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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 06-21-08, 06:43 PM   #1
alty29
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single speed?

Okay, I just got a frame, completely stripped. I was hoping to turn it into a single speed, just wondering what the process of doing that is? Can I just buy a single speed crank? Will anyone work, do I need to buy specific sizes or anything? Any recommendations on brands would also be appreciated.
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Old 06-21-08, 06:46 PM   #2
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Old 06-21-08, 06:49 PM   #3
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I looked at that, but I was confused because I have a bare frame...
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Old 06-21-08, 07:11 PM   #4
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First question -- what type of dropouts for the rear wheel does your frame have? Ideally you'd have horizontal dropouts, as they allow you to pull the wheel straight back and achieve proper chain tension in that manner. If you don't have horizontal dropouts, then you can buy single-speed (not fixie !) chain tensioners, such as the Surly Singleator (there are other models available).

Second question -- what's the rear wheel spacing? i.e., what's the distance between the dropouts? "Real" track / fixie bikes have 120mm spacing, older road bikes have 126mm spacing, modern roadies have 130mm spacing. Ideally you need to get a rear hub that matches the frame's spacing, although some "frame stretching" is possible with steel frames.

There are such things are track / single-speed specific cranks, although they tend to be quite expensive. The budget option is to buy some older double-cranks off of eBay and take one of the rings off.
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Old 06-21-08, 07:28 PM   #5
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It would appear to be semi-vertical. I can measure the spacing in a little bit.
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Old 06-21-08, 09:01 PM   #6
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Can I just buy a single speed crank?
almost any crank will work. the important part is the rear hub.
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Old 06-23-08, 12:08 PM   #7
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Okay, that is the bike exactly as it is now. I am pretty mechanically inept, so I need to know exactly what I need
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Old 06-23-08, 12:31 PM   #8
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If you are mechanically inept, I highly suggest you head out and buy yourself a complete single speed from any number of companies. Better yet, buy yourself a used one from a hipster who bought it and rode it 5 times before realizing that he/she liked gears. Or from a guy on Craigslist who has already done it for you. I am being a little harsh, but you will spend MUCH less $$ buying a pre-converted bike.

To buy components for your frame, you are talking in the neighborhood of $200. Possibly $150 if you are a savvy shopper. You will then need to install all of said components, which will require a full set of tools.

That said, to get a new crank, you will need a new bottom bracket, which you most probably would have to get anyways. Especially since yours is for a cottered crank, which you don't want to mess with. And probably couldn't find.
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Old 06-23-08, 12:43 PM   #9
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that looks like a low end old Raleigh from before the mid 80s.
maybe not
but the bb cups look like theirs

If your wanting a single speed freewheel you can use a wheel that is for a screw on freewheel.
then screw on a single speed freewheel
its got to be a normal one that has a 34mm diameter thread.
this is the common size.
but some newer bmxs use a smaller 30mm size.
single speed fanatics go on about chain line.
but a bike will work with a chain not dead straight.

the chain will have to match the freewheel. A 1/8" thickness
cant use a multispeed chain on most common single speed freewheels

do you have cranks for your bike?
as it has the older style cottered cranks.
these are not that common now.
the part of the frame that the cranks go on. The bottom bracket.
If it is an old raleigh. Then it will be there own non standard size.
its nearly the same as normal.
but is far enough out, that causes problems if your changing to easily got new parts.

I have changed Raleighs to the normal size.
but its a pain.
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Old 06-23-08, 12:43 PM   #10
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I wouldn't have painted the spindle, but whats done is done. anyways put the cranks back on. What rear wheel do you have? I would highly recommend a bolt-on rear hub. if you have old wheel, put it on. Put the chain on the cog you want. Make the chain the right length. slide the wheel back and forth so it is some what tight.
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Old 06-23-08, 07:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by tellyho View Post
If you are mechanically inept, I highly suggest you head out and buy yourself a complete single speed from any number of companies. Better yet, buy yourself a used one from a hipster who bought it and rode it 5 times before realizing that he/she liked gears. Or from a guy on Craigslist who has already done it for you. I am being a little harsh, but you will spend MUCH less $$ buying a pre-converted bike.
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Old 06-23-08, 09:44 PM   #12
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how can one ever learn without trying?
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Old 06-24-08, 07:07 AM   #13
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People always show off their beautiful home-built fixies, but from experience I can say that for the "mechanically inept" your first shot will likely be more frustration than fun. I would agree with the previous post--buy something used, even if it's not in perfect condition, and cut your teeth upgrading and improving a bike that starts with all the necessary bits... having let someone else build it with pieces that originally fit together will save you some headache (and $$) and you'll learn plenty!
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