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  1. #1
    Junior Member Crickette's Avatar
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    Yugoslavian fixie/coaster lightweight speedster

    Hello, I'm Crickette, from South Texas, and have been mourning the loss of the green Yugoslavian fixed gear coaster brake woman's bicycle that I paid $35 for back in the early '80's. It was already an "old" (I figured over 15 years maybe) bike by that time, but in excellent condition.

    I was living in a very unfriendly bike city when I divorced and left it behind. My kids told me that it soon disappeared. What a stupid thing to do -- left my Maytags and left the best darned bike in the world.

    It was LIGHT WEIGHT and would race like the wind. I had done ZERO atheletic activity in the prior ten years, but I went everywhere without, seemingly, any effort at all. It wasn't heavy like the Raleigh I rode as a kid --- it was a flyweight.

    I just saw an article in the NYTimes this weekend about the raging popularity of this type of bike for in town commuting and I just got to yearning so bad to own an old (ie, affordable) light weight bike like that again. Trouble is, I have no idea how to connect to someone who owns one. My suspicions at the time was that it had come back with a military family stationed in or near Eastern Europe.

    These new bikes are light-weight --- but start at $800. Does anyone have any idea where I could start looking for the flyweight gem I'm looking for?

    Thanks ... I'm already enjoying reading BikeForums..
    Crickette

  2. #2
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Welcome Crickette!

    I don't know where you'd find such a bike per se, but there are certainly plenty of people on the singlespeed & fixed gear forum who do their own conversions of older bikes. Some of those frames are perfect for FG, and I understand it is not too expensive to do. One guy just put one together for his girlfriend. Check it out!
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  3. #3
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    What was the brand? I have friends in Serbia, I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to track one down if you really, really wanted the exact same bike, and were willing to pay what are probably costly shipping charges.

    Otherwise, you can find a lightweight mixte, possibly even in a fixed gear conversion, in this country. Look for one made of cromoly, that will be what makes it lightweight.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Crickette's Avatar
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    Thank you, Donna!!

    Well, if you think that -I- could do my own conversion, then maybe I CAN!!

    My mom has a standard issue fixie less than 10 years old - ridden no more than 5 miles - just sitting on airless tires for the intervening years. I will have to find out if any part of it (she will give it to me) would be helpful in creating what I want.

    Once you have ridden a bike barely over 20 pounds, you simply can't imagine struggling to move all that dead weight again.

    I DID buy a 10 speed once. Couldn't figure out how to do anything on it - hey, my Mustang told me which gear I was in, but my bike gave me no clues --- and then I read in an article that most 10-speed (and more) owners never used more than 2 gears anyway..... and my little hands made it impossible for me to use the brakes without letting go of the handle bars first. The whole thing was so traumatic that I found no true joy in it at all.

    Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction. It feels great to know that there are women on this forum because it seems every bike photo I look it has a crossbar. At 5'1", I'm too liable to severe injuries ... and with a women's bike frame, when things start going downhill, all you have to do is swing your leg across and dismount running.

    Crickette

  5. #5
    Senior Member ratattack's Avatar
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    hmm. not too many fixies have a downsloping top tube (are converted women's frames). conversions are usually the least expensive option but if you want lightweight, that'd be difficult.

    i ride an IRO, 50 cm, and i'm 5'4". they make 46 cm as well, i believe? which may be too tall for you. and it cost me about $700 to order it stock and have it built up with the assistance of my local bike shop.

    what i would recommend? fuji track SE. it's a track bike (lightweight) with a flip-flop hub (single or fixed, you can switch it back and forth). fuji makes three track bikes, the track pro that is for racing on velodromes/looking flashy. the track, which is your basic fixed, and the track SE, which is the track with different geometry and 43 cm. basically, it's a fixie built specifically for shorter people. my roommate is 5' and rides one. and the stock bike is $500.
    here is a link: http://www.fujibikes.com/2007/bikes.asp?id=287&subcat=2

  6. #6
    Junior Member Crickette's Avatar
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    Hi, Blue Order

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    What was the brand? I have friends in Serbia, I'm sure it wouldn't be that hard to track one down if you really, really wanted the exact same bike, and were willing to pay what are probably costly shipping charges.

    Otherwise, you can find a lightweight mixte, possibly even in a fixed gear conversion, in this country. Look for one made of cromoly, that will be what makes it lightweight.
    Hi, Blue Order. Serbia huh? I have friends in Macedonia. But true, I would not want to pay the shipping and I have no military friends who would pack it back stateside for me.

    Well, like I told you - it was already an older bike and someone along the way had peeled off the brand label --- it was a metal plate on the frame that told me "Made in Yugoslavia". Hmmm.. now that I think about it, if what I recall was a label in ENGLISH, it must have been an import. Looked just like a regular traditional Schwinn - upright handle bars, fenders. You would never think twice about it til you picked it up in one hand and raised it to your shoulder...

    Cromoly. So that's how they did it. All I know (now) is that I had a gem that I picked up for a song.

    Thank you for helping the newbie!

    Crickette

  7. #7
    Junior Member Crickette's Avatar
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    Hi, Rat Attack

    Took a second glimpse - didn't have fenders

    Yeah, I can understand what you are saying about "not too many fixies have a downsloping top tube" -- I'm not real optimistic about finding another one in Texas, either. I have no idea WHAT it was made of or how it was made, just that it was less than half the weight of what was a typical coaster-brake bike back then.

    I am starting on Craigslist, hoping I can intrigue someone to stroll on out to some garage to check out the old dusty bike resting on its rims..

    Maybe I'll drop by the antiques and classics forum... Up til when I got the bike, I had no idea that Americans didn't lead the world in bike construction.

    and thanks for the link...

    Crickette.

    Quote Originally Posted by ratattack
    hmm. not too many fixies have a downsloping top tube (are converted women's frames). conversions are usually the least expensive option but if you want lightweight, that'd be difficult.

  8. #8
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    Hello Crickette, at five feet tall, I've been there, done that. If you insist on a diamond frame geometry you will limit yourself. There are bikes out there that will fit us, but a mixte style frame can be made into a fixie, and it's a lot easier to get a leg over.

    Where are you in south Texas? There's lots of BF members there, and if you're close enough to any of them, they might possibly come give you a hand...

    Welcome to BF!

    East Hill
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickette
    Cromoly. So that's how they did it. All I know (now) is that I had a gem that I picked up for a song.
    Here's a mixte frame bike that just ended on eBay, and didn't sell:

    Panasonic Sport 1000

    You can do a search on Bikeforums for the Panasonic Sport 1000 to read a bit about them.

    It's cromoly (aka CrMo, chromoly, cromo, chrome-molybdenem....), which will make it light and strong. Tange 900 is not the highest grade of cromoly, but not bad either. As you can see, the bike was being sold as a conversion project.

    Anyway, it didn't sell, so I'd bet the seller is open to offers at this point.
    Last edited by Blue Order; 05-01-07 at 07:36 PM.

  10. #10
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    Welcome to where the fun is, Crickette!
    One quick question:
    When you say "fixed gear" do you mean "locked up in gear and pedalling all the time", like a racing bike
    or do you mean
    "one gear, no shifting necessary, but you can stop pedalling and just coast along till gravity gives out"?

    I'm thinking you mean the second one. If so, you'll find it easy and reasonably cheap to whomp up a bike that suits you.

  11. #11
    Junior Member Crickette's Avatar
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    Hi, FlatTop!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by FlatTop
    Welcome to where the fun is, Crickette!
    One quick question:
    When you say "fixed gear" do you mean "locked up in gear and pedalling all the time", like a racing bike
    or do you mean "one gear, no shifting necessary, but you can stop pedalling and just coast along till gravity gives out"?

    I'm thinking you mean the second one. If so, you'll find it easy and reasonably cheap to whomp up a bike that suits you.
    Boy, am I ever glad you asked me that question, because FlatTop, I spent half of last night googling and reading up on all sorts of what (to me) are "modern bikes" ... I was so confused and overwhelmed, I was getting ready to call my ex and ask him if I could buy my bike back from him (17 years since our divorce and he still has my wedding dress and every last pair of shoes, etc, I left - so it IS possible he just put it in storage). Then I least I would KNOW what I was getting and that I could enjoy riding it.

    So yeah, I kept reading last night ... and kept thinking about my riding the one out in San Angelo - the one from Yugoslavia. And I most definitely remember (seem to remember, anyway), that I could coast. Yeah, I DO remember that I would stop peddling, one foot high and lightly advanced, the other one down -- and coast. Stand up and still coast, feet still. Pedaling BACKWARDS would brake, of course. No gears beyond the big front one, and small one on the wheel. No hand brakes. But I rode for pleasure, not to race. Just for the sheer pleasure of creating my own breeze. I was a cautious rider, and only rode on country roads and in quiet neighborhoods - I never felt scared about stopping in time, not being a speedster.

    Yes, I could coast. You are right. I was getting ready to write someone privately and ask this (embarrassing) newbie question .. But I guess I shouldn't feel embarrassed. Afterall, my general knowledge of bikes pretty much stopped with being totally baffled by gears. I went to a bike shop and asked the owner (well, he was the only one there) how someone could learn how to shift gears - if there were books I could read.. Or could he explain it to me --- and he just stared at me. I think maybe he said something about how you just do it and learn how to do it. Made me feel SO stupid. I mean, afterall --- these thing had TWELVE GEARS and no instructions. Then I tried one, could scarcely work the brakes, had no idea about how to use front and rear ones (or which WAS front or rear - no labels!). I would out of my depth. And anyway, it was not as easy to peddle around as my one gear - it was harder to pedal, harder to stop and it was SCARY.

    As you can imagine, I didn't buy a bike from him. Maybe he couldn't relate to a middle-aged woman who had come in to have new inner tubes made more road worthy by doubling them up, gluing one inside the other... and hadn't even asked about BUYING a bike from him.

    The guy on eBay with the chromy thing relisted it (but he has a pretty poor rep at eBay), and the photos are of how it looked when he BOUGHT it, when it was still multigear. As far as I can figure out, it's in pieces at the moment.... but if I know what to ASK for, I can advertise on Craigslist in San Antonio (bigger city than Corpus Christi) and just might find what I need.

    At first I was scared about doing this myself, but then I realized that since I need to know how to remove the rear wheel when I have a flat (and patch the puncture), I really do need to know more than how to adjust the saddle, the handlebars, grease the chain and and fill the tires!!

    And obviously, I need to get to find out what SIZE frame I should get. You read the descriptions and one woman's bike will be called a 26 inch. And the very next bike will be described as a 14 inch. And I am sure they are not describing a bike for midgets. I need to find a bike shop or someone close who can help teach me from the ground up (and has the interest in doing so).

    I live in a very small town nowadays, 30 miles from anywhere, and I want a bike to get around town - gas prices being what they are and my needing the exercise so desperately. To do light grocery shopping, heading to the library, etc. I was checking out safety flags and lights (already have a gel over-pad) and such at Walmart today. I WANT a bike.... but I want a bike I regard as fondly and affectionally as I used to regard my horse.

    So tell me, FlatTop, how can I do a conversion like this, where can I learn? And how can I tell by LOOKING at a (close-up) photo whether a bike is a fixed or single gear? I can see I have so much to learn.

    Crickette

  12. #12
    Junior Member Crickette's Avatar
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    Hi Blue Order

    Thanks for telling me about the eBay ad. I have written, asking if I could call him and ask all my newbie questions, and he seems anxious to build what I want. But I don't know enough yet to even know what I want.

    I'll keep you posted and thank you so much for thinking of me... I LOVE this community. I've never known such a friendly place.

    Crickette

  13. #13
    Junior Member Crickette's Avatar
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    Hi, East Hill

    I live near Corpus Christi - about 25 miles due west of Calallen/Annaville, 20 miles north of Alice, 15 miles south of Mathis. Calallen at the far far west end of Corpus Christi (east end is Flourbluff). I would love to meet someone knowledgeable about bikes.

    I read on another site with regional discussions that there is a midweek evening riding group in Kingsville. AND our area phone book shows that the Kingsville Bicycle Clinic is there. It is about 40 miles from me.

    Unlike San Angelo, where it was hot and DRY, the Coastal Bend is hot and HUMID. It is difficult for sweat to evaporate and if you are sensitive to heat stroke, it can be dangerous to both man and animal. But motorcycle groups are popular!

    If you can give me any contacts, that would be greatly appreciated.

    Crickette

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickette
    Thanks for telling me about the eBay ad. I have written, asking if I could call him and ask all my newbie questions, and he seems anxious to build what I want. But I don't know enough yet to even know what I want.
    Go to the General Cycling Discussion forum and ask a bunch of newbie questions. It would help if you post a thread telling people what it is you're looking for in a bike. You'll get lots of free, sometimes contradictory advice.

    If you want a bike for commuting, go to the Commuting forum and post a thread asking a bunch of newbie questions.

    If you're looking for a Classic or Vintage bike, go to the Classic & Vintage forum and ask a bunch of newbie questions.

    I'll keep you posted and thank you so much for thinking of me... I LOVE this community. I've never known such a friendly place.

    Crickette
    Uh, don't go to This Forum, then...


    Good luck, Crickette!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crickette
    I was getting ready to write someone privately and ask this (embarrassing) newbie question .. But I guess I shouldn't feel embarrassed. Afterall, my general knowledge of bikes pretty much stopped with being totally baffled by gears. I went to a bike shop and asked the owner (well, he was the only one there) how someone could learn how to shift gears - if there were books I could read.. Or could he explain it to me --- and he just stared at me.
    Yes, there are books. Go to a library (or bookstore) and get Glenn's New Complete Bicycle Manual. Well, it doesn't explain how to shift, but it's a good basic beginners guide to how to buy, ride, and maintain a bicycle. Another really good book is The Art of Cycling by Robert Hurst. Not about buying or maintaining a bicycle, but about how to ride on roads we share with much bigger vehicles.

    I think maybe he said something about how you just do it and learn how to do it. Made me feel SO stupid. I mean, afterall --- these thing had TWELVE GEARS and no instructions. Then I tried one, could scarcely work the brakes, had no idea about how to use front and rear ones (or which WAS front or rear - no labels!). I would out of my depth.
    Not a very helpful shop. The guy should have helped you with all of your questions WITHOUT making you feel stupid. I hate shops like that. I wouldn't spend a nickel in one of those shops. Trust me, there are good shops out there.


    At first I was scared about doing this myself, but then I realized that since I need to know how to remove the rear wheel when I have a flat (and patch the puncture), I really do need to know more than how to adjust the saddle, the handlebars, grease the chain and and fill the tires!!

    And obviously, I need to get to find out what SIZE frame I should get. You read the descriptions and one woman's bike will be called a 26 inch. And the very next bike will be described as a 14 inch. And I am sure they are not describing a bike for midgets. I need to find a bike shop or someone close who can help teach me from the ground up (and has the interest in doing so).

    I live in a very small town nowadays, 30 miles from anywhere, and I want a bike to get around town - gas prices being what they are and my needing the exercise so desperately. To do light grocery shopping, heading to the library, etc. I was checking out safety flags and lights (already have a gel over-pad) and such at Walmart today. I WANT a bike.... but I want a bike I regard as fondly and affectionally as I used to regard my horse.

    So tell me, FlatTop, how can I do a conversion like this, where can I learn? And how can I tell by LOOKING at a (close-up) photo whether a bike is a fixed or single gear? I can see I have so much to learn.

    Crickette
    Post all of the questions I've quoted in this response on the General Cycling forum, plus any others you have, and you'll get lots of help.

  16. #16
    holyrollin' FlatTop's Avatar
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    Crickette, if you refer to the bike you wish to own as a "single speed" or "SS" on these forums everyone will understand and give a mental nod and smile.
    Fixed gear is something else, and hardcore something else at that. I don't know that I could look at a bike and say, "that is a fixed gear". If it had that telltale arm that comes off the hub and bolts to the frame, I'd know it wasn't fixed gear, and most likely an SS or three-speed. Fixed gear and coaster brake don't go together.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that almost any newer geared bike would be duck soup for you to use. Reason? They are all index-shifted now. Unlike the old friction shifters that need to be finessed into gear, the new stuff all clicks crisply from one gear to the next. No learning curve. The older three-speed bikes had this feature as well, and you could do worse than picking up one of those cheaply as a starter bike.

    I'm in complete agreement with Blue Order: Don't be afraid to bombard us with newbie questions. Once you've spent an hour or so in here you'll start absorbing bicycle info like breathing in and out.

  17. #17
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    General Cycling is where it's at for asking 'new' questions. If you have questions about whether an older used bike is right for you (and it's from 1990 or earlier), check in with Classic & Vintage. Both those two forums are about as friendly as can be!

    By the way, the 16" bike sounds as if it's a child's bike--normal adult sizes start around 19" frames for women (or, 44 cm).

    East Hill
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