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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 12-20-12, 11:29 AM   #1
vw_thing
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Need some wheelset and setup advice

Hey all, new guy here. I've been lurking for about two months reading everything I can find, and am reaching the point of "analysis paralysis."

I built up my first fixed gear about a month ago. It is a bit of a beater build based on a 1975 Schwinn Continental and a strange combination of whatever parts I came across.



As you can see, the wheels are mis-matched, 27in rear with wally world 700c front (both came free with the CL frame set ). I've experimentally determined that the hub and cog setup is unsafe (no one was injured if you were curious). I was looking at the wheel sets on Velomine (as they seem to come well recommended). That is where I've been stuck since putting the bike together.

The bike is mostly used for putting around campus and the city, it's never seen a ride more than about 5 miles. Strength is a bit of a concern, as I weigh 185lbs, but I am not big on the fixie freestyle thing. I'd like to keep the wheels reasonably light, but am not seriously concerned with weight.

The "keep it classic" side of me says go with the 27in Sun M13 set. Tire selection seems okay, I don't have a problem with something basic like Vittoria's or Panaracer's (or perhaps spring for Conti's). Is there a good reason to switch to 700c or pick a different wheel set? I would really like a fixed/fixed hub, unless there are some tricks I'm missing for using the freewheel side of a flip-flop safely (other than blue loctite, rota-fix, and English BB lock rings).

Also, you guys seem good at picking out random setup details about these bikes. Is there anything simple to improve in this case, keeping in mind the bike's purpose? I'm thinking the fork has been tweaked, though the down tube shows no signs of distress. My plan for the frame was to strip it properly and coat it in Eastwood Diamond Clear, since I have a thing for nice looking frame joints (I'm a mechanical engineering student ). Noticing the original Schwinn Kool Lemon under the head badge has sort of complicated that decision...

I think that's it at the moment, though it seems like I had more questions... Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
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Old 12-20-12, 11:33 AM   #2
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Replace the fork, it is bent. I'd go 700 for the wider tire selection.
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Old 12-20-12, 01:57 PM   #3
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They fork is really bent, which is very very unsafe. But putting on a 700 fork messes with the ride of the bike a lot. I would find another 27 fork (if you have a bike works I bet they can hook you up) and a good quality brake.

I think a nice 27" wheelset is what you are looking for. There are a few tires that fit what you need, and your bike will look a lot nicer. At some point you might decide you want a purpose built fixed gear, and that will most likely be 700, but there isn't really much need for you to put 700s on this bike.
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Old 12-20-12, 02:02 PM   #4
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I'd take my experience building this bike up and apply it to a nicer bike. Don't spend any more money on this bike.
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Old 12-20-12, 03:07 PM   #5
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As was stated, if you have a bike co-op/kitchen/whatever near you I would go there and get a fork and a 27" wheel from them. I wouldn't buy anything new for that bike, not really worth putting money into.
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Old 12-20-12, 07:30 PM   #6
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They fork is really bent, which is very very unsafe. But putting on a 700 fork messes with the ride of the bike a lot.
The fork is obviously bent, but probably not dangerous. 700C and 27" wheels are only different by 4mm...I'm willing to be no one here could ever tell the difference.
Personally, I wouldn't want to ride that bike, but I think its perfectly fine as a beater. I wouldn't spend any money attempting to upgrade it.
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Old 12-20-12, 09:46 PM   #7
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The bend in the fork does have a little bit of stress showing (small surface crack). Since it's steel, I'm not as concerned; however, I will definitely keep an eye on it while tracking down a replacement.

I agree that it's foolish to spend too much on this bike, but it doesn't seem like a bad base to work from. I could buy a $300 bike that I'd never really be happy with (speaking from experience), or enjoy this one. I want it to last for 2-3 years of service, then it will probably hang around as part of my bike garage if for no other reason than the fact that it is quirky. It's not the coolest or most practical thing around, but it gets the job done without any drama.

With that in mind, will Velomine's Sun M13/Formula wheel set fit the bill? It's not terribly expensive, and it would give the extra benefits of clincher rims and a proper lock ring. If there is some benefit to a particular other wheel set in a similar price range, even a 700c, I'm open to suggestions.

I don't mean to come across as a hard headed newbie, I really am open to learning. I tend to pick out enough to know what needs to be done, then get lost in finding the best way to accomplish it.
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Old 12-20-12, 11:44 PM   #8
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It's really easy to spend too much money when updating a bike. Simply buying new tyres for that bike MAY be overdoing it.
One route is to slowly buy good components and upgrade it as you go. This route treats the frame as just another component, provides the greatest chance of spending too much and leaves you with one bike.

A second route is to buy a cheap(ish) bike already built and use that to learn about fixed gear - there's a really good chance you'll find the reality doesn't match your expectations but you WILL learn where you fit in and enable you to plan your next, expensive bike. A bike that's too poor to ride properly will not give you this experience. As a bonus, your current bike will still be there for beater duties.

The third route is to spend up and buy a really good bike now which carries the danger of buying something you discover later isn't appropriate for your needs ( the number of low mileage roadies for sale speaks to this).

My suggestion is the second route, I've spent too much money pursuing the other two not to
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Old 12-21-12, 12:23 AM   #9
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A second route is to buy a cheap(ish) bike already built and use that to learn about fixed gear - there's a really good chance you'll find the reality doesn't match your expectations but you WILL learn where you fit in and enable you to plan your next, expensive bike. A bike that's too poor to ride properly will not give you this experience. As a bonus, your current bike will still be there for beater duties.
This +1

A schwinn continental is not really a good candidate for conversion, it has a one - piece ashtabula (I think that's how it's spelled) crank and a matching BB for it. For starters you'll need an adapter to retrofit the frame for modern 2 piece cranksets if you plan to do so in the future. The continental is made of cheap high tensile steel tubing meaning it'll be heavy to boot. Considering the amount of cro-mo 80's bikes out there with modern BB shells and lighter tubing and not to mention not in need of fork replacement, I'd definitely leave this as is and start elsewhere unless this bike embodies some emotional or sentimental ties to you worth spending on.

If you choose the path of retaining a more stock geometry by going with another 27" fork but upgrading to a modern 700C wheelset out of convenience and modern dual pivot brake caliper, you'll need a long reach caliper.
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Old 12-21-12, 08:25 AM   #10
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I see your point there... Obviously it's not very sentimental coming off of CL, the main attraction is the quirky factor.

Out of curiosity at this point, what would be considered an "intermediate" step in fixed gear? Is that something in the Kilo TT range or perhaps a bike that I could build up starting with a nicer 80s/90s road frame? I enjoy the build almost as much as the ride.

While I haven't had the bike for long or had a taste of a "real" fixed gear, I really like the experience. The fun and feeling of speed is something completely missing from my geared bikes (which are all off-road, but still).
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Old 12-21-12, 08:32 AM   #11
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Why do so many 70's Continentals have bent forks? It seems like they all have this problem.
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Old 12-21-12, 08:35 AM   #12
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They were made to crash.
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Old 12-21-12, 08:54 AM   #13
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Out of curiosity at this point, what would be considered an "intermediate" step in fixed gear? Is that something in the Kilo TT range or perhaps a bike that I could build up starting with a nicer 80s/90s road frame? I enjoy the build almost as much as the ride.
The only way to really figure out what works for you is to just start riding. The fastest and cheapest way to get started with something good is to just get a complete bike. A Kilo TT would be a good choice and will work tens times better than your current bike. As you ride you will develop opinions about what works for you and what doesn't. Then you can build the perfect bike. If you go the other route, and build a bike from scratch without much riding experience, you'll probably end up spending more money than necessary and likely end up with something that doesn't suit your needs well.

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Old 12-21-12, 09:06 AM   #14
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careful there, the kilo uses a 1" steerer tube not 1 1/8thmihlbach




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Old 12-21-12, 10:36 AM   #15
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careful there, the kilo uses obsolete steerer tube not 1 1/8thmihlbach




ftfy
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Old 12-21-12, 11:19 AM   #16
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careful there, the kilo uses a 1" steerer tube not 1 1/8thmihlbach




Makes no sense...the OP isn't trying to retrofit the Kilo TT fork to his beater. Who cares if its 1" or 1 1/8" If I were spending $1000 I might worry about those details. Its a non issue.
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Old 12-21-12, 12:55 PM   #17
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careful there, the kilo uses a 1" steerer tube not 1 1/8thmihlbach




Might have been funny if the Kilo had a threaded stem.
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Old 12-21-12, 01:05 PM   #18
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thanks bat that is what i was getting at.
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Old 12-21-12, 01:10 PM   #19
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Anyone who argues that threaded stems are obsolete better argue that threaded stems' brother, the one inch steerer, is also obsolete.
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Old 12-21-12, 01:12 PM   #20
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Shims mang.
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Old 12-21-12, 01:41 PM   #21
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Anyone who argues that threaded stems are obsolete better argue that threaded stems' brother, the one inch steerer, is also obsolete.
What's a threaded stem? Do you mean a quill stem?

I would say that a 1" steerer tube nearly obsolete. It's days are certainly numbered.
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Old 12-21-12, 01:52 PM   #22
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I would say that a 1" steerer tube nearly obsolete. It's days are certainly numbered.
I doubt it. There are a lot of quality steel frame manufacturers utilizing a 1" steerer.

And yes, I can provide examples: Pelizzoli and Dodici.
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Old 12-21-12, 03:50 PM   #23
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I doubt it. There are a lot of quality steel frame manufacturers utilizing a 1" steerer.

And yes, I can provide examples: Pelizzoli and Dodici.
It's not dead yet, but it is circling the drain.

There is no benefit in a 1" steerer, over a 1.125. It's just a matter of time before it's gone.
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Old 12-21-12, 04:39 PM   #24
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I doubt it. There are a lot of quality steel frame manufacturers utilizing a 1" steerer.

And yes, I can provide examples: Pelizzoli and Dodici.
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Old 12-21-12, 05:36 PM   #25
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That derailed quickly... If you guys don't watch it, I'm going to pick up a "sw8" Thruster fixie and start asking questions about that.

I spent some time browsing bike shops and the interwebs today, and finally come to the conclusion that "the right bike" isn't really there at this point. As I see it, the only thing fundamentally wrong with this one is the bent fork and the wheels. I have a non-tweaked fork from a Ross Gran Tour II, and a 3-piece Takagi Tourney 170mm crank set that may go on with an adapter (if it's not too long). I'll pick up a better quality ~$200 700c wheel set that wouldn't be out of place on a more advanced frame in the future. It won't be super light or trackstar whatever, but I think it'll get the job done.

Completely off base or ?
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