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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 10-17-08, 01:08 AM   #1
lewt539
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good Light, Horizontal Drops, Steel Frame Fixie Candidate

Hello, I am in search of the perfect candidate or several best choices for a fixie conversion bike that will be a keeper of a lifetime (and hope to pass it along to my grandchildren in like a 100 years, that'd be gnarly).

So first of all, it would have to have some horizontal dropouts.

It be nice if it was a steel frame, lugged, cause they are quality that you can't quite find now a days(?), and of CroMoly. I have a question about material on steel. Is there a comparison chart or database of the weight of the types of steel and steel alloys. I bought a late 1970s Centurion Le Man and it weighs like a boat, hi-tensile steel 25+ lbs? CroMoly is the lightest steel alloy, right?

Could someone name a couple of brands, models and time period where they would still have horizontal dropouts, and steel frames (seems like up to the 80s, and maybe 90s) or direct me to a catalogue or datebase for old bikes or review sites of old bikes or a place where I can find my answer? (Should I post this in the Classics Vintage section instead?) I wouldn't really know anywhere where I can find reviews on bikes that were made decades ago.

I've seen plenty of Schwinn Varsitys. What else are good? I want the highest quality for this keeper dream fixie conversion. But I don't want to kill my wallet either. I'm probably going to replace the Chainring set, wheel set, etc. So main concerns are horizontal dropouts, very light steel lugged frame.

It'd be nice if it had the suicide levers, but I can probably find it at a bike co-op and replace the handle bars with it.

Thanks!
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Old 10-17-08, 01:25 AM   #2
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well for "the highest quality" your gonna kill your wallet sorry brother, but there are some good companies still making hand made bikes, vanilla, moyer are a couple that come to mind off the top of my head
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Old 10-17-08, 01:30 AM   #3
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80's Japanese frames seem like they're worth checking into. I've got a Centurion that I really dig, but it's not something that I'll likely be passing on to my grand kids. More than likely it'll get scrapped due to a pretty nice dent that I don't foresee getting any better.

If you want something that will last forever, drop some bucks.
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Old 10-17-08, 02:41 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by lewt539 View Post
It be nice if it was a steel frame, lugged, cause they are quality that you can't quite find now a days(?), and of CroMoly. I have a question about material on steel. Is there a comparison chart or database of the weight of the types of steel and steel alloys [...] CroMoly is the lightest steel alloy, right?
All steel alloys density is more or less the same, the differences come from strength and stiffness, which allows thiner wall, butted tubing which is lighter.

You pay the price though - the fatigue life of stiffer tubes is usually lower, so forget about passing your super light still bike to your grand grand children in 100 years.
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Old 10-17-08, 03:54 AM   #5
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Okay, forget what I said about highest quality, and passing it along to my grandchildren.

I remember seeing somewhere about custom Vanillas and I actually went on their website, and as of December 2007, the waitlist is 5 years. So I don't think it's a very reasonable choice. I've heard Japanese steel frames back in the 80s or 90s were really good in quality. What are a few brands and models that had their frames made in Japan with good quality, my Centurion Le Man was, but is made with the cheaper heavier high tensil steel.

vobopl- What do you mean by the fatigue life of stiffer tubes are usually lower? steel = stiff material = lower lifespan? I thought steel compared to say... aluminum and carbon is a much stronger and tougher material. I don't know what I'm talking about though.
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Old 10-17-08, 04:06 AM   #6
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why a conversion? why not buy a classic track frame purpose built for being a fixed gear? if you want a road frame, it's pointless to save it as a "fixie" and loses it's realistic value. an original road frame with top notch original parts is worth keeping.
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Old 10-17-08, 06:03 AM   #7
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How tall are you? I have a perfect frame for a fixie I was thinking about selling..
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Old 10-17-08, 12:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lewt539 View Post
Okay, forget what I said about highest quality, and passing it along to my grandchildren.

I remember seeing somewhere about custom Vanillas and I actually went on their website, and as of December 2007, the waitlist is 5 years. So I don't think it's a very reasonable choice. I've heard Japanese steel frames back in the 80s or 90s were really good in quality. What are a few brands and models that had their frames made in Japan with good quality, my Centurion Le Man was, but is made with the cheaper heavier high tensil steel.

vobopl- What do you mean by the fatigue life of stiffer tubes are usually lower? steel = stiff material = lower lifespan? I thought steel compared to say... aluminum and carbon is a much stronger and tougher material. I don't know what I'm talking about though.
Way oversimplyfying:
material density is the same for all steel alloys. The Yang modulus (stiffness) and tensile strength are different. Lighter tubes == stronger, stiffer steel alloys == smaller wall thickness == shorter fatigue life than (bike build out of) tubes from weaker steel alloys which are a) more ductile b) thicker
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Old 10-17-08, 12:17 PM   #9
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why a conversion? why not buy a classic track frame purpose built for being a fixed gear? if you want a road frame, it's pointless to save it as a "fixie" and loses it's realistic value. an original road frame with top notch original parts is worth keeping.
What are some classic track frames, and some original top notch road frames? How do the old original road bikes compare with say $600-$1000 road bikes made of steel or carbon-titanium alloy bikes?

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How tall are you? I have a perfect frame for a fixie I was thinking about selling..
I am around 5'4". I think the bike frame size that is right for me is around 50-52cm(?), I'm not too sure. What kind of frame do you have?
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Old 10-17-08, 12:45 PM   #10
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Nevermind it's much too large
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Old 10-23-08, 09:10 AM   #11
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i have a miyata 610 touring frame that i use for my everyday use and i swear by it! love old miyatas they are incredibly resilent bikes! wouldn't trade mine for the life of me, actually looking for an old miyata track frame too hell looking for any miyatas at all i'd buy em all up if i had the dough
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Old 10-23-08, 08:12 PM   #12
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look at the metal more than anything else. 4130 cromoly is mid grade at best. from there, you get into the steel alloys, 531, then 7 something, then 831, and finally the stainless steel 931 (ungodly pricy for my blood.) with that being said, i ride a cromoly schwinn my dad gave me that i used to ride on the baby seat of 20 years ago. many of the parts left are original- the bottom bracket, headset, fork, stem, handlebars, and frame. cranks, wheelset, chain, and the other stuff has been replaced.

a conversion does make sense for a fixed gear- depending on your riding. i don't need a track frame- i like the road geometry because its more relaxed. i will do 10 to 20 miles on my fixed- try that on a track frame with risers.
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Old 10-23-08, 08:17 PM   #13
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i will do 10 to 20 miles on my fixed- try that on a track frame with risers.
Consider the fact that risers shouldn't even be on track frames. Risers have 1 hand position, and imo it sucks. I can easily ride 10-30 miles on track geometry with proper bars (bullhorns or drops)
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Old 10-23-08, 08:40 PM   #14
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Old 10-23-08, 08:43 PM   #15
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my early 80's fuji absolute is a ****ing beast
ive commuted daily on it for a year (fixed)
and the previous owner commuted every day geared since he bought it.
my ****in' baby
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