When it comes to bike knowledge, I'm borderline ********.
That said, what I'm trying to do is create a clean, simple singlespeed on a budget, from a '76-ish vintage Fuji "Grand Tourer" road bike. My background in cycling is not really much of a background at all, but I'd like to change that, so this bike is pretty much a starting point. It won't be incredibly beautiful like a lot of what I'm seeing in the "post your ss/fixed" thread, but hopefully it'll acclimate me to that point someday.
I've been coaxed in the right direction in a lot of ways by a buddy of mine who is pretty deep into this. I've also read a lot online, so I've learned a bunch already... but nowhere near enough. Right now I've stripped the bike of what I feel I don't need and I am about to order some parts. I've got an idea of what I think I need to get me going at a basic level... rear wheel with a flip/flop hub, freewheel, chain, tires. I guess since I'm going budget I don't really need to ask opinions on every single brand, but I would like to know what's quality and if there is anything I should stay away from.
I'm thinking of doing a 16t/42t setup as suggested by a friend, but I've been seeing a bunch of XX/52 (or so) setups on here. I won't be on hills all that much, and I live near a paved trail that goes for 30 or so miles that I can see myself spending some quality time on. Gearng-wise, am I off base here? It would be nice to hear that the 52 is the better call, because I have an old style chainring/crank setup that my buddy referred to as an "el cheapo department store setup." It's basically the 52 gear held on at the crank, with three bolts holding the 42 on, which is more or less "floating." I realize this is not ideal and I'd love to trash it and pick up a used modern setup, perhaps on eBay. I've been told though that this isn't always an option with older bikes, and there could be compatibility issues between brands. That would be one of the main reasons I'm posting today, because I know jack about what the right brands are or what would even work with my bike.
Here's a pic of the heap in question right after I got it out of storage(it's my dad's old bike, free is good). I didn't have my digicam with me so I had to use my phone, so I apologize for the incredibly crappy image. Basically it's just to give you a rough idea of what I'm working with. Yes, the frame looks kind of big, but I thought it would be a good call as I'm 6'4".
Cruzbike Silvio, Cruzbike Mtb Conversion, Raleigh Technium (converted to fixie)
42-16 or 42-17 or comparable is the best all around gearing for this type of bike.
You should be able to find a decent quality crank at a bike shop, or just about anywhere for not too much money. I've set up single speeds just like yours running on the 39 tooth on the inside of your current crank and then making up for that on the cog. I think (if memory serves me correct, you have to go to a 13, or 14 tooth cog to get the gear inches. I don't have my handy dandy chart here at work. It's not as pretty as a single chainring setup, or as cool, but it will get the job done. I saw one of the easiest SS conversions ever this weekend. The person had simply taken off the derailleurs, shortened the chain and ran from the inside chainring to whichever cog lined up in the back. No redishing, no changing out anything. Just stripping off unwanted shifters and derailleurs and voila! Single speed simplicity.
That's a great bike to start out with on a ss/fg conversion. Not a heap at all. Get busy!
I wouldn't call that bike a heap. Old Fujis are pretty highly regarded as far as old budget bikes go. Those are probably Nitto bars and stem, Dia-Compe brakes, Sugino cranks, and a Suntour drive-train - all quality stuff. Plus, Fuji frames look classy.
As for finding you gear, why don't you ride around and see which configuration best suites your area, and the style of riding you do? So if you can ride it comfortably at 42/16, then make that your gear configuration.