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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 02-22-17, 10:30 PM   #1
N.V.
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1st Build - Advantage of 126 vs. 120 mm wheels?

I've got a 1983 Fuji Monterey frame I'd like to build as a single speed (or perhaps SS/FG with a flip-flop hub). I only have the frame/fork/headset and original brakes, so every other component will need to be purchased. I'm bound to be asking lots of questions, but thought I'd start with wheels.

The frame has 126 mm spacing in the rear with nice horizontal dropouts. I've seen numerous pre-made wheelsets with 120 mm rear hubs, and a couple available with 126 mm rear hubs. My basic question is this: Is there a functional advantage to getting a 126 mm rear hub vs. using a 120 mm rear hub with spacers?

Seems like it would be smart to get 27-inch rims so the original brakes can be used easily. However, I'm not opposed to buying newer brakes and 700c rims if that's especially desirable. Thoughts on that?

Lastly, is there conventional wisdom about the desirability of these four approaches?
1. Buying a newly-made wheelset
2. Buying recently made used wheels
3. Buying vintage hubs and lacing to new rims
4. Buying a vintage wheelset and converting the rear hub
(I have a good set of bike tools, but do NOT have proper wheelmaking equipment.)

I'm definitely not opposed to hunting around on ebay/craigslist and I'm not in any particular rush. I don't need to pinch pennies 'til they scream, but any money saved is money that can be thrown at my kayaking pursuits! My main bike is an old but still wonderful Trek 5200 and this will be a fun/alternative bike for me, so I'm not looking for a dream bike. With that said, I want to end up with something well-made and beautifully functional. It will be ridden almost exclusively on the road, btw.

Thanks very much for any advice you can offer!
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