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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)

First fixie build

Old 09-24-18, 09:50 AM
  #1  
Inspired
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First fixie build

I have recently purchased a complete fixed gear and I feel in love with riding it. I am wanting to venture into building up an old road bike frame. The frame will be a Bianchi Premio from the early 90's. I was just wondering if anyone out there has messed around with that frame, and if so any suggestions. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
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Old 09-24-18, 08:07 PM
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Does it have vertical dropouts? If so, setting it up as a fixed gear might be problematic.
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Old 09-25-18, 03:59 AM
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It does not have rear facing horizontal drops outs, but it does have horizontal dropouts. I know the rear facing would be ideal, but it looks like these will work also to be able to tension the chain.
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Old 09-25-18, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Inspired View Post
It does not have rear facing horizontal drops outs, but it does have horizontal dropouts. I know the rear facing would be ideal, but it looks like these will work also to be able to tension the chain.
purely for the sake of clarity, a rear facing ‘track’ style end, is not called a dropout, it’s simply called a fork end. I’m not a snob about it, just thought id share. If your frame has horizontal dropouts then you’re golden. If you like using chaintugs then fork ends would be easier. Although I believe surly bikes makes a chaintug for horizontal dropouts, if you’re so inclined. But unless you’re running fenders, there’s not much real difference in everyday experience for a fixed/ss setup between fork ends and dropouts. The only people I’ve ever met who actually thought it mattered were track bike snobs and ‘fixie fools’, trying to be cool. If your frame is a good one, the better ride you’ll get from that frame will far outweigh not having ‘proper track ends’.
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Old 09-25-18, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Inspired View Post
It does not have rear facing horizontal drops outs, but it does have horizontal dropouts. I know the rear facing would be ideal, but it looks like these will work also to be able to tension the chain.
If you are using the bike on the road, horizontal dropouts are a big plus. Far easier to pull the rear wheel out keeping your hands clean. Add a chain peg and use a Pedros Trixie fix gear tool and yhou can flip the wheel for a 2nd gear with completely clean hands. (If your bike has eyes for fenders, I can tell you how to make a really good chain peg. PM me.) I ride fix-fix flip-flop wheels on two of my three fix gears and flip the wheels regularly. The ease and clean hands rule! (In the velodrome, they ban dirt so dirty chains isn't an issue.) Also horizontal dropout have some slant to them so moving the wheel in the dropout doesn't change the height of the rim relative to the rear brake pad should you decide to use one. (I like the hoods as hand grips, always ride the road and it never occurred to me I would ever want to take the rear brake off. 40 years later, no regrets.)

I don't get chain tugs. To me, that is a solution to a problem that isn't. We aren't strong enough to pull a properly installed hub forward. (Nelson Vail did not use chain tugs. There are few few even pros with his strength.) Good track nuts work. (Maybe they are needed for carbon fiber track ends. I wouldn't know.)

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Old 09-25-18, 10:43 AM
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Thank you both for the clarity. I am new to fixed gear riding so any knowledge is greatly appreciated. Thanks again.
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Old 09-25-18, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
If you are using the bike on the road, horizontal dropouts are a big plus. Far easier to pull the rear wheel out keeping your hands clean. Add a chain peg and use a Pedros Trixie fix gear tool and yhou can flip the wheel for a 2nd gear with completely clean hands. (If your bike has eyes for fenders, I can tell you how to make a really good chain peg. PM me.) I ride fix-fix flip-flop wheels on two of my three fix gears and flip the wheels regularly. The ease and clean hands rule! (In the velodrome, they ban dirt so dirty chains isn't an issue.) Also horizontal dropout have some slant to them so moving the wheel in the dropout doesn't change the height of the rim relative to the rear brake pad should you decide to use one. (I like the hoods as hand grips, always ride the road and it never occurred to me I would ever want to take the rear brake off. 40 years later, no regrets.)
I know you probably know this, but: you can take a rear wheel out of a bike with track ends without getting your hands dirty without a chain peg or fancy tools. All you need is the wrench you use on the axle nuts.

1. Loosen the nuts and move the wheel all the way forward.
2. Lift the chain off the chainring with the wrench and lay it on the BB shell.
3. Use the wrench to lift the chain off the cog.
4. Pull the wheel out. Voila, your hands are still clean.
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Old 09-25-18, 11:19 AM
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And for what it's worth, I find forward-facing horizontal dropouts less of a hassle than track bike-style fork ends, but they're not fixie.

Last edited by cb400bill; 09-25-18 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Removed Shruggy as forum censor doesn't seem to like it.
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Old 09-25-18, 11:53 AM
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Track ends have no advantage over front facing horizontal dropouts for a bike that's going to be used on the road. Sounds like you're good to go. If you haven't done so already, measure the distance between the dropouts to see what kind of rear axle spacing you'll need.
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Old 09-25-18, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Inspired View Post
It does not have rear facing horizontal drops outs, but it does have horizontal dropouts. I know the rear facing would be ideal, but it looks like these will work also to be able to tension the chain.
Forward facing is fine for fixed gear. If you ever install mudguards, forward facing makes wheel removal much easier than rear facing.
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Old 09-26-18, 08:26 AM
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Thank you all for the great input. I look forward to starting this project soon.
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Old 10-07-18, 03:42 PM
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not trying to thread jack here, but have you looked into cranksets? i'm about to start my first singlespeed/fixie build also on an old bianchi frame so i'm curious as to what you are looking at. i'm having a tough time deciding
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Old 10-07-18, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by vailskier3 View Post
not trying to thread jack here, but have you looked into cranksets? i'm about to start my first singlespeed/fixie build also on an old bianchi frame so i'm curious as to what you are looking at. i'm having a tough time deciding
Sugino 75 Direct Drive! Not a cheap crank but uses a modern external bottom bracket and is Sugino 75 looks and quality which everyone can appreciate. Plus it comes with a Zen chainring (at least everywhere I have seen it) which is a nicer quality chainring that is more concentric and have better tooth profiles which all lead to a smoother and quieter ride and smooth and fixed gear is always good.

If you are looking to go cheap go Sugino Messenger which are a fine crank and I have run them on two bikes (though one is actually a Cool Messenger so a little more and basically a similar cold forging process to the 75s).

I personally do not like the logos on the ScRAM Omnomnoms and really never heard great things about the stock GXP BBs but they are certainly a decent option especially with an upgraded BB say from Wheels Manufacturing.
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Old 10-07-18, 07:20 PM
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do i have to worry about fitment with a newer BB? i'm assuming as long as it's 68mm, i should be good to get just about anything as long as it's square taper around 107-110mm?

Last edited by vailskier3; 10-08-18 at 11:53 AM. Reason: added length
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Old 10-08-18, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by vailskier3 View Post
do i have to worry about fitment with a newer BB? i'm assuming as long as it's 68mm, i should be good to get just about anything as long as it's square taper around 107-110mm?
For External BBs generally you don't have to worry except for mountain bikes with boost spacing and if you are trying to use a shimango style 24mm BB with say a ScRAM style 24/22 crank.

With square taper and other similar tapered BBs (Octalink or ISIS) you do generally want to get the correct spindle length and of course taper as well (assuming square with ISIS or Octalink you want to make sure you have the right splinage). A Sugino Messenger crank on a 120mm rear end uses a 103mm JIS taper BB for instance. If you are doing a conversion you can generally use the BB on the bike and just move chainring either to inner or outer as needed to get a better chainline but you don't have to be perfect so long as it is not too far out and doesn't rub jah frame you will probably be ok.
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Old 10-09-18, 06:10 AM
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I'm starting from frame only, so I'm purchasing everything a la carte. Looking to find the best bang for my buck with BB and crankset currently. Trying to keep this bike under $500 in total. Frame was $140 so i'm going to have to find some deals!
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Old 10-09-18, 07:52 AM
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Don't worry too much about the crankset. You likely won't be able to tell the difference between a cheapish one and an expensive one.

Spend most of your money on a nice wheelset and then you can cheap out on everything else and upgrade later if you're unsatisfied.

Most important stuff are wheels, tires, control surfaces (seat, grips). I'd spring for a nice EAI cog as they aren't much more than a cheap one. KMC Kool chain is like $15. No matter what your crankset a decent cog and chainring and a smooth chain will make the drivetrain feel nice.

You can cheap out on things like headset, seatpost, stem, bars etc as long as you get the fit right.
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Old 10-09-18, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by nightfly View Post
Don't worry too much about the crankset. You likely won't be able to tell the difference between a cheapish one and an expensive one.

Spend most of your money on a nice wheelset and then you can cheap out on everything else and upgrade later if you're unsatisfied.

Most important stuff are wheels, tires, control surfaces (seat, grips). I'd spring for a nice EAI cog as they aren't much more than a cheap one. KMC Kool chain is like $15. No matter what your crankset a decent cog and chainring and a smooth chain will make the drivetrain feel nice.

You can cheap out on things like headset, seatpost, stem, bars etc as long as you get the fit right.
Don't cheap out too much on some of that stuff. Cheap headsets are garbage, make sure you find something with sealed cartridge bearings. I prefer Cane Creek as I have used them for many years with no issues. Cranks are also a good place not to be so cheap, remember rotational weight is the worst weight so having something a a little lighter there will be handy. Also again the cheaper cranks can use a softer aluminum which can strip easily when installing pedals or the taper could deform and you won't have a tight fit. Also sealed cartridge bearings are great for your bottom bracket as well and if it is a square taper BB make sure they use metal cups not plastic as those can crack easily and are just not worth it when you can get a metal cupped version pretty cheap.

Everything else said is pretty reasonable though. A heavy seatpost or bars won't really effect much aside from weight. Good wheels are helpful and preferably find ones that are hand built by a professional wheel builder because they typically will last longer and not go out of true often if at all and you are quite unlikely to break a spoke (except maybe for low spoke wheels or super heavy touring). Your contact points are also important so get some good grips or bar tape (and certainly if it is a drop bar find one that is comfortable rather than just cheaper) and a decent saddle but know most manufacturers will make a similar saddle with a range and the nicer ones will have ti or carbon rails and possibly other lightweight benefits but the overall shape will be the same.
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Old 10-10-18, 06:18 AM
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Thanks for the opinions. I appreciate the information. Almost makes me want to create a thread of What parts would you buy for a frame if you only had $350 to spend and build a SS bike. Lots of stuff goes into that, like I'm currently thinking I can score some decent used mavic wheels that will hold true for a long time. That should definitely save some coin and allow me to upgrade in another area. AHHHH, so many decisions to be made! Currently thinking about the shimano BB-UN55 for my bottom bracket. I might change my mind in a few minutes though.
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Old 10-10-18, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by vailskier3 View Post
Thanks for the opinions. I appreciate the information. Almost makes me want to create a thread of What parts would you buy for a frame if you only had $350 to spend and build a SS bike. Lots of stuff goes into that, like I'm currently thinking I can score some decent used mavic wheels that will hold true for a long time. That should definitely save some coin and allow me to upgrade in another area. AHHHH, so many decisions to be made! Currently thinking about the shimano BB-UN55 for my bottom bracket. I might change my mind in a few minutes though.
UN-55 is a fine choice, it is sealed cartridge bearings and not expensive. Though just make sure you get the right spindle length first so worry about cranks then BB.
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Old 10-10-18, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
UN-55 is a fine choice, it is sealed cartridge bearings and not expensive. Though just make sure you get the right spindle length first so worry about cranks then BB.
Looking at vuelta pista crankset, but I don't see any info on what BB works with that. Is there a way to tell? What am I looking for? Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-10-18, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by vailskier3 View Post
Looking at vuelta pista crankset, but I don't see any info on what BB works with that. Is there a way to tell? What am I looking for? Thanks in advance.
You'll need a bb with a 108mm spindle for the Vuelta Pista crankset, per nashbar.com.
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Old 10-10-18, 04:38 PM
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gotcha, it didn't even occur to me that the crankset would matter with the BB. Is it safe to go a couple milimeters wider?

Last edited by vailskier3; 10-10-18 at 04:40 PM. Reason: add
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Old 10-10-18, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by vailskier3 View Post
Almost makes me want to create a thread of What parts would you buy for a frame if you only had $350 to spend and build a SS bike.
Do it! I'd love to listen in on that thread
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Old 10-10-18, 09:08 PM
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You could also just do it here since the thread already exists and we are already talking about it
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