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  1. #1
    Senior Member Sincitycycler's Avatar
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    How much would it cost to convert a 12-speed to a fixie?

    Got a 1987 Schwinn Letour that currently has a 53/42 and a 14- 28 in the back and would like to convert it to a 42/16t fixed just for fun.

    Would I be better off selling for about $150 used on ebay and buying a used fixie or can I convert it for less than $100? Thanks!
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  2. #2
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    If you can find a cheap used wheelset, it's possible.

  3. #3
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sincitycycler
    Got a 1987 Schwinn Letour that currently has a 53/42 and a 14- 28 in the back and would like to convert it to a 42/16t fixed just for fun.

    Would I be better off selling for about $150 used on ebay and buying a used fixie or can I convert it for less than $100? Thanks!
    Well, single speed would be simple. Assuming horizontal drops and a freewheel rear cluster, you just need to remove the freewheel in back and the 53 chainring, spin on a 16 tooth single, and shorten the chain.

    Fixie is a whole different beast.
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  4. #4
    da lil hipster that could
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    if the cranks are any longer then 170mm you would be wise to change them for 170 or shorter as well... building a fixie is fun, riding a fixie is fun... pedal strike is not fun

    and to be fair, you only need a rear wheel or hub... assuming the bike is a 700c you should be able to get a decent wheel for about 60 or 70 bucks...

    add in some 1/8 chain, and some bmx chainring bolts... and a little time and in theory you have a fixie

  5. #5
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Get yourself a decent rear wheel, everything else can be done by altering what you have. Pedal strike will only be a problem if your bb is really low; I had a 70s Raleigh Grand Prix that I had to get shorter cranks for, but this is the only conversion frame I've seen this necessary for.

    Rear wheel, look for something with a good hub, and don't skimp on the cog--it can strip your hub (I learned this the hard way.) You could also build a wheel and learn something new.

    Only other thing you'll want to figger is chainline: if you get a new wheel, then you'll add spacers to your chainring or swap out the bb, worst case.

  6. #6
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sincitycycler
    Got a 1987 Schwinn Letour that currently has a 53/42 and a 14- 28 in the back and would like to convert it to a 42/16t fixed just for fun.

    Would I be better off selling for about $150 used on ebay and buying a used fixie or can I convert it for less than $100? Thanks!
    The cheapest conversion I've done was for about $90. That was for a PROPER TRACK HUB, not for a suicide hub or anything ghetto like that. Assuming your rear rim is in good shape, here's my recipe for a frugal fixie conversion :

    (1) Get an IRO flip-flop hub (about $45 shipped) or a Nashbar/Dimension flip-flop hub (about $30 from Nashbar including lockring). Get appropriate-length 14ga spokes for the rear wheel (about $16 from Nashbar) and a Soma cog (about $22 from Nashbar) and a lockring (about $8) from Nashbar. Get a new 6/7/8-speed KMC chain unless the current one is very close to new ($8 from Nashbar).

    (2) Rebuild the rear rim with the new hub and spokes.

    (3) Remove one chainring, and grind down the chainring bolts to fit the single ring

    (4) Flip the BB spindle and chainring, or put the chainring on the inside of the cranks... or add a bit of dish to the rear wheel... whatever's necessary to make the chainline just right.

    Optional: remove rear brake (I keep mine, cause I don't like slowing down with my feet on hills, and it's an extra backup).
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  7. #7
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    My question is: Why?
    I just don't get the fixed gear-SS thing.
    Top

  8. #8
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by top506
    My question is: Why?
    I just don't get the fixed gear-SS thing.
    Top

    Have you actually tried it? For an extended period? It's certainly addictive.


    Speaking for an urbanite, it's waaaaaay easier to deal with a fixie riding in the city. Maintenance is so minimal, and the lighter weight is far nicer when you have to carry your bike up and down stairs to yours and others apts/subways/etc. It's also a lot more responsive when you're riding in heavy traffic moving at relatively low speeds. SSpeeds are the same, and lots of people ride those here, too, but personally, if I'm going minimal in this way, I like getting the full exercise when riding the short distances that are common here.

  9. #9
    Banned. teiaperigosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by top506
    My question is: Why?
    I just don't get the fixed gear-SS thing.
    Top
    control

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by top506
    My question is: Why?
    I just don't get the fixed gear-SS thing.
    Top
    Fun.
    A lot of fun.
    Like 10 year olds making ramps out of plywood and cinder blocks fun.
    Control and other stuff are just other benefits.

  11. #11
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thurstonboise
    Fun.
    A lot of fun.
    Like 10 year olds making ramps out of plywood and cinder blocks fun.
    Control and other stuff are just other benefits.
    yeah, that's about it.

  12. #12
    Geek Extraordinaire sivat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    The cheapest conversion I've done was for about $90. That was for a PROPER TRACK HUB, not for a suicide hub or anything ghetto like that. Assuming your rear rim is in good shape, here's my recipe for a frugal fixie conversion :

    (1) Get an IRO flip-flop hub (about $45 shipped) or a Nashbar/Dimension flip-flop hub (about $30 from Nashbar including lockring). Get appropriate-length 14ga spokes for the rear wheel (about $16 from Nashbar) and a Soma cog (about $22 from Nashbar) and a lockring (about $8) from Nashbar. Get a new 6/7/8-speed KMC chain unless the current one is very close to new ($8 from Nashbar).

    (2) Rebuild the rear rim with the new hub and spokes.

    (3) Remove one chainring, and grind down the chainring bolts to fit the single ring

    (4) Flip the BB spindle and chainring, or put the chainring on the inside of the cranks... or add a bit of dish to the rear wheel... whatever's necessary to make the chainline just right.

    Optional: remove rear brake (I keep mine, cause I don't like slowing down with my feet on hills, and it's an extra backup).
    I would basically agree with this. Except for the dishing part, that won't help your chainline. Usually you can get away with just running your chainring on the inside position. As long as you are within 5mm, you'll be fine for a cheap conversion. I rode around for a couple of weeks with a chainline off by over 1cm and, aside from a bit of noise, never had any problems.
    I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.

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  13. #13
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sivat
    I would basically agree with this. Except for the dishing part, that won't help your chainline. Usually you can get away with just running your chainring on the inside position. As long as you are within 5mm, you'll be fine for a cheap conversion. I rode around for a couple of weeks with a chainline off by over 1cm and, aside from a bit of noise, never had any problems.
    I should clarify what I mean by redishing: I mean respacing the rear axle to move the cog in or out (the easy part!) and then redishing the wheel to center it (the hard part!)

    I agree that a chainline that's 5 mm off should be perfectly safe to ride, though a lot noisier than a fixie with a perfect chainline. It should practically ALWAYS be possible to get the chainline within 5 mm without having to respace the rear axle or get a new bottom bracket... so those aren't even really necessary to consider for a cheap conversion
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  14. #14
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peripatetic
    Have you actually tried it? For an extended period? It's certainly addictive.


    Speaking for an urbanite, it's waaaaaay easier to deal with a fixie riding in the city. Maintenance is so minimal, and the lighter weight is far nicer when you have to carry your bike up and down stairs to yours and others apts/subways/etc. It's also a lot more responsive when you're riding in heavy traffic moving at relatively low speeds. SSpeeds are the same, and lots of people ride those here, too, but personally, if I'm going minimal in this way, I like getting the full exercise when riding the short distances that are common here.
    Haven't tried it; it wouldn't fly out here in the foothills.
    The way you describe it, it DOES seem to make sense for flatlander city dwellers.
    Top

  15. #15
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by top506
    Haven't tried it; it wouldn't fly out here in the foothills.
    The way you describe it, it DOES seem to make sense for flatlander city dwellers.
    Top
    My cheapo SS conversion is still my favorite ride. Also, I see lots of SS (or fixie) bikes ridden by bike messengers in downtown Chicago. AND, to counter the hill arguement, I was somewwhat surprised to see lots of SS (or fixie) messenger bikes in San Francisco the last time I was out there.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  16. #16
    fmw
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    Hoosier Pedaler fmw's Avatar
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    I have a fixie. It shifts just fine. When I want fixie mode, I just don't shift it. The conversion was free.

  17. #17
    Senior Member demoncyclist's Avatar
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    If it shifts it isn't fixed. Fixed means that you can't coast, never mind have multiple gears, unless you have a fixed/fixed flip flop hub.
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