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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 04-10-06, 10:32 AM   #1
Bklyn
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Fixed-Gear Commuter Conversion

I'm impressed by the Zen aspect of you fixed-gear commuters. (I am also sick of fiddling with derailleurs.) And it so happens that I have an extra 80's road bike with horizontal dropouts lying around. But everything I've read about converting a freewheel road bike to a fixed-gear leaves out a very important starting question: How much will this cost?
I've got a decent LBS that will give me a fixed rear wheel, with cog, for $65/$70. I guess I'll need a new chain, and presuming I can use one of the chainrings, at least some shorter bolts. Or am I overlooking some other cost, like the Holy Masonic Fixie Induction Ceremony for $300?
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Old 04-10-06, 10:34 AM   #2
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Ummm....I can't think of anything else. BTW, make the check for the induction ceremony out to JYossarian.
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Old 04-10-06, 10:52 AM   #3
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What type of peddles you plan on running?

The cost of admission is actually having to repaint your bike. You have to repaint it Pink and Brown, yeah brown that is it. You have to ride it like that for... a month... and ummmm....
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Old 04-10-06, 10:54 AM   #4
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Sounds like a pretty good deal. I got a wheel for $60 but also had to buy a cog and lockring. (They are including a lockring, aren't they?)

The basics are pretty cheap; it's the Official Fixie Accessories that run into money: tattoos; piercing; authentic distressed Dickies or Carhartts; Chrome messenger bag; anorexic hipster girlfriend.
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Old 04-10-06, 10:56 AM   #5
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The only issue is getting your chainline right. You may need to play around with bottom bracket widths, or dish your rear wheel to line it up.
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Old 04-10-06, 11:32 AM   #6
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My fixed gear conversion cost me a wheel, cogs and lockrings, and $5 for single chainring bolts. You'll also want pedals that have clips and straps, or clipless pedals. You CAN do platform pedals with fixed, its just not quite as fun (I speak from experience).
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Old 04-10-06, 11:47 AM   #7
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You might need a new bottom bracket and new chainring bolts, but otherwise you should be good to go.

As with most bike projects it will cost more than you think.
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Old 04-10-06, 03:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marqueemoon
As with most bike projects it will cost more than you think.
... even after you plan on it costing more than you think.
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Old 04-10-06, 03:16 PM   #9
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If you plan ahead and have some sort of idea what you're doing (LOTS of reading) then it shouldn't overrun in cost too badly. My first conversion was a bit costly but the second one came in right on track. The trick is to thoroughly count the cost BEFORE you start buying.

For example, find out what kind of chainline your prospective rear wheel will provide. Its going to be 42mm for a road spaced hub, and 52mm for a mountain bike spaced hub (135mm). So, measure the chainline of your existing chainrings. The middle (on a triple) or the inner (on a double) will probably be 42mm or darn close to it and the outer ring is usually 52mm. If its too far off then you can PLAN on the cost of a new bottom bracket that is appropriately shorter or longer than your current one. That way you don't have to fool with chainline when the project is done. You plan it BEFORE you buy anything. The chainline is the biggest variable in a fixed gear conversion, and the "what ifs" and surprise costs can be eliminated by doing some measuring and planning. Have I used the word "planning" enough? LOL

The other things to watch out for are the same things you'd look out for when building any bike. How is the headset? Tires? Brakes? Assess each of them and plan accordingly. There's no reason a person couldn't order everything all at once and and put it all together in an afternoon or less. My second conversion went this way. It was done in under an hour and the chainline was perfect and I didn't have to make any unexpected trips to the LBS.

So, it CAN be done, and it does NOT have to be expensive at all.
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Old 04-10-06, 03:32 PM   #10
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If your new rear hub is a bolt-on, then the only other thing I can think of is a peanut butter wrench.

You probably already own a wrench that's the right size, tho.
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