to build and maintain bikes. They have a stockpile of used parts that you make your bike from.

Here’s a list of bicycle instructors in Florida. You might also find more information by talking to people in the Miami chapter of Critical Mass. My local organization is registering folks for a class about converting a geared bike to a fixie, but that’s in Philly.

There’s a ride in Miami tonight if you can get there. Where: Omni Metromover Station – 1501 Biscayne Blvd. When: July 29th, 7:00pm. There’s another ride on July 31st. Anyway, that should get you started.

jaytkay's avatar

AASHTA (As Always Sheldon Has the Answer)

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Start looking around your neighborhood on trash day. Better yet, go to an upscale neighborhood and start looking around for bikes on trash day or the night before, when people are likely to set them out by the curb. You can often find bikes that are easily repairable – or even bikes with nothing wrong but flat tires – that people are throwing out because they don’t use them. I saw a guy around the corner from me throwing out 3 bikes just last week. You have to get there ahead of the professional trash pickers, though.

It’s not hard to convert a bike to a fixie. Just remove the derailleurs, the outside chainring, and the freewheel, and get a fixed cog. Tensioning the chain is the only problem; you may luck out and not need a chain tensioner, but the dropouts on multi-speed bikes don’t allow for much adjustment.

For $50 to $75, you are not going to get much.

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