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  1. #1
    love to swerve
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    old murray cruiser - fixed gear?????

    I've got a question about the old Murray cruisers, which is a copycat design of the old classic schwinn cruiser. First of all, I can purchase one at in rideable condition at my second-hand bike shop for $15.
    What I would like to be able to do is use it as a general beater bike, and maybe commute a couple of miles to work. Ultimately I would like to convert it to a fixed-gear. Is it possible to convert this type of old bike to fixed? Would this bike be good for that, or should I hold out for a real schwinn? I would like to be able to ride light-duty off-road fixed also. thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by scorcher
    I've got a question about the old Murray cruisers, which is a copycat design of the old classic schwinn cruiser. First of all, I can purchase one at in rideable condition at my second-hand bike shop for $15.
    What I would like to be able to do is use it as a general beater bike, and maybe commute a couple of miles to work. Ultimately I would like to convert it to a fixed-gear. Is it possible to convert this type of old bike to fixed? Would this bike be good for that, or should I hold out for a real schwinn? I would like to be able to ride light-duty off-road fixed also. thanks
    I have a Murray Cruiser that I keep around the house for those friends to ride that don't know about hand brakes and are not too used to riding period. My take on Murray cruisers is that they are HEAVY. They also have the old Ashtabula type one piece crank which is not the best type of crank to use as there are limited chain wheel combo's available and pretty primitive in bearing quality. You would need to get yourself a better set of wheels and hubs if you were serious as the Wald wheels and hubs are not the best bearings in the industry. I think that they are best used for what they are, a fat tired cruiser with no pretensions otherwise. Of course you could just go ahead and convert it to fixed gear if you have the parts laying around left over from other projects but I would not spend the money on this bike if I was serious about a first time fixed gear bike. The result might sour you for fixed gear forever. There are plenty of other old frames around that would make a better candidate for a first f/g bike.


    Fixedgearhead
    One gear in front,
    One gear in back,
    No coasting.
    What don't you understand?

  3. #3
    love to swerve
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    thanks, thats good info to know. What about Schwinns?? Are the old schwinn cruisers any better choice for this? (one-piece crank???) I just love that design and would love to turn it into fixed. I would not care how heavy it is for what I would like to do.,-- very flat terrain., short distance.
    thanks for your help

  4. #4
    Senior Member shecky's Avatar
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    I woldn't worry much about one piece cranks, unless you demand low weight. One piece cranks are generally very durable, easily serviced, inexpensive, and IMO often a more attractive option for some riders than aluminum. If you want "good" bearings for them, just bite the bullet and spend $15 on some BMX-marketed ones. Unless they're seized or grinding, I wouldn't even bother. There are plenty of chainwheel sizes available in both steel and aluminum, and if you want something that'll accept "high-end" chainrings, spiders are available often drilled to accept two different sizes. The BMX market is a wellspring of very durable, pretty, and often inexpensive options in this area.

    Unless you got a hard-on for fixed gear, it might be simpler to leave it as a coaster brake. If you want a bit more performance, get some good high-pressure slicks. Also, perhaps some flat, northroad (inverted or upright), or even drop bars, a new saddle, and a front caliper brake would also provide some tricked-out racy edge.

    A Schwinn frame might bring more sale value, but probably little else. Cosmetically, I like the "seamless" look of those old Schwinn electroforged frames. I've also seen some nice AMF labelled cantilever frame variations, where the two seatstays continue to arc to the top of the headtube and a single larger tube takes the unusual curve to the downtube.

    Some of the prettiest cantilever frames are actually being produced today. My LBS carries some stunning Nirve cruisers with very nice cantilever frame variations.
    Last edited by shecky; 03-27-04 at 10:50 AM.

  5. #5
    (Grouchy)
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    one piece cranks are a BAD idea for fixed gears, and the sprocket isn't very firmly attached to the crankarm. the very small, nearly unmeasureble amount of slop in the system will turn into a whole lot of slop over time and it will be bad. then again, you'll probably be using brakes on the bike and that may not be an issue (sometimes i forget that not everyone is a certifiable lunatic)...

  6. #6
    Senior Member shecky's Avatar
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    It seems extremely unlikely this would be a problem in the real world. Unless the crankarm pin and/or chainring gets seriously tweaked or broken, there is no way a sprocket will become disengaged from a crankarm. I've never heard of this type of failure on a coaster brake bike, where the concern would be just as critical.

  7. #7
    seeking simple
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    I say go for it. (My member name shows my bias), but I think Schwinn is the best in this category, however, I had an old Murray cruiser that I put a MTB bar, and knobbie tires on, and left it as coaster brake. They are hard to kill, and the only reason I don't have it now is that I gave it away to someone less fortunate than I. You say you don't mind the weight, which is a good thing, because you'll have plenty of it. My fixed gear now is a 1965 Varsity, electroforged with one piece crank. No problems here, steel rims, the thing, as stripped down as it is, probably still weighs 35 pounds? It's a HUGE frame. I'll take a pic here in a little bit. Gearing 39 (stock)x14, 27" wheels.

    Good luck!!!

    Jessica
    Last edited by schwinnbikelove; 03-28-04 at 11:45 AM. Reason: add pic

  8. #8
    Senior Member jimv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
    .... My fixed gear now is a .....Good luck!!!

    Jessica
    You haven't given up on the venerable coaster brake have you 8-) I just got back from the Seattle old bike swap meet and found a bunch of old coaster hubs including 3 sachs hubs and enough parts to build 2 more. I got a 1920's Morrow for $1.00 ....Oh my..... also found a Perry, and two Musselmann hubs.... much fun.

    Jim

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by shecky
    It seems extremely unlikely this would be a problem in the real world. Unless the crankarm pin and/or chainring gets seriously tweaked or broken, there is no way a sprocket will become disengaged from a crankarm. I've never heard of this type of failure on a coaster brake bike, where the concern would be just as critical.
    i think there's a little more force acting on the sprocket and crankarm pin when you're trying to resist on a fixed gear than there is when you're engaging a coaster brake. if it's anything like any of the other one-piece arrangements that i've seen and taken apart, that pin is the ONLY thing keeping the sprocket from spinning freely around the crank spindle, and it's probably being held in place laterally by some spacers. i'd rather have that force spread out over five arms going to the crank than one pin. if you're gonna be using at least a front brake, go for it. having seen a lot of snapped and bent one-piece cranks (one set was brand new and was bent by the end of a 4 hour bmx ride where the kid using them was taking it easy). use brakes. one-piecers are maybe about as trustworthy as old-style cottered cranks on a fixed gear on the street.

  10. #10
    seeking simple
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimv
    You haven't given up on the venerable coaster brake have you 8-) I just got back from the Seattle old bike swap meet and found a bunch of old coaster hubs including 3 sachs hubs and enough parts to build 2 more. I got a 1920's Morrow for $1.00 ....Oh my..... also found a Perry, and two Musselmann hubs.... much fun.

    Jim
    Oh no! The coaster brake is my primary bike, there's a new picture of it on the "Pics of 'beater'" thread. Just rode it yesterday for about 6 hours. Been changing the handlebars around alot (it's easy, no brakes or shifters, LOL), so I've been through two sets since that picture. Got the Nashbar trekking ones on now, think this is it.

    Sounds like you've hit the jackpot! Our swapmeet here is a little less than a month away. Have you ever heard of Memory Lane Classics? They're one of the biggest classic Schwinn dealers, and I'm lucky to be about 40 minutes away.

    Also, I've got an extra coaster hub the same as the one I'm currently using, NOS, if you know anyone interested. (Schwinn anniversary) I sure as heck don't need it.

    P.S. Are you able to take pics of your finds?

  11. #11
    ONE GEAR TO RULE THEM ALL hammye's Avatar
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    are they the ones out in perrysburg?
    Doing card tricks for dogs

  12. #12
    seeking simple
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammye
    are they the ones out in perrysburg?
    Yeah, only they've moved out to Grand Rapids now. You ever been?

    Jim- how'd the chainline work out so good for you on the Steamroller?

  13. #13
    ONE GEAR TO RULE THEM ALL hammye's Avatar
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    just to the one in perrysburg and that was a few years ago.
    Doing card tricks for dogs

  14. #14
    Senior Member jimv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
    Oh no! The coaster brake is my primary bike....
    Whew .... I thought we lost one for a second.

    Quote Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
    ... Have you ever heard of Memory Lane Classics?
    Yes, I spoke with them recently .... Nice folks. It's great that you have such a cool place nearby.

    Quote Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
    Also, I've got an extra coaster hub the same as the one I'm currently using, NOS, if you know anyone interested. (Schwinn anniversary) I sure as heck don't need it.
    I'm still not sure which hub Schwinn used in the anniversary model but I'd love to find out. How much do you want for it???

    Quote Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
    P.S. Are you able to take pics of your finds?
    Sure thing, but I think I'll start a new thread called: "Swap Meet Coaster Hubs" because it's probably getting abit off topic for this thread.

    Jim

  15. #15
    Senior Member jimv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
    Jim- how'd the chainline work out so good for you on the Steamroller?
    I laced the hub with the hub centered and measured the chainline (center of hub to center of cog) then I stuck whatever BB I had lying around and put my cranks on it. I then measured the center of the seat tube to the center of the chainwheel and found that it was 5mm too long. So I went to Recycled Cycles and found a spindle that was 5mm shorter (on that side) ... voila ... absolutely perfect ( as long as the rear hub is centered in the trackends of course). I have a set of dial calipers so an accurate measurement was easily done.

    Jim

  16. #16
    love to swerve
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    Quote Originally Posted by schwinnbikelove
    I say go for it. (My member name shows my bias), but I think Schwinn is the best in this category, however, I had an old Murray cruiser that I put a MTB bar, and knobbie tires on, and left it as coaster brake. They are hard to kill, and the only reason I don't have it now is that I gave it away to someone less fortunate than I. You say you don't mind the weight, which is a good thing, because you'll have plenty of it. My fixed gear now is a 1965 Varsity, electroforged with one piece crank. No problems here, steel rims, the thing, as stripped down as it is, probably still weighs 35 pounds? It's a HUGE frame. I'll take a pic here in a little bit. Gearing 39 (stock)x14, 27" wheels.

    Good luck!!!

    Jessica


    That is freaking awesome, please show the whole bike.!!!

  17. #17
    Senior Member shecky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTinSloth
    i think there's a little more force acting on the sprocket and crankarm pin when you're trying to resist on a fixed gear than there is when you're engaging a coaster brake. if it's anything like any of the other one-piece arrangements that i've seen and taken apart, that pin is the ONLY thing keeping the sprocket from spinning freely around the crank spindle, and it's probably being held in place laterally by some spacers.
    I'm not sure I'm buying this notion that the crank pin is vulnerable to failure on a fixie. Certainly, reverse pedal forces are greater on a fixie than on a coaster brake. However, it seems unlikely that reverse pedal forces on a fixie will exceed forward pedal forces on a coaster, fixie or just about any bike for that matter. And one piece crank pins just don't seem prone to breaking. Interestingly, lots of the high end ultra tough 3 piece BMX cranks use the same system.

    Quote Originally Posted by OneTinSloth
    i'd rather have that force spread out over five arms going to the crank than one pin. if you're gonna be using at least a front brake, go for it. having seen a lot of snapped and bent one-piece cranks (one set was brand new and was bent by the end of a 4 hour bmx ride where the kid using them was taking it easy). use brakes. one-piecers are maybe about as trustworthy as old-style cottered cranks on a fixed gear on the street.
    Having seen lots of snapped three piece cranks, I think anyone capable of busting a typical forged cromo 1 piece crank will almost certainly destroy a typical three piece aluminum road crank without to much trouble. Perhaps the only real alternative for such a gorilla would be one of the cromo 3piece BMX cranks with Ti spindle.

    Of course, these are blanket statements that probably don't always apply. 1piece cranks come in a variety of qualities, and I've seen them bend and break, too. Same goes for cottered three piece cranks, which are all over the map as far as quality is concerned. I'd have no trouble trusting a old Raleigh cottered crank (in fact I do on a nearly daily basis). The cast steel Indian cottered cranks, on the other hand, seem worth their weight at the scrap metal yard.

    Unfortunately, I can't vouch for the quality of the cranks on a old Murray. However, the cranks on old Schwinns are practially indestructable, unles you're doing some hard BMX stuff.

    The greatest tesitmonial to the 1 piece crank comes from a guy named Chalo Colina, a 6' 5", 350 lb bike destroyer and frequent contributor to rec.bicycles.tech, who has sung the praises of the one piece for durability and simplicity. And surprisingly never managed to break one. And of course, myself, who to this day owns the "real" Ashtabula 7.5" crank that survived my BMX and early MTB days. (Can't figure out how I used to ride those things... they kill my knees these days.)

  18. #18
    seeking simple
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    Shecky, here's my family.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...chmentid=11356

    Or, here's a pic of just the Varsity.

    Thanks for the compliment!

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