A few weeks ago I built a new bike from my storehouse of bike parts. I wanted a bike for fall and spring gravel and urban riding.
I had an old Motobecane frame ($10) I used to commute on, a single speed wheelset ($50), some single speed cranks from a Bianchi San Jose ($10), a Surly chainring ($10), a pair of Kenda Kross Supremes ($10), some mustache bars ($10), and a set of Tektro RL520 levers ($20). Total cost was about $120.
I picked a tough day to try it out. The weather had been rain followed by freezing temperatures which led to a layer of ice on the roads and trails. As I was riding I could hear sirens all around from emergency vehicles responding to car accidents.
First I rode to Quarry Park to explore the pump track. One lap was fun but it was more about not falling than riding.
Then I took the Southwest Bike Path out to Quarry Ridge. Again, one lap on the ice was fun but enough.
How does it ride? Not too bad. The 700x35s were enough to take the edge off the icy bumps and the old road brakes were surprisingly strong. I'm going to replace the hockey tape on the bars with modern tape because the hockey tape looks good but doesn't provide any dampening. The REI Novara bag also has to go because the bike doesn't have a long enough stem to really support it and because my knees always hit it while climbing. Otherwise it seems like it's going to be exactly what I was looking for.