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  1. #1
    . Luwin1026's Avatar
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    My Allez Converted to Single Speed

    With the inspiration of Brian Sorrell and others, I recently had my Specialized Allez converted into an SS. It was hanging up in the garage mostly neglected, and I was on the verge of either posting it on Craigslist or donating it. But with posts about singlespeed/fixie projects here and there, I figured why not give it a shot to convert it to an SS to try something different.

    So after back and forth pm'ing roadfix and bouncing ideas off of him and getting invaluable information, it was off to my LBS (Temple City Bike Shop) where parts were made sure to be in stock or ordered. Thanks to them for bearing with me in selecting details such as the right gear as well as chainring bolts, etc. I wanted to keep my existing wheels to save some money and I liked the way they looked, so that is why I went with a SS conversion using my existing cassette body and spacers.

    The gearing is 42x18. I originally was shooting for a 42x16, but the 18t turned out to not require a half link or a chain tensioner. I could probably run a 17t with a half link, but I decided to give the 18t a shot for now. Levers are the simple black ones from Tektro. Everything else is pretty much the same.

    Apologize for the crappy quality pictures - after a long week at work and a full work day today, I have no motivation to take the bike out for some decent shots. But I'll try to get better quality pics after I get the bike cleaned up. And I apologize for the dirty garage door.






    Last edited by Luwin1026; 08-17-07 at 09:59 PM.

  2. #2
    fart knocker Oleanshoebox's Avatar
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    hot.

  3. #3
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Very nice.

    Have you had a chance to ride it yet??
    May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

  4. #4
    It is fantastic. voltman's Avatar
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    Slick!

  5. #5
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Nicely done!

    I need to do a similar conversion this fall.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
    "Real men wear pink."
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  6. #6
    . Luwin1026's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
    Very nice.

    Have you had a chance to ride it yet??

    Not yet - literally picked it up on the way home from work. Hopefully sometime this weekend I can ride it and post my impression.

  7. #7
    Let it be! zymans's Avatar
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    You are going to love riding SS!
    Very cool bike.

  8. #8
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Very nice, Luwin! Enjoy!

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tumbleweed's Avatar
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    Very nice. Get a set of mtb pedals and you're set!

    Serious note. How were you able to tension the chain w/out an eccentric hub or tensioner? Half link?
    No matter, seriously cool bike. Worry free (maintenance) and loads of fun. Ah memories. Enjoy.

    Many apologies. Re-read your post. Finally caught the gear ratio part justifying the tension.
    Last edited by Tumbleweed; 08-18-07 at 12:54 AM. Reason: Wine/stupidity

  10. #10
    My bicycle is fixed Brian Sorrell's Avatar
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    Sweet! Your machine stands out better against the dirty door

    I took mine out for a run this morning to see how hard I could push myself uninterrupted on a stretch of SART through Riverside. I'm running 46/16 and I managed 18mph average over the first 6 miles. Kicked my lazy butt, that did. So I went poser cruising speed home. Yesterday I tried fixed for a few miles. Weird. Very weird. But I didn't panic and I didn't get launched (thanks for the tip roadfix!).

    You've got to tell us how it rides!

  11. #11
    . Luwin1026's Avatar
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    Thanks for the positive feedback - really appreciate it.

    I took it out for an easy 35-miler yesterday up/down SGRT, and had lots of fun. I was spinning ridiculously fast at times at 25+mph, and felt like my butt was bouncing up and down in what would appear to be a silly, unkosher pedaling technique. On the stretch just right after you cross Arrow Hwy heading southbound, I usually average 18-20mph on my geared bike, but felt more comfortable around 16-17mph on the SS. I got buzzed a few times by pacelines flying by on my left (most without even bothering to tell me they were approaching, which annoyed me after awhile), and really had to let my personal ego/pride go a little. I wanted to either 1) catch them and hop on their line, or 2) point out the fact that I was on an SS so they would understand why I was not able to go as fast as them and wouldn't think that I was a slow ****** (which I ironically am).

    Anyways, as I was riding along, I was reminded of the simplicity of this riding experience. Not just the simplicity of the bike without shifters and gears, but the simplicity of going out and having fun. I gave up on worrying out how slow or ridiculous I might have seemed to faster riders - and focused instead on spinning and the sights around me. While I'd like a smaller gear in the rear, I think I'll keep the 18t on for now as it forces me to practice my spinning, and continue to ride my geared bike when I need to keep a faster pace (i.e. on group rides, etc.)

  12. #12
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Cool. I'm a bit more tempted to get a single speed bike now that I played around a bit today with not shifting around. For now, though, I think I'll stick with having options. But I'll play around with the idea some more by simulating it on my roadie and seeing what I think.

    Let's see... at 25 MPH, you're doing something like 135 RPM. Yeah, that's getting into the range where I have some trouble spinning smoothly, too. I'm not as interested in learning to spin even faster. But I am interested in building some leg strength, and not being able to shift down on inclines would help with that.
    If you notice this notice then you will notice that this notice is not worth noticing.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luwin1026 View Post
    .

    I got buzzed a few times by pacelines flying by on my left (most without even bothering to tell me they were approaching, which annoyed me after awhile), and really had to let my personal ego/pride go a little. I wanted to either 1) catch them and hop on their line, or 2) point out the fact that I was on an SS so they would understand why I was not able to go as fast as them and wouldn't think that I was a slow ****** (which I ironically am).

    I rarely tell people when I am passing them on the bike trail, because 9 times out of 10 they will look over their shoulder and veer over. Sometimes it's a gradual swerve and sometimes it's a drastic swerve. Many people I know can look over their shoulder and ride straight, but most people on the bike trail can't. Since I don't know them, I don't usually bother finding out. Also, when I pass people on the bike trail, I don't expect them to make excuses, just as I don't make excuses when I am doing a zone 1 ride and get passed.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jschen View Post
    Cool. I'm a bit more tempted to get a single speed bike now that I played around a bit today with not shifting around. For now, though, I think I'll stick with having options. But I'll play around with the idea some more by simulating it on my roadie and seeing what I think.

    Let's see... at 25 MPH, you're doing something like 135 RPM. Yeah, that's getting into the range where I have some trouble spinning smoothly, too. I'm not as interested in learning to spin even faster. But I am interested in building some leg strength, and not being able to shift down on inclines would help with that.
    If you want to work on your spin and leg strength, get a fixed gear not a SS road bike.

  15. #15
    My bicycle is fixed Brian Sorrell's Avatar
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    The simplicity aspect of the ride is what appeals most to me. The wife and I went out for a while yesterday, her on her Townie and I on the SS and we just soaked in the neighborhood. Good stuff!

    I'm with you Luwin on the failure to announce when passing. When we plan long-ish rides, we tend to pace ourselves in the 15-17 mph range so we get passed plenty. It's often so surprising to find someone next to you that *that's* what makes you veer. Better to say a word twenty feet back and give the other riders time to adjust -- that is, give them time to veer and act erratically if they're among the (apparently) 9 in 10 with such pitiful handling skills that they can't ride a straight line.

  16. #16
    Senior Member dddave's Avatar
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    i wish i could convert my old giant, but i'm just gonna buy a pista.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Sorrell View Post
    The simplicity aspect of the ride is what appeals most to me. The wife and I went out for a while yesterday, her on her Townie and I on the SS and we just soaked in the neighborhood. Good stuff!

    I'm with you Luwin on the failure to announce when passing. When we plan long-ish rides, we tend to pace ourselves in the 15-17 mph range so we get passed plenty. It's often so surprising to find someone next to you that *that's* what makes you veer. Better to say a word twenty feet back and give the other riders time to adjust -- that is, give them time to veer and act erratically if they're among the (apparently) 9 in 10 with such pitiful handling skills that they can't ride a straight line.
    I understand your feelings. I've yelled from 10, 20, and 30 feet back. If I can tell someone doesn't know I am coming, I have better luck passing quickly and quietly with a margin for error so that if someone veers because I startle them, it isn't as severe as when they turn their head to see where I am (I won't give you exact statistics this time as I don't want to be quoted). No matter how loud I yell, I am not usually heard from 20 feet back, by someone who is riding into the wind, although, I will usually know when someone is coming up behind me ( a sixth sense I guess, from riding so much). I equate the yelling a warning to passing someone in a car. I don't honk from behind everytime I pass someone on a two lane road. On the bike trail, I pass in the oncoming traffic lane just as we do in cars, so no one should veer because I am next to them (2 to 3 feet away).

    My last crash was on the SGRT when I yelled numerous times at 3 pedestrians, spread across the trail, that I was passing on their left. I receive no response until I was about to pass and one of them turned around to their left to see where the crazy guy that was yelling was at. He veered (walking even) right in front of me and I hit him. I am not the best bike handler but was able to avoid going over the bars and instead rode it out for a minute before laying it down.

    I agree with you on the simplicity of the ride. I love riding my SS mountain bike. For training purposes though, a fixed gear on the road (with a brake or two) is much better than a SS on the road.

  18. #18
    powerfully luxurious chimivee's Avatar
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    Awesome, Luwin! And yes, those pictures are totally crappy.
    - James

  19. #19
    powerfully luxurious chimivee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tumbleweed View Post
    Serious note. How were you able to tension the chain w/out an eccentric hub or tensioner? Half link?
    He just got lucky with the gearing combo.
    - James

  20. #20
    mateo for short mateo44's Avatar
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    Wow -- that's one nice ride!

    Anyone want to help me convert my Allez when I get my new ride? (semi-seriously)
    << no sig at this time >>

  21. #21
    Body By Nintendo Psydotek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
    A girl once asked me to give her twelve inches and make it hurt. I had to make love to her 3 times and then punch her in the nose.

  22. #22
    . Luwin1026's Avatar
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    I hear you. It's not that I was annoyed that they buzzed me (even though I already tend to ride to the right of the lane when solo), is that they don't even bother hollering to let me know they're there. There were two times where I was just casually looking over my left shoulder ever so often to see if I was holding anyone up or if any lines were coming up, and them WHHEEEWWWWW, the front guy of the paceline would be right there as soon as I turned my head. Good thing I wasn't practicing my no-hands riding or anything like that!! And I'm sure it's just not me - more often than not now on SGRT, every time I pass someone by calling out, "Coming up on your left!", they turn to me and say, "Thank you!" - seemingly almost out of exasperation and relief that someone bothered to warn them. Anyways, this topic can go on and on - but better left to A&S.

    Back to the bike - mateo44 - your Allez would be a great conversion when you get your new ride - might as well!! I had considered browsing Craigslist for an older frame to convert, but figured it'd be a nice change a pace to do a newer frame. I even considered selling the Allez and picking up a Langster, but there's a certain sense of sentimentality with my first road bike.

    And Psydotek - looks like that man was hitting more than just the bike . . . maybe the pipe . . . a little TOO much.

  23. #23
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    those are some climbing gears, don't take it to the beach cuz you won't get far fast

    Clean looking rig as well!!!

    My SS has 48x18 and I've done Palomar with it (just about died doing it but did it)

  24. #24
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luwin1026 View Post
    Anyways, as I was riding along, I was reminded of the simplicity of this riding experience. Not just the simplicity of the bike without shifters and gears, but the simplicity of going out and having fun. I gave up on worrying out how slow or ridiculous I might have seemed to faster riders - and focused instead on spinning and the sights around me. While I'd like a smaller gear in the rear, I think I'll keep the 18t on for now as it forces me to practice my spinning, and continue to ride my geared bike when I need to keep a faster pace (i.e. on group rides, etc.)
    Nice report! Glad you're enjoying the new riding experience!

    I noticed one thing you forgot to do on your bike..... ...getting rid of that computer...

  25. #25
    . Luwin1026's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    Nice report! Glad you're enjoying the new riding experience!

    I noticed one thing you forgot to do on your bike..... ...getting rid of that computer...

    Is that what true SS/fixed riders do?

    Or is it because you don't personally need a computer to tell you you're going 0mph while sitting outside at Starbucks?

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