From Cheap Crappy 10-Speed To Expensive Crappy Fixed Gear

I love junk bikes and I love dumping time and money into junk bikes, but I always try to keep the monetary commitment relative to the quality level of project bike/frame. Apparently this bike’s owner does not apply to my philosophy. On his flickr page, he claims he found this Murray in his parents’ barn – I believe it. This Murray 10-speed is nothing special, but it’s nothing to throw away either. I would recommend fixing it up, but I would limit the investment to about $50. This bike can easily be torn down, bearings repacked, shifting tuned and the tubes and tires replaced if needed for very little out-of-pocket expense. He could make this a nice, reliable (albeit dorky) bike, but instead, he decides this bike must be converted into the bicycle equivalent of a $150 car with a $10000 wheels.


I took some time and figured up what he may have spent on this $25 Murray.

A perfect example of the whole being less than the sum of it’s parts. What do you think?

Polished Turd?

Why, after all this money and time, did he just flop and chop his drops? Go ahead and spring for some cheap bull horns.

  • oh god

    as funny as this post is
    and not to be a douche
    your criticism will cave in on itself:
    “SUM” of its parts

  • The Ten-Speed Dreamer

    Thanks for pointing that out. No Excuse.

  • Issac

    I estimate that I spent around $500!! The point for me wasn’t really about how much money the bike deserved but what I could get out of the experience. Having never worked on a bike before (or even known much about bikes) I wanted a project that would teach me something…and I learned a lot. Hell, I didn’t even know what horizontal drop were or that I needed them but I got lucky that this bike had them.

    Anyway…thanks for the post. I hope this helps somebody else out.

  • The Ten-Speed Dreamer

    Thanks for being a sport. I’m all for paying for the experience, but this site is all about getting a much as you can for as little as possible and your Murray is in clear violation.

    The important thing is that the bike gets ridden.

    • Chris King

      Wow, what a bunch of…:)

      Some guy puts some pics on Flickr and another guy puts them on a site for crappy ten speeds and he gets lanced?

      Cool bike and I think we all know how easy it is to dump good money after…well. I have a couple of projects that went overboard.

  • Joe

    Is that now a single speed with a pedal brake? I owned a suzuki X-90, so I dig this bike.

  • thom

    This is not a single speed with pedal brake, it is a fixed gear with no brakes.

  • Russ Zahralban

    I am an owner of one of these “crappy” Murray bikes. I’ll be posting it here soon. I’ve had it since I wheeled it off the departmet store floor in 1971. A few years ago I restored it…funny thing was, other than paint, calbes, tires/tubes, cassete and chain, I reused everything else. Now, it was in nice condition to start with, and now I wished I had preserved the decals, but for $79 in 1971, and the fact that this bike fits me perfectly, and has about 3000 miles on it….unless Lance Armstrong GAVE me one of his bikes, I’ll ride this Murray until I drop dead. Roll on my friend, nice job!

  • http://OldTenSpeedGallery Wooden Shoe Biker

    The builder had a good time and the bike now has sex appeal. Three hours with a shrink costs as much as he spent and he can ride like hell now. Great therapy and nice ride. One less crappy 10 speed and one cool fixie. Hopefully the steed is light weight steel but he can always wrench it on to another frame. Fly across country and it will cost you 500 dollars and no bike: only a ticket stub. Good work and good ten speed gallery. Enjoy. Ed with a fixie project going but also one 10 speed to keep original and saving all removed stuff for sure.

  • Sean

    I found one of these old murray citations on the corner of my street. I figured, its a perfect opportunity to make a fixie. I’m doing my best to re-use the entire bike of its original parts. Ive dismantled the bike more than half way, and im trying to re-use the same gear, I need to find a way to take apart the cassette and remove the freewheel. Can anyone help me with this?

  • Dawn

    I totally have an old Murray frame that I’ve converted into a sexy fixie.

    1) Quite honestly, the frame feels better than all of the others in the shop. I picked it based on feel, and it has been a pleasure to ride ever since I built it up. (Of course, my cyclist-geek friends were in total dismay at my brand choice… but they’re not the ones riding it. I can paint over the Murray name and keep on riding. F-them.)

    2) Yes, I put expensive components on it. However, I can just as easily remove those components if the Murray frame was to ever live up to its crappy reputation. e.g. A great wheel set is a great wheel set. It’s great to ride on. And if the frame dies, then I’ll put the wheels on another bike. No big loss. The investment is still worth it.

  • Russ

    I’m right with you Dawn. My old Murray fits me better AND rides better than 99% of the “boutique” bikes that everyone goes ga-ga over. My Murray has now given me 39 years of riding service, with about 98% of its ORIGINAL components. Yes, I’ve replaced all the bearings, all the cables, tires, tubes, saddle, brake levers, brake pads and the freewheel……and THATS IT. And I will NEVER replace this bike. It fits, and it always works.

  • ew_keane

    Old bikes are great.
    You can find them in the trash can, and more oft than not, a bent rim or a flat tire is the cause of the abandonment. Fix the fixable, or bash one with parts from other wrecks. Sell em for 20-30 bucks at the flea market. Use the cash to get parts you cant find in the street.
    Bikes are great machines, beats walking.

  • Sirildo Reyes

    Great fixie, 2 thumbs up, I hear too many complaints about how too much money was spent on a new fixie that was delivered damaged, why no convert your old bike, that is what i am doing now, I can make it look like I want not the sellers choice. thank you for sharing

  • older1

    It seems like most of us can agree on two things: let’s admit there’s a world full of worse places to spend money in life (I know because I have – probably just on alcohol) and, IF you’re going to spend the cash to redo a common OTS into your own special fixie that no one else has, this is how good it can look.
    Some may think it was a waste, but if Issac didn’t do anything illegal or immoral to build his bike, no one was hurt, and he is using his brain to learn something, so overall, it’s a good thing.
    Prisons are full of people do things a heck of a lot more stupid (and hopefully learn something, too).
    Anyway, when more people invest in bikes, it all adds up to keep our favorite component manufacturers and local shops in business while simultaneously employing others.

  • Bigbroiswatching

    I got a bike almost exactly like this for Christmas in 1984. It was the 1984 Olympic model, but as far as I can tell, that was the only difference. It was wayyyy too large for me, since I was only 8 years old, but I learned to kick off while standing on the left pedal and swing up and over. Loved that bike and miss it. Thanks for the post, brings back good memories.

  • Antonio Porras

    I still have my 1978 ten speed that my mom bought for me from JCPenney’s (made by Murray?). I’m in the process of putting it back on the road.

    Sadly, it’s a small frame with only enough room for 24″ tires; but was perfect for a 12 year old. Before stripping it down, it weighed in at 35.2 pounds! Gotta love the old, strong steel.

    I really like Isaac’s conversion above. Just as he began his journey, I also am coming from a point of knowing very little about bicycle repair / modifications.

  • No fixie for me!

    I think it’s even worse when somebody takes a old high end bike that they picked up for a 100 bucks and builds it into a Fixed Gear!! Were talking Campagnolo or Dura ace, which I would love to have because I’ll never have enough money to buy a Bike of that quality new. I have never under stood the fascination with Fixed Gear bikes, maybe it’s because where I live theirs so many hills and have no desire to develop the legs of an Olympic athlete! I have learned a ton about bike repair by restoring old bikes to their original condition, after all a Derailleur on a bike from the 70’s works almost like the ones today and on Road bikes side pull brakes are still common, repacking an Axle and Bottom Bracket is still the same.
    One thing that I think is funny is in my area Craigslist is stuffed with fixed gear bikes people can’t get rid of, nobody around here wants them because there so impractical and the asking price is so high on a bike with a crap frame that somebody dumped a lot of money into. But that’s me if somebody else wants to build a fixed gear have at it. What ever floats your boat!

  • Lance

    I have an old “Vista” 10 speed that I’ve owned since 1980 and I’ve practically rode the wheels off of it and I love it, it has “character.” I put more money into it to keep it going than it’s worth but it’s like an old friend and I feel like I owe it to it for all of the happy miles we’ve shared together.

  • Selim Imre

    Hi, I would like to do a similar uplift to my Murray as well. I seek assistance. Anyone?