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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 08-20-07, 12:04 PM   #1
antchen
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Convert vintage, or go new?

I'm trying to decide whether or not to convert my vintage Fuji Del Rey 86 to fixed, or to just buy a new fixed gear bike.

The Fuji is in excellent condition, minus some paint scratches here and there. All original parts. The main problem is that despite changing brake pads, the bike just doesn't brake well. I'm guessing there's something up with the rims..

Any case.. If I were to convert to fixed, I'd definitely be changing the wheels. I have a spare ALX220 wheelset but I don't know if I should just buy another wheelset with a flipflop hub. That way I think I could avoid spreading the rear drop outs. I'd also need to buy long reach brakes. I believe that's all. Cost wise, it looks like I'm already half way to a cheap new fixie from some manufacturer. The new fixie will probably be a lot more maintainable..

What do you guys think I should do? I read sheldon brown's site on converting so I know what I'd be in for, but until I actually do it I don't know if there will be any shortcomings I wish I had known about..

Thanks!
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Old 08-20-07, 01:27 PM   #2
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If the bike is in good shape and fits you well, convert. Conversions are great because every one is unique (at least in theory).
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Old 08-20-07, 01:33 PM   #3
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Convert!

Just because you are buying a new bike dosn't mean the you won't spend more money in it once you get it, and in the end i think it you will much more satisifed with somthing you built upyourself than with a bikesdirect special. Get a decent wheel set, new headset/stem/bars probably a new saddle wouldnt be a bad idea and you should be to roll

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Old 08-20-07, 01:44 PM   #4
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Conversions take time. Time to gather the parts. Time to build. With a off the peg or used fixed, you can ride immediately.

Conversions take effort and expertise. There's lots of easy stuff, then there's lots of stuff that's not so easy (like chainline management). Look at how many threads have "help" and "converting" or "conversion" in the titles.

New bikes have warranties. New bikes get complimentary services at most shops. With a new bike, you know exactly what you got, not "God, I hope this works."

It seems that most (not all) people convert because they don't have the cash to buy a fixed/track bike. Some people like conversions because it's a learning experience. If you can afford it and your conversion candidate isn't anything super-special (the Del Rey doesn't seem such), I say just buy a complete fixed bike either new or used and start riding immediately.

Just about every major bike manufacturer makes a single speed / fixed bike nowadays. You have LOTS to choose from.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:52 PM   #5
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Oh yeah, and it is *always* more expensive to buy bike parts a-la-carte than to buy a complete bike.

By "buy a complete bike", I don't mean buy a cheap complete bike. There are lots of great mid-price-range bikes that are solid. When in doubt, stick to the major brands (Trek, Bianchi, Specialized, Lemond, Cannondale). They all have their pros and cons. But, they are all good bike manufacturers.

Also, don't mistake buying a bike to ride with buying status and credibility. Lots of people on this forum look down upon people that ride stock bikes because "they aren't unique." So what?

Now, if you ARE looking to be unique first and foremost, then that's a different story.
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:01 PM   #6
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if you want to know about your bike, convert.

if you want to ride your bike and take it to the lbs when something is wrong, buy new.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:04 PM   #7
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Vintage, ftw






Oh, and women on track bikes


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Old 08-20-07, 02:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
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if you want to know about your bike, convert.
True.

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if you want to ride your bike and take it to the lbs when something is wrong, buy new.
This implies that new bikes are harder to personally maintain than converted ones. Is that your assertion?

I would say that new bikes are actually easier to maintain. Here's why:

1) They come with a manual.
2) All of the parts are designed or arranged to fit that particular bicycle (by engineers, none-the-less).



One last thing, if you ever do run into a problem that's beyond your skill-level, as it's been mentioned on this board, some bike shops won't accept conversions.
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:19 PM   #9
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Oh yeah, and it is *always* more expensive to buy bike parts a-la-carte than to buy a complete bike.
always = if you are paying retail.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:25 PM   #10
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always = if you are paying retail.
I assumed he was paying retail. He didn't mention any particular sales, hookups, employee discounts, or free stuff.

Until any new information comes available, all that we really can assume is that he's paying full retail. Right?
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Roadies can run tempo all year as that's what humans were designed for. If you want to be a cheetah, lay around and lick your paws more.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:32 PM   #11
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This implies that new bikes are harder to personally maintain than converted ones.
No it doesn't.

In any case, you can go either way with each. I dropped a frame off at my lbs to have them do the conversion for me. It didn't come with a written warranty, but my mechanic took care of service anyway. On the other hand, you could certainly buy a new bike and then do all the maintenance yourself. Self service vs shop service is simply a good general check for a first fixie.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:32 PM   #12
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This implies that new bikes are harder to personally maintain than converted ones. Is that your assertion?
I think he meant to say "you'll learn more about the mechanics of your bicycle, and learn it sooner, if you build a conversion."
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Old 08-20-07, 02:37 PM   #13
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buy new if it's what you're looking for. if i could change everything on my conversion that i wasn't 100% happy with there'd be a 100% new bike in front of me right now.
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Old 08-20-07, 02:40 PM   #14
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Im glad I bought my bike new. Its shiny, its well put together, it has a warranty, and I didnt have to wait too long for it. my 2c
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Old 08-20-07, 02:41 PM   #15
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I assumed he was paying retail. He didn't mention any particular sales, hookups, employee discounts, or free stuff.

Until any new information comes available, all that we really can assume is that he's paying full retail. Right?
Well since he is starting with an old bike it is a pretty stupid assumption to assume he is going to replace everything on it with sparkly new stuff he bought at full retail price.

Most of the time a conversion will be better, cheaper and/or better suited to you then a complete bike.
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Old 08-20-07, 03:06 PM   #16
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Thank you all for the replies! To me, I always tinker with my bikes so converting from vintage to fixed will be fun for me. In my experience, it has been a lot easier for me to work with my modern road bike than with the vintage bike.

The Fuji Del Rey's frame is made of "quad-butted valite." It seems light enough for being a steel composite so I thought it might be worth turning into a bike that I ride more often. I actually had ridden it quite often as a beater until the lack of ability to brake became a safety hazard.

I need to change the brakes and wheelset regardless of whether or not I convert, so I just figured to myself that it might be a good idea to try a fixed gear at this point in time.

I like that a new bike will most likely be more serviceable, the rear drop outs are the modern width, etc. That's the main plus. If I converted the fuji, I would need to replace the brakes and wheelset, and that's about it. I may need to spread the rear drop out as well, depending on the wheelset I pick up. I hate 27"!
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Old 08-20-07, 03:25 PM   #17
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Thank you all for the replies! To me, I always tinker with my bikes so converting from vintage to fixed will be fun for me. In my experience, it has been a lot easier for me to work with my modern road bike than with the vintage bike.

The Fuji Del Rey's frame is made of "quad-butted valite." It seems light enough for being a steel composite so I thought it might be worth turning into a bike that I ride more often. I actually had ridden it quite often as a beater until the lack of ability to brake became a safety hazard.

I need to change the brakes and wheelset regardless of whether or not I convert, so I just figured to myself that it might be a good idea to try a fixed gear at this point in time.

I like that a new bike will most likely be more serviceable, the rear drop outs are the modern width, etc. That's the main plus. If I converted the fuji, I would need to replace the brakes and wheelset, and that's about it. I may need to spread the rear drop out as well, depending on the wheelset I pick up. I hate 27"!
Hey.. when I wanted a ss last year I just bought a used Specialized Langster; and that was great because I didn't have to mess around with building a bike. It only cost me $400 and I had a very nice ride that day.

But I had always really wanted a conversion, so about 2 weeks ago I picked up a used fuji and went for it. Its going to cost about $600 for a mid-level build, but I'm 100% happier with it than the off the shelf bike. Well, 90% happier, I like the cranks on my Langster better.. I know the bike inside and out, and I enjoy riding it much more.. (check my sig for the buildup)...

If I were to do it again I'd probably still have started with an off-the-shelf; just because SS/fixed is much different than a geared bike and you might not like it...

chry
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Old 08-20-07, 03:30 PM   #18
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Would you rather create a masterpiece or buy a print.
That is the question you have to ask the person in the mirror.
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Old 08-20-07, 03:42 PM   #19
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Would you rather create a masterpiece or buy a print.
That is the question you have to ask the person in the mirror.
Not many masterpieces happen on the first try. And especially not on the cheap
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Old 08-20-07, 03:57 PM   #20
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Not many masterpieces happen on the first try. And especially not on the cheap
I must have just been lucky then.
Of the 20 bikes I own and the dozens I have built for others I have to say my first conversion is still a masterpiece.
I could describe it to you here but how does one convey emotion through a keyboard?
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Old 08-20-07, 04:02 PM   #21
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Convert. Just don't cut off the bosses or anything.
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Old 08-20-07, 04:08 PM   #22
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Alright thanks guys! I guess I'm convinced.. I'll convert. Tonight I will take photos and strip it down. Hopefully the process can help someone else.
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Old 08-20-07, 04:09 PM   #23
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Convert. It can be as cheap as you want it to be. My conversion cost me $110 dollars, $40 for the bike, $10 for the chain and $60 for the wheel. Everything else was dumpstered and it rides great! It has seen a couple of upgrades over the years but the only one that was completely necessary was the crankset.
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Old 08-20-07, 07:18 PM   #24
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I would say that new bikes are actually easier to maintain.
thats why i think it's better with a conversion. a lot of my learning process has been helped with having ot improvise ways to make things work, i.e. 'these chainring bolts are stuck, even with a chainring tool they dont come easy- ok, allen key, friend, screw driver, hammer = not stuck anymore. IMO it helps your brain to think in a way that just might save you a couple hours when you have some bike trouble with minimal tools.

I'm definitely not saying conversions are easier to maintain- i'm saying they're better because of the opposite of that.

as for the lbs not taking conversions, maybe some don't i think they're silly then, but i think you'd be hard pressed to find a town where if there is only one bike shop, and they don't take conversions- that in that extreme situation no one at the store would at least give you advice if they wouldn't take the bike. example:

(LBS)"sorry we're the only bike store in town, and we don't take conversions"
(you)"shat."
(LBS)"yeah but try some WD40 a long allen key and a chisel"

i've said it before i just think bikes should be similar to getting your first car, you start with a crappy one then after awhile get a good one and it means something entirely new.

I started with a bare bone conversion, road a busted ass BB original cranky bearing front wheel and a cheap ass rear wheel for 7 months. now i have a new bike with dura-ace hubs and bb, i feel the difference and i really appreciate it more, and i feel more confident riding it after having delt with teh conversions subtle issues for so long.
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Old 08-20-07, 10:37 PM   #25
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