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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 08-06-07, 07:11 PM   #1
Chrysiptera
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Fuji Berkeley conversion build-up

Hi all,

This will be my first fixie conversion, but not my first fixed gear. I also have a Specialized Langster(which my girlfriend now rides). I love the look of a clean conversion, and I have wanted a Fuji for some time. After looking at classifieds for too long I finally found this fine Fuji Berkeley.

I paid $90 cash for it. Honestly I feel bad stripping it down because all the shifters work so well and it is in very good condition.

Bike Info:
22.5" from center of BB to top of Top Tube
33" standover height
Currently has nice alloy 27" wheels
Diacompe 500 brakes
Suntour friction shifters and derailleurs
Alloy Nitto stem
Nitto drop bars(look to be steel of some kind)
Weight is 31.5lbs (using the no-so-accurate [bike+me - me] bathroom scale trick)
ToDo:
Strip components
Find a good fixie wheelset
Figure out the crank situation (Bulletproof or something else? Recommendations?)
Hope the Bottom bracket gives a nice chainline
Repack bearings in headset and bottom bracket
Decide on front brake (Will my extra shimano 105 reach? How do you guys like the Diacompe 500?
Decide on front brake lever (BMX-ish lever or cool TT aero one)
Decide on handlebars(bullhorns for sure, but not sure if I want fancy alloy ones, or chop shop)
Missing anything?
The "thinking about buying bike" thread, thank you for your thoughts.

The following pictures are just the seller's shots. I'll add my own as the bike changes.






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Old 08-06-07, 07:30 PM   #2
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Great find. Im excited to see this build and how it turns out.
Are you going to run the stock Saddle. I would also upgrade the pedals, and put a nice set of clips on them. I think you have everything covered. Are you going to upgrade the chain by chance?
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Old 08-06-07, 07:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ntfhdub01 View Post
Great find. Im excited to see this build and how it turns out.
Are you going to run the stock Saddle. I would also upgrade the pedals, and put a nice set of clips on them. I think you have everything covered. Are you going to upgrade the chain by chance?
The Saddle is honestly mint, almost NOS, so someone else might enjoy it more than me(I will probably sell it).. Also I want something a little more sweet looking...

The pedals bring to mind something you'd see in a "Saw" movie; they honestly scare me. Yah, I need to add pedals to the ToDo list.. I'm gonna run toeclips, but I need to research what the best bang/buck out there is.

The chain is almost certainly gonna be 1/8, but I don't know enough about chains yet.. Are there "better" than your average run of the mill? haha..

-chry
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Old 08-06-07, 08:29 PM   #4
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A mint Fuji saddle is still a Fuji saddle. I tried to sell mine on eBay, and after two attempts, I just gave it away to the local bike co-op.
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Old 08-06-07, 09:49 PM   #5
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A mint Fuji saddle is still a Fuji saddle. I tried to sell mine on eBay, and after two attempts, I just gave it away to the local bike co-op.
haha.. thanks for the heads up..
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Old 08-06-07, 10:14 PM   #6
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Update: Stripped the bike (mostly)

I took most things off the bike that weren't needed anymore. I didn't remove the rear brake yet because I may end up riding it single speed for a little bit. I'd do that by just throwing the chain back on and riding on the smallest chainring and whatever gear works on the current freewheel. This would only be temporarily, as it is nice to have the bike ridable.

Items removed:
  • Shifters
  • Reflectors
  • Derailleurs
  • Kickstand
  • Saddlebag
Item to be removed at a later date:
  • rear brake, cable, and lever
  • freewheel and 5 cogs(part of rear wheel)
Items that will be changed in the future:
  • front brake lever
  • handlebars
  • wheels
  • crank and both chainrings
Items missing from bike:
  • chain
  • pedals

So while I had the wheels off I wanted to see if my Shimano 105 front brake would fit; it seemed like the brake reach might make it on the 27" wheels, but when I tried a 700c wheel there was no chance; the pads were well into the rubber of the tire. However, I tried the same test with the Diacompe 500 brake that came with the bike, and that seems to fit nicely. So, it seems I'll be using the Diacompe as my brake (unless I can find some evidence showing that I shouldn't!).

So how much does she weigh now? With no pedals and no chain the bike is 26 lbs, down 5.5 from 31.5 from before the strip. Not exactly a svelte ride, but I did weigh the wheels alone and they come out to 9lbs (just wheels!). I am still going to upgrade the handlebars, wheels, tires, crank, seat, and seatpost. I somehow doubt that is going to bring the bike below 20lbs, but I hope so!

To Do:

Find a good fixie wheelset
Figure out the crank situation (Bulletproof or something else? Recommendations?)
Hope the Bottom bracket gives a nice chainline
Repack bearings in headset and bottom bracket
Decide on front brake lever (BMX-ish lever or cool TT aero one)
Decide on handlebars(alloy bullhorns for sure, but not sure which ones)
Toe Clips
What size cog,chainring? (I already have a 16t cog)
Ok! Here are some pictures:










Last edited by Chrysiptera; 08-06-07 at 11:14 PM. Reason: Forgot some removed items
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Old 08-06-07, 10:57 PM   #7
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Weight update.. After looking for a wheelset I found that 2000 grams is actually doable on a wheelset.. so lets say 4.5 lbs with cog/lockring, and the current wheels are 9lbs. 26-4.5 is 21.5 lbs, with a few more things to go; this bike just might end up below 20 lbs after all..

Chry
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Old 08-07-07, 06:23 AM   #8
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Replace that bulky saddle and ye-olde seatpost and you'll gain a pound or two right there.
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Old 08-07-07, 06:27 AM   #9
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you didn't snag this from boston craigslist, did you? i have a feeling i saw this browsing yesterday.
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Old 08-07-07, 07:19 AM   #10
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I believe i saw this bike posted on Boston Craigslist as well. I totally would have snagged it, but it was way outside of the city (providence, RI?)
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Old 08-07-07, 07:34 AM   #11
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you didn't snag this from boston craigslist, did you? i have a feeling i saw this browsing yesterday.
Yup!

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I believe i saw this bike posted on Boston Craigslist as well. I totally would have snagged it, but it was way outside of the city (providence, RI?)
Yup.. It was in Wellesley; which is like 10 miles from the city. I remember recently seeing a cheery black fuji on Boston CL in Providence, but they wanted $200 for it, which seemed excessive.
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Old 08-07-07, 07:49 AM   #12
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yeah chrysiptera, i saw this and was going to jump on it but i snoozed and you won.
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Old 08-07-07, 08:25 AM   #13
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Haha, I was gonna ask about Boston craigslist too, I noticed the quix saddlebag right away after seeing it before.
As far as parts go, Simple Living Cycles out in Framingham will give you a good deal on parts (better than you can find on the net). You can get a bulletproof crankset and a rocketring for $43. You can get a decent track wheelset (w/flip-flop hub) for under $100 (I think) there with Sun rims (I think, sorry I forget specifics). So check him out if you get the chance. He has a website, but I can't find it anymore.
Phil is a good guy to work with too, I went back a few times to switch bottom brackets so i could get my chainline nice. GL with the build, let me know if I can impart any more advice from my limited experience.
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Old 08-07-07, 01:14 PM   #14
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Bottom bracket info

I was having some serious play in the left crank of my other bike, and it turned out the square taper hole was deformed on the other bike. Since I wasn't going to use the cranks on this build anyway I just put them on my other bike, and good thing; they were steel and very heavy..

So now that the cranks were off I got to look at the bottom bracket, and it has one of those non-symmetrical spindles..

Bottom Bracket info:
On the side it has stamped: 1.37"x24T FUJI
Length from end of threaded section to other end: 146.8 mm
Length from top of square taper section to other end: 123.8 mm
The drive side of the spindle is 6.35 mm longer than the left side
** I'm not using the most exact measuring devices
This is good news since it means I'll be able to put any I.S.O. BB in here... I'm still thinking about the next move..
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Old 08-08-07, 05:34 AM   #15
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OK.. Another BB update; the bike is in fantastic condition, and the current BB is actually in good shape. However, I'm realizing that I'm probably going to need a shorter spindle, and then I'll still have to mount the chainring on the inside of the crank. That is well and good, but I could also just upgrade to the Sugino 103MM BB which uses cartridge bearings.

That would allow more flexibily in the crank decision, but the roadblock I'm hitting now is that I found out there are two types of taper for the stinkin square taper cranks!
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Old 08-08-07, 06:48 AM   #16
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You can probably flip the spindle so that the shorter side is on the drive side. That's what I had to do on my gfs Fuji Monteray and her Peugeot.
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Old 08-08-07, 06:51 AM   #17
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A set of old Shimano 600 square taper cranks + 107mm shimano un bb, running the ring in the outer position will get you your 42-ish mm chainline---i run this myself. The combo won't be much more than $50 if you shop around and it's very classy looking.
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Old 08-08-07, 08:14 AM   #18
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...but the roadblock I'm hitting now is that I found out there are two types of taper for the stinkin square taper cranks!
99% odds that it is JIS taper... just get a Tange or Shimano bb.
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Old 08-08-07, 10:55 AM   #19
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ok.. I just ordered my wheels from wheelsdirect.com (got the Mavic CXP22 with formula hubs)

And I am heading over to Harris Cyclery to get the BB,crank,etc,etc
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Old 08-08-07, 12:11 PM   #20
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do yourself a favor and take those wheels to a reputable shop and have a mechanic give them a once-over to make sure they are properly tensioned, it will probably save you some trouble down the line.
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Old 08-08-07, 12:32 PM   #21
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I have one of those bikes, they're great frames and the paint is wonderful.

Part of the reason the bike is still very heavy is that they equipped them with steel cranks and huge pedals with basically as much unnecessary metal on them as possible. The cranks are kind of hilarious, I always try to make people from the Sugino 75 mafia who think any crank under $200 has too much flex ride them around for a while and then reconsider their opinion. Swapping them out for Al cranks and sane pedals will drop a ton of weight. An Al seat post and bars will also drop a lot of weight off of the bike. I don't remember what size seatpost it takes, but it's probably something pretty standard. Also can't remember if stem is for 25.4 or 26.0 bars, but keep that in mind when you replace them. The saddle is not really that valuable even in good shape, but it's not terrible and it's not excessively heavy, it would be fine for a beater if you like how it feels. You could drop a little weight there, but I think when you get those rebar cranks and brick pedals off you won't be as worried about counting ounces.
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Old 08-09-07, 12:18 AM   #22
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do yourself a favor and take those wheels to a reputable shop and have a mechanic give them a once-over to make sure they are properly tensioned, it will probably save you some trouble down the line.
pirate; good advice... I've done some basic wheel truing so I can do a sanity check when I get them, but just like with any "new" bike you have to tune it up after a couple hundred miles and I plan to have a real mechanic do it.

Quote:
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I have one of those bikes, they're great frames and the paint is wonderful.

Part of the reason the bike is still very heavy is that they equipped them with steel cranks and huge pedals with basically as much unnecessary metal on them as possible. The cranks are kind of hilarious, I always try to make people from the Sugino 75 mafia who think any crank under $200 has too much flex ride them around for a while and then reconsider their opinion. Swapping them out for Al cranks and sane pedals will drop a ton of weight. An Al seat post and bars will also drop a lot of weight off of the bike. I don't remember what size seatpost it takes, but it's probably something pretty standard. Also can't remember if stem is for 25.4 or 26.0 bars, but keep that in mind when you replace them. The saddle is not really that valuable even in good shape, but it's not terrible and it's not excessively heavy, it would be fine for a beater if you like how it feels. You could drop a little weight there, but I think when you get those rebar cranks and brick pedals off you won't be as worried about counting ounces.
Landgolier: You aren't kidding about those cranks! GEEZ! I took them off the other day and I couldn't believe how heavy they were.. (they are already on my other beater bike whose cranks conveniently kicked it just the other day)

I just took a ride on the bike; the first decently long ride, and let me tell you I hate that seat. Comfort wise it isn't bad, but every time I hit a bump the thing creaks like the dickens.
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Old 08-09-07, 01:03 AM   #23
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Build update!

I got everything I needed at Harris, then headed to a friends house to get to work. It too me far longer to do this than I figured it would; about 5 hours, looking back I still don't know why it took so long.

So; this is what I did:
  1. scrounged around to make one of these home-made Fixed cup BB extractors (Thank you Mr. Brown)
  2. Removed old cup-and-cone bottom bracket.
    I feared this step the most, but in the end it was totally straight forward.
  3. Installed Shimano UG53 110mm bottom bracket.
    I'm not sure I like this BB. The spindle doesn't really spin that freely. For example, after I installed the cranks I spun the whole thing and it would spin for only a couple seconds. In contract on my vintage Raleigh this same test leaves the cranks spinning for a minute or more. Also, the fixed cup is some type of plastic. Plastic in a BB? ... but then again, its only $25.
  4. Put Rocketring on the Bulletproof crank.
    Again, this was more trouble than I thought it would be. Problem was that I had no way to hold the "nut" side still. I ended up using some random sheet metal that was bent in a way that I could grab the little groove.
  5. Installed cranks
  6. Checked chainline; exactly 42mm (Again, thank you Mr. Brown)
  7. Cut, installed, and oiled the chain
  8. Put some crummy pedals on (laying around)
  9. Floped-n-Choped the handlebars
    I used a pipe cutter for this, if you are careful the cut will not "walk". However, the burr left on the inside is considerable. I had to use a power tool to grind it down enough so as to get the bar ends back in.
  10. Put on a crappy brake lever, and setup the front brake.

After all was said and done I took the thing out on the curb, got on, and set off. Too bad that I got a flat right as I went off that same exact curb. Yes, I got a flat directly in front of my apartment. So yah, back in for a new tube.

Then I took it for a good long ride. I hadn't ridden fixed for 8 months so I wasn't sure if I'd remember, but riding fixie is just like riding a bicycle; once you learn you never forget. However I had forgotten how fast riding fixed was compared to SS. I didn't have a speed measuring thing but a couple times I was flying and my legs felt no-where near their spin limit; I now firmly believe that 165mm cranks really are easier to spin with. Also, pedal strike doesn't seem to be an issue with them.

The brake sucks; I'm not going to blame the Dia Compe 500 because the brake pads are just standard black ones. Tomorrow I am going to get some sweet KOOLStops.

The bike itself rides extremely well, and I'm very happy with how it is turning out. I don't know why but I can almost trackstand this bike already. With my Langster I did more of a Track Wobble.

So; I'm really tired, but I'm going to finish off with a To Do:

Repack bearings in headset
Decide on front brake lever (BMX-ish lever or TT aero one)
Get new brake pads
Decide on which bullhorns
Find new seat post and seat
Find good Toe Clips/pedals
PS: Bike is now 22 lbs with all weight savings done except seat & seatpost
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Old 08-09-07, 01:32 AM   #24
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More pictures!
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Old 08-09-07, 02:18 PM   #25
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OK.. I love the bike. Here are some more build pictures

Last night I heard some creaking as I rode, and when I went for a ride today it was getting worse. The sound was like a "click" when I would change the direction I was pushing on the left crank. Like, when I tried to trackstand it would click when I rolled forward, then click as I rolled back. I had brought some tools with me on my ride, but somehow forgot the allen tool for the crank. Since I ruined a crank just last week I rode home by only pressing hard on the right pedal, let me tell you 47x18 gearing with rolling hills is a lot tougher when you can only press with one leg.

After getting home I tried tightening that bolt and it was as tight as I could possibly do it for fear of breaking my wrench. So I figured I'd search sheldonbrown.com, and what do you know, but that you are supposed to grease the bolt threads, the square taper, and the surface of the bolt that tightens against the crank. I had only greased the bolt threads. Interestingly the Shimano UG53 BB came with white grease on only the drive side tapper which I thought was odd at the time, and I find even more odd after reading Mr. Brown's comments.

That seemed to make a world of difference as the bolt glid in even when it was quite tight. I took the bike for a short test ride around the block and that seemed to fix the problem. Other than the seat creaking as I ride the bike was totally silent.

References:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/i...ng-cranks.html
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/creaks.html#bottom


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More pictures!
Here ya go.

Constructive comments are welcomed but keep in mind this pic is mid build. The wheels are not staying on this bike, the pedals suck, the barends are dorky, the brake lever is HORRID, the brake cable routing is scary, the handlebars need tape, and last but not least; the bike is dirty.

Pictures taken in the Allston area of Boston, behind the Super 88.








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