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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 07-30-08, 03:39 PM   #1
1jacktripper
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No horizontal dropouts need apply

That's the "adamant" suggestion from my LBS when I showed them the road frame I want to convert into a fixed-gear bike.



The road frame has a short horizontal dropout (with hanger). The LBS basically said that they won't want anything to do with a conversion if it doesn't have a track fork end, supposedly for safety reasons.

I suppose I can understand their distaste for exposure to risk. They were afraid that I was going to go so fast and hard on the converted rig that when I brake, my wheel would pop out. I am not planning on going more than 17 to 20 mph on this fixie/townie/commuter converted rig.

Is their concern legitimate? Should I not tempt fate? Thanks.

Jack
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Old 07-30-08, 03:51 PM   #2
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No, what they are really saying is that they won't do conversions.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:04 PM   #3
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do it yourself
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Old 07-30-08, 04:04 PM   #4
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I agree with dutret on this.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:05 PM   #5
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are there any other LBS's in town? I recommend you transfer your service to them.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:11 PM   #6
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Do it yourself. You'll understand your bike better and be able to maintain it.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:20 PM   #7
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This doomsday rumor about horizontal dropouts seems to be gaining traction among folks who don't actually understand conversions all that well. Two recent threads went on ad nauseum about this; the take-home is your dropouts are fine for converting.

Perhaps the shop was trying to make you drop big bucks on a new frame. Perhaps they've bought into the just-so stories. Perhaps they were planning to install drivetrains on both sides of the bike and loosen your axle nuts. In any event, I would find a different shop.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:25 PM   #8
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Poppycock. The axle doesn't care which way the opening is, only that the dropout/trackends are secure enough to hold the nuts.

My Trek 660 conversion has short horizontal dropouts. You are limited in the number of tooth jumps if you like flipping your hub or swapping your cog, but other than that there is no issue. Certainly no safety issue.

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Old 07-30-08, 04:25 PM   #9
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their concern is legitimate from a "watch our asses" business perspective. they can't afford the risk of being held liable if something were to happen. and, in all honesty, you can swear up and down that you are going to keep the brake on and not go more than 17-20mph. but you can really just say that and then go do whatever the hell you want, bust your ass, and sue them. that's america. i'm not saying you're a ******bag like that, but you never know who is and who isn't.

that said, you should be fine. just do it yourself. i'm sure they'll still sell you a fixed wheel and single-speed crank bolts. that and about half an hour and you have a conversion.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:43 PM   #10
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As long as you use a solid axle with good nuts, you shouldn't pull the wheel out of the dropouts. Redline tensioners are pretty cheap insurance though.
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Old 07-30-08, 04:45 PM   #11
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Perhaps the saddle and brake levers terrified them away.
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Old 07-30-08, 06:09 PM   #12
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Oh please. They just aren't interested in your business. Our shop has probably done hundreds if not thousands of conversions on road frames with horizontal dropouts without a single lawsuit or fatality.
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Old 07-30-08, 06:13 PM   #13
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If you've been riding that bike like that, it's WAY too big for you anyway.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:09 PM   #14
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Horizontal dropouts will work fine. The safety issue is complete horse shiat with no basis whatsoever in reality.

And (I'm saying this in the spirit of honesty and kindness, not as a put down) that bar tape and brake lever setup is egregiously jackass. It's just awful and it is a big disservice to an otherwise very nice bike. But you can fix it. With the levers in the correct place you can brake from the drops and the shoulders, and you wil also get an extra hand position on the hoods.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:22 PM   #15
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I thought the point of doing a conversion was to do it yourself. If you pay the shop (+ parts) $200-$300 to do your conversion, why not just buy a fixie to begin with?

??
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Old 07-30-08, 10:23 PM   #16
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You know, the OP never said that he rides the bike as-is. He only said he wants to convert it. I've bought a number of bikes at swap meets, yard sales, thrift stores and the like that were setup horribly wrong with my only intent to convert them.

Just sayin' is all.
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Old 07-30-08, 10:48 PM   #17
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why non-horizontal dropout is "dangerous"? As far as I can tell from sheldonbrown's writeup,
the only potential issue is the lack of tension adjustability on dropouts that don't have some room to move forward/backward a little bit.

Last edited by skinnyboy; 07-30-08 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 07-30-08, 11:25 PM   #18
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Skinnyboy the issue is supposedly that the wheel might slip forward in the dropout. I guess people think that after that happens the wheel could fall off and cause you to fishtail into a gasoline truck causing a huge fieery explosion. The reality is, wheel slippage happens to people with gears when they don't sufficiently tighten their qr and it's a complete non issue. The wheel does not fall out; it rubs the chainstay on the non drive side, the bike slows to a stop and all nearby gasoline trucks remain unexploded. It happened to me, and I thought to myself "that was annoying, I should toghten my qr more from now on". And i did, and it never slipped again.
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Old 07-31-08, 02:33 AM   #19
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what the *** are those brake hoods doing all the way down there?
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Old 07-31-08, 04:41 AM   #20
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Cool frame. Will make a nice bike.
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Old 07-31-08, 06:38 AM   #21
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Forget them.
As long as you are getting a new wheel and your bb is good, it's easy to do yourself with nothing more than a set of Allen wrenches and a chain tool.


(is that a Shimano 600 or 105 group? If so and you want to make a few bucks off of your drive train when you convert, send me a pm)
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Old 07-31-08, 07:49 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1jacktripper View Post
That's the "adamant" suggestion from my LBS when I showed them the road frame I want to convert into a fixed-gear bike.



The road frame has a short horizontal dropout (with hanger). The LBS basically said that they won't want anything to do with a conversion if it doesn't have a track fork end, supposedly for safety reasons.

I suppose I can understand their distaste for exposure to risk. They were afraid that I was going to go so fast and hard on the converted rig that when I brake, my wheel would pop out. I am not planning on going more than 17 to 20 mph on this fixie/townie/commuter converted rig.

Is their concern legitimate? Should I not tempt fate? Thanks.

Jack

I think you should take the advice of your LBS, these are people with experience & if it wasn't such a big deal they wouldn't be worried about potentially being sued for your getting hurt/killed over a conversion that is technically wrong.

It alarms me that so many people will advise you otherwise but due to the responses to a couple of threads that I started I see that most of them are either in denial, misinformed, or just ignorant. Sheldon Brown does a writeup on conversions & suddenly it is OK. Yes, many people ride conversions successfully, but there is always the chance that something can go horribly wrong at the wrong time.

Play it safe, if you want to ride fixed gear, get a frame that is made for fixed gear. There are budget ways to accomplish this & when you look at the overall cost, which may turn out to be slighlty higher than doing a conversion, isn't your life worth at least that?

Think about it. I learned quickly after joining BF that you have to read thru A LOT of BS to find any insight. This place is chock full 'o blind leading the blind.
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Old 07-31-08, 07:57 AM   #23
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Wow bris is really trying to flame things up around here. Mander is right - the wheel could slip forward just as easily on a multi-geared bike as a conversion, the tire would rub the frame, and you would slow to a crawl and realize that you need to tighten the nuts more next time. Bris just hates conversions and likes to troll for flame wars.
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Old 07-31-08, 08:00 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutret View Post
No, what they are really saying is that they won't do conversions.
ding ding. i've run into this countless times, and it's a shame.

a lot of shops don't see it as worth their while to convert frames. also a lot of them know that if someone walks in with no knowlege of bikes, it's pretty easy to convince them that their bike is unsafe for some reason, and then it's easy to sell them on a new pista or swobo or something. this is dishonest, but it happens a lot.

forward facing dropouts are perfectly safe, but don't go in and argue with them about it. just find another shop who will treat you right or even better learn how to do it yourself, it's not that hard.
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Old 07-31-08, 08:01 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by bigbris1 View Post
I learned quickly after joining BF that you have to read thru A LOT of BS to find any insight. This place is chock full 'o blind leading the blind.
Truer words have never been typed. This forum is loaded with fashionistas who just picked up a bottom-of-the-barrel (ahem) "track" bike and suddenly know far more than seasoned riders and SB. They'll tell you to "play it safe," yet advocate riding brakeless on the street. So yeah, definitely choose your advice carefully.
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