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  1. #1
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    Newbie - chromed chains and converting MTB to (part) fixie?

    H everyonei,

    I'm a total newbie, I'm very fascinated by alt bikes but I'm not exactly a pro-DYI kind of guy (and English is not my native language so I hope I'll make myself understood...)

    Anyways, since I got a new MTB, I was thinking of doing something on my former '94 Bianchi MTB so first thing I am dismantling it to have the frame painted and I am waiting the clear my mind as to how to proceed further.

    I realise that I will not be able to have a rear fixed-speed gear (or an inner wheel gear) since the dropouts are vertical and I need to adjust the chain tension somehow, right? I mean I could probably find some eccentric axle to get around the problem but I don't want to get too complicated on my first altbike.

    The real question is this: since I'm fascinated by those colourful/chromed chains, would it make sense to have them on a bike with speeds or the derailer would be too greasy and dirty and make it messy from the first moment?
    In case it is advisable, would it make sense to keep the derailer on the rear and get a single gear at the front?

    Thank you

  2. #2
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    If you've never ridden a fixed gear bike before, you might want to ease into it with a flip/flop hub setup - allows singlespeed on one side and fixed on the other.
    With your vertical dropouts in fixed gear mode, you can try mixing and matching various cog and chainring combinations to find a combo that works, you can also add a "magic ring" to take up slack Lots of info here: http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed-conversion.html

    For a single speed conversion, you can use your existing rear derailer as a chain tensioner - just screw the stops so that the derailer is aligned with your single cog. If you have a hyperglide style cassette or freewheel, you may find you need to replace it with a dedicated single speed cog or at least an old style non-hypergide style freewheel to prevent ghost shifting. You can also buy non-shifting chain tensioners, Surley makes one.

    White Industries makes a beautiful (and expensive) eccentric hub available in both fixed and flip/flop.

    Pay attention to the type of chain that you need to fit your rear cog/cassette/freewheel. For 8 speed and under, any 3/32" derailer (sometimes listed as 5-8 speed) chain should work fine. for 9 speed and above, you need to get the specific chain for your "speed" - number of cogs on rear cassette. 1/8" chain (BMX and track) will work OK on most chainrings through 8 speed - however they will require an 1/8" track cog or BMX style freewheel.

    Finally, check out the Single Speed/Fixed Gear Forum on this site.

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    You can buy plated chains of all types , they just Cost more ..

  4. #4
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    As far as greasy chains, they only get that way if you neglect the chain and/or use the wrong lube. Lots of threads to read on maintaining chains. Regular cleaning and proper technique and lube choice is key. Chains need to be lubed where they pivot. That is contrary to what most neophytes assume. So they glob on a sticky oil and it attracts dirt and debris, gunking up the drivetrain and causing premature wear.

    If looks are important to you, wipe down after each ride and lube when it needs and only where it needs. Hope that helps.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomgear View Post
    If you've never ridden a fixed gear bike before, you might want to ease into it with a flip/flop hub setup - allows singlespeed on one side and fixed on the other.
    With your vertical dropouts in fixed gear mode, you can try mixing and matching various cog and chainring combinations to find a combo that works, you can also add a "magic ring" to take up slack Lots of info here: http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed-conversion.html

    For a single speed conversion, you can use your existing rear derailer as a chain tensioner - just screw the stops so that the derailer is aligned with your single cog. If you have a hyperglide style cassette or freewheel, you may find you need to replace it with a dedicated single speed cog or at least an old style non-hypergide style freewheel to prevent ghost shifting. You can also buy non-shifting chain tensioners, Surley makes one.

    White Industries makes a beautiful (and expensive) eccentric hub available in both fixed and flip/flop.

    Pay attention to the type of chain that you need to fit your rear cog/cassette/freewheel. For 8 speed and under, any 3/32" derailer (sometimes listed as 5-8 speed) chain should work fine. for 9 speed and above, you need to get the specific chain for your "speed" - number of cogs on rear cassette. 1/8" chain (BMX and track) will work OK on most chainrings through 8 speed - however they will require an 1/8" track cog or BMX style freewheel.

    Finally, check out the Single Speed/Fixed Gear Forum on this site.
    Thanks everyone for the kind answers and especially randomgear!

    I'll skip the flip-flop, this is not my only bike so If I go fixed, I'll eventually take the full risk.

    I have only 2 questions:
    1) when you say "cog", do you mean "pinion"?
    2) if I were to opt for a inner-wheel hub/gear, could I actully choose among free-wheel, fixed and coaster brakes?

  6. #6
    Senior Member TugaDude's Avatar
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    Pinion doesn't come up in bike conversations. The term cog typically refers to the toothed rings on the rear hub. Although similar, the toothed rings on the cranks are typically called chainrings. So in a fixed or singlespeed setup, you have to decide what combination of chainring and rear cog is best for the type of riding you do. A good starting point is a 2:1 ratio where a front ring might be 32 teeth and the rear cog 16. That's what I run on my SS mountainbike. Your gear ratio will depend upon where you live and ride. Hillier paths demand lower gearing, but if you mainly ride on flat terrain, a higher gear will be OK.

    I suggest you search Sheldon Brown's website referenced above and read up on singlespeed and fixed gear details. A wealth of info can be had there. He also has a gear ratio calculator and recommendations for starting points. As you ride, you'll undoubtedly tweak your selections.

    BTW, you'll get all sorts of opinions regarding hubs. Nothing wrong with coaster brake hubs, but some disparage them. Even Mr. brown had concerns about them. But in my opinion, make certain that whatever you do, at least have a front brake, even riding fixed.

  7. #7
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    Neeri, the cog (or sprocket) is the gear attached to the hub of the rear wheel. The gear at the pedal/crank end of the bike is called a chainring.

    As far as I know,for internal gear hubs, there is only one multiple speed fixed gear hub - the Sturmey Archer S3X: http://www.sturmey-archer.com/produc...d/3/id/47.html. There are several fixed gear internal hubs made by Sturmey Archer in the past; they are very hard to find and are considered collector's items and are very expensive.
    There may be multiple speed internal gear hubs with coaster brakes, I've never bothered to try even try to google them.
    There is very wide range of freewheel multi speed internal gear hubs - everything from 2 speeds through 14 speeds with a very wide range of price points. If you search the European and Asian markets you will find that many of these are available with internal hub brakes (not the same as coaster brakes). Why they aren't imported into the America's is anybodies guess.

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone!

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