The beginning: I purchased this bike from the local Walmart for a mere $100. Originally, it had a black frame, yellow handlebars, a red wheel with a yellow tire, and . . . wait for it . . . a yellow wheel with a red tire! Those folks at Walmart sure do know how to make a bike fun. Even more exciting, the bike came with a plastic chain guard that was attached to the bike by a steel tab that was welded just above the right side of the bottom bracket. In short, this bike was fifty shades of UGLY!
|One word: Quirky|
Painting: Despite my efforts to get some community input into the color of my bike, I wound up choosing a yellow and black scheme for the bike. In truth, the colors are not very flashy, but I really didn't want something that stood out (If that was the case, I would have kept the original color scheme). I settled on a pale yellow hue, that contrasted nicely with the black handlebars, wheels, and tires on the bike. I finished it with a clear coat to protect the new paint job.
Upgraded parts: I made a few minor upgrades to the bike as well. First, I added a set of bullhorn handlebars to replace the standard bars that came with the bike. When these arrived, I discovered that the original stem would not work, but I was able to find a replacement at a fairly low cost. I also invested in a new set of black tires to replace the red/yellow scheme from the bike. Finally I wound up buying a new chain, a rear tube, and a new brake lever since I jacked those up when putting the bike.
|The finished bike|
Total cost (Bike, parts, steel wool and paints, etc): approximately $275.00
Total hours spent: approximately 12 hours
1) This is probably not the cheapest, nor the best way to get a fixie bike. There are plenty of outfits online that will sell you a customized fixie bike for about the same out of money that I wound up spending. You might spend just a little more, but you will likely get a better bike with nicer components. If your desire is just to have a cool fixie to ride around, then purchasing a "turnkey" bike is probably the way to go. If however, you are more of a "hobbyist" looking for something to do, and you don't care if the final product is perfect, then doing this as a project is a good way to go. Because the costs were so low, I didn't have to worry about jacking the bike up or breaking any of the parts. And even if I did, I was certain that I could replace them at a low cost, and any significant damage to the bike, wouldn't leave me out several hundred dollars. Plus, I now get to bask in that sense of pride and accomplishment that only comes from "doing it yourself."
Zinn and the art of Road Bike Maintenance and this was my "go to" resource when taking the bike apart, and putting it back together. This was especially helpful when taking the cranks off of the bike, as I don't know that I'd ever understood how to do that without reading something. I also watched a few "You-Tube" videos, and even used an app on my Smartphone to better understand how the bike worked. Reading through some bike forums was another way to pick up some ideas about working on bikes from others.
3) Sanding and painting a bike only looks fun. In truth, sanding the bike down, applying a couple of primer coats, painting the bike, and then applying additional clear coat, was a hassle. I spent many hours in the garage going over the bike with a fresh coat of paint, only to find after it had dried, that there was still a patch here or there that had been missed.
So that was my fixie project, and I look forward to having a bike that I can take for short trips around town. I may add a rear rack for panniers or a plastic crate to make grocery shopping easier at some point, but for now, this bike is done!