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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 04-20-11, 03:51 PM   #1
sillygolem
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How to convert 10sp and freewheel-equipped bikes to SS/FG

Kilo TT

Last edited by sillygolem; 11-13-11 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 04-20-11, 07:08 PM   #2
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My Own Opinion:

I think you have it too wordy, I find myself skipping somethings and getting loss.
It would be nice to have a checklist for what that is on the 10 speed should have. Like this:
-tapered crank
-preferred cable stays are non-braze-ons
-horizontal drop outs
-so on

A parts list would be nice, with some options. Here was my last build:
-1/8 chain - neon green
-16 tooth freewheel for single speed
-Tapered crank bolts - shorter for single gear ring
-Freewheel tool
about $40

I like your Q&A section and how you address some concerns.

Final opinion:
More pics. We are like children, because you have some nice pictures, take more pics about everything you talk about so it's easier to understand. I see this flaw in everything, yet it is still well worth it. Saves a noob some time at a LBS trying to rack up enough courage to say something stupid or to find the part they can't remember.

Sorry to say all this, just this is a good guide I wish I had when I was making my first SS. Just trying to clear up your clutter and add more pictures. I wish I could take pictures of my projects, my camera sucks.
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Old 04-20-11, 09:47 PM   #3
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My honest opinion is that too much thought is being put into this, making a conversion is not all that complicated of a thing to do.

Remove your deraillieur cables
Remove your shifters
Remove your derailliers
Remove wheels(easier to work on with both wheels off.)
Cut chain
Remove chainwheel if you have a one peice and put on a single chain wheel or if you have 3 piece remove chainrings select a ring you want to use and get a set of single chainring bolts then put said chainring and bolts onto the crank.
Get freewheel removed
Take said wheel if SS throw a SS freewheel on and your good to go. If fixed, if you have a fixed wheelset put cog and lockring on and you're set.
If you don't have one, leave the brakes on the bike, thread on cog tightly then thread on a bottom bracket lockring on. Until you can get a dedicated Fixed wheelset, don't skid and use the brakes instead. If you back pedal or skid on that setup it is very easy to strip the hub out.

Then put wheels back on the bike, followed by the chain set a good chain tension. Rule of thumb is good tension is 1/2" depress on either side of chain.
The look at the chain line. A good chainline should be exactly perpendicular to the bb spindle. On a bike with a chain wheel, you don't get much adjustability in setting chainline. Three piece, you can change out bb to get a desired chainline. On either you can also space the cog out a bit if you have the room on the hub.

Then go over it and make sure everything is tight then go out and enjoy.



Pfft, I probably just put too much thought into this.
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Old 04-20-11, 10:21 PM   #4
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Well, Dannihilator, there is also the:
-Aligning hub and axle so that the chain is kept straight
-Aligning the brakes to move and pinch at the right time and distance
-Setting the distance bolts in the drop out (Can't live without them)
-The usage of not using a chain tensioner (I don't, my bike is set up that way)
-the thoughts between 3/16th or 1/8 inch chains and gear fitting
-The Fixie set up so someone doesn't die or get their legs ripped off
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Old 04-20-11, 11:35 PM   #5
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Pfft, I probably just put too much thought into this.
It's a lot easier after you've done it, but there are always little niggling questions that get asked a lot. Then there are things that you just happen upon with no explanation: I didn't know about the two Shimano freewheel sizes until I got the bike and realized none of my adapters fit it and unless you -know- about this you'd think you got something really weird.
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Old 04-20-11, 11:54 PM   #6
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Nice detailed write up. Idk about promoting suicide fixies though. Sure you're running brakes but I think running a suicide hub is selling yourself short on the fun fixed gear experience (constant ominous possibility of unthreading your cog and lockring.)
When I did my conversion I just got a cheap rear wheel with a flip flop hub. It was about $60 for the wheel and $20 for the cog and lockring so it still doesn't break the bank (I have upgraded since then though). IMO, going the right way from the get go will leave one with a much more enjoyable bike.
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Old 04-20-11, 11:57 PM   #7
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I disagree. The more detail the better. Some of us like doing things correctly instead of just winging it.
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Old 04-21-11, 07:34 PM   #8
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I disagree. The more detail the better. Some of us like doing things correctly instead of just winging it.
I've done it enough that it's second nature.
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Old 04-21-11, 08:18 PM   #9
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Well, Dannihilator, there is also the:
-Aligning hub and axle so that the chain is kept straight
-Aligning the brakes to move and pinch at the right time and distance
-Setting the distance bolts in the drop out (Can't live without them)
-The usage of not using a chain tensioner (I don't, my bike is set up that way)
-the thoughts between 3/16th or 1/8 inch chains and gear fitting
-The Fixie set up so someone doesn't die or get their legs ripped off
Keeping chain straight: chainline.
A 10 speed frame wouldn't generally need a chain tensioner since it has horizontal drop outs.
Size of chain should be up to the person who's converting it. Which is why I did not go down that road, everyone has their preferences.
There's not much that can be done on a road brake other than mess with the brake pad positioning and cable tension, should be apparent right from the get go. I tend to prefer a really firm feel to the brake lever, but still have ample enough distance between the brake pads and rim in case something happens and knocks the wheel out of true, it can easily be limped home.
Chaintugs: Hate the ones on my 930 and can easily live without them.
The should be setup so someone doesn't die or get their legs ripped off, I agree. I mentioned the suicide hub thing but I also stressed keeping the brake on there and would still recommend getting a proper wheelset if going fixed over a suicide hub setup just safer and should have mentioned a sensible, gearing if new to fixed gears.

To sum it up, I should have remembered that stuff last night, but a tired mind hindered me and plum forgot, wound up not putting enough into it.

When I converted the 930, I intially kept the rear brake on until I got used to the bike as a fixed gear, then and only then when I got used to it, I ditched the rear brake. I put the rear wheel where the previous wheel had been so I didn't have to adjust the brake at all. Just plain old got lucky with the chainline. My first was a conversion, and was a total headache converting, probably why I strongly dislike schwinns.

Last edited by Dannihilator; 04-21-11 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 06-14-11, 08:00 PM   #10
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Bump from the grave!

I've got some spare time now, so I'm working on this again.
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Old 06-15-11, 06:23 AM   #11
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Thanks for bumping this up. Y U NO STICKY?
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Old 06-22-11, 03:40 PM   #12
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Thanks for bumping this up. Y U NO STICKY?
Because I'm not a mod. Maybe if I add a section on properly rolling up one pant leg the mods will notice.
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Old 06-22-11, 03:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by BotByte View Post
Well, Dannihilator, there is also the:
-Aligning hub and axle so that the chain is kept straight
-Aligning the brakes to move and pinch at the right time and distance
-Setting the distance bolts in the drop out (Can't live without them)
-The usage of not using a chain tensioner (I don't, my bike is set up that way)
-the thoughts between 3/16th or 1/8 inch chains and gear fitting
-The Fixie set up so someone doesn't die or get their legs ripped off

also ...if you change the axel position you have to re-dish the wheel, equal and opposite reaction applies
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Old 06-22-11, 07:39 PM   #14
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I almost forgot that this very thread is what popped up in my first google search on converting my old busted schwinn nearly 6mo ago. After reading the whole thread, I found it wasnt that hard at all to convert my le tour. Thanks to you, sillygolem, Ive been riding fixed for months and loving it.
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Old 06-24-11, 07:03 AM   #15
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I'd also like to drop this link for the more technical-minded ones in the group:

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=373319

If you know how to take the cogs off a multi-speed freewheel and have spares/junk freewheels to take spacers from, you can probably make a ghetto single-speed freewheel without respacing your hub.
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Old 06-24-11, 12:57 PM   #16
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I'd also like to drop this link for the more technical-minded ones in the group:

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=373319

If you know how to take the cogs off a multi-speed freewheel and have spares/junk freewheels to take spacers from, you can probably make a ghetto single-speed freewheel without respacing your hub.
Thanks! I've been looking for something like this to build a Megarange 5-speed. The link has been added to the guide.
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Old 06-24-11, 01:01 PM   #17
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I want to see someone weld the freewheel and keep the gears and derailleurs, making a fixed, geared bike.
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Old 07-02-11, 05:14 PM   #18
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*bump*

If I'm going to have info on parts brands, I may as well add bikes, too. Maybe it will save some posts on C&V on "ultra-rare" department store bikes.
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Old 07-02-11, 06:49 PM   #19
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I almost forgot that this very thread is what popped up in my first google search on converting my old busted schwinn nearly 6mo ago.
This thread is only two months old..
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Old 07-03-11, 01:37 PM   #20
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Nice effort, here's what I used to figure all this stuff out:

http://sheldonbrown.com/singlespeed.html

It's all in there, along with work-arounds for almost any challenge you could have converting a bike.
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