Folding bike -> lowrider/bmx pit bike/show bike.
As a car enthusiast, I've always wanted some sort of companion pit bike to keep in the back of my car to use at car shows, track events, or for city use. (Google Honda Motocompo for my original inspiration) The first bike I ever built was a cheap, vintage kids BMX to use for this purpose, but I quickly learned that despite its child sized frame, it still didn't fit in the back of a sports car, and to top it off I was comically oversized at 6'4 (163cm). It may not have been the best fit which led me to sell the BMX, but the idea never left my mind.
Years later, I'm looking for a trash bike for a competition, and I see a folding bike that has an awfully BMX looking frame. Maybe I could have my car friendly, vintage BMX pit bike after all.... The plan went as follows: 1. Go buy the bike. 2. Add some BMX bars, 3. Convert it to single speed, 4. Add a whole lot of styling that both cyclists, and car enthusiasts could enjoy.
After picking up the bike it was apparent that this is a very bad bike. It handles terribly. The "Brakes" 😂 It's incredibly heavy, and incredibly ugly. With it's stupid telescopic handlebars, and assortment of cheap guards and racks, I knew almost every component was going to need replacing. There was truly nothing of value on this terrible, little bike.
And so begins the mass deconstruction: The bike was stripped of it's heavy and cheap steel parts. The paint was polished and waxed, showing a rather vibrant metallic shine that had been hiding under years of dust and grime. Parts were ordered, and I went to work cutting down the original "stem" and welding on some 1 1/8" steer tube in order for a standard stem to be installed, allowing me to use some proper BMX bars. Once I had the new bars on the bike, I went to work on the most time intensive part of the build; sanding, polishing, and drilling out most of the components on the bike. This was a stylistic choice, as well as a practical one. Strength isn't a huge concern on a slow moving folding bike, but weight savings is. My weight saving efforts have dramatically lightened the bike from 35lb (15.9kg), to 23.1 lbs (10.5kg) and the difference is instantly noticeable!
Now the bike handles far better due to the increased reach and width of the BMX bars. Stops quickly and confidently with a modern brake. As well as being incredibly reliable as a single speed bike. In the future I hope to be able to practice engraving some of the components on the bike, as well as on my car to match. The equipment is expensive so it won't be something that happens soon.
This build has been a ton of fun, and I've already been using it on a regular basis! I hope that my careful attention to detail, and the uniqueness of the build has earned your vote!
The component list is below, along with quick descriptions of mods done to each component, as well as any weight savings from drilling. (it's not a lot don't do it)
-Vintage CW BMX bars (white paint -> polished steel, clear coated)
-Lizardskins "Peaty" grips (end caps were black -> Polished alloy)
-Gorix t100 saddle
-Litepro alloy seatpost (upgrade from steel)
-Tsyun LP road flat pedals. (Black paint -> drilled and polished aluminum.) 263g -> 244g
-Modified folding bike stem (Black paint-> cut, welded steer tube -> drilled and polished steel.) 539g -> 470g
-Cheap stem (Black paint -> drilled and polished alloy
Wheels and Brakes
-Tektro 369 front brake caliper w/ Ultegra pads
-Mission captive brake lever (raw aluminum -> drilled and polished aluminum)78g -> 48g
-Dahon "D" series alloy wheelset (upgrade from steel)
-Panaracer HP406 tires (gorgeous)
-Continental tubes for a fully threaded Schrader valve stem, and Dice valve caps for that signature 80s vibe.
-Single speed conversion 44/15 gearing (cheap cassette spacer kit)
-Dura Ace 7402 180mm cranks from my parts bin (cosmetically damaged from shoe rub. I refaced and repolished the arms, drilled a few cosmetic holes.)
-sugino messenger chainring from parts bin (also gorgeous)
-SE chain tensioners ( modified, giving them a center hole for better versatility, drilled and polished) 70g -> 60g