A new build from a noob builder (cruiser content & questions)...

Rat Rod Bikes Bicycle Forum

Help Support Rat Rod Bikes Bicycle Forum:

Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
45
Location
Germany
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Hi folks,

So, I've decided to replace my much loved but ailing steel-framed beach cruiser with a custom built one. I've not found many EU-based places (I'm in Germany) that stock parts & have, for the moment, settled with Cruiser Shop - Europe, based in Poland. They stock 3G frames & I'm looking at buying the Newport model with enough space at the back to house multiple gears (135mm). Ideally I'm buying as much from them as possible, to cut down on postage costs.

So far I think I'd like these "upgrades"...

• Aluminium instead of steel frame
• Disc brakes instead of V-brakes
• Internal hub (5-speed) instead of 7-speed derailleur
• Twist shift gears

This isn't going to be a crazy steampunk lowrider. It's not going be all retro chrome, cream & New England blue. It's going to be as plain as possible & black.
Leipzig is notorious for bike theft & I don't want mine stolen, so the more inconspicuous the better.

Questions...

Is the internal hub a worthwhile departure from a good quality derailleur?
How much lighter is an aluminium frame (I'm guessing there's quite a difference).
Are disc brakes a pain in the .... when it comes to maintenance?

Lastly, the forks I'm buying are 1 1/8" and the stem that matches has a 25.4mm clamp.
BUT, the handlebars need to be 22.2mm in order to house the twist shift clamp (I can't find any that are 25.4mm).
Is there some kind of shim/adapter to go around the centre of the handlebars?

This is the bulk of the parts I have in mind...

Cruiser Build.jpg


So, what are the pitfalls with the build? Any opinions, critical or not, would be useful at this stage.

Oh, here's my current ride, warts & all...

Old Cruiser.jpg

I bought it from a dodgy guy who dropped it off in a white van & disappeared as soon as the cash was handed over. Within days I'd realised there were problems, particularly with the front wheel.
This pictures quite old & it's since had several parts replaced. The old school 1-piece bottom bracket has had a bearing change 3 times. The brakes & levers are also replaced.

It's not a very elegant beast but I love it. The comfiest bike ever & a lot of fun to ride to work, which tends to be a mixture of trails & roads.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 5, 2008
Messages
6,419
Reaction score
3,510
Location
South Meriden, Connecticut
Rating - 100%
63   0   0
Internal gear hubs are popular here on RRB, so I'd say you're off to a good start with that wish list.

Welcome to RRB.
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
45
Location
Germany
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Internal gear hubs are popular here on RRB, so I'd say you're off to a good start with that wish list.

Welcome to RRB.

Just as well because the gears & the brakes are the only real parts to make me nervous.

I'd ideally like to buy a wheel that already has the 5-speed hub installed but, if not, how easy are they to add to a wheel?
I'm guessing from the product photos that I'd have to attach all the spokes myself, or am I missing something?
 

Slow-Rider

RRB Supporter
Pro Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2021
Messages
863
Reaction score
1,619
Location
Fountain Valley / Huntington Beach CA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Just as well because the gears & the brakes are the only real parts to make me nervous.

I'd ideally like to buy a wheel that already has the 5-speed hub installed but, if not, how easy are they to add to a wheel?
I'm guessing from the product photos that I'd have to attach all the spokes myself, or am I missing something?
yes weather you go fat tire or normal. you can buy 3 to 8 speed rear wheels. built with the internal geared hubs. or just buy the hub now. save up buy a cool rim later. then pay a bike shop or watch videos on line. learn how to lace it your self. with spokes.
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
45
Location
Germany
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
yes weather you go fat tire or normal. you can buy 3 to 8 speed rear wheels. built with the internal geared hubs. or just buy the hub now. save up buy a cool rim later. then pay a bike shop or watch videos on line. learn how to lace it your self. with spokes.

So, it's not as simple as buying a standard 26" rear wheel & adding the hub? Would I need to re-spoke the wheel too?
 

Slow-Rider

RRB Supporter
Pro Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2021
Messages
863
Reaction score
1,619
Location
Fountain Valley / Huntington Beach CA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
So, it's not as simple as buying a standard 26" rear wheel & adding the hub? Would I need to re-spoke the wheel too?
you buy a wheel with that hub you want already in it. but. if you just buy. say a standered 26" coaster brake single speed wheel. yes odds are. the stock hub in wheel. will have diff size flange hubs.. so you would need diff size length spokes. but the frame you posted a picture of buying. takes a wide fat tire wide axle hub. not a standard 26" wheel hub.
it would take some thing close to this. depending on size /with of drop outs on frame.
61ZzuVzt0nL.jpg
origin8-fb-1100-fat-bike-rear-hub-226691-16.jpg
217516-Cruiser-Build.jpg
img_32242SkWdmOhdVXq5.jpg
 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
45
Location
Germany
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Aaah, I just realised....originally I was just going for a derailleur & cassette set up (around 5-8 gears). That frame was necessary as the 135mm rear end would give me enough room for installation. But yeah, now that I'm considering an internal hub, what width should I choose? I don't want fat wheels.

I'm so glad I found this forum!! Heheheheh!!

Unfortunately, I'm struggling to find suppliers of wheels with hubs installed that have 5+ gears (I'm in Europe).

In all honesty, I can live with a good quality derailleur, if it comes to that) because I'm more familiar with troubleshooting them. I just really like the idea of a sealed unit...which is why I'm thankful I don't have to use an old school bottom bracket. I really grew to hate those things!
 

Slow-Rider

RRB Supporter
Pro Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2021
Messages
863
Reaction score
1,619
Location
Fountain Valley / Huntington Beach CA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Aaah, I just realised....originally I was just going for a derailleur & cassette set up (around 5-8 gears). That frame was necessary as the 135mm rear end would give me enough room for installation. But yeah, now that I'm considering an internal hub, what width should I choose? I don't want fat wheels.

I'm so glad I found this forum!! Heheheheh!!

Unfortunately, I'm struggling to find suppliers of wheels with hubs installed that have 5+ gears (I'm in Europe).

In all honesty, I can live with a good quality derailleur, if it comes to that) because I'm more familiar with troubleshooting them. I just really like the idea of a sealed unit...which is why I'm thankful I don't have to use an old school bottom bracket. I really grew to hate those things!
just buy a nexus 7 speed cruiser wheel. that would work good in most frame. I assume you want a stretch cruiser frame. some options.

 

Endlesschain

RRB Supporter
Pro Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
Messages
1,017
Reaction score
1,660
Location
Whangarei,New Zealand
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Hi there and welcome, there's a few things to consider before spending money is what you want to use your bike for i.e commuting or just having a fun ride, commuting would mean you need a lighter weight bike,the catch 22 with gearing is an internal geared hub is bullet proof and should outlast the life of your bike BUT is expensive and heavier but looks clean and Is protected from the elements and less damageable, aluminum frames aren't necessarily lighter than steel and aluminum frames are very rigid and stiff where as steel has some mild flex making for a smoother ride,remember you can get a 3 piece square taper conversation kit to replace a 1 piece bb crank allowing you to use any square taper crank and chainring within reason, you should be able to get a Threadless 1 1/8th stem with a 22mm clamp if you look around,for deraileur quality i tend to go for a shimano alivio as the bottom of the range when I build a decent bike this should be fine for use as a commuter spec deraileur,shimano deore would be considered the go to for quality verses price option,deore is widely considered the starting point of the top end deraileur range, V brakes are fine and not hard to setup at all and fine for commuting and fun rides, I've never really had any issue even in winter riding but disk will work better if you ride in dusty dirty or muddy areas that can cause damage to the rim surface over a prolonged period, you could consider redesigning your current bike too, wether your a beginner or expert builder everyone does some sort of research,I've been building bikes for 40 years and still do research and still learning stuff and still get stumped on things, sorry for the huge paragraph I get carried away sometimes,enjoy your build
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
45
Location
Germany
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Thanks so much for the replies folks. They're incredibly helpful.

Although I'm new to the world of scratch/custom built bikes I've been dabbling in the world of scratch/custom built guitars for years now. They're so similar, it's hilarious! The devil really does fool with the best laid plan. As soon as you start to mess with well thought out design you hit problems.

Firstly, I don't want a stretch cruiser. Just a regular shaped frame. But, thanks for the heads up on the Nexus wheel, Slow-Rider. Unfortunately everywhere I'm checking at the moment is out of stock.
Also, the frames I'm looking at - 3G Newport - are designed for disc brakes & I'm worried this may make the Nexus incompatible. I need to do more research there. Things are definitely more limited here in Europe.
Secondly, I appreciate the wise words, Endlesschain. This bike is a work tool for me. I cycle everywhere & rely on getting from A to B on time due to my work. So, even though cruisers look like a fun ride (which they are) I want to bee realistic & sensible with my end product.

This is making me lean away from the internal hub idea. It may be too much headwork, having to source different oriented components, causing my budget to spiral upwards. It's funny that the "deore" was mentioned because a friend suggested this. Maybe even finding a used one in good condition.

Bottom line (so far)...

An internal hub + disc brakes may well be an impossibility with the frames available to me.
A decent derailleur & twist shift system may be a fair step up (from a pretty awful bottom of the range Tourney model & cheap shifter).

Food for thought, definitely.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Slow-Rider

RRB Supporter
Pro Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2021
Messages
863
Reaction score
1,619
Location
Fountain Valley / Huntington Beach CA
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Thanks so much for the replies folks. They're incredibly helpful.

Although I'm new to the world of scratch/custom built bikes I've been dabbling in the world of scratch/custom built guitars for years now. They're so similar, it's hilarious! The devil really does fool with the best laid plan. As soon as you start to mess with well thought out design you hit problems.

Firstly, I don't want a stretch cruiser. Just a regular shaped frame. But, thanks for the heads up on the Nexus wheel, Slow-Rider. Unfortunately everywhere I'm checking at the moment is out of stock.
Also, the frames I'm looking at - 3G Newport - are designed for disc brakes & I'm worried this may make the Nexus incompatible. I need to do more research there. Things are definitely more limited here in Europe.
Secondly, I appreciate the wise words, Endlesschain. This bike is a work tool for me. I cycle everywhere & rely on getting from A to B on time due to my work. So, even though cruisers look like a fun ride (which they are) I want to bee realistic & sensible with my end product.

This is making me lean away from the internal hub idea. It may be too much headwork, having to source different oriented components, causing my budget to spiral upwards. It's funny that the "deore" was mentioned because a friend suggested this. Maybe even finding a used one in good condition.

Bottom line (so far)...

An internal hub + disc brakes may well be an impossibility with the frames available to me.
A decent derailleur & twist shift system may be a fair step up (from a pretty awful bottom of the range Tourney model & cheap shifter).

Food for thought, definitely.
well that changes things. get a nice used vintage three speed bike. fix it up comfier seat, add more durable tires and tubes. maybe change the handle bars. add mud flaps. *for if and when it rains) but they are a grate commuter bike.
20190122_171701.jpg
s-l500 (2).jpg

you can swap/ lace in a modern 7 speed hub.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
45
Location
Germany
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Nah, I'm sticking with a classic cruiser-shaped frame. I love the look but also how my body's aligned (sat low, almost leaning back). I've been riding across town for almost 4 years like this & see no reason to change. I'm in no hurry, definitely preferring a more laid back commute.

It's been interesting, reading the pros & cons of an internal hub. Stepping down to 5 gears will change the high-to-low gear ratio, resulting in a slower ride, apparently. This might bug the heck out of me. I mean, I'm already slow, compared to all the racing/street bikes around me, but don't want to get even slower.

Another thing - and this really should have been a consideration a long time ago - better maintenance will obviously improve the lifespan of parts. I think, because my first bike was a cheap boat anchor, I rode it into the ground & only really serviced parts when they were close to failing. Spending more on the bike to begin with will most likely encourage me to protect my investment. I'll very quickly get used to cleaning & lubricating my new bike on a more regular basis.

Am I talking myself out of the internal hub option? Maybe.

Another problem - one that I'd heard about from a neighbour who's a bike enthusiast - is the lack of availability of some key parts. I gather, due to lockdown, people logically picked up hobbies that kept them physically fit, got them outdoors & maintained social distancing. Cycling was an obvious choice. I'm seeing SOLD OUT all over online bike shops.
 

Endlesschain

RRB Supporter
Pro Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
Messages
1,017
Reaction score
1,660
Location
Whangarei,New Zealand
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Let me ask you this, ergonomics sound like you are comfortable with your riding stance and guessing your legs are at the correct length of extension/bend so as to be comfortable and not hurting your knees? So if this is fine then why not keep your frame fork seat and bars and just look for upgrading the derailleur wheels crank and tyres, if it were my bike and I was comfortable riding it ergonomically speaking I would as I mentioned before get a square taper convertion bb so now I have more selection of buying new or Secondhand cranks/chainring that I like(if you get a 7speed cassette/cluster for the rear you can play around with gear ratios just by swapping the front chainring something like a 36t should be good ratio for cruising and speed if you feel like a bit of speed) if on the road slick tyres are the go something like 26 x 1.95/2.10 would be smooth rolling and as you are only cruise commuting I would say no need to get expensive ones, as mentioned deore or deore lx/xt will do you justice, I would personally go with Shimano underbar shifter as this would be alot more precise at shifting than gripshift although there is nothing wrong with gripshifts, love that rear mudguard by the way, wheels are so so, I would go with maybe an alloy hubbed wheel maybe a set of reasonable Secondhand mtb wheels, this is just my idea of what I would do if the frame/fork was fine for me "if it ain't broke don't try to fix it........ Just upgrade it"
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
45
Location
Germany
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Originally I wanted to change the frame to reduce the weight. I assumed that aluminium would be lighter than steel.

Another thing I haven't mentioned...this thing obviously took some kind of a knock, at some stage before I bought it. The under-frame stand mount is bent & the rear end is a tiny, tiny bit bent. Just enough to make the V-brake set up awkward. I've tried re-aligning the rear wheel axle but it just never quite works perfectly.

Also, I quite like the idea of a fresh build so I can keep the original bike as a second ride, for when friends come over to stay (Leipzig's fantastic for easy trail riding & the forests are beautifully relaxing).

I'm not against a different style of shifter either, I'm just very comfortable with the twist version. I rode a mountain bike in London for years that had underbar digital gears.

That rear mudguard should've been a keeper but the mount points were a problem due the position of the V-brakes & the slightly ovular bars it was attached to. A rubber grommet/thingy was supposed to help the retaining bolts grip but they'd slip over time. causing the wheel to rub against one side. If the new frame has truer, rounder bars I may re-install it.
 

Endlesschain

RRB Supporter
Pro Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2012
Messages
1,017
Reaction score
1,660
Location
Whangarei,New Zealand
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Brand new project it is then, I had a 3G frame here in NZ but it was different to any other model but definitely a 3G, most common is the showtime frame,i like the looks of the Ruff cycles bikes and parts but way too expensive to bring to NZ, happy hunting and looking forward to your new build
 
Joined
Nov 18, 2022
Messages
28
Reaction score
45
Location
Germany
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Thanks.

Another question... I'm looking at getting 26 x 3.0 tyres. Is there a specific sized wheel/rim I'd need or will they fit on a standard wheel?
I've seen a chart that seems to suggest they'll fit on a few different width rims but all the pictures look like they're on wider ones.
 

JennieDraegon

Draegon's Tinker Toyz
Pro Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2022
Messages
25
Reaction score
66
Location
Western NY
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Thanks.

Another question... I'm looking at getting 26 x 3.0 tyres. Is there a specific sized wheel/rim I'd need or will they fit on a standard wheel?
I've seen a chart that seems to suggest they'll fit on a few different width rims but all the pictures look like they're on wider ones.
I used a 26 x 2.75 rim for a 26x3 tire.
 
Joined
May 5, 2008
Messages
6,419
Reaction score
3,510
Location
South Meriden, Connecticut
Rating - 100%
63   0   0
Mark, I told you this was the place, right?? haha. These guys know their stuff. Hope you're happy over here on RRB.
 

Latest posts

Top