General Cycling Discussion - Building a fixie?
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09-14-01, 01:55 AM
Im going to go look at an old steel lugged frame this sat, all i know about it is it has semi-horizantal dropouts, is a 61cm (c-c) size, and weighs under 7lbs :)
What should i look for when checking out this frame? I want to build a cheap (sub $300) fixed gear city / commuter bike... any tips?
Check all the paintwork, and look for bubbles or cracks which may show problems in those areas of the frame.
Also check the alinement of the frame by looking at it lengthways. It should give you an idea if the frame is out of true.
Urm, anything else people?
09-14-01, 02:53 AM
Frontal collision: damage to the join of the top tube and head tube.
Take some string and check alignment from rear dropouts to head-tube. The string should pass equidistant from each side of the seat-tube.
Check that the seatpost clamp is not bent or damaged, and look for rust inside the seat tube.
You can generally tell the quality frame from the quality of the components like dropouts. If they look like investment-cast ones, not pressed steel, it should be OK.
Look for frame damage as indicated above. Also, does it have a fork? If not, will you be able to pick up one cheap. Look at the headset size. My fixed is an old Fuji road bike and uses a JIS headset, which is a weird size. Just something to keep in mind. Might want to check what type of BB threads it has also.
Also, see if the owner has an old FREEWHEEL hub/wheel they want to get rid of and will throw in with it. You can convert this to fixed for cheap. Otherwise you will be purchase a new wheel or hub for the rear.
Hope it works out, I know you've been looking for a while.
Beware if the frame has a spray can paint job. In other words if there are no stickers on the frame leave it set. Look at the bottom bracket closely, that is where all the water runs to. It will be the worst spot on the frame. Good luck.
09-14-01, 04:13 PM
Since you're looking to use this frame for a fixed gear it would be nice if it didn't have downtube shifter braze-ons. Many bikes made in the 70's and early 80's had a band that clamped around the downtube and the shifters attached to. This is easily removed and makes for a clean fixed bike.
Also it would be nice if the frame has 120mm rear spacing as most ten speeds did, as this is the most popular spacing for track hubs.
Assuming it passes the checks detailed above the older the better. I used a 70s LeTour for my fixed gear. Be careful with semi-horizontal dropouts. True horizontal D/Os are better as you will need to be able to move the rear wheel to get the chain tensioned. That's the only way to do it as a fixed gear will bend any chain tensioner you could install.
Older frames have less braze-ons and less spread in the D/Os. I've heard of people using QRs and even wingnuts on fixed gears but I strongly recommend nuts for the rear wheel.
SheldonBrown.com has a wealth of info and there is a current conversation about fixed gears over at Oldroads.com vintage lightweight conversation.
You'll like it :D
09-16-01, 12:54 PM
Thank you everyone! Lotsa good information and links, i'll check out thoes links further tonite. Everytime i goto the sheldon browns website, i see the surly steamroller frame, and start to drool, maybe i will go new? hmmm :)
Im bummed, the bike was a KHS race (?), an ugly orange red lugged frame. The downtube had a few ripples just below the headset... I asked the guy if it was in a crash, and he said no, but he would drop the price from $25 to $10. I told him i would have no use for the frame in that condition, and left :( The frame itself must have weighed close to 10lbs! It was heavy!
I droped by a pawn shop on my way home, they had two or three lugged bikes, but non larger then a 55cm, i need a 61cc atleast, 6'4". I'll keep looking.
Good luck with that Joe...I'm sure something will turn up.
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