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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 12-31-06, 07:58 AM   #1
dystaind
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help with a first fixed build

I test rode a fixed about a month ago and not much else other than food and my girlfriend has been on my mind (granted I am on break from school but seriously, the IDEA of riding fixed has consumed me). I'd like to try and build up as much of this first fixie as I can. at the moment I have no real materials on my hands but am looking... carefully looking because I'm trying to budget this thing under $300 (yeah right) and have it quality to last me quite the while.

At the moment I am looking at a vintage trek 500 with reynolds 501 tubing-- it is the full bike but I figure taking it apart will only help my bike knowledge. at worst I have an aluminum miyata bike with horizontal dropouts... although I was hoping I could have that one on reserve and start myself a stable...

I'm mainly craigslisting for parts and came across the stock wheels off of a pista?

700x18C (622x14) Pista Wheelset Fixed/Free Flipflop - $175
This Alex R-450 double-walled rims with high flange hub wheelset is brand spanking new and comes with both cog and lockring. Brass nipples; stainless steel spokes.


at the moment that seems really tempting since everything has already been built up and the price will not kill me. I browsed the forums and the Alex 450's sound decent to start... a little heavy but I'm not aiming to kill pounds (I have an old 10 speed schwinn world sprint on the east coast and that thing is a tank).

Uh... also one last thing. If anyone knows of a shop near San Jose, CA that could help me take apart and assemble the fixie without charging me insane amounts... that would be nice. I know SF is an hour drive away... but one-- I'm trying to reduce how many times I drive to the city. More than anything I just want someone to watch over my shoulder and advise me how to put the fixie together properly.

Sorry this post is so newbish and has so many caveats. I'm loved the experience of riding fixed but am working on a pretty tight budget and time table (I leave for the east coast on the 12th of January...)

I have no idea why I am trying to build a bike that I can only ride on breaks, but I'm seriously seriously hooked. I spend too many hours of my day lookin at fixed gear gallery, fixed gear forums, and craigslist.

Thanks!
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Old 12-31-06, 08:08 AM   #2
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The wheels sound a little pricey to me, especially when that price is half-way to a Windsor The Hour or a Mercier Kilo TT. If you want to stick with the frame you have now, a decent set of wheels can be had for a deal here. You'll need a cog and lockring too.

The plus side of building a conversion is exactly what you already know--experience. That and it's simply a great feeling to ride a bike that you built up yourself. I went through five different conversions this year before buying a dedicated fixed gear. I love my new bike, but still get the itch to build up a conversion again.
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Old 12-31-06, 08:18 AM   #3
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thanks for the ebay tip. i will definitely consider putting down for those wheels.

I've been trying to read as much as possible to educate myself and so I don't ask questions that are constantly hashed in this forum every few weeks (like the ones about bikedirect.com fixies etc. etc.) and in the end really would like to try and build this bike up myself. Thus at this point I've ruled out the Windsor, Mercier Kilo, Motobecane Messenger, Pistas, Langsters, and most of the other entry level fixies. I guess I kinda want something unique as well.
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Old 12-31-06, 09:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dystaind
...but I'm seriously seriously hooked. I spend too many hours of my day lookin at fixed gear gallery, fixed gear forums, and craigslist.
You are a sick, sick man. Check into rehab ASAP.

Or...also consider thrift shops and pawn shops for frames (though you already have a couple of good candidates) and good 'strippable' parts bikes. Amidst the dreck you can sometimes find diamonds in the rough. Even keeping you eyes peeled on garbage days driving thru neighborhoods can yield finds. The guys in the Classic and Vintage forum are always going on about stuff like that. For some that thrill of the chase is a big part of the fun. Maybe it could be for you.

If you had cruised down my street a few years back when I stupidly put my 70s Reynolds 531 Raleigh Competition out on the curb because I didn't know any better...(aarrgh!!). You would have gotten some good old Araya tubeless rims in the bargain. Other idiots are out there doing similar things everyday.

If you live in a smaller town/rural area town dumps can also be happy hunting grounds. I spend most of my BF time in the 50+ forum and there's one guy there from New Hampshire who is always finding great old Schwinns in his town dump and restoring them.

And you know about the Sheldon Brown site for how-to, right? If you have a modicum of mechanical ability, patience, and can follow the directions there you needn't have an 'expert' looking over your shoulder. None of this is rocket science.

Have fun.

Last edited by bcoppola; 12-31-06 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 12-31-06, 09:37 AM   #5
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get the windsor they are just over 300 shipped right now it will get ya rollin

http://cgi.ebay.com/TRACK-ROAD-RACIN...QQcmdZViewItem

alot of people I know either started on or still have their ebay bikes
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Old 12-31-06, 10:08 AM   #6
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Here is anotehr ebay wheel option for less than you are looking at http://cgi.ebay.com/AERO-700C-ROAD-B...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old 12-31-06, 12:40 PM   #7
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Or you could just buy a rear wheel for $100

http://www.bikemania.biz/Van_Dessel_...flopwheels.htm

You can use any wheel you already have for the front.
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Old 12-31-06, 12:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcoppola
And you know about the Sheldon Brown site for how-to, right? If you have a modicum of mechanical ability, patience, and can follow the directions there you needn't have an 'expert' looking over your shoulder. None of this is rocket science.
This information has helped me out a lot to understand the finer workings of a fixie. I have a bmx background and knew nothing until I read up on this site for days. Enjoy.
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Old 12-31-06, 01:05 PM   #9
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It's generally much more expensive, time consuming, frustrating, and ultimately satisfying to build your own bike. In my experience, things like mismatched wheels, cheesy cranks, and a wack frame drove me to distraction. Upgrade!

If you want instant cheap satisfaction, get a Windsor Hour or Mercier off ebay. Rotafix the cog down tight, get your chain tension right, check all the bolts, and ride the thing. Don't know what pedals they come with, but clipless or toe clips/straps are MANDATORY.

It's almost impossible to build up a bike for less money than buying a new one. I've seen a friend sink $2000 into an IRO that ended up not much better than stock. Where I'm from, it costs about as much to buy a pair of low-end handbuilt wheels (e.g. IRO hubs, Alex rims, totally decent, mind you, but not cheep) as it does to get a Mercier.

I'm not discouraging you from building up a FG. But given the price of a new complete bike, you're better off riding ASAP, honing your skills, and waiting around for deals on parts for your REAL bike.
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Old 12-31-06, 01:39 PM   #10
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Why is it that building up a bike is more expensive? You'd think that assembling it yourself would make things work out cheaper. I wound up dropping CAD $14mumble on my rig. Dammit! He said, preparing to go for a ride on his sexy bike.
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Old 12-31-06, 01:55 PM   #11
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the hour is selling for three benjamins on ebay.
a friend of mine just got one.
decent bike.

another friend of mine has a rebranded windsor... it's a dawes.
any of those old english companies make decent track bikes for good prices.
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Old 12-31-06, 03:27 PM   #12
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the hour is selling for three benjamins on ebay.
a friend of mine just got one.
decent bike.

another friend of mine has a rebranded windsor... it's a dawes.
any of those old english companies make decent track bikes for good prices.

dawes are different bikes the drop outs and fork are different but close
now windsor and fuji track is more like it
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Old 12-31-06, 03:28 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dekalbSTEEL
Or you could just buy a rear wheel for $100

http://www.bikemania.biz/Van_Dessel_...flopwheels.htm

You can use any wheel you already have for the front.
yeah and if he has 27" front increase the trail and make it handle funny right
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Old 12-31-06, 03:41 PM   #14
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I dunno... let's see. My Nishiki International frame cost me $75 on eBay, another $60 or so for powdercoating. I got a set of IRO hubs with cog and lockring for under $100, Mavic MA-3 rims for $50, and my shop charged me $50 to build the wheels with hubs. The rest I already had from other bikes. So that was, what... $335 or so? For the original build? Not bad, not bad at all.

*shrug* Not much more than The Hour that everone is talking about. Truth be told, I'd rather have my Nishiki than a new store- (or eBay-) bought bike (and I was dumb enough to purchase a Dawes Lightning SST from eBay a year or so ago.) And the experience I gained building it was awesome.

So if you want to build your own, go for it.

* I originally had a set of Shimano SPD-SL clipless, but I chose the Sylvans as the main pedal after a while so I could have something to ride around without putting funny shoes on.
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Old 12-31-06, 09:23 PM   #15
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yeah and if he has 27" front increase the trail and make it handle funny right
Sorry, any 700c wheel you can find cheap ... front wheels are a dime a dozen
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Old 12-31-06, 09:45 PM   #16
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Sorry, any 700c wheel you can find cheap ... front wheels are a dime a dozen
thats it yeah baby yeah baby work it
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Old 01-01-07, 10:58 AM   #17
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Have to agree, spent $500 to convert an old Trek 420, loved every minute of it, but it sure wasn't as cheap as something I could buy. Nonetheless, I gaze at it lovingly every time I get ready to ride!
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Old 01-01-07, 12:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moki
It's generally much more expensive, time consuming, frustrating, and ultimately satisfying to build your own bike. In my experience, things like mismatched wheels, cheesy cranks, and a wack frame drove me to distraction. Upgrade!

If you want instant cheap satisfaction, get a Windsor Hour or Mercier off ebay...
OTOH, as far as "more expensive" goes my Schwinn conversion started out with a $10-and-change thrift shop road bike. Frame was sound, hubs, rims, crank and BB were servicable if nothing fancy. Even the chain was good (lucky me). Stem was wack; got a decent one off eBay. Pedals sucked, got Nashbar Look style clipless for less than $45 with shipping. I spent more in tools than parts because my bike mechanic work had been very rudimentary to that point (but it's always fun buying tools and they don't count toward the cost of the bike IMO...I have a road bike to maintain too.). Needed new tires and bar tape (well duh). Some red Loctite, a BB lockring and axle spacers. Chain ring spacers and a cog from Harris. Got an enjoyable intro to riding fixed for, what, maybe $150 tops. Cleaned up and sold the derailer etc. I didn't need off the Schwinn on eBay. Got lots of grease under my nails. Exasperated my wife. Had fun. And if I get a "real" fixed bike someday* my conversion will still make a fine commuter/beater.

Just another way to look at it.

----

*like, maybe, a Soma Delancey. Mmmmm....
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Old 01-01-07, 12:26 PM   #19
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If you have an early 70's vintage bike in good shape your only cost would be the cog, BB lockring, chainring spacers (to get an ideal chainline) and corresponding longer bolts for said inner chainring. I can't see where that is all that expensive. Gerry
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Old 01-01-07, 12:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcoppola
OTOH, as far as "more expensive" goes my Schwinn conversion started out with a $10-and-change thrift shop road bike. Frame was sound, hubs, rims, crank and BB were servicable if nothing fancy. Even the chain was good (lucky me). Stem was wack; got a decent one off eBay. Pedals sucked, got Nashbar Look style clipless for less than $45 with shipping. I spent more in tools than parts because my bike mechanic work had been very rudimentary to that point (but it's always fun buying tools and they don't count toward the cost of the bike IMO...I have a road bike to maintain too.). Needed new tires and bar tape (well duh). Some red Loctite, a BB lockring and axle spacers. Chain ring spacers and a cog from Harris. Got an enjoyable intro to riding fixed for, what, maybe $150 tops. Cleaned up and sold the derailer etc. I didn't need off the Schwinn on eBay. Got lots of grease under my nails. Exasperated my wife. Had fun. And if I get a "real" fixed bike someday* my conversion will still make a fine commuter/beater.

Just another way to look at it.

----

red loctite? if you consider a suicide hub conversion to be a proper fg, then enjoy.

as i said, generally speaking, buying a full bike is cheaper but less satisfying.

things add up. sure, you can get a SallyAnn 10 speed, strip it, buy a cheap wheel, cog, lockring ang cog and be done with it. Surely it'll be slightly cheaper than a Mercier. And you'll just love that hi-ten frame, cottered crank, cheap steel bar and stem, 27" steel front wheel with the rotted tire, and crusty headset.

i've been down that road before, and i wouldn't do it again. too many compromises, too much nickel and dime ish.

as for building from a frame up, no way can it be done cheaper. paying for all the little stuff adds up quick.

Now if you can find a decent cromo road bike for cheap and get a wheel, then you're in business. happy hunting.
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