Author Topic: Bike/Handcycle Building Advice?  (Read 3753 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Bike/Handcycle Building Advice?
« on: April 02, 2013, 01:58:46 AM »
first post:

I've been increasing my badassity in my iphone bill, food bill, and generally strengthening my frugal muscles. I even switched jobs from a 1hr commute each way to within 7km of my place.
But I have yet to get my own bike... hold the face punch... because I have to handcycle and as "specialty" equipment, it costs easily $4000-5000 with tax and shipping.
Hell no, I'm paying that.
I am currently renting an old clunker, but I have safety concerns about it's gears. Also, it is really heavy.
Pretty much, I love to handcycle to work now and tow my wheelchair, but I hate the excess weight and unused gears.

As it's a pretty flat commute, I want to build my own singlespeed handcycle. I can get the frame & parts for ~$800, but I need advice with how to build a singlespeed freewheel on the cheap.
Online parts? Should I strip a craigslist fixie?

I will knee a 700c fork, cheap & lightweight if possible
700c wheel/hub/tire/tubes, etc
Crankset with a chain ring T26 or 28, ideally
Chain guard for my work clothes

Any idea of where to build my handcycle so I don't have to buy tools?


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 82
Re: Bike/Handcycle Building Advice?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2013, 11:25:10 AM »
Find your local bike co-op. They will have tools, space and expertise available for a very low price (or even free in exchange for volunteering), and sometimes they have used parts bins that you can dig through.

There is also probably a used bike shop local to you. If you bring them a six pack of good quality beer and ask them to watch out for what you need they'll probably sell it to you at a steep discount.

It's likely that you will need to purchase some parts for this build. Online is far less expensive than your local bike shop. In that case, take advantage of Google Shopping and the price matching feature of bike part websites to find the lowest cost.

That being said, support your LBS! Sometimes it costs less to have them do a procedure than it does to purchase a one-time-use tool.


  • Bristles
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Re: Bike/Handcycle Building Advice?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 12:38:19 PM »
A bike coop is an excellent idea if you have one nearby.

It doesn't sound like you need quite enough parts to make stripping a bike worthwhile, as used fixed gears generally don't trade at too much of a discount from new ones.


  • Bristles
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  • Location: Alberta
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Re: Bike/Handcycle Building Advice?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2013, 10:00:42 AM »
Are you looking for a fixed-wheel (to make a fixed gear hand-cycle) or a free-wheel (to make a single speed hand-cycle with brakes)? The free-wheel has the ratcheting mechanism that allows the wheel to turn while the crank is stopped. If that's what you're looking for then you can grab that off of lots of different used bikes which you can get cheap or free. In fact if you can use a multi-speed free-wheel but just leave off the dérailleur mechanism and have a "single speed" which you can re-gear with minimal tooling while you're working out the best ratio to use. If you are looking for a fixed-wheel where the gear is solidly attached to the hub, then just buy a fixed-gear hub and use it to replace the hub on a standard 700c wheel which you may already have. This is probably cheaper than buying a whole fixie to strip apart.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 42
Re: Bike/Handcycle Building Advice?
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2013, 01:32:25 PM »
Buy used. A quick gander at craigslist shows 20 or so in my state under $1000.