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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 01-23-08, 06:04 PM   #1
FizzyPop
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What brands/models for a conversion?

Hi,

I am thinking of doing a conversion of a 70/80's roadbike to single speed and was wondering what brands or models of bikes I should be looking for? Or avoiding? I will be going the craigslist/pawnshop/garage sale route of finding one to convert.

Thanks.
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Old 01-23-08, 06:23 PM   #2
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convert a serotta.
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Old 01-23-08, 06:26 PM   #3
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Anything with horizontal drop outs is fine. Google sheldon brown and read his page on fixed gear bikes to get a better idea.
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Old 01-23-08, 06:50 PM   #4
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You're likely to discover that Fujis, Univegas, Schwinns, Miyatas and Panasonics are the most common road bikes for sale for cheap. All make good conversions, and usually show up on CL or eBay already stripped-down to the frame+fork for cheap. Save the complete road bikes for those who actually want to ride a bike with gears, of which there are plenty (contrary to some of those in this forum). Since a stripped-down road bike frame's already suffered the indignity of having its shifters and derailleurs removed, I see no problem with building it back up as a SS/FG. You can find the necessary parts for amazingly cheap, so take that for what you will.
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Old 01-23-08, 07:02 PM   #5
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As was mentioned before, something with horizontal dropouts. Schwinns and raleighs seem really popular. If you get one with a cottered crank bottom bracket make sure you get something with a bottom bracket shell which you can easily get replacements for. Some pugeuts have french Bottom brackets, which will prove difficult to swap if they dont have a square taper bottom bracket in them. That said pugeuts make beautiful conversions if you get one with an english bottom bracket. Fujis and Univegas were mentioned before and make good conversions. I would just find one you like that fits you. I have a pinnacle which I converted, I've only found one other one on velospace (its an old sears brand I guess) but I payed 5 dollars for the complete bike from a thrift store and I really like the bars that were on it. A lot of people like lugged frames so if thats your style you could look into that. It seems if you cruise yard sales and thrift stores plenty of options will pop up.
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Old 01-23-08, 08:31 PM   #6
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Read Sheldon's glossary entry on forged vs. stamped dropouts. Look for something with forged, horizontal dropouts. Forged dropouts are a good indication of quality when you don't know what else to look for.
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Old 01-23-08, 08:37 PM   #7
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^ +1. Trying to shop by brand can be misleading, because lots of these companies made some pretty crappy bikes during the boom of the 70s and 80s. Also, this might seem to go without saying, but make sure you find a bike that is your size. If you get something nice that won't fit you well, you'll be worse off than if you were riding a bike made of gaspipes that fits you correctly. I know that when looking through the sea of 'vintage' 10 speeds out there it's easy to get pumped up when you find that Peugot in good condition with the hot paintjob and decide to overlook that it's not the right size.
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Old 01-23-08, 08:53 PM   #8
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Check out the Classic and Vintage forum for info on older bikes. Most of them there don't like the idea of old frames being converted to SS/FG but it's better than the scrap heap.

Treks, Miyatas, Univega, Panasonic, Bianchi, Schwinn, Bridgestone, Fuji, Raleighs (80's), Peugeots(80's), etc.

Forged dropouts are nice, any decal saying Reynolds, Columbus, Tange, True Temper will tell you what steel is being used. Plenty of good frames out there that aren't chromoly or 531, also plenty of "gaspipe" 70's boom bikes out there that aren't wort the trouble.

I've got a 70's Raleigh with the 68mm 26tpi bottom bracket so I got some axles from my LBS that have the same left side and middle measurements as the old cottered crank axle. Now I can hopefully use a newer, lighter crankset without having to retap the threads in the bracket.

I bought a cheap early 80's Peugeot mixte frame for my wife. It had a regular English bottom bracket but required a 24mm seatpost. I finally found one on eBay. It cost more than the frame. But worth it.


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Old 01-23-08, 09:21 PM   #9
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my fixed conversion was a 1978ish SR frame from japan...it fits perfect, and being chromoly, its nice and light. the parts i put on it were fairly nice parts, since i hate going the cheap way, and may make it onto a nicer frame if one comes my way in the near future.
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Old 01-23-08, 10:21 PM   #10
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just go to fixedgeargallery.com and copy what u see there...
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Old 01-24-08, 12:29 AM   #11
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Thanks for the info everyone, much appreciated. I had already read up on Sheldon about dropouts but hadn't considered what problems bottom brackets might cause. Also, forged and stamped dropouts are new to me too so I'll read up on that. I used to ride my brothers Dawes bike with a 531 frame in the eighties, would be perfect for a conversion if he still had it. I figured that Raleigh would be something I would see a lot of, but being originally from England and living in the US now, I wasnt sure of what makes I could expect to find and what is quality.

bbattle, love the bike you put together for your wife. If I successfully complete a conversion, perhaps I'll try something similar for mine. Pink like that might make her ride it!

Thanks.
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