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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 03-20-06, 09:26 AM   #1
Sawtooth
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First Lazy conversion: Do I really have to re-dish?

I did my first conversion this weekend and simply swapped the freewheel on my 1982 peugot for a cog and BB lockring. After screwing around for hours with the chainline/tension (all big changes at the crank end), I managed to get it rideable. It is nothing to brag about but I am pretty sure it is safe and have enjoyed the first 30 miles on it without incident. I did almost go over the bars a couple of times on a 20 mile group ride when I forgot about the bikes new rules. Also, going from advice on this forum, I rode it hard and then re-tightened the lockring.

I notice, however, that I see almost no conversions that have simply left the rear wheel as-is. I know it would be stronger to re-dish, but I am not certain I will never want to replace the freewheel. Moreover, I think I would prefer to save up and buy a nice set of wheels with flip-flop hubs or something and a real reverse-thread lockring option.

Is it safe/sound to ride without re-dishing? How precise does that chainline really have to be?

Thanks
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Old 03-20-06, 09:41 AM   #2
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I had a chainline off by about 3mm, rode it successfully for about 20 miles and then the chain broke, I believe caused by the mis-alignment. Caused me to be picky about it, now.

Did you use spacers in the front to move the ring inboard?
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Old 03-20-06, 09:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colinm
I had a chainline off by about 3mm, rode it successfully for about 20 miles and then the chain broke, I believe caused by the mis-alignment. Caused me to be picky about it, now.

Did you use spacers in the front to move the ring inboard?
Yes, and I swapped to a shorter spindle length bottom bracket. It is visually off, but working for now. Your story makes me somewhat concerned. I wonder if one could make up for just a bit of that by going with a 1/8 inch chain (the cog is 3/32)?
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Old 03-20-06, 09:56 AM   #4
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[QUOTE=colinm]I had a chainline off by about 3mm, rode it successfully for about 20 miles and then the chain broke
QUOTE]

Thanks for the warning. That reminds me that I probably need to be carrying a link or 2 in order to avoid walking home someday.
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Old 03-20-06, 10:03 AM   #5
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ittle be fine.
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Old 03-20-06, 11:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawtooth
Yes, and I swapped to a shorter spindle length bottom bracket. It is visually off, but working for now. Your story makes me somewhat concerned. I wonder if one could make up for just a bit of that by going with a 1/8 inch chain (the cog is 3/32)?
I use 1/8" chains on all my SS/FG bikes.
I get them at Xmart for $5 and change them every riding season.
You really should go ahead and re-dish the wheel.
It only takes about 1/2 hour on a truing stand for a first timer and it is a great learning exp.

Enjoy
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Old 03-21-06, 04:51 PM   #7
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If the derailleur chain (1/2" x 3/32") fits the chainring & cog, the chainline doesn't have to be perfect 'cause the chain is made to flex sideways. Think of how your chain was flexing as you were using the various cogs/chainring combinations before you switched. Your current chainline probably isn't as bad as what is occurring on most derailleur-equipped bikes all the time!
If the wheel was strong enough as a multi-speed wheel, it's strong enough as a single-speed wheel.
All else being equal, a no-dish wheel is stronger than a dished wheel, but there are lots of radically dished wheels out there that are working fine. A 1/8" chain works OK on 3/32" teeth, but may wear the driven side of the teeth unevenly 'cause there's some slop in the width/fit. Probably not enough to matter....

On the other hand, a near-perfect chainline & minimally dished wheel does look better.....
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Old 03-21-06, 04:54 PM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback everyone. I may or may not redish. It is nice to know that I don't have to. By the way, it has been very fun to have my buddies here at the office take it for a spin around the parking lot.
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Old 03-21-06, 07:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colinm
I had a chainline off by about 3mm, rode it successfully for about 20 miles and then the chain broke, I believe caused by the mis-alignment. Caused me to be picky about it, now.

Did you use spacers in the front to move the ring inboard?
Not likely. Geared bikes almost always have the chainline > 3mm off. Plus, the chain on the newer 9, 10 speed road bikes are much narrower (and hence, weaker).
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Old 03-21-06, 07:12 PM   #10
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