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Bike for birthday present?

This topic contains 25 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Marko82 1 yr, 2 mos.

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nutmeg3711

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May 28 2013 at 10:34pm #

Hi,
I’m brand-new to the website and someone who knows next to nothing about bikes…except that I really want to buy my husband a freewheel single speed bike for his 40th b-day and would like to motivate myself to start riding my own bike.

My idea for the gift was to buy a bike frame (I’ve heard great things about Kraynick’s) and then buy a gift certificate for the rest. But I’m completely unsure what kind of frame I’ll need and where’s a good place to get the gift certificate from and for how much.

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!
Margaret


Vannevar

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May 28 2013 at 11:02pm #

Please tell your husband that he married really well. Seriously.

Is there a Kraynick’s gift certificate and then he can choose it all? And then later on, whatever he doesn’t like is his own fault? Because I don’t know about you, but for me gift giving in relationships is all about guilt avoidance.

Then, my other idea is: it’s a perfect time to start him off with a relationshop with his Local Bike Shop (LBS). Not a chain store, not a website, but a local place that he can walk into and they recognize him and you as customers and they know you.

So, what local bike shop are you close to, maybe that’s where the gift certificate comes from?
Kraynicks
Ambridge Bike Shop (my personal fave)
Scholl’s
Big Bang
Thick
Love Bikes
Dirty Harry’s

Others here will know more about other LBS’.


StuInMcCandless

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May 29 2013 at 5:09am #

I live north, so am partial to Scholl’s in West View. I’ve also gotten to know the crew at Thick (South Side) pretty well. I never buy stuff at a chain store if I can help it. Sure, you save a buck at K-Mart or whatever, but I’ll gladly pay the extra buck when the guy/gal behind the counter says something like “Is this for your Surly or your Raleigh?” and then goes and gets the part you need.

I didn’t see FreeRide mentioned. Since you were talking about building up from a frame, you and he should at least be familiar with that wonderful resource, particularly the classes.


Drewbacca

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May 29 2013 at 8:15am #

In regards to the frame, what’s your budget (for the frame only)? A good start is determining if you are buying something used or new… There are also common sizes and not-so-common sizes; how tall is he?


unicyclemike

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May 29 2013 at 8:58am #

Don’t be fooled into thinking you are going to save money by building up a bike from the frame up. It can be a lot of fun and you can build up the bike of your dreams, but unless you already have parts and tools it tends to be much more $$$ than purchasing a complete bike.

Before you go out and buy a frame it might be worth checking out your local bike shop. You can find a list of shops at http://bike-pgh.org/shops/

Tell them what you are interested in buying and what kind of riding your husband wants to do. They should be able to help you out to point you in the right direction.


Marko82

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May 29 2013 at 9:11am #

What a great gift idea! I’m not as knowledgably as others are on hear, so I can’t really help with a frame suggestion, but I think some background on your husband would help.

Does he prefer older, more classic and refined stuff; or does he like the newest and most high-tech?

Is he the type who will spend hours looking through a few parts bins looking for just the right bolt; or is he content on going to the hardware store and picking up something that’s merely just the right size?

I think the answer to those two questions will peg him into the right type of neurosis needed to build the proper project.


nutmeg3711

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May 29 2013 at 2:35pm #

Wow, I’m totally floored by all of the kind responses. As for buying a whole bike vs. the frame, he’s an engineer and loves to build things so I figured he would enjoy building it himself. He’s spent years on his mountain bike–buying special parts, painting, etc. so I figured this could be another project for him. In terms of his biking personality, I’d say he’s definitely the type who will spend hours looking through a few parts bins looking for just the right bolt. I’m less sure of the classic & refined vs. high-tech…a few years ago, I would’ve said high-tech, but I thought the desire for a single speed bike showed a sign of wanting to go a bit more refined. Ideally, the bike would be used a couple of days a week in nice weather to get to & from work (~5 miles round trip).


nutmeg3711

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May 29 2013 at 2:38pm #

Drewbacca wrote:In regards to the frame, what’s your budget (for the frame only)? A good start is determining if you are buying something used or new… There are also common sizes and not-so-common sizes; how tall is he

The budget and size are two of the things that I’m not clear on. He’s 6′ 3″ so on the tall side. My brother recommended measuring the inseam of his pants to take to the bike shop. As for budget, I’d like to spend $200-$250 total for the frame & gift certificate. If it helps, I live on the east side of town so I’m very close to the bike shops in Squirrel Hill (doubt they’re independent) and not a far drive from Kraynick’s (which I want to visit this week).


cburch

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May 29 2013 at 6:16pm #

Probikes and biketek are independent shops, small chains but entirely local and have been around forever. That said, neither one deals with used stock.

On your budget, something complete and used from thick, parts from kraynick or a freeride build-your-own are probably your best bets. Even with used stock, $250 won’t go far on frame and parts.


rachel_ding

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May 29 2013 at 7:20pm #

Good advice on here so far, and I agree with cburch that $250 won’t go very far on a frame, parts and wheels. I mention wheels separately because they are a big cost unless you find some used ones that are the right fit.

I built a Surly Long Haul Trucker from scratch, but I mainly did it that way (as opposed to buying the complete bike) because at the time I had a bunch of used parts from my own and my partner’s past bikes, an existing wheelset and, like your husband, a desire to learn (which rules)! But, frame cost aside, I definitely spent more than $250 on the parts I didn’t already have. However, with a single-speed he won’t need to buy a derailleur, shifters, etc. like I had to… so that is good!

Like others said, I would go to a bike shop and tell them about your project to get some more insight into what type of frame would be appropriate. I’m partial to Thick bikes on the South Side because they have a lot of good stuff and have respect for people who like doing things themselves.


Drewbacca

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May 29 2013 at 11:29pm #

Fit is a funny thing… inseam only tells half the story, but, it will help paint a fuller picture. You’d be surprised what sort of crazy details come into play. I’m 5’9″ but I might as well be 5’8″ when it comes to bike measurements because one of those inches comes from my neck/skull. The frame size itself isn’t super important because it can vary widely between manufacturers. If he has another bike laying around that he is already comfortable on, we can help you measure the necessary dimensions.

The inseam of his pants isn’t an exact equivalent to what size bicycle he would fit, but it’s a start. It might actually work, IF, the inseam of his pants is accurate… add to that the gap between the cuff and the floor when he’s wearing shoes and you’ll start to be in the ball park (but still not exact).

$250 is going to be a challenge… one reason for that is because “fixies” have been in fashion the last few years and lots of new-to-cycling 20somethings have been buying them up and shrinking the available supply.

How long until his birthday? I’ll start keeping an eye out for potential frames on CL but it’s a longshot. The real key is to get an idea what a frame in his size would look like, visually, based on the headtube length. Try to be very proactive and go to a lot of garage/yard sales… that’s where you’ll find the best deal. I saw a good potential conversion recently (and old Schwinn) that I’m kicking myself for not picking up when I saw it go out with the trash (I didn’t have room in the car at the time, but I should have gone back). With your budget, finding what someone has cast aside is the best bet.


StuInMcCandless

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May 30 2013 at 5:32am #

I have a semi-working old 10-speed you can have. In the last week I used it, I put 60 miles on it. Then I broke a wheel (full back story in this old post) and had to put one on in a hurry, and ran into a problem with the rear cassette. While it’s been sitting there, I’ve since bought a new bike, so have no impetus to fix it. I myself got it for nothing, and still have the old cassette if you want to figure out how to swap the old cassette onto the new wheel. I don’t have the proper tools.


JaySherman5000

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May 30 2013 at 8:51am #

@nutmeg3711:

At the risk of making a shameless plug, I recommend starting your frame search at Free Ride. We have an assortment of frames hanging from the rafters. If you can find one that fits, it’ll likely be cheap. Then you can focus the rest of your budget on parts. And all of our used bikes and bike parts can be paid for with volunteer hours, with a few exceptions.


nutmeg3711

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May 30 2013 at 11:53am #

JaySherman5000 wrote:@nutmeg3711:

At the risk of making a shameless plug, I recommend starting your frame search at Free Ride.

I’m all for the shameless plug and will definitely check it out. Thanks!


nutmeg3711

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May 30 2013 at 11:57am #

StuInMcCandless wrote:I have a semi-working old 10-speed you can have. In the last week I used it, I put 60 miles on it. Then I broke a wheel (full back story in this old post) and had to put one on in a hurry, and ran into a problem with the rear cassette. While it’s been sitting there, I’ve since bought a new bike, so have no impetus to fix it. I myself got it for nothing, and still have the old cassette if you want to figure out how to swap the old cassette onto the new wheel. I don’t have the proper tools.

Thank you so much for the offer, but from what I’ve read it sounds like it would be harder to convert a 10-speed to a single speed. Am I right?


Drewbacca

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May 30 2013 at 12:19pm #

Know anyone in Philly? http://philadelphia.craigslist.org/bik/3834940758.html

10speeds aren’t any more difficult to convert to single speed than any other speed. What is important is the shape of the dropout, the more horizontal the better. The CL find I just posted is a prime example of the dropouts you are looking for.

What you are likely referring to is the O.L.D. or the distance between the two dropouts. 120mm is the size on many old steel bikes and is still used on modern track bikes… thus, many wheels built for fixed/single-speed which are primarily built for track bikes will be the 120mm O.L.D.

Any modern 10 speed will have a 130mm O.L.D. However, most companies make single speed hubs/wheels that will work in both the 120mm and 130mm size.

You may find a six or seven speed bike frame with 126mm O.L.D but that isn’t a huge concern since a steel frame has enough give to allow the use of a 130mm hub.

Oh… and there is some confusion that you may encounter while looking at bikes. “10 speed” can mean one of two things… In the modern sense, a 10 speed is any bike that has ten gears on the back wheel (regardless of the front). So, a “ten speed” on a modern bike can mean a 10 speed, 20 speed, or a 30 speed in reality. To be more technically correct, a modern bike should be referred to as a ten-speed-cassette.

An old ten speed such as Stu’s is an actual ten speed… five gears in the back and two gears in the front which allows for ten different combinations. Stu’s ten speed would be an ideal spacing for a singlespeed conversion so long as the drop outs are horizontal (which I assume that they are).


Drewbacca

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May 30 2013 at 2:32pm #

Here’s a good one in Cleveland for a taller rider… http://cleveland.craigslist.org/bik/3803371093.html
Note how tall the headtube is (the handlebars are pointing at it). That’s about what you’d expect for a 6’3″ man.


nutmeg3711

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May 30 2013 at 3:17pm #

Drewbacca wrote:Here’s a good one in Cleveland for a taller rider… http://cleveland.craigslist.org/bik/3803371093.html

Thanks! Not to sound stupid, but are there any more questions that I should ask before committing to a bike in Cleveland?


Drewbacca

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May 30 2013 at 5:45pm #

Before you pull the trigger on anything, check the following:

Frame is built for a taller man (tall head tube) but not too tall (this is where that inseam measurement comes in, since you don’t want the family jewels crushed by the top-tube. The other issue of concern is reach (are his arms proportional to his torso in length?) This is wear the ability to measure a bike he is already comfortable on can be handy. If you can measure a current bike from the front tip of the saddle to the handlebars, that will help identify if a frame is too big or too small lengthwise.

The other big one, as already mentioned is the horizontal drop outs which are ideal for a singlespeed set up.

The next concern is rust and/or stuck parts. Have the seller pull the handlebars and quill stem out to show that they are not seized. Inspect the exposed tubing for anything other than light surface rust. Also have the seller remove the seat tube to show that has not seized and again inspect for heavy rust (very light rust can be cleaned up, but it shouldn’t be flaking and/or pitted).

Inspect the frame for dents/dings/cracks/etc. If it looks unsafe, trust your gut. If minor, use that to haggle price.

Look at the whole package and see what you are getting. If the parts are rusting or otherwise don’t seem to function well, use that to haggle the price down. Granted, they will be stripped off anyways for a single-speed but that shouldn’t matter in the transaction.

Make sure that the wheels are solid and rust free. If you squeeze any two parallel spokes, they should feel like they are the same tension. Flip the bike upside down so that the saddle and handlebars are holding it up. Spin the wheel around and check each pair of spokes for any excessive looseness relative to each other (this is the quick way to find broken spokes or other problems). While you are spinning the wheel, note if the rim rubs against the brake to determine the trueness of the wheel.

The wheel thing isn’t that important since your husband would likely put on a new matched set that is built around a single speed hub… but it still gives you an idea of how well the bike has been taken care of and it is a negotiating point if any serious problems are discovered. On that Schwinn, which looks to be from around 1989 or so I’d expect some light rust where the spoke meets the rim as I’ve seen that before (the part is called an eyelet).

From what I can tell, the price is right. TruTemper is a good grade of steel made in the US.

I can’t think of anything else, but give it a few hours to see if anyone else weighs in. I don’t ride a bicycle that big so I’m not the best judge of fit. Maybe someone who is 6’3″ will weigh in… if not, it wouldn’t hurt to talk to the seller on the phone. Also, stop by FreeRide and see what they have laying around before you commit to a drive.


Drewbacca

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May 30 2013 at 5:53pm #

Also, if you are curious where I’m finding this stuff…

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/561211-eBay-CraigsList-finds-quot-Are-you-looking-for-one-of-these!-quot-Part-II/page740


Marko82

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May 31 2013 at 4:30pm #

Pittsburgh 63cm

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/3831105505.html

and 25 inch?

http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/bik/3840050261.html


Drewbacca

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May 31 2013 at 9:54pm #

Above budget and too far away… but wow, what a beauty!
http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3833455966.html

I think I’m just a sucker for purple…

*thumbs up* to Marko for finding some local bikes. You know, it also wouldn’t hurt to put a WTB up on CL.


nutmeg3711

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Jun 1 2013 at 1:26pm #

While I really appreciate all of the information, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I went to Kraynick’s yesterday with my attempt at measurements and basically was told that I don’t want to buy a bike frame for my husband, that I should let him pick it out.

I’ve also been looking at the Craigslist bikes but some are already sold and the others I’m just not sure about.

So I think that I’m just going to go for a hefty gift certificate to get him started and need to settle on a bike store. There’s two bike stores in Squirrel Hill close to our house–Pro Bikes Biketek–any preferences? I know that my husband has referred to one as the “good” store b/c it has better & less pushy service, but I don’t know which is which.

Thanks so much to everyone for the help!


cburch

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Jun 1 2013 at 2:52pm #

Neither one of those stores carries used anything but given the choice between just those shops I’d go with pro bikes.


nutmeg3711

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Jun 1 2013 at 4:14pm #

cburch wrote:Neither one of those stores carries used anything but given the choice between just those shops I’d go with pro bikes.

I didn’t think places that sell used bikes would have gift certificates. Does anyone know of any place? Preferably on the east side of town? Thanks!


Marko82

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Jun 1 2013 at 4:20pm #

I was over at the Bicycle Museum on the northside earlier today. They are having a swap meet there tomorrow (Sunday) and should have quite a few things to look through. The owner, Craig, said he also has quite a few old frames sitting around that are not restored yet & they are for sale. If you’ve never been there it’s a pretty amazing place – he has several thousand bikes.

http://bicycleheaven.org/

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