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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 07-20-09, 11:55 AM   #1
spaceballs
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Considering road bike conversion: specific questions

I had a post a few weeks back about looking for an aluminum bike, and I just couldn't find anything that I was very satisfied with. Test rode a Langster and it left something to be desired. Now I think I am just going to convert my backup road bike [1998 Schwinn Peloton] to fixed and sell off the components. The bike isn't exactly a classic, with its ugly welds and metallic paint, but it is lightweight [853 steel], it fits, and I already own it.

The problems: right now it has a road triple crankset and vertical dropouts.

Since I already have it, I can save spend some more money on the components. I am considering a new crankset and perhaps a White Industries Eno Eccentric rear wheel. Is there anything I need to worry about considering this as a rear hub? Does it stand up to skidding and mashing well?

Do I need to do any work to convert to a setup that uses outboard bearings like those I would use on some Truvativ Omnium cranks?

My other ride right now is an IRO Angus, and I never had to worry about chainline. What do I need to consider when making sure I get the chainline right on this conversion?

Right now, the front wheel on the bike seems to be fine as it is now [quick release, ultegra hub]. Is there any reason to use a more "track specific front wheel"?

I think this bike would be lightweight, fast, fun, and cost about $400 from now to get it where I want it. Does anyone have anything else to add or advise?
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Old 07-20-09, 12:28 PM   #2
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Right now, the front wheel on the bike seems to be fine as it is now [quick release, ultegra hub]. Is there any reason to use a more "track specific front wheel"?
nope.
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Old 07-20-09, 12:59 PM   #3
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Honestly, you may not really be saving any money doing it that way. There are several decent track bikes to be had on bikesdirect.com. I personally would sell the Schwinn (or keep it as is) and buy a BD bike. If you sell the Schwinn for a good amount you can easily upgrade a BD bike and have something pretty nice. If you would rather build up a frame, check bikeisland.com BD's sister company. They have reasonably good stuff at great prices....and free shipping! I bought a Kilo TT from BD a few months back and I haven't regretted it for a second. I still have my Fuji conversion (which is where all of my stock parts went when I upgraded) but a nice shiny new bike for $350 shipped......
Just my .02
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Old 07-20-09, 01:35 PM   #4
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you will never find an off-the-peg fixed bike with a frame comparable to 853 steel that is even remotely close to $350.

of course, that eccentric hub is going to be pricey and it's a less-than-elegant solution. but, should you decide to go that route, you will always have your eno back wheel and all frames will be available for conversion.
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Old 07-20-09, 01:47 PM   #5
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I already have a great road bike, and the Schwinn is a better frame than any of the other frames with track ends that I can find. The new Schwinn Sprint is the right material, but the geometry is tighter than what I want.

The expense for the hub isn't that big of a concern. The chainline is.

It looks like the Omniums give a chainline of about 41-42mm and it looks like the ENO Eccentric Hub has a chainline of about 47.5mm. This is significant enough for me to worry about. Does anyone know if the Omniums can be spaced out to about 47.5mm or if the Eccentric can be brought in enough to make it work?
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Old 07-20-09, 02:26 PM   #6
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Does anyone know if the Omniums can be spaced out to about 47.5mm or if the Eccentric can be brought in enough to make it work?
well, all rear wheels can have their chainline adjusted... just add spacers til you get the chainline you want, then dish the wheel to center the rim.

inelegant? hell yeah. a pain in the ass? yes, also. however, you will be building that eno hub wheel from scratch anyway -- i believe no one offers a prebuilt -- so doing some dishing while you're in there already is no big deal.

alternately you can go with a different crank/bb combo...
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Old 07-20-09, 04:22 PM   #7
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Ben's Cycle offers prebuilt ENO wheelsets, but I am not sure they are worth $500.

I really liked the outboard bearing ideas; does anyone know what sort of spacers come with the Omniums?
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Old 07-21-09, 12:00 PM   #8
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It looks like the chainline on the ENO wheelset can be had at around 46mm, and it looks like the SRAM Omnium cranks are at around 41mm or so. It looks like I would have to space out the cranks. If I could get the cranks out another 3-4mm, I would be completely satisfied and would definitely pull the trigger on this conversion.

Three questions: are my numbers for the cranks accurate?

How do you space out cranks on an external BB setup like this?

How close do I need to get with a chainline to where chainline isn't an issue? I am most likely going to swap out the 48t 1/8" chainring that comes with the cranks for something around 46t and 3/32".

Thanks
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Old 08-14-09, 03:02 PM   #9
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After looking at this some more, and considering some options...I am not sure that the Omnium is the crankset I want to go with. The eccentric ENO wheels are designed to match a road setup, it seems, and the Omniums are matched to work with a track bike setup. So long Omniums...

So I need help choosing a crankset. I really, really, want to go with one of the more modern outboard bearing cranksets.

So, I am considering choosing a road crankset, but I am not sure of how to figure things out like the chainline it would provide, etc. Just looking at Sheldon Brown's article, it looks like if I got a road double crankset, I could use only an outer chainring, and get an outer chainline of about 46mm - this would be very close to the ENO chainline and just about perfect.

So...

Performance Bike has a crankset on sale for $140 - SRAM Rival, which is a similar type of crank to the Omnium. Same bottom bracket. Well regarded by roadies, etc to be stiff and relatively lightweight.

So now I have two questions, essentially. I can get either a compact or a regular road double crank: one has a bcd of 110 and one has a bcd of 130. Back to this in a second...

First - is it problematic to use a road chainring with pins and ramps on it or should I swap chainrings? I am planning on using a regular old 3/32 single speed chain and not a multi-speed chain unless there you folks know something I don't.

Second - if ramps/pins are OK, then I will go with a compact crankset and keep the 50-tooth big chainring and a bcd of 110. Is there any compelling reason to go with either a regular or compact crankset or one of the bcd's over another ? It looks like plenty of chainrings are available for each.

Now, just a couple of things to figure out like brakes, which tires I am going to use, etc, and I ought to be rolling! Thanks for your help and letting me bounce some ideas out there!
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Old 08-14-09, 03:35 PM   #10
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SRAM Rival or a Campagnolo Centaur/Athena if you like Campy. I personally have a Centaur Carbon crankset on my SS. PBK has Campy cranksets for a good deal, but not as good a deal as they used to be. Stay away from FSA carbon cranks IMHO... have had too many fail on me and heard of way too many others. PM pismet on BF,... he gets smokin' deals on SRAM components. (check the road forums for him).

I would stick with standard 130 BCD since you will have a better selection of rings. That said, getting the Omnium would be your best bet if you want to run a 1/8" chain since 144 BCD has a WIDE selection of rings with a 1-tooth spread. Unlike Campy 135 BCD its a PITA to get anything but 39/42/45/52/53 rings. I have a 48t ring that I had to have custom made. 130 BCD rings are easier to get in the 47-50t range. 110 also looks plain weird to me also when running a big ring.

Pins and ramps won't matter at all, they just look unsightly if you care. I recomend modern 3/32 chains over 1/8 for nearly all applications since they are quiter and more flexible to imperfect chainline.

I would not call the ENO unelegant as another posted noted. I think its very elegant solution seeing as how you really can't tell its an ENO unless you stoop down. You could get a frame builder to TIG in some track forks and get your frame powder coated... would cost about the same as a nice ENO wheelbuild.... but then you still need a rear wheel.

The only thing you need to be concerned with (back to your initial post) is that you face both sides of your BB. External bearings like a smooth and parallel BB shell.

You mention brakes, so I will mention what I like. Campy Skeletons. They look great IMHO, stop well, and are pretty light. But if you are getting a crank from pismet, you should see how much he could source some SRAM Force calipers for you...
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Old 08-14-09, 04:05 PM   #11
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Thanks for the help!

Already getting the BB shell faced.

I was leaning towards a compact setup with the 110, just because I could keep the stock big ring [50-tooth]. I think that 50/19 would be a pretty decent setup at around 70 gear inches or so. I don't think I will ever need a larger chainring than 50 teeth. And it might be a few grams less... Absolutely planning on going with a 3/32" chain.

Two questions though:
1 - My road bike has a 53-tooth front ring. I am primarily using this conversion for commuting and training. Would it be wise to get a front ring that is the same size as my road bike [meaning ride a 53 in the front and whatever in the back...21 maybe??]?
2 - My road bike has 172.5mm cranks. This conversion project was a road frame, initially, but the bottom bracket drop is only 6.5 cm [less than that of a Surly Steamroller...]. I would like to get comparably sized cranks, so that it doesn't feel weird swapping back and forth, etc. Is it dangerous to ride 172.5 cranks on a fixed gear bike?

Thanks for the tip for brakes. I may get some SRAM brakes for the road bike and swap the Tektros onto the fixed gear project.
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Old 08-14-09, 04:18 PM   #12
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I like track front wheels. I like nutted axles in general.

Last edited by Noobert; 08-14-09 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 08-14-09, 04:38 PM   #13
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ya dood that hub is totally mashable go man go fast on the fixie
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Old 08-14-09, 04:52 PM   #14
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I have an ENO on my SS CX bike. I agree with Hirohsima, a very elegant solution. It hold up to what ever you can throw at it. I currently use a road crank with the ring on the outer position. Chainline is great.
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Old 08-14-09, 06:41 PM   #15
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Absolutely planning on going with a 3/32" chain.
Im curious why you are so adamant about using a 3/32" over a 1/8".
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Old 08-14-09, 07:55 PM   #16
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Im curious why you are so adamant about using a 3/32" over a 1/8".
All my gear is 3/32". Is there a reason I shouldn't rule out 1/8"?
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Old 08-15-09, 09:27 AM   #17
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I run 170's on my SS and 172.5 (what I generally prefer) on my road bike. I don't notice a difference at all swapping between the two since on the roadie I can swap gears and it masks any
difference in arm length.

Re: a 53T front ring. It does not matter that you keep the front ring the same as your other bike. You can run two totally different front rings but as long as your gear inches stays the same, they will feel identical.

Re: Running a compact w/ the 50T ring. That is not a terrible idea. I run a 48x16 and sometimes a 50x16 which is a pretty good gear when I want to work out. a 50t front ring is about as big as I will go when keeping a 16t rear cog. Since you are looking at an ENO, then you are most certianly looking at a WI ENO freewheel. Since 16 is the smallest cog they come in that will be your limiting factor. If you plan on ever running a really big gear, the 110 BCD will also limit you. On my 48x16 I generally average 19-20 mph. You should plan you gear inches according to your strength, your terrain, and the speed you want to maintain (assuming a constant cadence).
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Old 08-15-09, 11:01 AM   #18
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Thanks for the ideas.

I am thinking more about going with a 53 tooth ring, just to keep things consistent [where I could swap cranks if I need to...] and because of the skid patches.

One more thought: I was planning on getting a 21-tooth rear cog and I wasn't sure about the freewheel. The Eccentric Hub gives me 7.5mm total axle adjustment space in one direction. Is that enough to have a 1-tooth difference between my cog and freewheel without having to change chain lengths? I guess if worse comes to it I can just get similarly sized cogs/freewheels.

This is coming together nicely! Thanks!
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Old 08-15-09, 11:53 AM   #19
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... sorry forgot you were looking at FG, and not SS, so forget my comments about the WI ENO FW.

1 tooth in back = 3 teeth in front in term of gear inches. Adding a tooth in back or 3 in front generally means 1 inner link and 1 outer link in terms of chain length. Can't say if the Eno will be able to take up that 100%, but I don't see why it wouldn't.

53/21 is a really easy gear. I would play around with you CAAD 9 gears to be sure you want that gear. My guess is you top out at maybe 28mph in that gear which is barely enough to keep up with in-town traffic. IMHO, I would run a harder gear unless you have hills to deal with or really just want a coffee house bike. I am basing most of my opinions on the fact that you have a brand new CAAD9 and not some kind of Electra cruiser.
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Old 08-15-09, 01:30 PM   #20
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Why not?

What are you using that bike for now? It looks to me like the only things you'll really have to buy are the eccentric hub rear wheel, track cog and lockring, and shorter crank bolts. I'd probably just keep the middle ring or you could install the big ring in the middle ring location.

Ride it like that for awhile and you'll have a better idea of what, if anything, you want to change next.
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Old 08-15-09, 08:39 PM   #21
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... sorry forgot you were looking at FG, and not SS, so forget my comments about the WI ENO FW.

1 tooth in back = 3 teeth in front in term of gear inches. Adding a tooth in back or 3 in front generally means 1 inner link and 1 outer link in terms of chain length. Can't say if the Eno will be able to take up that 100%, but I don't see why it wouldn't.

53/21 is a really easy gear. I would play around with you CAAD 9 gears to be sure you want that gear. My guess is you top out at maybe 28mph in that gear which is barely enough to keep up with in-town traffic. IMHO, I would run a harder gear unless you have hills to deal with or really just want a coffee house bike. I am basing most of my opinions on the fact that you have a brand new CAAD9 and not some kind of Electra cruiser.
Thanks for having some faith in my riding abilities. Just checking some of your old posts...and nice Langster btw. Really sharp and unique. I considered selling this bike entirely and just getting a Langster, but now I have my heart set on this. The bike is currently equipped with 9-speed Ultegra, with a triple chainring in the front. I am going to sell the current wheels and group to offset some of the replacement costs; then sell off [or keep as spares...] the chainrings from the new crank. I considered keeping the Ultegra crank, but it isn't as stiff as some of the newer outboard bearing stuff.

I have a 19-tooth cog now, and I will give it a shot first. That should put me in the low 70's in gear inches. My IRO now is running at 46 and 19, which is in the low 60's. It is definitely easy to spin out, and that is why I use it: to work on my spin and just take it easy. But it is a little slow. I will try it out before shelling out the cash for another cog.

Another reason for going with this setup is to keep the wheelset for the CAAD9 when it is time for me to upgrade the road bike...

One more question about the wheelset: Ben's Cycle has a prebuilt wheelset with the White Industries hubs laced to Mavic Open Pro rims [$450]. Peter White, or just about anyone else, can build me a set of the hubs laced to Velocity Deep V's for about a hundred bucks more. Is there any reason to get Deep V's instead of the Open Pros? I do plan on using these wheels for a long time on a variety of different bikes.
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Old 08-15-09, 11:06 PM   #22
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Deep V's hold no advantage that I can see since you are looking at hand built wheels. They may be marginally tougher, but they sure as heck are a lot heavier and I wouldn't want to drop $500 on heavy wheels regardless. I would checkout Spinlite cycling. I had him build a killer set of wheels and his rates are reasonable and the wheels come incredibly well tensioned. I have probably 3k miles on some of his wheels and they are still nearly perfect. I was a shop wrench and have some tools so keep them razor straight all the time so they never fall too far out. Plus he custom suits spokes, nipples, cross patterns, and rims to your riding style and weight. Lyle is the owner and very responsive.

Open Pros are still the gold standard with the DT rims being offered now are as good if not better.... but people still judge against the OP's.

It sounds like you have the older octalink Ultegra's and I too would not keep those on my bike. I think you are on the money, and it sounds to me like you have an idea on the gears you want to run, so don't let some goofball like me talk you into getting something you know you don't want.

Thanks for the + comments on my bike. Appreciated. If I had to do it over again, I would actually like to get a CAAD9 and an ENO hub to get it even lighter and stiffer.
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Old 08-18-09, 12:45 AM   #23
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So I just got hold of a Road bike that i though was a fixed gear but turned out it was a coaster(peddling backwards is the brake) and other then that the bike is amazing but i want to know whats the cheapest way to convert
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Old 08-18-09, 09:47 AM   #24
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Depends on the dropouts. If there is room to adjust your chain tension then you just need a new wheel. If the are vertical then the best way is the ENO hub mentioned above. I would guess that with a coaster brake, you have the correct dropouts. If you post a picture then I can tell you for sure.
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Old 08-19-09, 01:14 AM   #25
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