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  1. #1
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    Old (cheap) mountain bike for SS conversion?

    Hello all. Let me preface this by saying that I have received some excellent advice from my few posts and a lot of searching/reading. Thank you.

    In the recent past, I have thought about converting my Gary Fisher mountain bike to a single speed, but decided to keep it geared and use it as hybrid type bike (road tires, rigid fork, etc.). I have purchased (and canceled) an order on a Scattante Americano. I decided I was better off paying slightly more for something from a local LBS (perhaps a Rush Hour?) and getting fitted properly. That will come this fall.

    Now, I realized that I have a Royce Union Cactus Ridge 18 speed mountain bike at my parents house that has been sitting there unused for quite some time. The bike never got used much - I started driving and it just hung on the wall. It is in pretty good shape. I know these are of lower quality (purchased at Dicks or Sports Authority). However, it is FREE and the proper size for me (about 18-19"). I believe the frame is steel, as Royce Union didn't start making aluminum frames until later and those were of questionable quality.

    I figure I could put together a cheap single speed conversion, maybe rattle can the frame, throw on some new (but cheap) tires and have a decent beater/crappy weather ride for around town or light trails. I believe it has a cassette hub. I am thinking I could use something like the Sette single speed conversion kit, Sette tensioner, new chain, new tires, and new front brake for under $75. In this scenario, would I need to redish the rear wheel?

    The bike isn't in front of me and I won't be able to grab it until later this week, but I was able to grab a photo off the Internet.

    If I am crazy to put about $75 into the bike, tell me. If my thinking is way off, tell me. I like projects, but I also don't want anymore than about $75 going into the bike.

    Thanks,

    Joe
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  2. #2
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    Are you serious dude? That bike is NOT worth putting any money into. It probably didn't cost $75 new.

  3. #3
    Senior Member 04jtb's Avatar
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    Looks like a freewheel to me

    and horizontal dropouts

    So all you need to do is

    Remove freewheel
    Screw on SS cog
    Center and dish wheel
    Remove derailer
    New chain
    Done
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  4. #4
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    Yes, I am serious. Regardless of what the bike cost new (if I recall, it was $150-175), can you recommend another steel frame bike that I can convert to a single speed with 2"+ tires on it for less than $75?

    I'm not trying to going crazy on the build, just something I can ride in the rain/wet weather and take on the occasional light trail.

    Quote Originally Posted by mkr_d View Post
    Are you serious dude? That bike is NOT worth putting any money into. It probably didn't cost $75 new.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the reply. Once I can get a closer look, I will be able to tell if it is a freewheel, but you may be right. And upon closer inspection of the rear, it does look like horizontal dropouts - so that would be a plus for saving some money.

    Do you have any recommendations for reading on the center and dish of the wheel?

    I appreciate the quick, matter of fact response.

    Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by 04jtb View Post
    Looks like a freewheel to me

    and horizontal dropouts

    So all you need to do is

    Remove freewheel
    Screw on SS cog
    Center and dish wheel
    Remove derailer
    New chain
    Done

  6. #6
    bum style sneaky viking's Avatar
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    At least it has 3 piece cranks... Maybe new tires wouldn't be a total waste.

    Why don't you just not shift? I mean, it's in a gear. If you really want, find a combo you like and just shorten the chain. Or use the derailer as a chain tensioner.

    I wouldn't put $75 into it, but new tires is what $30? Which, if I didn't have a bike and had NO money and wanted to get around for a month, maybe I'd do. And you could probably sell it for $60 after that.

  7. #7
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    Those are good point - thanks for replying. The shifting is incredibly poor on the bike, which is why I was hoping to go with a simple solution of single speed. Perhaps it would make sense to just pick a logical gear combination and stick with it. We'll see once I can get my hands on it this week.

    If nothing else, it would be worth it to me to spend some time learning on the bike without real fear of screwing it up.

    Joe

    Quote Originally Posted by sneaky viking View Post
    At least it has 3 piece cranks... Maybe new tires wouldn't be a total waste.

    Why don't you just not shift? I mean, it's in a gear. If you really want, find a combo you like and just shorten the chain. Or use the derailer as a chain tensioner.

    I wouldn't put $75 into it, but new tires is what $30? Which, if I didn't have a bike and had NO money and wanted to get around for a month, maybe I'd do. And you could probably sell it for $60 after that.
    Last edited by joeyc; 08-10-08 at 08:19 PM.

  8. #8
    ass hatchet slopvehicle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 04jtb View Post
    Looks like a freewheel to me

    and horizontal dropouts

    So all you need to do is

    Remove freewheel
    Screw on SS cog
    Center and dish wheel
    Remove derailer
    New chain
    Done
    I would not want to "center and dish" a cheap machine-built wheel like this. sounds incredibly frustrating.

    I say just scour craigslist for a cheap old Specialized mtb. I converted a mid-90s Hard Rock last year and it's turned out to be a great bike. Got my frame for free, but I see similar, complete bikes for $75 to $150 all the time.

    A cassette (freehub) rear wheel can be easily converted to SS with a $15 cog and spacer set, available everywhere these days...no re-dishing required.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the feedback. While I don't want to spend money for another bike (I have a perfectly fine Gary Fisher), you may have me reconsider doing too much to the Royce Union. Perhpas I will take the advice of someone earlier and just choose a gear ratio that I enjoy, shorter the chain, and be done with it. Leave the extra cogs on there.

    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
    I would not want to "center and dish" a cheap machine-built wheel like this. sounds incredibly frustrating.

    I say just scour craigslist for a cheap old Specialized mtb. I converted a mid-90s Hard Rock last year and it's turned out to be a great bike. Got my frame for free, but I see similar, complete bikes for $75 to $150 all the time.

    A cassette (freehub) rear wheel can be easily converted to SS with a $15 cog and spacer set, available everywhere these days...no re-dishing required.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SheistyMike's Avatar
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    If you want a beater SS conversion mountain bike, look for a 90s specialized hardrock on craigslist with horizontal dropouts. Solid bikes, and I see them pop up on there all the time.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SheistyMike View Post
    If you want a beater SS conversion mountain bike, look for a 90s specialized hardrock on craigslist with horizontal dropouts. Solid bikes, and I see them pop up on there all the time.
    Rockhoppers have horizontal dropouts too.
    JPM

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  12. #12
    Steel Member fiataccompli's Avatar
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    hey - as long as there's a recent thread of SS/FG conversions on old MTBs, anyone done it w/ one of these bikes?



    1988 GT Karakoram

    it's freewheel, horizontal dropouts, etc. etc. (and steel, yes)...a small frame which is good - for me for mountain bike - simple enough to modify parts that are already on it & have to add only a few...but I was wondering how it would work w/ 700 wheels......lol, maybe paint it black & hawk it on Ebay for stupid money...just kidding. Love the old bike & can't decide what to do w/ it. Was big bucks (esp. to me) when I bought it new in '88, mostly considered junk by the cycling elite

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