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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 04-23-11, 02:06 PM   #1
CBRsteve
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Converting an old MTB into a SS cruiser...?

I have a 1996 Gary Fisher Tassajara that I used to ride on the trails back in my teens. It's been sitting in my garage for the past several years as I have a newer/better bike that I ride on the trails nowadays.

Anyways, I'd like to get the old Fisher up and running again (two broken derailleurs) as a fun little neighborhood cruiser and though a SS might be just the ticket. I have no idea where to begin or what I need to do, but was hoping someone here could give me some pointers or point me to a link that could help me in this process.

I figure there is quite a bit I'd need to do in order to get her going which includes:
- new front fork (currently have a Manitou Mach 5 on the front and want rigid)
- new rear hub (flip flop or cassette?)
- chain tensioner (I assume I need one since the GF has vertical drop outs)
- crank
- brake levers
- new wheels / tires

Like I said earlier, I'm a complete noob when it comes to SS bikes so any help would be much appreciated... so please don't hesitate to (constructively) criticize my plan and or suggest alternative options which don't include buying another bike... my wife simply won't support a 4th bike.
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Old 04-23-11, 03:20 PM   #2
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Does it have a tappered crank? That way you can take off the gear rings and leave one.
Remove freewheel or cassete. Better if freewheel because it's bolt on.
You might not need the tensioner if your frame is set up correctly. You need horizontal drop outs and preferably with limiter screws.
Count teeth on front gear ring, and think of what you want in the rear. I have 46/16 for my road bike. For a cruiser, either 50's/20's or 40'/20's if you don't want speed.
Higher is the front means harder/faster, lower in the rear means harder/faster
some guides can help you too.

IMHO:
Cruisers can be found dirt cheap and there are loads of parts you can get for them. A mountain bike would be pretty bad for one too.
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Old 04-23-11, 06:59 PM   #3
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Step one is identify if you have a freewheel or cassette. If you have a cassette, you can convert to single speed simply by removing all your extra gears and putting a single cog and spacers on. If you have a freewheel, you need a new single speed freewheel.

If you have a rear derailer that isn't too broken, you have a chain tensioner.

If you have a crank arm with chainrings that bolt on, you can remove the extra ones and have a single speed crank.

As far as the fork, you just need to find a new fork. Not any cheap way to replace that.
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Old 04-23-11, 07:34 PM   #4
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As far as the fork, you just need to find a new fork. Not any cheap way to replace that.
Except for buying one used or trading.
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Old 04-23-11, 07:50 PM   #5
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I don't know if money is an issue or not, but if you want to get fancy purchase a 29 fork to build a 69er cruiser. I read about it here at mtbr. You can take advantage of the rake/offset change a new fork offers to build a bike that will have super stable steering a'la cruiser. Maybe upgrade to a disk brake up front. I know this kind of is killing a fly with a boomstick, but can one really negate that riding a 69er doesn't make a good pick-up line? Sup gurl, want to ride the bars of my 69er? The bike, a beast with two backs.
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Old 04-23-11, 08:09 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback, I'm going to have take a better look at the hub to determine what I have. It's all Shimano Alivio and STX componentry. I was planing on going down to the next swap meet to see if I can get a cheap front fork and maybe some other components.

This whole SS thing looks very fun and interesting to me, I can't wait to get my bike set up!
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Old 04-23-11, 10:44 PM   #7
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By 1996, everything was cassette.

You'll need the following parts:

1) A cassette -> SS conversion kit for the rear wheel. http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/167...ersion-Kit.htm

2) Single ring chainring bolts - the bolts you have right now are longer, so that they can hold two rings on the crank

3) To tension the chain - two choices. One - use a "magic ratio" - http://eehouse.org/fixin/formfmu.php OR use some sort of chain tensioner. Deraileur will work, but a true SS chain tensioner will perform a bit better.

Check the magic ratio calculator before you buy anything.

and spend a few bucks on slick tires - it'll be way faster and more comfortable than knobbies.
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Old 04-23-11, 10:57 PM   #8
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Best MTBs for conversion are pre-1987 or so. They often had horizontal drops, limousine wheelbases, laid back angles, rigid forks, etc. Much more cruiserish than most 1996 MTBs.
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Old 04-24-11, 12:24 AM   #9
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I made a 1995 Tassajara into my SS commuter. Mine didn't have removeable chainrings, so I replaced the crank and am running 38/18 without a chain tensioner (magic ratio.) My wheel has a Freehub so I was easily able to remove the cassette and put on the 18T cog. In my opinion it's comfy, but I definitely wouldn't call it a cruiser. Overall I'm very happy with it. It's relatively light, feels quick, and can handle mild single track all day long. Mine was fully rigid from the factory. I don't expect you'd have too much trouble finding a rigid fork to replace your suspension fork.

I'll post a picture when I get a chance.

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By 1996, everything was cassette.
This is not correct. There are many, many examples of bikes with 7-speed freewheels made during that time and post 2000.
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Old 04-25-11, 06:52 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the feedback everyone, I appreciate it.

Looks like this can potentially be an easier conversion than I thought.

In regards to my comment about it being a cruiser, that's probably a misnomer on my part. My road bike and mountain bike aren't the best for attaching my daughters trailer and that's primarily what this bike will be used for... neighborhood jaunts.
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Old 04-28-11, 12:38 AM   #11
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Post a picture when you're done! Here's mine:

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