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Old 05-28-19, 08:06 AM
Thrifty Bill
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Mountains of Western NC
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Bikes: 86 Katakura Silk, 87 Prologue X2, 88 Cimarron LE, 1975 Sekai 4000 Professional, 73 Paramount, plus more

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Originally Posted by cook.gwc View Post
I honestly think a frankenbike is pretty cool. I connected with the trek guy and asked him about potential problems and he said it needs a new front brake cable (not bad), but he also said "you can ride problem...". Kind of a weird way to phrase it, should that be cause for concern? I don't mind getting maybe a new wheel or something (I'm sure I'll be able to source one cheap from a friend) but what would be the most concerning issue in your opinion? Obviously damage to the frame would be a deal breaker, but are there any parts that are a pain to replace otherwise? Also, not concerned with the downtube shifters, I have a buddy who has some extra indexed bar end shifters and he's happy to help me install them.
If it was an easy fix, the guy would have fixed it. And no, a bike without a front brake is not safe to ride, "no problem". The front brake provides close to 90% of your braking. So if it might take 50 feet to stop, it could take you 500 feet to stop. Since you are looking for a commuter, STOPPING is the most important aspect!

Anyone who presents a bike in that manner = run away, as fast as you can. He is looking for a sucker. Don't be one.

An experienced bike seller surely knows how to fix a brake. Not fixed = more complicated.

We have a seller in my area like this, I do occasionally buy bikes from him. But I can do all the repairs myself, I have piles of parts, I know values well (better than he does). So sometimes he will have a diamond in the rough. I try to get a bike before he "works" on them, as his work is terrible. Stuck seat posts and stems, rusty cables, wonky wheels, those are normal for the guy in my area.

Frankenbike might seem "cool" but more likely its a mess. In the vintage era, not all the brands were compatible with each other. As a minimum, both derailleurs and shift levers need to be the same brand.

Trust the experienced, knowledgeable, local guy (Steve above).

And IMHO, no better short distance commuter than the good old rigid frame MTB. Just aim high, get a good one. The difference in used pricing between a MTB that originally sold for $900 and one that originally sold for $250 is often $25 or less. Better MTBs will have better wheels, better components, better frame, better everything.

Last edited by wrk101; 05-28-19 at 08:12 AM.
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