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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 02-16-08, 03:02 PM   #1
turtlenerdle
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What to do...

So ive been lurking around on this forum for a long time just readin and seeing what i like. Ive finally decided on a single speed but am not sure after that. The shwinn madison looks good cuz it has brakes and flip flop hub, but i really enjoy how the conversions look. How hard is it to convert as i know next to nothin about bikes. Any suggestions or comments. The bike would mostly be for riding around town, riding for fun, tryin to get in shape a little. Im a college student so cheapest is best. Thanks
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Old 02-16-08, 03:10 PM   #2
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most bikes will have a flipflop hub. and many come with brakes. a conversion shouldn't be too hard. check sheldon brown's site (sheldonbrown.com) and take it to your lbs if you have any questions/need any help. i have confidence in you. or you could buy a prebuilt and worry about things when they need to be fixed. but i've always felt that building a bike gives me great satisfaction. as far as money goes, i can't say one or the other is cheaper. it just depends on how committed you are to finding deals. hope this's helped.
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Old 02-16-08, 03:16 PM   #3
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Go with the conversion, if you dig it. Funnest learning experience you'll have. Really, building a wheel (or more likely, a wheelset) is the hardest part, and you can buy those pre-built if you like.

If you've got money to spend, have some fun on ebay buying components. Otherwise, be conservative and keep the original parts that came on the frame. I loooooooove my conversion, and couldn't care less that it's not a track bike.
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Old 02-16-08, 03:36 PM   #4
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what is it about conversions specifically that you like?
i ask because a lot of people who aren't used to drooling and obsessing over bicycle frames often assume things that might not be true (for instance, lugs=old road bike, nude drop bars=track bike, etc).
i could be completely off base here, but spoken to someone in the past who thought they liked the way converted road bikes looked, but it was actually the lugs and classic frame paint/lettering that they were after, which is quite easy to find in a track frame.


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Old 02-16-08, 03:47 PM   #5
turtlenerdle
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thanks for the responses. I actually like conversions because my back is kinda bad and some of those track bike geometries look like they may put too much pressure (am i wrong?). i also like the vintage look alot. Reading some of sheldon browns site and it seems a little intimidating getting started. buy all the parts then put together... buy a whole bike then swap out parts. Just trying to get this bike dream rollin.
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Old 02-16-08, 05:03 PM   #6
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Hey,
Conversions are easy (most of the time). If you are new to the hobby and have back problems I would seriously do some research on fit so you can get the right size frame right off of the bat.
As far as conversions go......If you find the bike in your size.........look for a couple things to make life easier.
1: Removeable chainrings. That way you usually don't have to get a new crankset. You can usually get away with putting the desired chainring on the inside to get a decent chainline.
2: If you want a cleaner look get a bike with minimal braze ons.

Those 2 things will give you a good start. Then you'll just have to get some parts to throw on there.
1: Wheelset (or just a rear if you're cheapskate) with cog and lockring or BMX freewheel if that is the way you roll. If the bike came with 27" wheels you'll need a set of brakes with longer reach (unless you get a 27" wheel of course).
2: BMX chain ring bolts.
3: 1/8" chain.

There are a few more issues that you may run into like rear spacing and chainline issues but it's all pretty easy for you to handle. I say build your own! You can do it on the cheap and you'll probably love and appreciate the bike alot more then if you just bought a new one. Besides........it's fun! Do it!
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Old 02-16-08, 10:01 PM   #7
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conversions also offer different geometry. I like road geometry, and would detest a huge saddle-to-bar drop in my daily riding. if you're looking at a more upright riding position, you ma want to go with a conversion. I highly suggest getting a running, complete bike that fits first, then fooling around with parts replacement. also, in light of your back issues, you may want to know the words nitto technomic. I love mine.
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Old 02-17-08, 03:03 AM   #8
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How your bike is on your back will mostly depend on how high the bars are relative to the saddle. This is going to be largely independent of whether your frame is road or tarck. Generally, though, a frame with a higher head tube (that's the tube up front, that the handlebars go into) will make it easier to get the handlebars up higher. To get a frame with a higher head tube, you look for a frame with a taller seat tube (that's the tube you put the seatpost into), that shows less seatpost when the saddle is adjusted to the proper height. This doesn't mean you should ride a frame that's too big, but just that you should pick a frame at the top of the range of sizes that's useable if you're after a nice comfy riding position.


Bad


Good

One thing to think about is that as seat tube heights increase so do top tube lengths. So pulling the bars up tends to push them away from you too. The Mercian above is custom made not to do that; the top tube is shorter than the seat tube, so the bars are easy to set up high and close.

Of course as someone mentioned you can always get a stem with a long quill like the nitto technomic if you need to get the bars up high on a frame that's not built quite like that mercian. This picture is a bit extreme but it shows what you can do.


Last edited by mander; 02-17-08 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 02-17-08, 01:39 PM   #9
turtlenerdle
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thanks guys. Guess its time for me to start lookin for some frames now. This thread really helped
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Old 02-17-08, 02:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turtlenerdle View Post
thanks for the responses. I actually like conversions because my back is kinda bad and some of those track bike geometries look like they may put too much pressure (am i wrong?). i also like the vintage look alot. Reading some of sheldon browns site and it seems a little intimidating getting started. buy all the parts then put together... buy a whole bike then swap out parts. Just trying to get this bike dream rollin.
The responses here have been dead-on, turntlenerdle. I'm just completing by fourth conversion, a '77 Puegeot. It's nothing special, to be honest, but I really love the part where you put your build kit in an old box and then work out of it. The order you put the parts on doesn't matter very much. Make sure you have the right tools (another expense but worth every penny) and you're a happy camper.

The biggest thrill of this build will be attaching the wheels because I finally laced up a pair. I spent about $175 and followed Sheldon's directions.

About geometry: Two of my fg conversions were comfortable hybrid frames: a Trek 7300 and a Raleigh C-40 -- an apostasy to some but damn fun to ride.
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