Cheap Commuter Bike (Under $500)

The goal of this project is to create a cheap commuter bike.
I have a very strict budget actually I am pretty much broke.
This will be commuter bike suited for me, it may not be suited for you.
This is a bike I got for Christmas from my wife.
It is a Free Spirit , distributed by Sears.
If I were to guess I would say it's late 70's early 80's.
This is a lugged steel frame, north road bars, ten speed.

In the totals I will not count gifts I will list the prices of them however.

Needs a tune-up bad, and it is very ugly. Found on Craigslist $20
I performed some adjustments as it stood, I did not like it.
First thing I did was convert it to a 3 speed. Found a Huffy Timberline 3 speed for $20
I used some parts off that. So far $20 invested.
I needed a chainguard so I fabricated a mount for this "pixie" bike chainguard I found for free and a p-clamp $2.50 from Ace Hardware.
I switched cranksets to a cheapy from Amazon , I actually did not pay for this, but got it in exchange for a service.
It cost $21.58

Also my pedal broke one day

So I bought these here Total $42.50

The brakes were terrible as most chrome rim/rim brake combos are.
So I put on these center pulls of a Raleigh Record I bought for $10, however I am not counting these since I am using the rest of my bike as a fixed-gear.

Heres the photo of my center-pulls

Some her is what it looked like.
My birthday came, as did my Brooks, sweet! Gift any where from$82-150

And a decent lock (essential to any commuter bike)Gift they paid too much $30
My lights leave something to be desired here is a photo of my diy light bracket and my cheapo Wal-Mart light
$14 Total $56.50

I could stop right now and this would be a fine commuter bike for under $100
But I didn't.
Ahh tax time again, and overtime I had worked
I ordered two Sturmey-Archer hubs front and rear, Bosch & Muller Lumotec, chain, and grips
So far this is what I got.
The front hub
The light

The grips

    The light is a drastic improvement, as are the grips and mtb brake levers
As seen total : $171.50 give or take a few.
The old style bottom bracket kept loosening no matter how hard I tightened it.
I bought a Shimano UN-54 sealed unit, a great investment at $30
Total $201.50
The Sturmey-Archer 3 speed came in and after much debate with the local bike shop I finally got some spokes that fit.
Spokes $38.00
Rear hub $82.00
 This is the end. This bike is now comparable to bikes in the $700-$1,200 range.
The ride is great on this bike and does not feel like a cheap bike at all.
Here's a pic of the rear hub,
After paint,

over all

From this,                to                 this.
Total less than $350.00