Friday, January 20, 2012

Thruster Fixed Gear Bike (Walmart) Rebuilt and Upgraded for 200.00 Total Investment?

Hello and Welcome,
I am not a huge fan of Walmart. Or at least I like to think I am not. But after hearing from a friend that they had seen exercise bikes on display there. I thought to myself, what can it hurt to look? Well after not being able to find an exercise bike that I wanted, I decided to wander over to the bicycles... Just to get a look at the latest in Department Store bicycle offerings. I had no intentions of making a purchase. Then I spotted the last thing I ever expected to see, a single speed bike with a flip-flop hub. However the brakes looked really cheap as did the crank, seat-post, pedals, handlebars and grips. But the frame looked like it could get the job done. And the wheel-set looked entry-level. But they did spin fairly straight, well the rear one did anyway. I`m thinking, this could possibly work with a few improvements. Then I saw the price tag $99.00!!
Above: Oh God forgive me! I have succumb to temptation! ok seriously, I was doing the math in my head. How much did it cost me to build the Schwinn lugged frame fixed gear bike? How much will it cost me to make this thing reliable? Then I came up with the perfect excuse. It was as if the Devil himself were whispering in my ear. "You can make this a really cool bike for under 200.00 Then you can blog about it!" Well There you have it, that is how I came to purchase this department store fixed gear bike. I am reminded of a line from the movie Tombstone when Doc Holiday said "That's what I love about Wyatt. He can talk himself into anything."
Above: A shot of the rear hub and sturdy looking 1/8 bicycle chain. The rear rim is yellow with a red tire and the front red with a yellow tire. I would have preferred they both be the same. I decided to switch the tires so they match the rims. My hope was it would give it a taller look, and to a degree I think it did just that.
Above: A shot of the "cheesy looking" front side pull caliper brake. ˈCHēzē Adjective: cheap, unpleasant, or blatantly inauthentic. Yeah! that is the word I was looking for alright. I have some vintage alloy (side-pull) caliper and center-pull brakes in the shop. I think I can polish-up something that will get the job done and look good doing it. I will not be installing a rear brake. And the resin pedals are going to be replaced with Avenir ultralight pedals with old style clips and straps. I can just see me trying to perfect my skid with my feet sliding off the plastic pedals. Did you ever notice how many other names they have for plastic?
Above: The seat-post and clamp will be replaced. In fact I just received the "your order has been shipped" e mail this morning. I think I have spent about 75.00 or 80.00 so far. The only purchase left is the cork handlebar tape. Which I now need since I have decided to make a set of flop and chop bars for the fixie. So I should be right on target when finished.
Above: I stripped the bike down to the frame and upon closer inspection the crank and threaded headset were both set too tight. But what really bothered me was some of the bicycle grease. It looked like it had been scraped-up off a dirty floor. And there were little pieces of dirt or scrap from the manufacturing process. It appeared that nothing was cleaned-out before greasing.
Above: This photograph of grease wiped off the bottom bracket bearings was an after thought. This pic by no means shows the worst of it. The little bits of grit on this paper towel are barely visible in the photograph so I have marked them for you. Basically I needed to clean all the bearings, races and cups then I re-greased everything. And of course reset the bottom bracket to the proper tightness (or lack there of). The headset was the same story just clean everything off and re grease and reassemble to the proper setting (no play/no grind)

You have seen me do enough bottom brackets and headsets on here for a while. So let`s start with the front wheel axle (ABOVE) with the free bearings. The first thing I need to do is break this over tightened axle loose.

Above: Here I am loosening the front axle using two adjustable wrenches. Once the cone nut breaks loose only one side is going to be removed easily. But that is no problem. We only need one side to be loose to grease both sides. I will hold the bottom nut (tight side)so the axle does not spin as I and loosen the top side (by hand) to expose the bearings for greasing.
Above: At this point you want to keep the exposed bearings facing upwards. You do not want these all over the floor. You also want to keep the opposite side on a table or bench-top. You also do not want the axle sliding out of there. I greased these bearings in place, buy just putting a little grease on my finger tip and packing it into the bearings. I would only do it this way with a new bike.

Above: Here after greasing the bearings I am replacing the cone/nut by hand,leaving the lock-nut off for now.
Once I screw the cone into place (snug not tight) I just wipe-off the excess grease with a paper towel.


Above: Now I have flipped the wheel over and loosened (unscrewed) the top side which is now backed-off enough for me to wipe-clean and re-grease the bearings. I am careful not to back it off so far that the opposite side cone comes off the threaded axle. With a finger on the end of the axle, I can feel when I have backed the top side out to the max. I just stop when the bottom end is flush with the axle cone-nut.

Above: Once I have wiped and re-greased the bearings I can now screw it back down into place. As always not too tight (no play no grind) Afterwards I can flip the wheel over again and replace the (thin) lock nut on the opposite side. When replacing the lock-nut I can use a cone wrench to hold the adjustment on the cone while tightening the lock nut. I suspect this is where the factory screws up and the axles end up being set way too tight. Give it a spin when finished holding the axle at each end. If it feels too tight or too loose try again. Remember "No Grind and No Play" is what your looking for. Now I am ready to move on to the rear wheel bearings.
Above: Removing the fixed gear cog`s lock-ring using a Hozan Bicycle Bottom Bracket Tool. The lock-ring is reverse threaded. So turn it clock wise to loosen it.
Above: The fixed cog is normal threaded (righty tighty - lefty loosey.) So using an Avenir Chain-Whip crank it counter-clockwise to remove it.
Above: This is not how you would want to remove a freewheel unit normally. (single or multiple cog) But there are no slots for a single cog freewheel removal tool. So I will take it apart and remove it in pieces. If I do use a freewheel unit on the bike it will be a freewheel with slots for a removal tool. I`ll save these parts but I doubt I will ever use them.
Above: The remnants of the single freewheel unit. I`m not sure why it was made this way (no slots for a removal tool) Maybe they figured it being a 99 dollar bike, it would not last long enough to ever need a new single freewheel cog. Maybe someone can enlighten me about this design. I did not bother installing a freewheel unit on the other fixed gear bike I built. I do not plan on climbing any big hills on it anyway. It only bothers me because I think it is a stupid design. So lets move onto the rear axle bearings.
Above: I loosened the cone/nuts in the same way I did the fronts. Here I have added some fresh grease and I am ready to screw the cone back into position.
Above: I am now screwing the threaded cone back into position. Like on the front I will set aside the lock-nut for now. I am now ready to flip the wheel over and grease the bearings on the free-wheel side.
Above: Again just like the front axle I will back this side out while holding the bottom side of the axle. And I will be careful not to back it out too far. In this pic you can see I have already greased the bearings and am ready to close it back up.
Above: This pic really shows how the tight side is undisturbed. When I screw this back in I am actually turning the axle. And this side is being drawn back in by the other side being tightened back up. This is why I have set the lock nut (the thin nut)aside for now on the other end. Once it is all closed up again and not to tight or loose I will then thread the lock nut back into place. And I can hold the cone in the proper position by using a cone wrench to hold the cone from tightening while I tighten the lock nut. Again like the front you will need to check this for grind or play before installing the wheel on the bike.
Above: Here is the rear wheel back on the bike for testing, the fixed gear cog is working fine. I have temporally re-installed the original crank for testing. The new crank and post should arrive in a few days. I had already ordered grips before I decided to change the handlebars. I will be wrapping the new bars. But I`m sure I will use the grips on a future project.
Above: Here I have the wheels back on with the temporary crank. Lets move on to the handlebars.
Above: I have marked the spot where I want to make my cut and locked it into the vise for cutting. I am not cutting into the vise :) I had to let go of my hacksaw for a sec to take this pic.
Above: To get the bars cut evenly I use the first cut piece as a templet to mark the other side.
Above: These flop and chop handlebars are going to save me at least $20.00 That is about the least I could expect to pay for bullhorn pursuit style handlebars. And once they are all taped-up I think they will look pretty good too. I think I will mount this front brake lever differently so I can compare the two.(this one to the Schwinn fixie)
Above: I think this looks fine, but I think it will look better if I shorten-up the reach on the adjustable lever. I just need to remember to do this before I trim the cable.
Above: A hack saw can leave razor sharp edges and burs on the freshly cut surfaces. It is best to metal file these off right away. Not only can these sharp edges cut you, they can also cut into your handlebar tape.
My parts order has not arrived yet, So I`m going to close for now. I will get back to work on the Fixie as soon as the parts are delivered. Look for the "Thrasher Fixie Finished" post within a week. Until Next Time, Please Ride Safe and Remember to Always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE Cheers, Hugh

A sincere Thank You to those of you who have been using or just checking out "Hugh's Online Bike Shop". It is pretty well stocked now and it is getting a little more organized every day. If you have not visited it yet and would like to. The link is in the top right column just below the Followers. And the Amazon Search feature is still located at the bottom of the right column. And I am in the process of adding word links to the components, tools and supplies I use everyday. The word links like Hugh's Online Bike Shop are powered by amazon.com Using any of these feature will help support this blog. Thanks for your continued support.
Cheers, Hugh

62 comments:

  1. Fascinating!
    When we were on the bike tour this year, we ended up stopping in a "W" once in the wilds of Minnesota. Since we're bike nerds, we couldn't help but check out the bike section, and spotted the fixie you bought.

    Did you do a test ride before the rebuild, so you know how differently it feels after the rebuild?

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  2. Hey Adventure,
    First Thank You. Regrettably there was a "cold rain" the day I brought it home. Latter that day the rain turned to snow. And it has been winter ever since. The temp this morning is 9+ F (without the wind chill). It is probably better that I did not ride the bike. As all the bearings were poorly greased and set too tight. But I do agree, it would have been nice to compare the difference. Although I can say the headset feels much smoother as does the crank/bottom bracket. And the wheels spin smoother and straighter now as well. I can honestly say. Although I have not actually ridden the bike, the individual components feel much better after a little TLC.
    If I ever modify a new bike again I will make it a point to give it a good ride beforehand. I am amazed at how sometimes the obvious ideas can elude me.
    Cheers, Hugh

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  3. DUDE!!! your wife let you do this in the living room?? and use her serving bowl for holding the disassembled freewheel?

    It is coming together nicely though. With the red and yellow tires it seems like a Mickey-D's theme bike.

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  4. I also looked over this model at my local Walmart. I was surprised to see that its bottom bracket is all-metal construction, in contrast to the new 2012 Motobecane Mirage (steel frame) that uses a synthetic polymer (resin) for part of the bottom bracket design. That 2012 Motobecane is absolute junk, in my opinion. The frame welds on old Huffys were smoother, compared to the Motobecane.

    The condition of the bearings is typical of most mass-produced bicycles. My Fuji Pulsar also arrived with all bearings over-tightened, and with a scarcity of grease. When all that was corrected, everything moved as smooth as silk.

    For an exercise bike, Walmart was advertising a Velocity model (available online) for under $300. The seat has horizontal and vertical adjustment. I think its design is comparable to uprights costing twice as much. I would like to have one, but my decades-old Weslo is still working and, with a custom-made horizontal adjustment for the seat, I can configure the fit to match my road bike.

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  5. Interesting Post Hugh, I agree the wheels look better now that the rim tire combos are the same especially the red front wheel/tire with the red fork. I guess for $99 its tough to complain about over tightened and poorly greased bearings but it makes me wonder if for a $125 or $150 price point they could have set it up "right" in the first place. But I guess then I would not have this interesting blog piece to read ;-) looking forward to the finished product.

    Ryan

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  6. Hey John,
    No she did not :) that is our basement. And the bowel is actually a paper disposable. You may have noticed I cut the handlebars in the shop/garage. There are no photographs of me truing the wheels. Because I did that on the dining room table. I did however take care to protect the table. About the wheels, I agree. I wish they were both red with red hubs. I think with the right tires that would have given the bike a very retro look. But that would have taken the build into a whole different direction.
    Living room.... lol! She won`t even let me ride my Exerciser in the living room :)
    Cheers,Hugh

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  7. Hey Fuji Pulsar88
    I liked the modern MotoBecane I owned for a short time a few years ago. But they had not gotten quite that cheap at that time. I thought the shifters integrated into the brake levers were cool. But it was difficult(for me) to keep them adjusted. Given the choice I would prefer a vintage MotoBecane. The newer models just do not have the same style and class.
    I came real close to purchasing a new stationary trainer. But I decided to work on the old Schwinn instead. I`m glad I did. I think once I find the right saddle I`ll be all set for a few years. Heck I only paid 30 or 40 bucks for the old girl. You can`t beat that with a stick!
    Cheers, Hugh

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  8. Hey Ryan,
    Thanks, I think they look a little better this way too. And your right, for 99 bucks I guess one should expect to do a lot of tweaking. But if this re-build / upgrade works out the way I hope it will. I`ll have a pretty sweet little fixed gear bike for a still very affordable price.
    The parts order arrived today. But I have car trouble this weekend. But if I can get my wife`s car squared away tomorrow, I should be able to get back at the fixed gear Monday. I can`t wait to see it with the new crank on it. I think the new crank is going to bring the whole project together.
    Cheers, Hugh

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  9. Your post got me thinking about building up a single speed/fixie for $200 and with all the sales going on I did a quick check and for two bills I could get a frameset, headset, wheels and a bb....that's it. How does Wally World do it? Hmm not sure I want to know. Still its cool to follow what you are finding when you take the Thrasher apart.

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  10. Hey Ryan,
    That does not sound all that bad. Especially considering it is probably much better equipment.
    One thing you may want to consider is building a fixed gear bike with a 3/32 as opposed to a 1/8th chain. This will allow you to use a standard crank and chain off a typical ten-speed. Just make sure you order a cog that requires a 3/32 chain. This is how I intend to build my next fixed gear bike. If I am not mistaken (and I probably am) If you use a ten speed frame with horizontal drop-outs. All you would need to purchase special would be the rear track wheel, 3/32 cog and a lock-ring. I think everything else could be standard old ten speed stuff.
    You may want to do some research first about the safety issues (if any) using a 3/32 chain. If there is a strength issue, you could always include front "and rear" brakes. Maybe not a hard-core fixed gear set-up to some. But do you really care about that anyway? It would still ride like a fixed gear.
    About how they can sell them so cheap? I think we both already know the answer to that one. That is why I very rarely shop at a WM. I
    would rather shop at a store where I don`t feel guilty walking in the door.
    I really got caught-up in the "new fixed gear bike for cheap" idea. And I allowed myself
    to cross a line I would not normally cross.
    Cheers, Hugh

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  11. I thought about me -an approaching mid-century/Clydesdale/information worker- and the term hardcore fixed gear rider and burst out laughing!

    Don't beat yourself up for getting a deal at the W, you have a pretty good "Karmic bank" for all the restoring, reusing you've done and creating excellent affordable bikes to sent out into the world that might otherwise be in a landfill or collecting dust in a garage.

    I haven't decided if, eventually, I will build up from a purpose built single speed frame or do a 10 speed remake. First I need to clear 3 project bikes out of the queue ;-)

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  12. Hey Ryan,
    Someone once said to me (actually lots of people have said) Hugh, "Your only as old as you feel." My answer is always the same, "God I hope I`m not" Don`t worry about 50. I could still do push-ups standing on my head when I was 50! Ok maybe I was more like 45. The point being that You are plenty young enough to get into as good of shape as you want to.
    So go watch a Rocky movie. Then throw a 4ft log over your shoulders and run through the snow!(up hill) lol
    And Thanks for the comments. P.S. I am putting the finishing touches on the Fixie today and tomorrow. I think it`s going to look pretty cool. I should have it posted by the weekend.
    Cheers

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  13. If you want to build a sub-$200 lugged fixie, just buy a cheap Craigslist or yard sale ten-speed (they are still out there, if you are patient), and one of these bikes. Then, swap the fixie parts to the lugged frame...

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  14. Hey Jon,
    Thanks. But we already did something like that Oct 19th 2011 "Building Fixed Gear Bike # 1". And Finished Oct 24th 2011.
    This post is about buying a Department Store Fixie ($99.00) and seeing what could be done to improve and personalize it. And do it for less than 200.00 total. I haven`t done all the math yet. But it looks like upgrading the new fixie was actually cheaper than the one I built from a ten speed. However on the next one (conversion) I will go with a 3/32 cog which will allow me to re-cycle the crank. And possibly the chain as well. (if it is good quality and in good condition)
    I`m not here to tell anyone to "do it this way" or "do it that way". I am just trying to show different options.
    I hope this did not come across (reading) like I am angry or something, because I am not.
    But I am aware that I do sometimes come across like that. And I`m working on it.
    I would like your opinion on building a fixie that uses a 3/32 chain. I am wondering if there will be a chain or crank strength issue. I am considering installing a front and rear brake to compensate for the 3/32 chain.
    Please let me know your thoughts on this.
    Cheers, Hugh

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  15. Fascinating project, Hugh! Too bad Walmart doesn't offer a "premium" version of their better bikes along with a slightly higher price. Local wrenches could pick up a handful of boxed bikes and bring them back tweaked into something a little more realistic, like you are doing with this one. Turning a Trasher into a Thrasher.

    I buy Shimano fishing gear from Walmart. What if you could get higher end bike components there?

    I paid eight bucks for an inner tube at my LBS yesterday and smiled while I did it. I was smiling because I knew I wouldn't be back.

    Yet if I want to buy my stuff off the web, shipping costs make it just as bad. I guess what I am trying to say is that although Walmart is an Evil Corporate Behemoth that is killing the Mom & Pop Shop culture of our country, I would be happy to shop there if they would use their clout to stock quality products at low prices, instead of the questionable crap they insist on foisting on a gullible public.

    Whatever the case, I look forward to seeing and reading about the Thrasher. How would you market this bike? Set up a booth in the Walmart Parking lot? That would be cool.

    OK. Any more words and this will become a Blog Post. TJ

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  16. Hey TJ,
    I would not hold my breath waiting for WalMart to stock better quality fixed-gear (or otherwise) bikes. LTMS
    I too am (or was when I fished)a fan of the Shimano quick-fire or rapid-fire spinning reels. A great reel for a reasonable price!
    About ordering on-line. I try to place large orders that qualify for free shipping.
    Also if I place a second order within 24 hours I will contact Niagara Cycle (or whoever) and ask them to combine the two orders to save on shipping. Niagara Cycle just did that for me last week.
    I think I would market this bike saying something like "Built in China, Re-Built and Modified in the USA".
    Cheers, Hugh

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  17. Cousin, I am impressed with you!! Way to go!! Looking forward to seeing you in the summer! Carole

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  18. Thanks Carole,
    Being most of us (including me) are not going be able to make it to Finland. I was hoping we could all get together again this summer. Let me know if something comes up. And if at all possible, I`m there. Thanks again :)
    Cheers, Hugh

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  19. Hugh,

    I have built quite a few fixed gear bikes using 3/32" chains, even a couple of fixed mountain bikes. I never had any issues with breakage or excess wear with them.

    I understand that you are experimenting with upgrading this bike. I didn't mean to disparage that with my remarks about replacing the frame with a lugged one. I was really just making a comment on the fact that Wal-Mart can retail bikes for less than the wholesale cost of the parts. I find that odd...

    I've been out of the bike business for a few years, and I no longer have a "wholesale connection". So I kind of keep an eye out for alternative sources of parts for certain bikes.

    When I restored my Western Flyer (which I got for my 10th birthday in 1971), I was still working at a shop, yet it was cheaper to purchase a bike from Wal-Mart and use the parts off of it than it was to buy them from J&B Importers at wholesale!

    Anyway, nice project. I have thought of doing the same thing, but I need another like fixed gear like I need a hole in my head. I am glad to see someone take the reins on this.

    Jon

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  20. Hey John,
    Thanks for the info about the 3/32 chain and cog. I was really reluctant to try it without
    hearing some feed back. That should make for a very affordable build!
    About the other thing. Forget about it! My
    "condition" (for lack of a better word)really saps my energy sometimes. And when that happens
    I can get cranky. I really need rise above how I am feeling. Especially when I am responding to an e-mail or comment. So I hope I haven`t offended you (or anyone else). My sincerest apologies if I have.
    You were 10 in 1971? Did I read that right? I was in high-school and playing my first year midget hockey. (71-72 season) Damn I really am getting old! One of my team-mates (actually our Captain) from that year made it all the way to the Philadelphia Flyers farm club. He never made it to the "Big Show" but he came real close.
    About you building another fixed-gear bike. There is always room for one more :)
    Thanks again for the info about the 3/32 chain and cog. Cheers,Hugh

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  21. What type of bottom bracket tool did you use to get the bottom bracket out?

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  22. Hey Patrick,
    Good question. The thrasher has an old style bracket assembly (not a sealed unit) So all I needed for the bracket removal was a typical lock-ring tool and an adjustable wrench.
    For the crank itself I used a 14mm socket and a Sun-Lite crank puller.
    Cheers

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  23. Hey Hugh, I enjoyed your article. I've never owned a fixie before, mostly because my skills with building a bike are minimal. I also work two minimum wage jobs...so a $100 fixed gear bike was something I couldnt pass up. I was there to buy fishing gear and left with a new bike.
    Before I left the store with it, I knew it would need some work. So in that respect your article has been helpful. The first things to go are going to be the pedals and the brakes. I plan on getting the pedals you suggest, what size axel do I need? Also, what brand do you suggest for side pull caliper brakes? I certainly appreciate the help!

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  24. Hey Ran,
    They should be 9/16 size pedal posts. Be careful installing the pedals they should me marked R right and L left. The right and left side are (as if your sitting on the bike) Also both pedals thread-in turning the threaded post towards the front of the bike. So basically the left side pedal will be reversed threaded.
    As far as brakes go, I like Dia-Compe and Weinmann (salvaged and restored)
    Good Luck with your project.
    Cheers

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  25. Did you end up selling this? If so, how much was the listing price? It's awesome!

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  26. Hey Anonymous,
    If I remember correctly I sold the bike for 200.00 and lost about $9.00 on the deal.
    Cheers, Hugh

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  27. Hi. I'm planning on removing the freewheel off mine. How did you go about doing this?

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    Replies
    1. Hey Anonymous,
      I would not recommend taking yours off this way. Having said that, In a momentary lapse in "common sense" I took mine off in pieces using a spanner. There were bearings & little pieces everywhere.
      Not unlike a multiple sprocket free wheel it requires a special tool for removal. And I am sure each brand has there own tool. For a "one shot deal" it might be cheaper to have it removed at your local bike shop. If you take in "just the wheel" they should be able to remove it for five to ten dollars.
      They might even remove it for free.
      Sorry for the delay I have been having computer and power problems. Good Luck with you project.
      Cheers

      Delete
  28. thanks for this write up! i picked up the green/blue/yellow version of this same bike. the first thing i did was switch the tires to the matching rims also. while the rims were off i freed the BB, man were they TIGHT! i removed the chain guards, kick stand, front brake, and all stickers. i also added orange colony pedals, and a bar end mirror. i don't plan on riding it until this weekend so i will probably be tearing it down tomorrow to check the grease on the axles, crank, and head. for what i've spent so far, it's not THAT bad of a bike, i am happy with it

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    Replies
    1. Hey rsic
      That's awesome! Checking the tension on the crank set and headset is wise. And cleaning and re-greasing all the bearings is also a real good idea.
      I was not aware the bike was available in another color scheme. I will have to check that out. And you are correct, for the price it is not all "That Bad" of a bike.
      Cheers
      P.S. Sorry for the delay, we have been having storm related computer and power problems.

      Delete
    2. I just grabbed one of these(the Blk/R/Y model) at a nearby wally for $65!!! I plan on commuting to work (about 5 hilly miles one way) in a sketchy neighborhood, so the simplicity and pricepoint make this ride a dream come true!!! Your blog is going to be priceless when I get around to the few upgrades I want to tackle, Thanks!!
      About the colors: I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere else, but your (and my) version are the colors for Germany's Flag and national sports teams, rsic's version has Brazil's colors. Makes me wonder what other options they could release. Kmart has also had a version of the Thruster Fixie in "Miami Vice" colors: a white frame with pink and aqua decals and acc.

      Fritz in NC.

      Delete
  29. Hugh I love this bike it's just a fun cheap way to get attention. I would like to know what's the name of those cranks you used.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Anonymous,
      I used an "Origin 8" 1/8 single speed crank. I believe it was about a 46 tooth crank.
      The "Tech 9" is also about the same quality. I did not care for the PAKE and won`t be using it in the future.
      You may need to change your bracket spline. Check with your suppliers tech guy (or gal) to find out exactly what you need. Cheers

      P.S. Sorry for the delay. We have been having computer and power problems related to the storms /heat wave.

      Delete
  30. Inspired me to purchase the bike at wally world. I wanted to see if I liked biking enough to warrant getting a more expensive bike later. I got this one, purchased a new stem for $20, new drop bars for $25 and SRAM tape for about $15. Already have someone wanting to buy it for $200. Not bad for a little work. I like the bike a lot but if I sell this one off I will be doing the whole process over again with this bike next

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=15711162&findingMethod=rr

    See if I can't squeek $225 out of the guy I am selling it to then spend another 50-60 in drop bars for this new white bike. Probably cheaper if I went to a local bike shop instead of getting all parts on Amazon. Thanks again and if you want pics of my new drops hit me up at the email below

    frankaquatic@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Andrew,
      You can post a pic of the bike on the face book page if you like. I know I would like to see it. The link to the face book page is in the right column near the top. Thanks for the comment and Good Luck with your new fixed gear bike.
      Cheers

      I will be delete your comment on request as it does contain an e mail address.

      Sorry for the delay, I have been having computer and power problems related to the storms and heat wave.

      Delete
  31. where did you get the bar for the handle bars?..and thanks so much for the info..im going to try and do the same..a little new with bikes and bearings etc..THANKS

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  32. Hey Unknown,
    I just used salvaged "drop handlebars" I had laying around the shop. You might want to check your local bike shop for a used set. They usually refer to there slightly used stuff as "take offs". And there is always "e bay" and "Craig's list". Good Luck with your project.
    Cheers

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  33. I just got the fixie green and yellow, because my car blew up and wont be available for a while. Great blog!

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  34. Hey Nivek,
    Sorry to hear about you car, I hate it when that happens! Enjoy your new fixie and ride safe. And thank you for the kind words.
    Cheers, Hugh

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  35. Hi Hugh,

    I too bought this bike for the price. After adjusting everything and re-packing all the bearings I want to replace the bb, crankset and headset. Do you happen to know the size of the bb and headset I would need?

    Thanks,
    Kate

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    Replies
    1. Hey Kate,
      Very good question. Keep in mind there is a difference between bracket size and bracket spline (or axle) length. A good idea would be to pick out the single crank you want or first. The crank manufacturer should specify the spline length required. As far as the "bracket size" it should be 68mm. This can get a little complicated so you might want to order by phone if possible. This way you can talk to the tech support person who will make sure your crank and bracket are compatible. I strongly suggest you do this.
      As far as the stem size goes I really do not remember. I went through my bin of used stems and used one that fit. I sold the bike shortly after. Sorry I can not help you there. Good luck with your project.
      Cheers, Hugh

      Delete
  36. Awe man...I received one of these earlier this year as a gift (a belated Christmas gift from a relative that knew me to be "a bike guy",LOL,his heart was right anyways :p). I dug the frame too,but not being as mechanically inclined as you seem to be (I just found your blog,loving it so far :) ) upon seeing what were supposed to be brakes and that I couldn't easily swap out the rear cog (I'm more SS than fixie,and breifly considered it a run-about-towner SS) I returned it for full refund. Reading this makes me wanna give up a few magazine purchases,and drink more koolaid/less Mtn Dew this month and buy another :p

    The Disabled Cyclilst

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  37. did you take off the headset and bottom bracket completely, and how did you do it?

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  38. Hey a k rod,
    Near the top of the page in the right column (just below the followers) is the "Search This Blog" feature. Just enter "rebuild headset" and a list of related posts will appear. Do the same for "bottom bracket rebuild". I think you will find all the info (and then some) that you will need. Good Luck with your project and Happy Holidays. Hugh

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  39. my son bought this bike. as a Christmas present, I'd like to get him a few parts to improve the bike as you have. my daughter suggested new cranks and saddle, but I have no idea what to get...suggestions?

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    Replies
    1. Hey Anonymous.
      Your daughter has made two very good suggestions. For the saddle, W.T.B. makes some good quality and comfortable saddles that are reasonably priced. I use the "WTB Speed V Comp" on two of my bikes.
      As for the crank "Origin 8" make some that are affordable and good quality. I installed a PAKE crank on one of my fixed gear projects and was not at all pleased with the quality.(just my opinion)
      If you are unsure about what you need and what will or will not work check with the suppliers tech person. If they don`t have one shop somewhere else. Two suppliers I use a lot are "Niagara cycle" and "Treefort bikes"
      Good luck with you project. And have a Wonderful Holiday Season.
      Cheers, Hugh

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your help! Season's Greetings to you as well!

      Delete
  40. Target Stores have a Fixie for $37 dollars, with total parts swapped it will be about 4 1/2 hours and $130.
    Thanks for the inspiration and motivation!

    ~Bear

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    Replies
    1. Cool Bear,
      Good luck with your project. If you like, you can post it on the face book page (link in the right column near the top)
      Cheers, Hugh

      Delete
  41. Hmmm, just found a Thruster on craigslist for $25. Question is, given I know nothing about rebuilding a bike from the frame up (I hate those flashy rims and tires, they might be the first to go), nor even about how to tell if parts are decent, can I do it without totally destroying everything? Might be worth finding out, and an excellent learning experience. And I can afford it right now. Unlike that cute Puch mixte.

    I do have friends for long distance advice about parts, at least. There are blogs like this and YouTube videos, I'm sure. This being a college town where fixies are a big thing, there are always parts available.

    Yep, I think I've talked myself into it. My ex said I was always able to rationalise every purchase he wanted to make, it feels good to do it for myself.

    Maybe this will project will give me a few good blog posts while I'm at it. It'll be the 'Newbie's Guide to Building a Fixie' thread. I always had boys to lead me in repairs and builds before. Time for this ol' gal to do it for herself.

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  42. Hugh, I read your blog, and decided to buy this for my son. I have some limited skills in bike repair, so we're going to see if we can get this thing rideable with a minimum of new components-at the moment, just pedals. He's 14, and never really liked changing gears, so I think a single speed like this will work well for him. And he likes all the colors.
    I'll post back and let you know how it goes.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Rick,
      That's great I am sure he will enjoy the bike. If I may, I would suggest checking the headset and crank bearings. It has been my experience that the grease may be gritty and there may not be much of it. If you do it yourself, you wont have to listen to what I like to call "the p.o.s. speech" at your local bike shop. Definitely keep me posted. Cheers

      Delete
  43. About a year and a half ago I bought this bike to get back and forth from my apartment (right across campus) to my classes, solely for the price cause someone stole my old bike. I was naive to bikes at the time, only knowing department stores for bikes. I recently started upgrading the bike, starting with a new bottom bracket and crankset, as well as new aluminum pedals and toe straps. After investing less than $100 into the bike, I started to really enjoy it. I just recently pulled it out of storage and rebuilt the hubs, took them apart completely, scrubbed them clean with degreaser, loaded them up with new grease and screwed everything together. I never knew that $100 and a couple hours of my time would make such a big difference. I just want to thank you for reviewing this bike, and teaching me that my $100 Wal-Mart special cane be special to me. Sadly, it has me eye-balling other bikes at department stores going, "I wonder if I can make that amazing for cheaper than buying?"

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    Replies
    1. Hey Chris,
      Great story, Thanks for sharing it with us. I don`t know if I should say Thank You or I`m sorry.....ltms
      Seriously though, it is good to hear you are enjoying your bike.
      Cheers
      I just had an idea. What if every college in the country said... Ok if you are going to have a bike on campus You must first give us the serial # . Here in Mi bicycle theft on college campus (s) is a huge problem. At least this way at least some of the thieves would be caught. Why should we make it so damn easy for thieves?

      Delete
  44. I picked one of these on sale for 69.99. Already changed out the freewheel with a BMX freewheel I had laying around. Switched the tires. Next comes brake and crank upgrades.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like a good plan to me. Keep me posted. And ride safe.
      Cheers,Hugh

      Delete
  45. Nice review Ryan, would you happen to know the specs on the bottom bracket and crankset?

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  46. Looks great Hugh! I just purchased the same bike and i'm currently in the process of upgrading certain parts.
    By the way, what size were those handlebars and did you put them on the original stem. I'm having a bit of trouble placing them on the stock stem.

    -JT

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  47. I got one of these for Christmas, albeit the black and red version. I wanted a cheaper bike as it's the first one I've owned since I was 15, and I'm 42 now. I really like it and have put about 200 miles on it since Jan 2.

    I want to do some stuff to it - get bullhorn handlebars, change the pedals, some basic stuff like that. But for $100 it's a really good buy.

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    Replies
    1. Do it! Get the bars and some 90+lb. tires you'll be amazed. I promise.

      Delete
  48. after reviewing this blog a couple years ago i found this article very helpful, i bought my thruster fixie in march of 2012, i ended up taking the bike completely apart that way i could put it back together my way knowing it would be up to my standards, i did like hugh and flipped and chopped some drop bars and wrapped them in tape i ride this bike brake less myself, i found metal in the hub grease most likely from who ever had assembled it so i cleaned the hubs out all the bearings and used some bg synthetic automotive grease for reassemble, the wheels spin just as smooth as mt friends sealed hubs,cranks i did the same thing, also brought my wheels to my local bike shop and had them trued they were overall pretty well in spec, while a had the bike apart i scuffed everything up with scotch bight pads and ended up painting it all flat black i think it looks great i wish i could post a pic for you all, i ended up buying some kenda k-west 28/700c tires which helped long rides since they are a smoother tread than stock, everything else on the bike is just as i bought it besides changing the pedals but i must say this bike has exceeded my expectations ive been riding it 2 years now with no problems whatsoever i live in massachusetts so its mainly spring summer fall riding, but i have over 3000 miles on it and it does everything my friends 500+ fixies do and i cant complain i want to thank you hugh for your article it is very informative and i hope others will find it that way as well cheers mate!!

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  49. Purchased this bike before reading reviews and what have you. I have been riding it religiously for about three months now. I f-ing love this bike! I did like you and went through it. I now own a Thruster frame with EXE rims, Michelin Dynamic Sport tires, Chaser cartridge load brakes, a phenomenal set of bull horn "pursuit" handlebars, and I went through every bearing system flushed it and packed with Marine grease. Did a 50K with some "pro" riders, and they never noticed I was on a single speed until I pointed it out at the finish. I wish I could post a pic with this so you and everyone could see that this truly is a good bike once the crap is stripped from it. Oh I guess I lied, mine is no longer a "thruster" I stripped the god awful color trails from the decals along with the "th". So now its a "ruster" fixie :)

    ReplyDelete

 
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