Building my first bike - please help!

leperisland Posts: 28
edited February 2008 in Road beginners
Firstly, I am looking for a very lightweight single-gear frame. I can't afford carbon or anything like that. Can anyone recommend any lightweight gems out there that I could look for on eBay or wherever. i notice weight isn't usually listed. Also I am only 5'4 - would I be right in thinking I am looking for around 19" 50cm ? That is center to top yeah? My inside leg is 30" 76cm

Edit: I am pretty clumsy so it needs to be tough too :D

Many thanks,



  • Bronzie
    Bronzie Posts: 4,927
    50cm sounds about right for your inside leg measurement. Also consider the top tube length, as it's common for women to ride frames with shorter top tubes as their legs tend to be longer than their torsos in comparison to men.

    There are no doubt some gems on Ebay, surrounded by a lot of dross however. You need to make sure you ask the seller pertinent questions (including weight if that's an issue) before bidding.

    Also consider going to some local cycle jumbles as a lot of 2nd hand frames can be found there and you have the opportunity to inspect (and feel the weight) first hand. Take someone with you who knows about bikes if you are unsure.

    Be aware that very lightweight frames can be made of very thin tubes that are not up to heavy handling, so you are maybe looking for 2 things that are incompatible.
  • Thanks!

    Does anyone have any recommendations for makes & model numbers to look out for? Looking for something quite retro with thin tubes
  • Zendog1
    Zendog1 Posts: 816
    I asume from the "thin tube" comment you are looking for a steel frame - yes?

    One good indicator of quality is the type of steel used in the tubes. Anyhting made from "Reynolds 531" and preferably described as "double butted" will be good a good bet - assuming it's genuine of course. You could try a search on e Bay for Reynolds 531 to see the sort of thing on offer.
  • meagain
    meagain Posts: 2,331
    Wheel size?
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • I don't really know what wheel size I want. i want the bike to be smaller than a normal bike overall - like me!
  • meagain
    meagain Posts: 2,331
    Assuming horizontal drop outs, something like this on th'bay


    would make a decent single speed (or fixed) for next to nothing!

    Usual disclaomer; not mine, no interest.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • Hi Leperisland,

    Nothing to do with your original question, but I have to know...Does your name refer to Spinalonga off the coast of Crete? It'd be a big coincidence if not!
  • Cheap single speed frames here;
  • geoff_ss
    geoff_ss Posts: 1,201
    You're only an 1" shorter than my wife and she rides a fairly standard, though appropriately sized, bike with 700c wheels so you're not really so small as to need to take extra special measures. If you're like her you may need a shorter extension and /or top tube to allow for your relatively shorter back. I have the opposite problem - long back and shortish legs.

    A much shorter friend had a road bike built for her by Mercians and I think she had 26" wheels with narrow rims. It must suit her because she managed a PBP on it.

    Old cyclists never die; they just fit smaller chainrings ... and pedal faster
  • Here's a link to some pretty darn cheap single speed bikes: US$150

    I'd seriously consider getting 650c wheels though, not 700c. Less risk of your feet hitting the front wheel whenever you steer the bike! :roll:

    I think 50cm sounds about right too.
  • You'll find a lot of information on singlespeed bikes at There are also a lot of frames that come up for sale regularly there. I ride a fixed Fuji Track which is available at a good price and can take a freewheel on the back. You just have to budget for a front brake if you're riding it fixed and a rear if you're riding it singlespeed.

    Bob Jackson make good frames and have that old school look you're after.

  • For a complete bike look for a Fuji