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The Raleigh Competition Chronicles: rustystrings61's 1973

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The Raleigh Competition Chronicles: rustystrings61's 1973

Old 07-30-19, 07:32 AM
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No pix today, but So far I've replaced the rear hub's solid axle with a hollow one, removed the Allen-key nuts from the front hub and fitted old Maillard steel skewers to both. I've also obsessively measured and re-measured the distance from the dropouts to the rear brake mounts and have concluded I should be able to successfully run Weinmann 610-length Vainquers both front and rear, especially if I replace the stock Weinmann pads with some narrower section Scott-Matthausers from the stash pile. To that end, I have scrubbed and polished the original front caliper (made in W. Germany) and remounted it. In the rear position is a 610 from the stash box, this time a Swiss-made unit, with the mounting bolts from the bike's original 750-length caliper. I'm mulling over the current seatpost situation, as the Zoom I have shoved in as a placeholder doesn't really adjust to my liking, angle-wise. We shall see.

Updated with pix!





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Old 07-30-19, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag
As this is yet another Raleigh Competition thread on yet another distinct bike, let me as this generic question -

Are these bikes worthy of serious restoration? Is the frame worth spending the time and money to strip, repaint, maybe rechrome the fork and stay ends?

Is this model worthy of the restoration so many willingly spend on Raleigh Professionals and Internationals?

I do not ask the question in terms of economic return on investment. I'm not sure what the context is but it isn't a question about flipping the bike or other financial gain.
This is a question to be answered by each person, based on their interests and preferences. I had a 1972 Competition that I had completely made over, and I consider it worth it. Yes, I have several bicycles with better "build quality", but this one (as I find most of its' Raleigh contemporaries) is a joy to ride.
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Old 07-30-19, 09:38 AM
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"70's bikes, with 1930's geometry"

Originally Posted by USAZorro
This is a question to be answered by each person, based on their interests and preferences. I had a 1972 Competition that I had completely made over, and I consider it worth it. Yes, I have several bicycles with better "build quality", but this one (as I find most of its' Raleigh contemporaries) is a joy to ride.
"...is a joy to ride".

I read a quote (from gugie, I believe), that stuck:

"70's bikes, with 1930's geometry".
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Old 08-01-19, 06:50 AM
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French eBay came through for me! Behold - Nervar Star cranks with the correct 128 mm bcd chainrings in 42/44T! I think they will play nicely with the Surly Dingle, and I haven't given up hope of scoring a 20/22T Dos Eno used somewhere - though if I don't, I'll go with a 21T single-speed freewheel of some sort.




It seems to me I've seen two-tooth differences between chainrings before on some racing bikes, though three or four teeth is better. What is this, half-half-step? Quarter-step?
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Old 08-14-19, 07:28 AM
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Obsessive measurement time! Inspired by Schreck83's latest post in the saga of neither Super Course nor Grand Prix but Gran Sport, I broke out the tape measure and the scales and went to work on the Competition. I didn't pull the bottom bracket - but I did weigh the near-identical French-threaded T.A. unit with the same spindle and deducted that weight.

7 lbs 4 oz - frame, fork, headset
59 cm ST c-t
57 cm TT c-c
44 cm c-stay (from center of BB to the point where the line of the stays intersect. Effective range for fixed/SS purposes is 43-46 cm
105 cm wheelbase - yep, that would be 41.5-in
73-degree parallel head and seat tubes
2.5-in rake, which will yield a trail around 41 mm with 35 mm tires, 40 mm with 32s

So then I poked around on the old FixMeUp! site and ran some numbers and I think I really could run 17/19T fixed with both c'rings and I could still run a 20/22T Dos Eno on the other side with both rings as well - and it would be at the absolute limit to run it that way. So maybe I would just ignore the 42x17 and 54x22 and keep the chain length within easy range. We shall see.

(EDIT: Fixed side 42x19 & 44x17 will need about 45.13 cm stay length; freewheel side 42x22 & 44x20 will apparently need 44.25 cm. I think we're a go!)

On the parts acquisition front - from the great auction site I scored a used 10 cm Nitto Technomic with a 26.0 clamp; then I got a good deal on a used Velo Orange Grand Cru Course handlebar; finally, a set of new in the box Tektro levers for cheap.

And what good, pray tell, would a post on this forum be without pix? So here's the mock-up -



It begins to look like a bike.



Front quarter view. I will keep telling myself that the mismatched finishes of the hubs won't bother me - and I am pretty sure it really won't!



I'm pretty sure the 610 length rear caliper will work. Also, I measured the brake cable stop bridge and it is approximately 3 degrees off from horizontal. Looks like more, doesn't it? I'm sure the brazer didn't need to be reminded that Guinness isn't just for breakfast ...

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Old 09-16-19, 07:46 AM
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It took a while, but I found a Brooks B17 for this bike. In keeping with the theme of funky repairs, I scored one of the relatively recent B17 Aged models used from the 'Bay for a whopping $15 plus shipping. The seller suggested its flattened shape was due to heavy objects being stored on top of it, but I suspect it was simply that someone saw those lacing holes and laced it whether it needed it or not. Also, one of the steel rivets in the cantle had failed and the saddle was pulled out of shape.




So I bought myself a couple of copper rivets and went to work. There was no tension to back off from the nose, as the tension rod was set to full slack. It still required a good bit of effort to pop it free from the nose so I could reduce tension and fix the rear. In the end I was able to use an old icepick fed up through the cantle plate to line up the holes, then managed to feed the tip of the rivet through, then whack the lot down into place with a ball peen hammer. Once that was done, it was easy enough to put a punch into a vise on my workbench, set the hollow base of the rivet pin over that and whack the lot from above down until I had mushroomed out the pin against the underside of the cantle. Sure, the one copper rivet stands out, but this isn't my first funky Brooks and it surely won't be my last.




Taking to heart rhm's admonitions about over-soaking leather saddles and leaching out essential stuff, I settled for running a garden hose over the underside and top for perhaps a minute and a half. I then worked the saddle back into shape with my fingers. Initially I was going to bind it into shape with a long strip of cloth torn from an old sheet, but I didn't like the contour that was creating. In the end I ran a zip tie through one of the lacing holes that had been used earlier to create the problem, this time running things below the rail to straighten out the skirts and pull them down. Later in the day it was clear that this had been the right choice, and the saddle is currently soaking up a coating of Proofide.




Next up - to buy some rims. I have decided to run Sun CR-18s, so I calculated which spokes my hubs will require, then found a deal in the U.K. on ACI/Alpina butted spokes. We'll see how that all works out!
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Old 08-03-20, 06:16 AM
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So - after a crazy long hiatus, I'm back to working on this one!

Shortly after my last post I ordered 64 ACI/Alpina butted spokes from a shop in the U.K. (edit- Procycling, around $32 or so with shipping!) and was very pleased with them. I thought I would save a few bucks and trade one of my son's outgrown bikes for a set of rims. The LBS was agreeable on the idea, but were unable to find any of their suppliers who had Sun CR-18s in stock. I sold the kid's bike but got sidetracked, and the Raleigh and its box of parts gathered dust on the workbench. A couple of weeks ago I saw CR-18s on sale for $29.70 with free shipping and jumped on it, finally scoring a pair. They came Friday, and after a side trip to the LBS for some cables and a rim strip on Saturday, I spent Sunday afternoon lacing up wheels. It's been a while, but they came together pretty well, the second one much faster than the first. Next up - truing, tensioning and all that jazz!


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Old 08-04-20, 06:25 AM
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No pix yet today, but yesterday and today I spent a little over an hour tensioning and truing up the wheels. I like the Sun CR-18s very much, so far; the ACI/Alpina butted spokes are also working out well, and I am glad I took the time to put a wee bit o' grease inside each spoke nipple with a toothpick before assembling everything. I will stress - all of these bits are going together with no drama so far, everything is very smooth and works well. I am very pleased with the results, and I think I am going to enjoy these wheels and this bike.

Next up will be a final truing tweak, followed by rim strip, tires and tubes ... and digging around in the parts bin for the original 750 reach Weinmann for the rear. Unless I get crazy and go buy some Mafacs somewhere. We'll see. Anyway, pix as it happens!
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Old 08-04-20, 07:19 AM
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We will be 1973 Competition buddies now. I may go for tubulars but we will see.
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Old 08-04-20, 05:42 PM
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Good spokes plus a Sun rim plus patience make a very good wheel.
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Old 08-04-20, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by chainwhip
"...is a joy to ride".

I read a quote (from gugie, I believe), that stuck:

"70's bikes, with 1930's geometry".
That might be my quote. It was certainly a very early thought upon riding mine. Absolutely made to ride the English and European roads of that era. A throwback bike when it was built 50 years ago.
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Old 08-05-20, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney
That might be my quote. It was certainly a very early thought upon riding mine. Absolutely made to ride the English and European roads of that era. A throwback bike when it was built 50 years ago.

Cheers!
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Old 08-06-20, 06:31 AM
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It's built and it's awesome!

I burned the midnight oil in the workshop last night, fitting rim strips, tubes and tires, the 17/19T Surly Dingle on one side of the rear hub, the 17/19T White Industries Dos Eno freewheel on the other. Out came my last, long-hoarded SRAM 9-speed chain from back when I owned a Rivendell with Zephyr cranks, and it all went together quickly. I had to finagle the brake cables just a little bit, and then only after I had run cables did I realize the brake levers were still loose - but I managed to fix all of that, too. On my way out of the shop for the night, I wrapped up the two new rolls of Newbaum's black bar tape so that just the edges showed and shot them with gold metallic spray paint. This morning they were dry, and I wrapped the bars, rewarded with a thin gold bead against the black to echo the remnants of gold outlining on the Capella lugs. I think I'll shellac them this weekend.

I was initially a little nervous about running the Egg Beaters pedals on a fixed-gear, as the last time I rode fixed with clipless pedals one of them spontaneously popped open and I went over the bars at 25 mph - but then I reminded myself of all the times I'd used these pedals in the woods over all sorts of rough and bouncy terrain and they'd never released without a deliberate effort, and I threaded them on, and they were flawless this morning. At 6:09 I set out to ride loops around the neighborhood, knowing that every mile I could pull in and adjust things. I tweaked the handlebar angle, tightened the saddle in its clamp, and three times fine tuned the saddle height (after the first time I knew to carry the 13 mm box end wrench with me!), and tightened one spoke. Other than that, it was perfect.

I want to ride it some more, of course - but the ride is fascinating, sort of like what the Quickbeam I owned for a while c.2004-05 was supposed to be. Once I got the saddle issues mostly resolved (the saddle has issues of its own that I hope I can resolve), I could settle in and enjoy the ride. It's a lot like a racing bike c. 1920, fixed-gear with 35 mm tires and semi-relaxed geometry.

With all that - here are some pix!







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Old 08-09-20, 10:20 AM
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The Shakedown

So far I’ve laced one side of the saddle skirt to its rail to straighten out a warped platform; discovered I CAN use a combination of the q/r in the brake lever and releasing the straddle wire from its yoke to get those chubby tires past the brake shoes; and generally dialed in my position. Alas, the lovely gold paint outline on the edge of the tape started wearing off, so I shellacked the bars - only to wash the gold away completely. I'll get over it.

This morning I took my 13-year-old son out for a little mixed surface fun. The Cambridge Park rail-trail turned out to be an ideal proving ground, including hard packed clay, sandy soil, fresh crush ‘n’ run, big loose gravel and grass. I had to tighten up the adjustable cup after that, and I think I have it all dialed in now.

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Old 08-31-20, 07:19 AM
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Theory Into Practice - Does the Dingle-Drive actually work?

The whole idea behind the Dingle-Drive was to get two distinct fixed gear ratios, one for pavement and one for gravel roads, but without the hassle of completely removing the rear wheel, flipping it around and reinstalling it. Coupled with a desire to run fatter tires than my dedicated road fixed-gear bikes can manage, that led to choosing this vintage Raleigh Competition. What remained untested, for me, was just how well this would work in reality.

Saturday I rode first to the central business district of scenic blink-and-you'll-miss-it Hodges, SC, where I took a couple of photos of De Selby in my usual photographing-vintage-bikes-in-Hodges spot, before retracing my route a couple of hundred yards to the start of Ross Road. I dismounted, opened the quick release and nudged the rear wheel forward in the dropouts and moved the chain from the 44T chainring and the 17T rear cog to the 42x19T combination, slid the wheel back to tighten up the chain, centered everything and snugged it back down. Less than a minute the very first time, and with practice perhaps a 20-second operation. I thought back to what it was like to flip my rear wheel around to go from 70 to 63 gear-inches on my Mercian and concluded this was a very nice improvement. But how did it RIDE?




Superbly. The combination of 35 mm cyclocross tires and a 60-in fixed gear with the long wheelbase and general springiness of the Raleigh Competition frame was perhaps the best feeling, handling, riding bike I've ever taken on an unpaved road. It was almost like Raleigh's designers meant for it to be used this way, and why they didn't sell them set up like this from the beginning eludes me. I mean, perfect. It didn't hurt that this was my first time riding Ross Road from the Hodges end, and that I realized something that should have been obvious - in this direction, it's mostly downhill! The gear was low enough that when it was time to climb, it was manageable on gravel and I never felt like I was about to stall out, high enough that I could manage the descents without feeling spun out and still have that extra sense of connection to the road that fixed gives.





I switched back to the 70-in when I reached pavement and headed out for Klugh Road, which includes a particularly nasty, spike-like climb up to the rough intersection of Johns Creek and Dungannon roads. The former was my route again today, and I switched back to the 60-in again, making a slightly faster gear change this time before tackling its dirt and loose stone. The 60-in is just enough lower than the 63 I used to use for this work to be comfy and cushy - for a fixed-gear on a dirt road. Anyway, I liked how I was simultaneously aware of how nice the bike is while feeling it flow into that natural state of, "c'est un velo/it's a bike" casualness. On past a lovely old farm house, then reaching pavement again and returning to the 70-in for the ride home.





The climb up Deadfall Road might have been a touch slower than it would have been on my Gitane TdF fixed-gear with its lighter 28 mm tires, but not by enough to really matter, and I had a lovely 19 miles of mixed roads under my belt and the knowledge that this crazy thing actually WORKS the way it's intended to. Now to find a freewheel I like for the other side of the hub ...

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Old 08-31-20, 07:51 AM
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that's fantastic!!! this is inspiring me to retire my 73 Comp from "urban runabout" duty and rebuild him for upstate trails, and better exploit the (freakish?) combination of agility + comfort. And of course use their ridiculous clearances - I currently run 700x35 also, (which calipers measure at exactly 35) under fenders - but curious to know what your measured actual width is on the cross tires you have there?
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Old 08-31-20, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by niliraga
that's fantastic!!! this is inspiring me to retire my 73 Comp from "urban runabout" duty and rebuild him for upstate trails, and better exploit the (freakish?) combination of agility + comfort. And of course use their ridiculous clearances - I currently run 700x35 also, (which calipers measure at exactly 35) under fenders - but curious to know what your measured actual width is on the cross tires you have there?
The last time I measured, they were 33.9 mm according to my $10 Harbor Freight digital calipers at around 60 psi. There are more pix that show a little more detail, clearance-wise, if you wish to look closer. I am sure I could run wider tires on it, but these were on sale for $11 each a couple of years ago, and I loved the way they worked and hated how little clearance the bike I had them on provided.
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Old 08-31-20, 05:08 PM
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Very nice. I have a 1974 Raleigh International with 32mm tires. They might be the widest tires I can run with fenders, so I suspect your Raleigh has bigger clearance than mine does.
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Old 08-31-20, 08:10 PM
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sfunny, seems as if Raleigh specced the sloping crown for the Comp but missed that the whole point was to use shorter blades, and therefore get a stiffer fork. So the early sloped crown Comps seem to have all the headroom of an International, PLUS the extra arch headroom of the crown. I have those fat 35mm tires, a relaxed fender above, and *still* room for more... maybe 40/42 up front?

now if I could crimp those rapid-taper chain stays, maybe i could get 40+ in the back too!



Originally Posted by noglider
Very nice. I have a 1974 Raleigh International with 32mm tires. They might be the widest tires I can run with fenders, so I suspect your Raleigh has bigger clearance than mine does.
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Old 09-01-20, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Very nice. I have a 1974 Raleigh International with 32mm tires. They might be the widest tires I can run with fenders, so I suspect your Raleigh has bigger clearance than mine does.
The Raleigh Competitions built with the combination of the sloping crown fork and the rapid-taper chainstays seem to have the most generous clearances of the Raleigh/Carlton bikes of yore. The chainstay spacing is the limiting factor on these bikes. I had briefly considered switching this build over to a contemporary 1973 Raleigh Gran Sport frameset, which has very similar geometry - but, no. The GS will allow a 32 mm between the chainstays, and perhaps a 35 mm so long as the wheel is properly straight and true, but there really isn't room for anything wider down there, even with the indentations. The Competition just has that extra bit of room - but not so much as to go really huge with 700C. For REALLY fat tires on a Competition, you need to go 650B.

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Old 09-01-20, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61
Anyway, I liked how I was simultaneously aware of how nice the bike is while feeling it flow into that natural state of, "c'est un velo/it's a bike" casualness.
Ah, so that's why I like my fixed gear Grand Jubile so much! I've got it set up with a 70" gear and some Velo-Orange "Porteur" bars. It's been mostly a MUP warrior but it really is just so good in such a simple way.

I missed this thread when you first started on it, certainly a fun read through, thanks!

Now to find a freewheel I like for the other side of the hub ...
If you're looking for a larger freewheel, are you intending on using that as an emergency "bailout", or are there other uses you have in mind for it?
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Old 09-01-20, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by abshipp
If you're looking for a larger freewheel, are you intending on using that as an emergency "bailout", or are there other uses you have in mind for it?
I had initially thought I would like to run a 21 or 22T freewheel (or even a White Industries Dos Eno 20/22T) on the other side of the hub to get something around a 50-54-in gear in case I decided to do a little light single-track. When I first started planning this build, my son was on the cross-country team at his school, and I would accompany him on training runs in the months leading up to team practice, and I thought I could keep up with him riding a 42x22 with a little care and skill. That's all on hold, as on his own my 13-year-old decided to sit the Covid year out. For the time being, the WI Dos Eno 17/19T is in place, and maybe I'll switch around to that side just to see what it's like.
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Old 01-25-21, 12:34 PM
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One step closer to completion

As further evidence that I'm a cheapskate with hoarder tendencies - since the beginning of this project 19 months ago I’ve wanted to fit a 2-speed Dos Eno 20/22T freewheel. But they're not cheap, and I am. Used examples don’t ever seem to surface for me - until this one popped up on the 'Bay, an unused leftover from someone else's unfinished project. I sniped it at the last minute and all-up got it for a few bucks less than they sold for new before the pandemic. Not the deal of the century but still acceptable. And soon there will be pix of it mounted, and when schedules and weather permit a single-track rise report, but for now - behold!




I can tell you that IT FITS and the brakes work properly and there’s still some unused real estate on those long Huret dropouts. If I felt so inclined I could probably remove one link from the chain and be able to run all of the combinations from 42x17 through 44x22, but why? As it stands right now I have 60- and 70-in fixed ratios and 52- and 60-in freewheeling gears with no cross-chaining.

I'm eager to take it out and try it on ALL the surfaces. Soon, I tell myself. Soon.
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Old 01-25-21, 01:31 PM
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Rusty, a trick to make flipping the wheel faster and easier - make a chain peg from a M4?,M5? (the usual fender bolt) screw. Spin a nut onto it, then thread or slip it through the fender eye from the inside. Adjust the hut so the screw head sits not far from the chain but clears the closest cog setting. Nut again from the outside. QAD (quick and dirty) chain peg. They work really well!

To go one step further - get a Pedros Trixie wrench. Loosen each nut 1/2 turn, slide the wheel forward, lift off the chain with the spanner and drop it on the peg. Flip, re-chain and done. I sew a webbing strap under the front of my tool bag and a "Y" shaped strap under the back. Tongue (stem of the "Y") has Velcro. A vertical Velcro on the toolbag flap. Slip Trixie spanner through the webbing strap, tongue through the wrench end and up to the flap. Wheel flips take maybe two minutes, clean hands always. (That Trixie lock ring spanner is really good. Far better for the 12 tooth bell-shaped lockrings than the Park spanners made from plate.)

My photo logo is a custom fix gear. Simple double sided fix-fix hub. My username Mooney has a similar hub, only dished a touch. An 1/8" cog "dingle", 17-21 on one side, a little downhill cog on the other and a triple, all 1/8" crankset, 46-42-38 or the like. Three gears, all with good chainlines and true mountain gearing. (Downhill on the 46-13 is a blast!)

Keep us posted!

Ben
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Old 01-25-21, 01:44 PM
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A thought that is a little late - have you considered running 27" wheels to get the BB a little higher. Those bikes have a lot of BB drop. I think mine is about 10-3/8" off the road running 28-32c tires. Very low. I run 175 cranks for my knees on all bikes. That bike has SPD MTB pedals and I scrape on corners all the time (and I would never dream of running it fix gear).

I consider 10-5/8 as the OK minimum for fix gear, 10-3/4 good, 10-7/8 sweet. Now that is for 175, but 5 mm is only 3/16" of an inch.
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