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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 06-30-03, 07:31 PM   #1
Bigwheel
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Gathering fixed gear parts

I'm in the very early stages of building my first fixed gear road bike. I think that I might have figured out what parts I want...I think. I've read almost every thread in the SS&FG forum more than a few times trying to learn about what's what.

I bought a set of Miche track hubs. Now I'm a little confused as to what to do about a crankset, bottom bracket and chain. I don't have any spare cranksets that I can use, so I'll be buying something. What should I be looking for? Am I correct in guessing that I could buy any crankset and chainring, then space it or adjust the BB for proper chainline? Are there other important variables that I need to consider?

Does it really matter if I use a 3/32" drivetrain or a 1/8"? What are the pros/cons? Are parts for both easily available?

...good grief, I don't even have a frame yet. I'm still shopping for the garage sale '75 10-speed deal. Am I building this all bass-ackwards? I'm so excited, it's all I can think about right now.
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Old 06-30-03, 07:53 PM   #2
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When you find your garage sale bike, it'll practically come with 75% of all usable parts needed.
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Old 06-30-03, 08:51 PM   #3
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i would stick with a 3/32" drivetrain. the selection of chainrings in that size far outnumbers what you'll find in a 1/8".

you should be able to use the cranks, bottom bracket, headset, stem, bars, seatpost, saddle, and front wheel from whatever donor bike you find. brakes too, if you feel like using any (recommended)
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Old 06-30-03, 09:19 PM   #4
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Hey-
Check ebay...someone by the name 'hunterbc' has a few nice CHEAP frames out there. Go get 'em!
I go with 1/8" on mine as, well, um..., you see, uh, I don't know why. Just started that way. I have had no problem finding 1/8" parts though. QBP has a nice selection of rings, Surly carries the cogs (as does Soma) in 1/8".
As far as cranks, use what you have. 165mm is good for track cornering as you have to pedal through it. 175mm (pretty common) are good for leverage, but can be nasty if corners aren't timed well.
As far as rims go, I prefer the MA3s. I have beaten holy ****e outta mine and they still love me (even after getting hit). Nice and true...
Just my 2 centavos...
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Old 06-30-03, 09:50 PM   #5
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Shameless plug:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...tem=3616107607
Campy Track wheels
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Old 07-02-03, 06:16 AM   #6
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Your Miche track hubs are probably worth more than my whole fixed gear. It sounds like you want to do it right i.e. you got the money.

-I would definately go with a 1/8" drive.
-You need to decide what type of frame you want track, road whatever. Just make sure the drop outs are either track or horizontal.
-To do it right I would get some track cranks. You can also go with road cranks, but the chain line might need to be adjusted.

Read about fixed on the web. There are lots of sites out there to help you out!!!




parts
more parts



stuff more stuffparts2
parts3

Last edited by captsven; 07-02-03 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 07-02-03, 12:10 PM   #7
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you need a cheap used bike. a lot of times you'll find these for under $50 at flea markets. i bought a nishiki for $5 and a motobecane for $20. find one with horizontal dropouts and decently tight geometry, and make sure that it has a good crankset. A spider crankset with a 42T ring is ideal. If you find a good bike, you'll be using the frame, crankset, BB, headset, brake, maybe the seatpost & stem, and possibly even saddle and bars, but those are a bit more personal... if you can use the rims, perfect.

If you have a LBS that builds good wheels and they know their fixed gear, they might be able to dish and space the rear wheel for a perfect chainline so that you won't need to fudge with chainring spacers. If you can do this yourself, even better.
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Old 07-02-03, 03:51 PM   #8
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sheldon brown has a lot of stuff about fixed gear conversions, you can read all his articles about it which may help, you could even call him at the shop too.

His site is www.sheldonbrown.com
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Old 07-02-03, 04:06 PM   #9
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OK I'm relatively new to this but have fresh experience in this area. A few pointers that I found important (and would never have really thought about when buying a geared machine):

Rear dropout spacing: getting hubs in 120mm or 135mm is relatively easy - other spacings are harder. My old 6 speed frame with 126mm would have required a conversion on a 120mm or a Phil Wood hub (mega bucks). You've bought track hubs - normally 110mm OLN which may require a new axle and some spacers.

Crank length seems to be a key thing. Most seem to go for 165mm - better spinning more clearance on corners (remember, you can't stop pedalling). I found Sheldon and the links he provides very useful when deciding on mine. I bought the nice Sora deal that Sheldon does at Harris Cyclery - a pretty good deal, I reckoned. Take care with BB spindle length - you'll need to get this right for a stright chain line. I found Sheldon's chart of sprocket offsets very useful.

You will probably deliberate long and hard on gear ratio - seems to be a hot topic amongst fixies & SSers. I trialed by riding my road & MTB (for fixie & SS respectively) on my regular loops in one gear only pedalling as much as possible (no coasting) to help me decide.

Another thing that caught me out on the old frame I've built was brake reach. With a full clearance fork designed for 27" wheels I've needed a 63mm reach brake - not easy to source at all. This has probably been the biggest nightmare and I will continue to look for something better than the shifty Tektro thing I've got at the moment.
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Old 07-02-03, 04:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by captsven
Your Miche track hubs are probably worth more than my whole fixed gear. It sounds like you want to do it right i.e. you got the money.
The hubs were used, I bought them from a friend for a reasonable price. I'm trying to build the bike quite cheaply, but....have you heard the expression "Champagne taste on a beer budget"?

Thanks for all the info and links, this has been a big help. I've looked at Sheldon's site more than a few times. I have read everything I could find on the internet...now to find the parts. Today I found a mid '80s Nishiki Olympic...just gotta convince the owner to sell it to me. I also found an old Rossin and Colnago frame...same deal, the owners aren't sure if they want to sell.

I used to work in a bike shop 20 yrs ago, we sold a lot of nice bikes and I don't see anyone riding them around town...those bikes have gotta be collecting dust somewhere.

Shrimpx - I'll be building the wheels myself, so I'll have to keep chainline in mind, thanks for the heads up.

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Old 07-02-03, 04:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by doonster
....Another thing that caught me out on the old frame I've built was brake reach. With a full clearance fork designed for 27" wheels I've needed a 63mm reach brake - not easy to source at all. This has probably been the biggest nightmare and I will continue to look for something better than the shifty Tektro thing I've got at the moment.
doonster- Thanks for the info... I was wondering about brakes. Isn't there a drop bolt that allows shorter reach brakes to be used on older frames? Those using brakes...what's the solution? find old brakes?

I've been keeping the road bike in 39x17 for a bit....seems ok. I'm going to start off with 42x17 on the fixed, then figure it out from there.
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Old 07-02-03, 05:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by doonster

Another thing that caught me out on the old frame I've built was brake reach. With a full clearance fork designed for 27" wheels I've needed a 63mm reach brake - not easy to source at all. This has probably been the biggest nightmare and I will continue to look for something better than the shifty Tektro thing I've got at the moment.
I ran into the same issue. I even posted a help thread in the Road forum.

What I ended up doing was take a file to my regular reach brakes. I filed the holes that hold the shoes down about 4 or 5 mm, which was enough to put the pads perfectly on the rims. This way you will end up with weaker-than-average brakes (you need to supply more power to the handle than usual) but I'm perfectly OK with that..
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