Hello everybody! I'm new here. I think what you guys (and gals) are doing is awesome. I'm ready to build myself one of those MB THINGs(tm)! Now, I've been lurking on here for quite a while, reading, pondering, taking notes, trying to figure out what I want, and I have a few questions for anyone willing to lend a fella a helping hand. I think this thread might also answer some questions for some other noobs like myself, so here goes. My goal is this: Budget, Safe, Cost-effective commuter bike... on a budget. AKA: Boring. lol My situation is this: I own a car. I want to minimize my time driving it. I would rather ride the bike, however I do not want to ride in bad weather. I'm not a mechanic/handyman kind of guy. I can assemble things and change flats and oil. (computer programmer kind of guy.) I'm not knocking chain and belt drives, its just that I've chosen friction drive for my own OCD reasons. lol My angle is this: I could buy a scooter... or I could build an MB, THING. I would rather build an MB thing because it's cheaper, gets better gas mileage, and they look cool, unique, fun to ride, and fun to make. HOWEVER... after searching and reading, I still have some questions. Here they are: 1. Which current friction drive kit do you guys think will LAST the longest in terms of wear, tear, repair, and mileage? Which is most cost effective, and easiest to maintain? Which seems the most practical in terms of changing rollers? 2. Frames. Steel, or aluminum in terms of safety, longevity, and mileage? How does each differ with vibration? Steel cheaper? Is steel limited to cruisers? (I'm leaning towards the cruiser bike anyway.) 3. Brakes. What are the relatively safest type with cost, longevity, practicality, and friction drives in mind? 4. Suspension. Is it necessary? Does it make the bike any safer? Does the bike last longer? What about if you do not plan on taking the bike off-roading? Is this mainly for comfort? For a rear friction drive, what suspension would you suggest, if any at all? (I would rather not have to have it if it isn't necessary.) How does it affect vibration? 5. Cruiser vs Mountain Bike (or any other style). In terms of longevity, safety, comfort, cost, maintenance, and general practicality... what are the pros and cons of each (for simple, boring, conservative, commutes?) I'm leaning toward cruiser because the handlebars look more relaxed and I can sit upright. Also, I'm leaning towards either a 3-speed bike or single gear bike. I'm not crazy about having tons of gears. I like simple! 6. Wheels. Big or small? 26" seems popular. Anybody like bigger or smaller for any reason? What might those reasons be? Does it affect friction drive in any way? Comfort? Safety? What about width? Also, do you suggest steel rims with 12g spokes on back AND FRONT? 7. Buying the bike. What specific bikes would you guys suggest? Bikes that I can just order, buy at a LBS or whatnot? Is it cost-effective to have a bike shop build me what I need? (I'm looking at spending under $300 for the bike, if possible. I would prefer under $200! That would be great.) My imagination thus far has lead me to a steel-framed cruiser with no suspension, steel-rimmed wheels, 3 gears (unless this isn't cost-effective or practical), hand brakes for front and back wheels, and... that's about it. ANY sagely wisdom from you experienced gents (and ladies) would be very much appreciated. Like I said, I've been reading and taking notes, but much of the advice I've stumbed across so far seems to be aimed at a different market than I. I'm not wanting to be the perpetual tinkerer always adding and changing.. I want low cost, safe, comfortable, efficient, and practical. Boring. Thanks guys! P.S. I'm sure that with more reading, I could probably answer all these questions myself, but I thought it would be nice and convenient for someone else to find a thread that answers the question of building a nice "BORING" and cheap bike! Thanks.