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Old 06-23-05, 09:11 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: ATL
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Bikes: Univega - fixed conversion

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I think someone tried to come up with a list of things would-be fixie riders should look for (and things they should avoid) in road bikes that they want to convert but I can't seem to find it. So ... I'll try to do this:

Things to look for:
- Horizontal Drop outs (This will allow you to properly tension your chain.)
- Three piece cranks. (these are more easy to upgrade and less likely to need an upgrade.)
- Components that are in reasonably good shape. Pay attention to the head set (make sure the handle bars move more or less smoothly). Make sure the cranks are in good working order. How about the seat and seat post? All of these things can be replaced but it certainly does add up cost wise.
- Obviously, make sure the frame and fork are not bent, cracked or otherwise compromised.
- Steel frame with luggs. (This may just be personal preference but, hey, I'm the one doing the list.)

Things to avoid:
- Cottered cranks. (These are a pain to work on and seem to have a short life span)
- Single piece cranks. (While more or less bomb proof, these are heavy and hard to find new chain rings for)
- Vertical dropouts. (These are common on most bikes from the mid 90s on. While not impossible, it will make fixie conversion harder than it needs to be your first time.)
- Anything French. (I love almost everything about France except trying to find parts for bikes made there. If you want a challenge, be my guest but if you just want to get on the road, stick to Japanese, Italian and some American bikes - like the ones made in Japan - from the 70s to the early 90s. Bikes that fit this description seem to be widely available.)

You may be asking, "What about wheels?" Good question. Assuming you've been able to pick up a road bike for under $50 (very doable), you've got some money left over to put into a good set of wheels which are the trickiest (or at least most expensive) thing to get right on a fixie. IRO sells a good wheelset for around $170 (right?) and other deals are to be had. On my first bike, I just had a rear wheel built and road it with the craptacular front wheel that came on the bike. (In case you're curious, that means I was riding a surly hub laced to a Salsa 700 rim in back with the stock 27in schwinn from 1973 in front. Odd? Yes. Wrong? Not at all. You can always move the wheels - and any other component - to the next bike you get.)

I hope I haven't offended anyone but these are tips for making a road conversion as smooth, painless and cost effective as possible. I'm sure people will add to, detract from and otherwise modify this list but I hope it is a good starting point for you.

Last edited by Slartibartfast; 06-25-05 at 09:02 PM.
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