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  1. #1
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    Changing drivetrain to left side?

    This might be a weird question, but is there a good reason why I shouldn't do this? It mostly matters when I'm shouldering the bike to leave my building, etc. It just always seems like having the bike on the left side would be more convenient for doors and stairways. I'm left handed, so maybe I'm just used to having things on the left side when I carry them?

    Can I just flip the cranks and the rear wheel? Seems like it would work. Any help from people who know way more than me about bikes would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Your pedals will unthread if you use a normal set of cranks on the wrong side.

    Theoretically, your cog might unthread but your lockring will not. You will actually tighten your cog if you skid and your lockring will loosen when you skid if it's hard enough.

    There are crank arms made to be installed on the left side but they are BMX arms and they usually require a BMX bottom bracket. You could definitely get a frame to put left hand drive cranks on it but I am not sure what it will do to your rear drive train.

    Some companies are making FGFS frames that utilize BMX style bottom brackets, which is a set of bearings pressed into the frame and you could use BMX cranks with that. Funny thing is, BMX/FGFS riders move their drive train to the left side so they can do grinds more fluidly.
    Last edited by Squirrelli; 02-24-11 at 02:43 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixtor View Post
    Your pedals will unthread if you use a normal set of cranks on the wrong side.

    Theoretically, your cog might unthread but your lockring will not. You will actually tighten your cog if you skid and your lockring will loosen when you skid if it's hard enough.

    There are crank arms made to be installed on the left side but they are BMX arms but they require a different type of bottom bracket and bottom bracket shell. You could definitely get a frame to put your cranks on the left side but I am not sure what it will do to your rear drive train.

    Some companies are making FGFS frames that utilize BMX style bottom brackets, which is a set of bearings pressed into the frame and you could use BMX cranks with that. Funny thing is, BMX/FGFS riders move their drive train to the left side so they can do grinds more fluidly.
    Thanks so much for the reply, Vixtor. What you said makes a lot of sense regarding pedals and rear drivetrain. Guess I didn't really think about that. Seems like way too much of a pita/money sink to do right. Just an idea I wanted to try if it didn't cost anything. I'll be fine with things as they are.

  4. #4
    GONE~
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    Plus, BMX cranks and bottom brackets are not cheap.

  5. #5
    One-track, one-speed mind XianRL's Avatar
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    OP, coincidence to see that you're from Chicago. When I visited in November, I saw at least five LSD fixed-gear bikes in two days. My buddy and I were perplexed. We thought it might be a Chicago trend or something. Then again, we're in a tiny college town where you seldom see any fixed-gear bikes. Tons of Roadmaster and Magna POS.

    And yeah, what Vix said. It's not worth the money. Maybe you can practice carrying your bike on your right shoulder?
    Go bike yourself.

  6. #6
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    I always wondered if there were any lefthanded folks that converted over to a leftside drivetrain. I'm righthanded and I think it would drive me nuts if I rode a drivetrain on the leftside.

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

  7. #7
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Another thing that hasn't been discussed- Tandem [captain] Cranks are LSD but still threaded the correct way. $130 is less than some track cranks.

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    Besides having to buy bmx or tandem cranks, you may run into issues with chainring clearence if your driveside chainstay is "notched" for the chainring to clear, it probably will rub on the other side. Oh, and you'll probably have to flip your bb spindle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Santaria View Post
    because physics has more street cred than tarckstars.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Motopecane's Avatar
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    I understand a few of the problems here except one.

    If your pedals bearings are decent do you really think they would un-thread? I find this highly unlikely but I have never tried.

    As far as chain ring clearance I think on a FG as long as he doesn't have a huge chainring it should clear being on the outside of the crank.

    I would say learn to carry your bike on the right side. Chances are if your left handed like me you are also mostly ambidextrous.
    Made in France

  10. #10
    Senior Member PlattsVegas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixtor View Post
    Plus, BMX cranks and bottom brackets are not cheap.
    I will have to disagree. I have found BMX cranks/bottom brackets to be both cheaper and more durable, albeit heavier. There are many more options with BMX cranks than road cranks as well.
    EDIT:
    and to the OP: I flipped my drivetrain to the left side using standard right side equipment without any problems. However, the chainring clearance was pretty tight close, only a mm or 2 to spare. I only left it that way for a couple weeks, it just didn't seem right.
    Keepin' it real, while keepin' it safe

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  11. #11
    Senior Member Steev's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motopecane View Post
    I understand a few of the problems here except one.

    If your pedals bearings are decent do you really think they would un-thread? I find this highly unlikely but I have never tried.

    As far as chain ring clearance I think on a FG as long as he doesn't have a huge chainring it should clear being on the outside of the crank.

    I would say learn to carry your bike on the right side. Chances are if your left handed like me you are also mostly ambidextrous.
    Yes, that's why the non-drive side is reverse threaded to start with. This innovation is rumoured to have been introduced to be by the Wright Brothers according internet lore.

    Sheldon's words of wisdom.
    Pedal Threading

    Direction

    The right pedal has a normal thread, but the left pedal has a left (reverse) thread.
    The reason for this is not obvious: The force from bearing friction would, in fact, tend to unscrew pedals threaded in this manner. It is not the bearing friction that makes pedals unscrew themselves, but a phenomenon called "precession".

    You can demonstrate this to yourself by performing a simple experiment. Hold a pencil loosely in one fist, and move the end of it in a circle. You will see that the pencil, as it rubs against the inside of your fist, rotates in the opposite direction.

    Ignorant people outside the bicycle industry sometimes make the astonishing discovery that the way it has been done for 100 years is "wrong." "Look at these fools, they go to the trouble of using a left thread on one pedal, then the bozos go and put the left thread on the wrong side! Shows that bicycle designers have no idea what they are doing..."

    Another popular theory of armchair engineers is that the threads are done this way so that, if the pedal bearing locks up, the pedal will unscrew itself instead of breaking the rider's ankle.

    The left-threaded left pedal was not the result of armchair theorizing, it was a solution to a real problem: people's left pedals kept unscrewing! I have read that this was invented by the Wright brothers, but I am not sure of this.

    Note! The precession effect doesn't substitute for screwing your pedals in good and tight. It is very important to do so. The threads (like almost all threads on a bicycle) should be lubricated with grease, or at least with oil.
    Last edited by Steev; 02-24-11 at 12:30 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member gman26's Avatar
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    That's how the bikes are in Australia..

  13. #13
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vixtor View Post
    There are crank arms made to be installed on the left side but they are BMX arms and they usually require a BMX bottom bracket.
    Tandem crankarms also use reverse threading, at least for the captain's set.

    Another approach might be to ream out the exiting threads on a standard crank and helicoil reverse threads in place.

  14. #14
    King of the Hipsters
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    It seems to me a left-handed person, such as myself, would want to carry his bike over his right shoulder, thus freeing up his left hand.

    The bike already has the greasy drive train on the RIGHT or CORRECT side, away from the rider.

    I carry my bike over my right shoulder.

    I put the right pedal forward and the left pedal aft, and my body fits right next to the bike.

    I control the bike with my right hand, mostly on the front wheel.

    Instead of altering a proven design, try experimenting with your bike carrying methods.

  15. #15
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    Ed Litton



    White Ind. drivetrain
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  16. #16
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    Im not sure how being left handed has anything to do with carrying your bike, unless you have an injury that prevents you from carrying on your right shoulder. Im a lefty and the right shoulder works just fine. I think about it like this: pianos are the way they are and they dont make left handed pianos, so why make a left hand drive road bike when all parts are made for right hand drive.

  17. #17
    ganja mon
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    Oh man. someone I know actually did this not thinking about the unthreading situation. Op, listen hard to these folks unless you want to eat asphalt.

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    Thanks for the replies everybody. I was mostly just curious if this could be done. Obviously not without spending some money. As for the left handed thing, that wasn't the big reason for my question. It was more that it would be easier to bring the bike in with the doors and stairs in my building and crap the neighbors have in the stairwell. Like I said, I'll be fine with the rsd.
    OP, coincidence to see that you're from Chicago. When I visited in November, I saw at least five LSD fixed-gear bikes in two days. My buddy and I were perplexed. We thought it might be a Chicago trend or something.
    As far as I know, this is not a trend. I'm not sure I've seen five in four years. The only Chicago trend I can think of right now is putting chairs in your parking spot after you've shoveled the snow out of it.

  19. #19
    old legs
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    well they ain't cheap nor is there a large selection of models available not to mention the only size commonly available are 175mm (profile sometimes makes a 170mm and a 180mm)

  20. #20
    Senior Member Motopecane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steev View Post
    Yes, that's why the non-drive side is reverse threaded to start with. This innovation is rumoured to have been introduced to be by the Wright Brothers according internet lore.

    Sheldon's words of wisdom.
    Pedal Threading

    Direction

    The right pedal has a normal thread, but the left pedal has a left (reverse) thread.
    The reason for this is not obvious: The force from bearing friction would, in fact, tend to unscrew pedals threaded in this manner. It is not the bearing friction that makes pedals unscrew themselves, but a phenomenon called "precession".

    You can demonstrate this to yourself by performing a simple experiment. Hold a pencil loosely in one fist, and move the end of it in a circle. You will see that the pencil, as it rubs against the inside of your fist, rotates in the opposite direction.

    Ignorant people outside the bicycle industry sometimes make the astonishing discovery that the way it has been done for 100 years is "wrong." "Look at these fools, they go to the trouble of using a left thread on one pedal, then the bozos go and put the left thread on the wrong side! Shows that bicycle designers have no idea what they are doing..."

    Another popular theory of armchair engineers is that the threads are done this way so that, if the pedal bearing locks up, the pedal will unscrew itself instead of breaking the rider's ankle.

    The left-threaded left pedal was not the result of armchair theorizing, it was a solution to a real problem: people's left pedals kept unscrewing! I have read that this was invented by the Wright brothers, but I am not sure of this.

    Note! The precession effect doesn't substitute for screwing your pedals in good and tight. It is very important to do so. The threads (like almost all threads on a bicycle) should be lubricated with grease, or at least with oil.
    I'm not trying to argue but a pencil doesn't have threads! Also lock-tite can be very useful.

    I would like to hear from someone who has actually had a pedal come off on them.

    I hate to say it but Sheldon Brown is very intelligent but until he has tried, tested, and reported on everything he isn't the end-all be-all of everything bikes.
    Made in France

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    Yeah, well he knows a ****load more than you, that's for sure. I have personally witnessed pedals unthreading from being mounted LSD. It is just a question of when.
    I have a front brake, but I only use it for slowing or stopping.

  22. #22
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motopecane View Post
    I hate to say it but Sheldon Brown is very intelligent but until he has tried, tested, and reported on everything he isn't the end-all be-all of everything bikes.
    Q: How many times have I gone to your website and gotten good, credible information to answer my bike questions?
    A: None; so shut up.

    I understand that you are new here but before your time Sheldon personally helped many of us solve bike problems. He had not just a few years but a lifetime of experience being a cyclists, mechanic, and networking with people from all over the globe about obscure bike stuff. He wasn't afraid to try different things (see: homebuilt tandems) and if he says they'll unthread, you can take it to the bank that it can happen. [/soapbox]

  23. #23
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    Sheldon's website introduced me to fixed gear bikes years ago, before I knew they had become the rage.

    Probably a good thing I didn't know.

    Anyway, right or wrong, Sheldon really thought things out, and did his homework and ours.

    Thanks, Sheldon.

    We stand on your shoulders.

  24. #24
    Senior Member AltheCyclist's Avatar
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    Can't you just switch the handlebars/seat and ride it backward?

  25. #25
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    got this from wikipedia, under Precession under
    if you don't read the rest because it is long, at least read and do the last paragraph

    the next three paragraphs are directly cut and past from the wikipedia
    the last one in mine

    Astronomy

    In astronomy, precession refers to any of several gravity-induced, slow and continuous changes in an astronomical body's rotational axis or orbital path.
    [edit] Axial precession (precession of the equinoxes)
    Main article: Axial precession (astronomy)
    Precessional movement.
    Precession of the equinox in relation to the distant stars

    Axial precession is the movement of the rotational axis of an astronomical body, whereby the axis slowly traces out a cone. In the case of the Earth, this type of precession is also known as the precession of the equinoxes or precession of the equator. The Earth goes through one such complete precessional cycle in a period of approximately 26,000 years, during which the positions of stars as measured in the equatorial coordinate system will slowly change; the change is actually due to the change of the coordinates. Over this cycle the Earth's north axial pole moves from where it is now, within 1 of Polaris, in a circle around the ecliptic pole, with an angular radius of about 23.5 degrees (or approximately 23 degrees 27 arcminutes [2]). The shift is 1 degree in 72 years, where the angle is taken from the observer, not from the center of the circle.

    Aristarchus of Samos (c. 280 BC) is the earliest known astronomer to recognize and assess the precession of the equinoxes at almost 1 per century (which is not far from the actual value for antiquity, 1.38).[3] The Precession (axial rotation) was later explained by Newtonian physics. Being an oblate spheroid, the Earth has a nonspherical shape, bulging outward at the equator. The gravitational tidal forces of the Moon and Sun apply torque as they attempt to pull the equatorial bulge into the plane of the ecliptic. The portion of the precession due to the combined action of the Sun and the Moon is called lunisolar precession.

    the best possible explaination, in agreement with sheldon, is to look at the picture of the globe down by the atronomy section. loosly hold a pencil in your right hand like your hand is a tube and allow the eraser end to extend beyond the pinky of the right hand. spin the whole pencil by the sharpened end in the direction of the earth's rotation at the equator. then while spinning the pencil move the sharpened end in the same direction as the white arrow at the top of the earth. most of us are some type of bicycle mechanic here, so you should be able to see that what your hands are doing is playing with a pencil, and watching the eraser end to see what is happening. if the eraser were the threads of a left hand pedal, you woud be tightening the threads of a left hand pedal. rest in peace sheldon, we all miss you.
    http://revelstone56.tripod.com/index.html
    Hey technically I'm not crazy. The doctors even said so. I just do what the voices tell me and we all get along fine.

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