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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 04-18-05, 09:40 AM   #1
emilymildew
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n00b needs help with mechanics

I got home last night late and found that my Pista had arrived. So shiny, so pretty. I put it together the best I could and put it in my bedroom so I could stare at it.

Anyway. The problems I am having are:

1. It doesn't have a brake. Any recommendations on what I should get? Is going to my LBS a jerk move since I didn't buy the bike from them? Or should I order it online and take it to them to put it together? Or would that be worse?

2. How do I know if I have the back wheel on correctly? I could go to the local DIY-with-help bike shop, but it's a few miles away and I don't want to, you know, die on my way. Again, is it a jerk move to go to my LBS and ask them for help with learning this? (Assuming, of course, I'd pay for the time.)

I tried to do some searching but I wasn't sure exactly how to search for these specific things.
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Old 04-18-05, 09:47 AM   #2
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it goes like this: any LBS that would give you ***** for buying a brake and paying for repairs just because you didn't originally buy the bike from them is a sh!tty LBS. Bike shops do three things: Bikes, parts and repairs. Two out of three ain't bad.

(By the way, the back wheel is on correctly if the chain is fairly tight and the wheel is straight. Not a whole lot to it.)
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Old 04-18-05, 10:02 AM   #3
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1) A decent single-pull caliper brake will be sufficient. You can get it online if you like or if you prefer, spend some money at the LBS which is what I do. A Shimano 105 brake (in black or silver) will do the job. Make sure to ask for the front brake.

2) As boots said. You want the chain to be tight but not too tight. Using a finger, lift or pull the chain from the top - if you can pull it about half an inch then you have good tension. As you wear/break in the chain and it stretches a little after the first few rides, check it again for tension.

Enjoy the ride!
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Old 04-18-05, 10:04 AM   #4
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Well, you could take the opportunity to learn how to attach a brake yourself. :-)

If you're going to get one fitted at the LBS, it's polite to buy it from them, too. Also, they'll make sure that it's the right combination of lever and cable and caliper and whathaveyou. You could ask them to check over your build while they're at it.
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Old 04-18-05, 10:05 AM   #5
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Yeah, the polite thing is what I was worried about. I'll walk my bike up there this evening after work and see what they say.

Thanks!
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Old 04-18-05, 10:16 AM   #6
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You want the chain to be just loose enough that it's not binding. The rule of thumb is 1/2" of vertical play at most. When you spin the rear wheel with the bike in the stand (or on it's back), it should be loose enough that it can coast.

Too loose and you run the risk of tossing your chain. Most people only make that mistake once.
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Old 04-18-05, 10:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boots
it goes like this: any LBS that would give you ***** for buying a brake and paying for repairs just because you didn't originally buy the bike from them is a sh!tty LBS. Bike shops do three things: Bikes, parts and repairs. Two out of three ain't bad.
I agree, unless the situation (which I don't think it is here) is that someone uses the LBS to work out what bike is right for them, gets lots of advice, goes for test rides, etc. then buys in off the net cause its cheaper.

Al
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Old 04-18-05, 10:20 AM   #8
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true
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Old 04-18-05, 10:32 AM   #9
emilymildew
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Yeah, I wouldn't do that. I -was- looking at a bike to buy from them but I ended up finding the Pista, which is the one I wanted anyway, for a good price.

I know the guy who owns it has said that he prefers people buy the little stuff there rather than pushing for people to buy whole bikes. I spend a lot of money there on a fairly regular basis, and I recommend it to my friends.

Yay, I am going to get to ride my bike today!

edit: I thought of another question. The wheels are strange to me - on the one side is a nut like I'm used to (my old bike is not quick release) and on the other side is a nut that is inside a weird plastic disk. What's up with that?

Last edited by emilymildew; 04-18-05 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 04-18-05, 12:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emilymildew
edit: I thought of another question. The wheels are strange to me - on the one side is a nut like I'm used to (my old bike is not quick release) and on the other side is a nut that is inside a weird plastic disk. What's up with that?
if i'm thinking of what i'm thinking, then that plastic disk was put there for shipping protection. take metal nut out of plastic disk, then toss plastic disk. use nut normally.
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Old 04-18-05, 01:39 PM   #11
emilymildew
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See, that's what I thought, but I can't freaking get it out. I'll look at it again when I get home.

I AM SO EXCITED. I have only ridden fixed gear twice - once at a critical mass when I found someone who had my size and once when I was drunk on my friend's Pista.

I am so excited.
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Old 04-19-05, 04:32 PM   #12
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Okay, just to report back in - Pittsburgh Pro Bicycles on Murray Avenue in Pittsburgh PA is my favorite LBS ever.

I went in and they didn't have any brake levers, so the manager asked one of the mechanics to find one off of a bike in the basement and loaned it to me until I could order something. They loaned me a freaking brake lever.

And then the mechanic stayed a few minutes after closing to install it for me.

Wow. I am so impressed with how they treated me. Really amazing stuff.

Also, my bike RULES.
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