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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 02-03-08, 08:47 PM   #1
skeem
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i need some SS advice

so ive been riding bikes forever (about 15 of my 19 years alive) and id say i am pretty good at mtb and road biking, but i have no room for those bikes in my apt in Pittsburgh, and i dont want to risk having them stolen, theyre like children to me. ive decided that come springtime im going to buy a singlespeed to ride around the city and to get from class to class. im looking into either a bianchi pista or swobo sanchez for now and im just wondering if theyre good options or if theres other sub $600 bikes that would be good. also, ive built my other 3 bikes myself and im wondering if it would be more economical to build my own SS; im assuming it may be just as easy as any other bike ive built, but tell me if im mistaken.thanks in advance.
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Old 02-03-08, 08:48 PM   #2
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kilo tt
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Old 02-03-08, 08:53 PM   #3
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so ive been riding bikes forever (about 15 of my 19 years alive) and id say i am pretty good at mtb and road biking, but i have no room for those bikes in my apt in Pittsburgh, and i dont want to risk having them stolen, theyre like children to me. ive decided that come springtime im going to buy a singlespeed to ride around the city and to get from class to class. im looking into either a bianchi pista or swobo sanchez for now and im just wondering if theyre good options or if theres other sub $600 bikes that would be good. also, ive built my other 3 bikes myself and im wondering if it would be more economical to build my own SS; im assuming it may be just as easy as any other bike ive built, but tell me if im mistaken.thanks in advance.
If you can get a cheap second-hand (or not) frame with horizontal dropouts, making a singlespeed is all too simple. And it would be significantly more economical than buying a new bike. All you might need to buy is a freewheel (I am assuming you'll be reusing the wheels from one of your bikes, and that the rear hub has a thread-on cluster). The rest you can find on your existing bikes. Even the singlespeed crankset can be simply made by one of your geared cranksets by removing the unneeded chainrings.
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Old 02-04-08, 12:06 AM   #4
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If you know how to lace wheels/are willing to figure it out its WAY cheaper. If you find a thrift shop bike with horizontal dropouts and you lace a back wheel your golden on the cheap.
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Old 02-04-08, 04:53 PM   #5
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SS help

thanks for all of the advice, i just got an offer from a guy that he would sell me his 9 month old swobo sanchez for around $400. he works in a philly bike shop and says everything is in great shape, ive never really heard of this brand, but what im reading is that theyre somewhat expensive and not worth the money, but would $400 be a good buy? thanks again, im thinking about building my own. i have a spare set of nice shimano ($250) wheels, i have a very nice shimano 105 double crank, i guess id just take off the inner chainring, i have a few stems and a flat handlebar, and i have a fsa orbit headset, but i kinda would like a bike where everything is designed to work well with each other.
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Old 02-04-08, 05:12 PM   #6
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would you relace the rear to a ss hub? also: do you want ss or fixed? i feel like people don't differentiate between the two. if you want fixed, you should probably get a new rear wheel.
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Old 02-04-08, 05:17 PM   #7
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thanks for all of the advice, i just got an offer from a guy that he would sell me his 9 month old swobo sanchez for around $400. he works in a philly bike shop and says everything is in great shape, ive never really heard of this brand, but what im reading is that theyre somewhat expensive and not worth the money, but would $400 be a good buy? thanks again, im thinking about building my own. i have a spare set of nice shimano ($250) wheels, i have a very nice shimano 105 double crank, i guess id just take off the inner chainring, i have a few stems and a flat handlebar, and i have a fsa orbit headset, but i kinda would like a bike where everything is designed to work well with each other.
You can, by yourself, build a bike that is more suitable for you, than perhaps a factory-built singlespeed. Not dissing the ready-made bikes, just saying that, at least for a singlespeed, where you don't have to worry about tuning front and rear deraileurs, you CAN make an excellent bike that fits YOUR needs perfectly.

Can't tell you anything about the Swobo. I can say only that your approach to building your SS is the good one. Just remember to get your hands on a horizontal-dropout frame that otherwise fits you.
And you will need, for the rear wheel, one of those SS conversions (but NOT the chain tensioner, that's taken care of by the horizontal dropouts) so you can have a single sprocket on the freehub body.

EDIT: found the webpage for the Swobo Sanchez:
http://www.swobo.com/catalog/product...?cPath=201_208



I personally like it, but $400 for a second hand seems too much.

Actually, I like this bike a lot - but the geometry will NOT appeal to everyone. At any rate, if I'd get a little discount on the price, I personally would buy it.
Ask him also if his bike comes with brakes. It seems the Sanchez comes without brakes by default, but you will definitely need them.

Last edited by wroomwroomoops; 02-04-08 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 02-04-08, 05:40 PM   #8
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I've been looking at the Sanchez myself lately, IMO it's maybe the best looking bike in its price range. Though if I had all the parts you're describing, I'd rather build my own SS.
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Old 02-07-08, 01:55 PM   #9
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thanks a lot again, i think ill make my own bike, unless i find something which looks sexy and has a sexy price too. on my cranks, however, it has 50/39 teeth, would it be best for me to just take off those chainrings and get something between the two (46 or whatever is the most common)? also, would it be best for me to get a smaller frame than my road bike frame. im about 5'7 on a good day and i ride a 53 cm and i think it fits pretty well (the reach is a bit of a stretch but no too much) but for a single speed would it be more beneficial to get a smaller frame 50 cm/52 cm etc. so that it is more nimble? thanks.
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Old 02-07-08, 02:21 PM   #10
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The frame that fits you otherwise will fit you when you ride singlespeed. That's not the issue, the issue is where do you plan on using the bike. If you're just going to stroll around town for short commutes (a few miles) then perhaps you wouldn't mind a more upright position. If you're going for longer commutes, a more aerodynamic position might benefit you.

I feel a 53cm frame is ok for your height, but it's really really hard to say based on only two numbers (your height and your bike). There are a million other factors, and if you like your bike as it is, then it's probably what you should have.

But regarding the chainrings: I'd say keep the 39 for now and see how you manage. It depends a lot on the sprocket ("cog") - the relevant figure is the gear ratio and the wheel size. But in any case don't rush to buy a new chainring. Try the 39T for size for a while. Then if you feel you're spinning way too much try the 50T - just as a test, but it might be that it's exactly what you want. If you can save a buck on a chainring, why not?
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Old 02-18-08, 05:56 PM   #11
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another bike idea

i just stumbled across (online) the jamis sputnik and it seems like a more costly fixed gear bike, but i also stumbled upon a very nice summer job=$$$. i know very well that a higher price does not alway equal better bike, but im wondering if this bike, the jamis sputnik, is good. im looking for a durable SS which i could attempt to do tricks on, and im wondering if there are any especially durable fixed gears, or if the bikes i se the "cool guys" doing tricks on are simply homegrown bikes with steel frames and deep v wheels?
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Old 02-18-08, 07:30 PM   #12
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IRO seems to be a popular company - great reviews on the customer service.

I'm researching a possible Jamie Roy build.

Don't be fooled by the craptacular website, look on velospace or somewhere to see examples, nice looking bikes I think

http://www.irofixedgear.com/
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Old 02-18-08, 09:54 PM   #13
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IRO seems to be a popular company - great reviews on the customer service.

I'm researching a possible Jamie Roy build.

Don't be fooled by the craptacular website, look on velospace or somewhere to see examples, nice looking bikes I think

http://www.irofixedgear.com/
+1 on that, i love my mark v.
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Old 03-06-08, 06:12 PM   #14
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some more help

thanks again, all this advice has been helpful. im thinking i may buy a old steel frame and build a biek cause its less likely to get stolen than a new flashy bike with "BRAND NAME" written all over it. so im wondering, will nay old road bike with horizontal drops work with a modern wheel set. i know bikes have different spacings (120 130 mm) but will all old road frames with wheels im eying up, formula flip flop hub with some deep v rims. i value wheels a lot and i dont want to buy and old bike if it will only be compatible with old crappy wheels. thanks. oh, and if you have any suggestions for older type frames that can work with new wheels id ber very appreciative. thanks.
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Old 03-06-08, 06:39 PM   #15
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Track rear hubs have a spacing of 120mm. I am not 100% sure, but I think the formula hub is a track hub - someone correct me if I'm wrong, I never had a wheel with those hubs, in my hands - so they'll be spaced 120mm, but that's NOT a problem. Just add an equal number of identical spacers to the left and right of the axle, and you're golden. The road bike will have a rear spacing of up to 130mm - but it could be 126mm. So, not that much to space out on the hub axle.
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Old 03-06-08, 09:16 PM   #16
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If you're still looking for a frame, check out Freeride, the local co-op. They have plenty of old steel frames that you could get for a pretty low cost. What size frame are you looking for? I might have one or two that would work for you myself.

Also, one of the beauties of steel is that the spacing can be easily changed. Check out Sheldon Brown's (RIP) page on "cold setting." Most older frames you find will be 120 and some will be 126. That isn't hard to change to 130 (the common modern road standard, which is what modern freehub wheels are spaced at.) Likewise, if you have a 126 or 130mm frame, respacing it to 120 for a track hub is not difficult.
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Old 03-06-08, 09:36 PM   #17
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You won't need to touch the spacing for 120 rears anyways. If the frame is bigger than that just space the rear wheel out.

Respacing the wheel is almost always preferred to respacing the frame.
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Old 03-06-08, 09:43 PM   #18
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I've been riding on the Sanchez for about a week now, and I just flipped the stem over and added some Nitto 21s. Very tight bike, I like it a lot compared to my Gary Fisher mountain bike. I like it more than my friend's pistas. I got mine new for $525.
Here's a really terrible pic of mine:

MKS pedals/clips with some leather straps. I like it quite a bit.
Another thing:
The gear ratio is a little high at 3.0 (48/16). I'd recommend a 17t cog for the back wheel, for more skid ability and a little better acceleration. 3.0 really gives my legs a work out though.

Last edited by hudsong; 03-06-08 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 03-06-08, 10:26 PM   #19
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I rode a swobo for the first time the other week and I honestly think its a badass bike, I used to think it was stupid before I rode one. I could do without the stupid sticker logos and the shopping carts but whatever.
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Old 03-07-08, 12:02 AM   #20
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bikes

im about 5'7 i ride a 53 cm road bike but id assume i may need like 50 or 52 for a fixed gear just cause it will be a bit more nimble, but if you had any frames that may fit me itd be sweet. also, i used to volunteer every week at the freeride co-op but its so far away for me (pitt) without a bike or car and i needed to do a lot of work so i stopped going. i may head over there before summer and see if they have any frames for sale and ill put it in the car and go home and build a bike. i may also try and find a co-op in philly, im sure theres at least one in the city.
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Old 03-07-08, 12:12 AM   #21
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im about 5'7 i ride a 53 cm road bike but id assume i may need like 50 or 52 for a fixed gear just cause it will be a bit more nimble, but if you had any frames that may fit me itd be sweet. also, i used to volunteer every week at the freeride co-op but its so far away for me (pitt) without a bike or car and i needed to do a lot of work so i stopped going. i may head over there before summer and see if they have any frames for sale and ill put it in the car and go home and build a bike. i may also try and find a co-op in philly, im sure theres at least one in the city.
Freeride is tough to get to from Pitt without a car or bike. I head over there once in a while myself. They usually don't have any great frames, but they have at least a handful of beater frames. Another place to check might be Kraynick's over in Garfield. Again, it might be hard for you to get to, but he might have something that would work for you. It's a great shop if you're looking for odd parts, too.

I'll send you a PM about a frame I have, but it's a bit on the big side.
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Old 03-07-08, 11:27 AM   #22
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you may want to stay with your road size, because toe overlap can be a bad thing on a fixed gear.
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Old 03-07-08, 11:32 AM   #23
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you may want to stay with your road size, because toe overlap can be a bad thing on a fixed gear.
and will be dealt with/adapted to in one afternoon. I wouldnt worry terribly about toe overlap.
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Old 03-07-08, 08:58 PM   #24
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wheels

i think ive stumbled across a nice 15 year old bianchi frame so i may just do that, but if i do i need wheels. just curious what you think is better. ive had my eye on these http://wheelandsprocket.com/itemdeta...gId=39&id=8235 for a while but i know a velocity deep v set is nice (and more money). just curious, is the deep v set really worth the extra $80-100. also i may be able to work out getting this bike, http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/592535338.html , shipped to philly (my home). is it nice? it seems to be good, but would it fit me? i think im getting too worked up over finding a perfect bike, but any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-16-08, 06:35 PM   #25
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thanks for all the help, i just built a bike up. i bought a pake frame with truvativ cranks suntour stem, some risers and a fuji track fork from from tony fast (hes on the bootleg sessions and on the mishka team and damn good at tricks, if that means anything). i put a new deep v on the rear and a real nice shimano front wheel my dad had before he bought his new fulcrum wheels. the bike works great and im learning how to trackstand and i can skid for about 20 feet after 2 days riding. thanks, heres the finished bike
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