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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 10-17-12, 08:26 PM   #1
mtbiker1069
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If not a Varsity, then what?

So I picked up 2 Schwinn Varsity's from the 70's up on craigslist for $15 yesterday. Original plan was to take the one that fits me and convert it to a fixie/singlespeed and clean the other one up and sell it.

Now after reading more about the Varsity conversions it looks to be a bit more challenging than i want for my 1st build and that the Varsity may not be the best bike for my 1st fixie/single speed.

What are some other good candidate Bikes for conversion that are fairly common and easy to find that I could look for instead of these Schwinns.

BTW, i enjoy tinkering and working on bikes, and i realize that it would be easier and cheaper to buy a kilo tt. I'd like to build it because i enjoy the building and tinkering and I'd like something more unique.

Thanks,
Mark
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Old 10-17-12, 08:45 PM   #2
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Why not look for a frame with track ends?
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Old 10-17-12, 08:50 PM   #3
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My Free Spirit Sunbird was an easy conversion and the frame/fork weighs about half a varsinental frameset. About the same price, a little harder to find. Super slack angles, limousine wheelbase, smooth aas silk
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Old 10-17-12, 09:00 PM   #4
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Why not look for a frame with track ends?
Or at least an english bottom bracket.
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Old 10-17-12, 09:07 PM   #5
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Why not look for a frame with track ends?

What are track ends?
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Old 10-17-12, 09:09 PM   #6
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My first (and so far only) SS/FG conversion was a Varsity. There were some challenges, mainly with the bottom bracket and cold-setting the frame for a brand new wheel set, but it was definitely do-able.

The frame & fork are obviously heavy, but they're also bomb-proof. I live in a flat area, so the additional weight isn't that big of a deal. In fact, it's become my favorite around-town ride.

I know it's a bit off topic, but just wanted to pop in and say that it can be done by a newbie.
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Old 10-17-12, 09:09 PM   #7
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What are track ends?
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Old 10-17-12, 09:41 PM   #8
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What's challenging about converting an old Schwinn? Horizontal dropouts, the perfect spacing (if it was a 10-speed), and solid parts.
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Old 10-17-12, 09:47 PM   #9
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Vanilla hnnnnnnng... Do want.
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Old 10-17-12, 09:51 PM   #10
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A lot of Japanese frames from the old days make great conversions. Better than average construction and usually no worries about parts compatibility.
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Old 10-17-12, 10:25 PM   #11
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Why not look for a frame with track ends?
This makes too much sense.
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Old 10-17-12, 10:25 PM   #12
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If you have a rear wheel and chain ready, the conversion takes about 10 minutes, start to finish. Remove shifters and derailleurs, take off rear wheel, add new wheel, size chain, tighten axle nuts, ride away. It isn't rocket science!
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Old 10-17-12, 10:59 PM   #13
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If you have a rear wheel and chain ready, the conversion takes about 10 minutes, start to finish. Remove shifters and derailleurs, take off rear wheel, add new wheel, size chain, tighten axle nuts, ride away. It isn't rocket science!
Why spend money to turn an Apple into an Orange. Why not just buy an Orange?

He's only got $15 and a few days invested. Why throw good money after bad?
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Old 10-17-12, 11:04 PM   #14
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apparently there are alot of people here running conversions that work well and look good.

there is nothing wrong with converting a frame.

why dont we stick to the topic of some decent candidates for conversions instead of blabbing about him doing what you think he should do.
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Old 10-17-12, 11:11 PM   #15
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Why spend money to turn an Apple into an Orange. Why not just buy an Orange?

He's only got $15 and a few days invested. Why throw good money after bad?
Just stating that it isn't like restoring an antique Bugatti that came in a hundred boxes into showroom condition

Can reuse the wheel anyway when a better frame turns up and return the varsity to original condition if needed...
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Old 10-17-12, 11:11 PM   #16
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I figure if you can keep parts costs under 100 (not all that easy) giving it a go aint a bad idea.
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Old 10-17-12, 11:12 PM   #17
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apparently there are alot of people here running conversions that work well and look good.

there is nothing wrong with converting a frame.

why dont we stick to the topic of some decent candidates for conversions instead of blabbing about him doing what you think he should do.
get something with horizontal drops and an english bottom bracket. A varsity only meets half of this.
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Old 10-17-12, 11:20 PM   #18
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I did a couple of SS conversions with ashtabula action and it wasnt bad. Of course I have access to a pile of free BMX cranks.
I'm about to fool with cottered tomorrow, baby, kinda excited.
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Old 10-18-12, 06:04 AM   #19
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This makes too much sense.
That does make to much sense, unfortunately that only narrows it down to a couple thousand different bikes.

I was hoping for some suggestions of particular bikes to help me with this process that would allow me to narrow down my search, without having to look up every single bike that's for sale to see if they fit two criteria you guys have mentioned.
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Old 10-18-12, 06:08 AM   #20
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My first (and so far only) SS/FG conversion was a Varsity. There were some challenges, mainly with the bottom bracket and cold-setting the frame for a brand new wheel set, but it was definitely do-able.

The frame & fork are obviously heavy, but they're also bomb-proof. I live in a flat area, so the additional weight isn't that big of a deal. In fact, it's become my favorite around-town ride.

I know it's a bit off topic, but just wanted to pop in and say that it can be done by a newbie.
Good info, thank you hollowmen. Question for you, did you replace the wheels with another set of 27" wheels, or did you go to 700c wheels? If you went with 700c wheels, did you have to get new brakes or were you able to make the stock breaks work?
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Old 10-18-12, 06:14 AM   #21
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What's challenging about converting an old Schwinn? Horizontal dropouts, the perfect spacing (if it was a 10-speed), and solid parts.
I'd like to have something that's a bit more standard on it's sizing for the seat post, BB, and stems, but that's really it as far as challenging.
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Old 10-18-12, 06:15 AM   #22
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apparently there are alot of people here running conversions that work well and look good.

there is nothing wrong with converting a frame.

why dont we stick to the topic of some decent candidates for conversions instead of blabbing about him doing what you think he should do.
+1
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Old 10-18-12, 02:31 PM   #23
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Good info, thank you hollowmen. Question for you, did you replace the wheels with another set of 27" wheels, or did you go to 700c wheels? If you went with 700c wheels, did you have to get new brakes or were you able to make the stock breaks work?
I went with a new set of 700c wheels. The brakes on the bike I picked up ($10 find at a garage sale) were basically shot, so I was going to have to replace them anyway. Harris Cyclery has some options for new brakes that will work with unthreaded brake bridges.
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Old 10-18-12, 03:29 PM   #24
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I could be showing my ignorance, but why does this frame have a rear derailleur hanger? Some kind of TT bike? Sweet road bike with track geo?
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Old 10-18-12, 03:58 PM   #25
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I could be showing my ignorance, but why does this frame have a rear derailleur hanger? Some kind of TT bike? Sweet road bike with track geo?
why not? if you're going to drop that kind of coin on a bike, you're probably going to want options and versatility.
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