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  1. #1
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Planning a city bike build

    Hi guys. I am planning to put together a bike for city riding and a little bit of touring. It'll be my primary transportation, at least until I cut enough weight and rehab my knee enough to start really enjoying my fixed gear bike again.

    I would really appreciate some feedback & guidance on my plan. It goes like this:

    1) Pick up a vintage steel frame. Went looking for a Bianchi, but came across a pretty nice-looking Gios Compact that seems to make a lot of sense.

    2) Put some modern 700c wheels on it. I feel like a cretin saying it, but I really love the look of Velocity Deep V wheels, and I know that they're very tough for city riding.

    3) Quill stem and original-style drop bars with modern brake levers/hoods actuating modern dual-pivot calipers. No integrated shifters or fat/aero/ergo bars.

    4) Internal gear hub. I expect that's contentious in some circles, but what can I say? I just really, really hate derailleurs for a bike I want to ride every day and just not worry about. Please resist the temptation to offer me an education on how nice derailleurs are if they're set up and maintained properly. I hate the looks and the weight of an IGH, and I hate the thought of sullying a nice Italian frame with one, but it's just the best compromise for my intended usage of this bike. The framesets I'm considering have either horizontal dropouts (Bianchi), or adjustable (Gios).

    5) Fenders/mudguards. This is to be an all-weather bike.

    My questions:

    1) I might BE a jackass, but I don't relish LOOKING like one. Just how awful would it be to do the Deep V's and IGH on a vintage road frame?

    2) Would Tektro R540 calipers and RL340 levers work OK with an older frame/fork & bar?

    3) Can anyone recommend a hub/shifter combo that is suitable for use with drop bars? I don't like the looks of the hubbub setup: any reason that a twist shifter can't go on the bars up by the quill? I guess there would be interference problems with the brake cable if its run under the tape... I'm aware of people using an indexed 8-speed indexed bar end shifter with an Alfine or Nexus hub via an inline Travel Agent to match the ratios. I'm not sure I want/need that many gears (although I do want that large of a range), and would prefer a simpler setup if one is doable.

    4) Is it possible to fit a modern external BB crankset to a late-90's Bianchi or Gios frame?

    Thanks a lot for any info or advice.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    An update:













    This weekend I went and got myself a 1988 Gios Compact 54cm. It comes with chrome Gios fork, Campagnolo headset, and the original adjustable dropouts are in good shape.

    I picked up the X-RF5 hub because it's got a decent range of ratios (256% from low to high - with the sprockets I'm using that'll give me ~40-100gi), and Sturmey Archer makes a bar-end shifter for it. Velocity Deep V's are on special order from the factory (machined SW, 36h, reflective coating), and I've got an SA 36h track front hub & crankset, Campagnolo Veloce calipers, and Tektro levers on the way.

    Today I picked up a replacement for my stolen Vernier caliper, but I wussed out and bought a digital one because I'm too lazy to read a Vernier scale these days. Time to take some seat tube and steering tube measurements and figure out what will fit this sucker.

  3. #3
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Definitely not the frame I'd have chosen for your project...I think you're going to have a tough time fitting fenders into that and I'd want more tire clearance for a bike I intended to use an all 'rounder. I don't think it's the most effective tool for your task.

    Do you have horizontal drops that are going to replace those verticals? You'll need a tensioner (which is pretty much the same thing as having a derailleur) to use the vertical drops with an IGH. IGH is a matter of preference...they aren't my thing, but others find value in them.

  4. #4
    Senior Member sauze's Avatar
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    I personally am excited to see this build as I'd love to do something similar (nice frame, IGH , fenders, city bike) Let's see a photo of the deep v's fitted, it may not be as blasphemous as you thought.

  5. #5
    Senior Member RubberLegs's Avatar
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    Indeed, I think my 79 Schwinn LeTour frame would work much better... even swap out! ;-) Fitting fenders MAY be quite an issue, but sounds like a challenging project.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Barchettaman's Avatar
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    Taste wise, donīt worry about what anyone might say or think, just build what you want and enjoy it. IGH are cool and I bet it will look great. I would personally pair it with a hub dynamo on the front as the modern dynamo LED lights are so good and just mega convenient.

    One thing though. I wouldnīt want to run less than a 28 tyre in an urban enviroment. Check the Gios has enough clearance. You might get away with a 25.

    Oh, and you may need to get creative with your mudguards as that frame doesnīt seem to have any eyelets. SKS Raceblades donīt really cut it for me (no pun intended) and anyway IME they foul any tyre larger than 700c/23.

    Best of luck.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Barchettaman's Avatar
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    By the way, I put togeather a city bike build on a road frame, it turned out OK.
    Not an IGH but maybe itīll act as inspiration, or a deterrent!

    The 700c/23 tyres have now been replaced with 700c/28 Vittoria Zaffiros.


  8. #8
    Senior Member Kanegon's Avatar
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    Yes, definitely consider tire size vs. frame and fender clearance now. I'm riding my city-fied Raleigh Grand Prix with 700 x 28s, but life would've been much easier if I had started with with a frame that had a longer wheelbase and better tire clearance. Raceblades work, but they bounce around a bit, especially the rear. Rack and fender bosses may not be essential, but they sure look better than the workarounds.


    Last edited by Kanegon; 02-14-12 at 02:04 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    You'll need a tensioner (which is pretty much the same thing as having a derailleur) to use the vertical drops with an IGH.
    Not if those ultra-cool adjustable vertical dropouts have enough actual adjustability, which I'm willing to bet they do.

    OP - It's your bike, do what you want. I love people who color outside the lines! Interested to see how this turns out!
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  10. #10
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctmullins View Post
    Not if those ultra-cool adjustable vertical dropouts have enough actual adjustability, which I'm willing to bet they do.

    OP - It's your bike, do what you want. I love people who color outside the lines! Interested to see how this turns out!
    I've never seen them before...you're right. I thought they were replaceable with a vertical drop...I wasn't seeing them as movable, but I get what you're saying.

    Personally I like using the right tool for the job rather than making the wrong tool fit and sort of do the job. There are enough frames out there that there's no need to make extra grief and difficulty for yourself while limiting versatility.

  11. #11
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Barchettaman and Kanegon, do those short fenders work?
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syscrush View Post
    4) Internal gear hub. I expect that's contentious in some circles, but what can I say? I just really, really hate derailleurs for a bike I want to ride every day and just not worry about. Please resist the temptation to offer me an education on how nice derailleurs are if they're set up and maintained properly. I hate the looks and the weight of an IGH, and I hate the thought of sullying a nice Italian frame with one, but it's just the best compromise for my intended usage of this bike. The framesets I'm considering have either horizontal dropouts (Bianchi), or adjustable (Gios).
    You must be new here. Ain nobody gonna give you no **** about an IGH. Though you yourself sound conflicted enough for all of us.

    If there are any aesthetic problems I forecast, it's the deep-vs, due to their inherent hideousness. However, they are no doubt tough. Srsly, if you can stomach the appearance, wheels like that will no doubt give you good service and be bullet proof. Anyway, the jackass is in the eye of the beholder. A very popular rim for this purpose is the Sun CR-18, double-walled, made in many sizes, almost a real box section, cockroach-after-the-apocalypse tough. Even available polished. Plus you avoid that johnny-come-lately-hipster look.

    I would suggest looking into the 5-sp bar-end shifter SA makes to go with your hub. Problem solved, and you don't have to use a <shudder> grip shifter.

    There are about a 100-bazillion examples in this forum of IGH conversions with classic bike frames if you hunt around.

    Welcome to the cool kids' club.
    Last edited by Roll-Monroe-Co; 02-14-12 at 02:28 PM.

  13. #13
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    Oh, yeah. I agree with these other guys. Think about the frame. Generous clearances for tires and fenders and horizontal dropouts will really make your life better.

  14. #14
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    Mmm. Nice. And if you're willing to pay full price, they go all the way around and don't just stop like this one.


  15. #15
    Senior Member jr59's Avatar
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    You are going to have to cold set the rear dropouts to 135.
    Gravity hates us all, but it hates me more than thin people!

  16. #16
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roll-Monroe-Co View Post
    Oh, yeah. I agree with these other guys. Think about the frame. Generous clearances for tires and fenders and horizontal dropouts will really make your life better.
    I'm pretty sure that ctmullins is right...if you look at the DOs, they slide. That should give the tensioning ability for the chain. Definitely an interesting design...I wonder if it works and holds the DO in place though.

    I would rather have a bike with wider clearances, slacker geometry and some eyelets for fenders and rack personally. I have no aesthetic, moral or principles issue here, I just think there might be better frames for what the OP is doing. I'm all for unconventional builds and making things what you want, but I like using the right tool for it too.

    I'm not sure what the spacing on that hub is, but if jr59 is right...a 10mm spread is going to tighten the clearance even further. I would NOT cold set that frame to 135mm.

  17. #17
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    How much is this likely to cost, overall? You do realize you'd save a ton of money starting with a bike, right? I think building a bike from the ground up is fine if you're doing it for the experience. I just want to make sure you're making an informed decision.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
    I'm pretty sure that ctmullins is right...if you look at the DOs, they slide.
    Those DOs are pretty cool. Never seen anything like it before. A quick inspection of the interwebs seems to indicate that this application is the very purpose of adjustable dropouts, so I sure hope they hold in place.

  19. #19
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Good call on the Halo coating, syscrush. I'm considering building a wheelset with the Halo coated Dyads soon.

    Those are nifty dropouts. But, despite their adjustability they seem to me to be very impractical for IGH use. You need to be able to slide the wheel back. You can't acheive proper chain tension unless you adjust both those dropouts everytime you remove and reinstall the wheel. Eff that noise.

    I applaud your ingenuity, but you have chosen a poor frame for the duty you describe.

    Quote Originally Posted by jr59 View Post
    You are going to have to cold set the rear dropouts to 135.
    Why do you say that so matter-of-factly? The X-RF5 can be spaced to 130 or 119 depending on the nuts you use (which are included with the hub).
    Last edited by ColonelJLloyd; 02-14-12 at 02:52 PM.
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  20. #20
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roll-Monroe-Co View Post
    Those DOs are pretty cool. Never seen anything like it before. A quick inspection of the interwebs seems to indicate that this application is the very purpose of adjustable dropouts, so I sure hope they hold in place.
    It's definitely cool...and I've never seen it either. When I first looked at it I didn't even get what the purpose was...I thought ohhhhhh, replaceable DO!

  21. #21
    Senior Member Kanegon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Barchettaman and Kanegon, do those short fenders work?
    Yes, but not as well as full fenders. They won't keep your pant cuffs dry, if that's what you're asking. But neither do full fenders. I don't ride in the rain much, so they're mostly for puddles, wet pavement and whatever the road might throw in my face, this is New York after all. I know what it's catching, it's right there, stuck to the other side. And like I said, they rattle a bit on bumps. My rear fender has to be adjusted so that when it swings forward from shock, it slides under the bullet nut on the rear brake instead of hammering it. I'll be shortening the rear stays at the next pass. I'd be using full fenders if they fit; those look so much better. (BTW, I passed on the brake bridge mods because there again, it was extra weight and parts that I didn't want to deal with.)

  22. #22
    Sausage King
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    I have the SA SRf-5 hub on my bike. Similar to the one you are using. It's ok. I find myself futzing with it on occasion more than I would like. The shifting doesn't always seem to be the smoothest. Lately on mornings where the temps have been below freezing my cable has froze up and jammed. I think due to a combination of running a nearly full cable housing the whole length and a slight U shaped bend under the BB shell. Recently I removed the cable and blew the housing out with compressed air and lubed it well. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet though.

    What size chainring and cog are you planning to use?

  23. #23
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    I just bought the drum RD5. It is 130mm. Haven't got a bike set up yet.
    The problem that needs to be fixed is the flat part of the SA axel attachment. He needs to file the existing DO flat on the upper contact, which is questionably workable, or get new DOs custom machined.

    Good luck with your build OP.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input, folks.

    Fenders: I would like some, but it's not the highest priority. Once I get the bike rideable and put some miles on it, I'll decide then what (if anything) to do about fitting some kind of fender. Probably raceblades or nothing.

    The dropouts are adjustable with 8mm fore-aft movement. Should work just fine for this setup.

    IGH: I bought the wrong one, although in my defense the right one won't be available from anyplace until late spring or early summer. I got so excited to find an X-RF5 in stock somewhere that I didn't realize that it's not the X-RF5(W) that I want until it was pointed out by member Dan Burkhart when he saw the pic in this thread. The plan was to use the Sturmey Archer bar-end shifter, which requires the (W) hub. Ugh. I feel a bit sick. Seems like the wait for (W) hubs is months long at this point, so I'm going to use the hub that I have in hand and use the twist grip shifter via a hubbub adapter, even though it's ugly.

    I've test fit the Velocity Deep V's from my other bike, and I like the look, and there's definitely room for a 25 on there, which is what I plan to use (probably Schwalbe Marathons). I suspect that even a 28 would work just fine. I have put thousands of city and touring miles on 23's and have no concerns about the comfort factor of 23-25's.

    As far as the spacing is concerned, right now it's at 125mm, and the hub is very close to 115mm wide. I'm going to leave it up to my builder to decide whether to use spacers, cold set the frame, or both.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Syscrush's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    How much is this likely to cost, overall? You do realize you'd save a ton of money starting with a bike, right? I think building a bike from the ground up is fine if you're doing it for the experience. I just want to make sure you're making an informed decision.
    It depends what you mean by save a ton of money. To get everything that I want (quality lugged steel frame, dual-pivot calipers w/ aero levers, Deep V wheels, IGH, and drop bars), starting with a bike instead of a frame would mean ditching the drivetrain, brakes, and wheels. Avid ebayers claim to recoup costs by selling that stuff off, but I don't consider that an effective use of my time.

    It's a bit crass to talk about #'s, but I did set a budget for this project and so far I'm on target. It'll cost a bit more than a new Trek Soho Deluxe, but be much better tailored to my tastes. It'll be a bit cheaper than if I bought the Soho Deluxe and modified it to my taste (new stem, drop bars, Versa VRS-8 shifter, different rims, different fenders), and a lot better looking IMO.

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