Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Introducing Katie's Bike!

Just cause I don't post much doesn't mean I'm not busy building bikes. My friend Katie needed a bike. She was pretty jealous of the Bluebird, as she should be. So I said, what the hell, I'll put together a little something for you. This one I tried to do on the cheap. But that still means $500. But that's half the price of the Bluebird. I reused as many parts as I could. Not most. But I had cranks and chainrings and handlebars and brakes and a front wheel and a rear hub. All free! Well, free for Katie. I don't think anybody gave them to me. But I'm happy to put them to good use. And the frame was a steal on e-bay: $60 for a nice frame including headset, bottom bracket, and rear brakes.

So why can't a build a bike for less $500? Mostly the wheels. I won't chintz on them. Cheap wheels will give you a biketime of problems. And who’s going to be fixing my friends' bikes? Me, of course. So better they spend money and I make a good bike and have fewer hassle in the future. So even with a spare wheel and a hub laying around, the wheels still cost $210. The rear rim and spokes cost $62, the tires costs $90 for the pair, and fenders cost $45. That’s $220 right there. Add $70 for new derailleur and $25 for shifters and Bob’s your uncle.

I'm sold on expensive tires. Cheap tires get flats. So do old tires. And both can be dangerous, if they slip and fall when you need them most. Ultimately your life does depend on where rubber meets road. But it's the no-flat thing that sold me.

I accidentally bought $50 tires for my Bianchi last Spring. I thought it was $50 for the pair, but it wasn’t. So then I had to spend another $50 to complete the set. (I just found the same tires for $40 each when looking for Katie’s tires. I got two spare for me. But they’re still not cheap.)

Before I put on the expensive tires, my tires cost about half as much: $50 for the pair. I was getting flats about once a month. New York streets are rough. Lots of glass. Flats suck. Since I put on the expensive Continental tires in February of 2004, it’s been 16 months without a flat. They paid for themselves in saved tubes alone! And saved hassle? Priceless. I’m sold.

I didn’t take pictures of building Katie’s bike. We’ve been (slowly) working on it together for a little while. It’s pretty much done now, except for a seat post and seat. If only we had a good name.

I found that (yet) another bike can be kept in this nook in the bathroom. I’m pretty sure I have more bikes per square foot of living space than do most people.

Here are three of my bikes. In order: Katie's, the Screamin' Salmon, and my Bianchi. If I ever need a flag, I think I'll use these three colors. Not shown are the two outside and the folding bike in the closet.