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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 08-14-06, 02:14 PM   #1
schnee
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I think I'm driving my LBS to cold-blooded murder

... and the victim would be me.

I'm building up a new fixed gear, and it's been an intensive process. I'm probably driving my LBS crazy.
  1. First, running through all their parts books on day 1. Really looked at all my choices, and settled on a build. (Soma Rush, Chris King/Thompson/Formula/Velocity.) Took several hours.
  2. Then, the fork I wanted wasn't in stock through their vendors. After several days of combing through online bike vendors, I finally found it. Trouble is, I had to buy as a frame/fork combo only, so I canceled the frame order with the LBS. (Lord knows who's buying all the Soma Rush bikes, because I've never seen one in San Diego.) This took about three phone calls.
  3. Took a few days to suss out the cranks, because my ideal length is 172.5mm, and there aren't that many options for that... especially since I wanted black. I finally settled on 175mm BMX cranks. Look awesome, but took some 'above and beyond' research by my LBS guy.
  4. The stem I wanted didn't work with the 1" steerer, so we had to change the stem *and* the handlebars.
  5. I call again to specify the chaintugs. Spot brand (little rocket with bottle opener) if they have it in stock, Surly if they don't.
  6. Later that day, I call again to say if they can't get the Spot, let me know and I'll get it myself online, because it's just that much cooler than the Surly.
  7. Finally, everything comes in, and they build it up. They held off on the seatpost, to see if I needed straight or setback. Turns out I need setback. Also, the original stem they got was too short, so I'll need another one. so we order everything.
  8. I realize the Thompson setback post is ugly and awkward, so I find a sweet Miche, and call the LBS to cancel the Thompson order.

They're cool, and I doubt they really want to kill me, but this is the most back-and-forth I've ever had buying something. I realize building a bike from scratch is intensive, but still... it's changed a lot. I did bring a six-pack of awesome beer (3 Bass, 3 Guinness), but that was near the beginning, before all the little nit-picky stuff started.

I'm like this most of the time, but I'm normally able to shield others from it. The bike will be worth it, though. It's exactly what I want.

It's been three weeks. It'll be ready Friday. I'm dying here.

I think I'll bring 'em a twelver.
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Old 08-14-06, 02:20 PM   #2
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12-pack sounds like a good idea.

You sound like a customer from hell.
No offense.
It does sound like you weren't pushy or anything and fairly apologetic, which is very good.
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Old 08-14-06, 02:28 PM   #3
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I would have shot you after the first visit...enjoy your new ride
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Old 08-14-06, 02:34 PM   #4
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175mm cranks? i'd be scared of pedal strike on those monsters.
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Old 08-14-06, 02:43 PM   #5
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I'm 6'-2", so 170mm feels like I'm riding a mini clown bike.
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Old 08-14-06, 02:45 PM   #6
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A twelver is definitely in order. When you said "awesome beer" I was expecting a something a little more exciting, nothing against Bass or Guinness. Was the Guinness can or bottle? (I prefer the can)

My LBS helps me out a lot with adjustments and different tinkering I need done and with plain old advice, so the other day I was there and the owner asked me a few tech questions b/c they are looking to network the place. I wound up giving them an old router I had that I was no longer using, but was good enough for what they had to do. It felt good to finally feel like I was finally giving something back to them.
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Old 08-14-06, 02:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schnee
[*]Took a few days to suss out the cranks, because my ideal length is 172.5mm, and there aren't that many options for that... especially since I wanted black. I finally settled on 175mm BMX cranks.
hope the somas dont have much toe overlap...
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Old 08-14-06, 03:02 PM   #8
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Yeah, I do feel bad.

Half of the things were unavoidable though.. for instance, the frame. They couldn't get the fork I wanted. I didn't want to put a Surly Steamroller on my Soma Rush... almost a pound heavier, ~1.5cm longer, possibly different color, etc. So, either I settled for something I didn't want, or I stuck to my guns. Unfortunately, that happened a few times, mostly due to the Soma's 1" headset.

The chaintug thing was really petty, though. Same with the seatpost... I flat-out changed my mind after I pulled the trigger. It was hard to stop though, because I've lost so damn much money changing out parts after a bike, almost always when I 'settled' for something because that's all the LBS had. I decided to get what I want, even if I came across as a pain. I still feel a little bad about it, though.

I've never, ever been rude, though, and I never will be. That's inexcusable.

If it were a MTB, that'd be easy - Chris King, Thompson, Mavic, SRAM/Avid/Truvativ, done. Those bikes are less about individual character and more about hitting a level of performance to me. The fixed, though... blank slate. Much harder to pin down, especially since I wasn't trying to hit an obvious target like 'NJS track-worthy' or 'period-perfect retro'.
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Old 08-14-06, 03:04 PM   #9
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hope the somas dont have much toe overlap...
If they do, I didn't experience it on my test ride last week. I did little hairpin turns and figure eights all over the street behind the LBS, and didn't hit the tire.
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Old 08-14-06, 03:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schnee
I'm 6'-2", so 170mm feels like I'm riding a mini clown bike.
i'm 6'1" and i've considered trying 165's...
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Old 08-14-06, 03:09 PM   #11
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I'm 6'1" and rock 165mm and 167.5mm and love them.
That was after a year+ of riding 170mm. Would not go back.
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Old 08-14-06, 03:25 PM   #12
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If I have pedal strike, I'll keep that in mind.
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Old 08-14-06, 03:46 PM   #13
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why don't you just order the parts and put the bike together yourself?
it's a lot more fun.
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Old 08-14-06, 04:00 PM   #14
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Part of the process was getting advice from their resident fixed-gear single speed guru. He helped me translate the type of ride I wanted into a specific part decision. It made a big difference, especially when I had two or three options that looked really good on paper.

The other part of it was that I'm not a wrencher, and don't have the experience - or tools - to go about some of the more challenging parts of the build. I want it done right, and I wanted to pay the guys that are really good at it.
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Old 08-14-06, 04:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 666pack
why don't you just order the parts and put the bike together yourself?
it's a lot more fun.
true, true...but then the anxiety of waiting for it is gone...Christmas is no fun when YOU have to do everyting yourself and you decide when it is. Also: tools + time + knowledge + doing it correctly + one little thing wrong and you can't figure it out + supporting the lbs + lazy (???) + hastey = bad bike that is all your fault versus ideal bike from the shop.

+1 on the 12 pck.

have fun. I'm excited for you.
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Old 08-14-06, 04:06 PM   #16
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eh, i can understand that you wouldn't want to deal with it... but you learn a lot through trial (and hopefully avoiding error). i've built all but one of my bikes myself (my first was given to me singlespeed) and i've learned almost everything i know about bikes from reading sheldon brown and then trying it myself. yeah, the things involving special tools or expert help are tough, that's when you either find a friend with the tools and knowledge or just take it to the professionals.
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Old 08-14-06, 04:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youth
i'm 6'1" and i've considered trying 165's...
I'm 6'2" and 170s feel fine for fixed.
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Old 08-14-06, 04:29 PM   #18
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a 12er is a nice gesture. however, parts not working out is reasonably within the realm of possibilities when doing a build. you're going to be spending a considerable amount of money, and shouldn't be expected to settle for anything less than exactly what you want. in the end, some extra phone calls and extra time spent waiting on their behalf isn't really costing them much more than some aggervation.
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Old 08-14-06, 04:42 PM   #19
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Which LBS in SD?
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Old 08-14-06, 04:50 PM   #20
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CalCoast.

Charlie rocks. (Alex has the patience of a saint.)
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Old 08-14-06, 04:56 PM   #21
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eh, i can understand that you wouldn't want to deal with it... but you learn a lot through trial (and hopefully avoiding error).
Well, for me it's stuff like facing the BB, making sure the frame is trued, getting the headset on just right... you only get good at those sorts of things with practice. I'm spending a lot on this bike (probably $1300 all told) and I didn't want a bone-headed newb mistake screwing it up... that's assuming I even knew what to look for in the first place.

I'll get there... I'm too much of a tinkerer not to. I just want to pace it a bit.
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Old 08-15-06, 06:36 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marqueemoon
I'm 6'2" and 170s feel fine for fixed.
170's feel okay, but i want to be able to ride as intensely as possible and not have to worry about toe overlap/pedal strike and all that crap. my current cranks are some wack ass rpm junks, so i think if/when i upgrade i'm going to try a set of 165's and see how i like them. way i see it, if i can be comfortable with them they're probably the best thing i can go with
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Old 08-15-06, 07:02 AM   #23
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I'm 6'2" and ride 165s. It is really not that big of a deal once you get used to it.
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Old 08-15-06, 08:07 AM   #24
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Man, I'm glad most of our customers just buy stock bikes and switch out whatever parts we think will work best for them. Aesthete fixie riders are the worst!
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Old 08-15-06, 10:39 AM   #25
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I think you meant to say...
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12XU
Aesthete ... riders are the worst!
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