Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
Reload this Page >

Convert Fixed to single speed PLEASE HELP

Notices
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)

Convert Fixed to single speed PLEASE HELP

Old 04-29-20, 02:46 AM
  #1  
jeffreydeguia
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Convert Fixed to single speed PLEASE HELP

Hi new to the forum, pretty novice at cycling as well. Essentially, need help because COVID got people stealing bikes left and right and fell victim. My pure fix w/ the flip flop hub was taken at home, but a buddy gave me his fixed gear, but it's not freewheel! How do I convert my back wheel/hub to make it freewheel? (I bike for commute mainly and casual riding wth baby daughter) please help! I also want to put disk brakes on her, if anyone would be so kind? Thanks in advance!

Last edited by cb400bill; 04-29-20 at 03:47 AM.
jeffreydeguia is offline  
Old 04-29-20, 03:25 AM
  #2  
Trevtassie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Down Under
Posts: 1,597

Bikes: A steel framed 26" off road tourer from a manufacturer who thinks they are cool. Giant Anthem. Trek 720 Multiroad pub bike. 10 kids bikes all under 20". Assorted waifs and unfinished projects.

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 528 Post(s)
Liked 317 Times in 163 Posts
Originally Posted by jeffreydeguia View Post
Hi new to the forum, pretty novice at cycling as well. Essentially, need help because COVID got people stealing bikes left and right and fell victim. My pure fix w/ the flip flop hub was taken at home, but a buddy gave me his fixed gear, but it's not freewheel! How do I convert my back wheel/hub to make it freewheel? (I bike for commute mainly and casual riding wth baby daughter) please help! I also want to put disk brakes on her, if anyone would be so kind? Thanks in advance!
Take off the lockring and sprocket, a freewheel will screw straight on to the same thread the sprocket came off.
Trevtassie is offline  
Likes For Trevtassie:
Old 04-29-20, 07:54 AM
  #3  
AlmostTrick
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 6,978

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '70 Schwinn Lemonator and More!!

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1342 Post(s)
Liked 519 Times in 293 Posts
And you can't feasibly install discs on a frame and fork that was never designed for them.
AlmostTrick is offline  
Likes For AlmostTrick:
Old 04-29-20, 08:22 AM
  #4  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 39,040

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2247 Post(s)
Liked 951 Times in 496 Posts
Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
Take off the lockring and sprocket, a freewheel will screw straight on to the same thread the sprocket came off.
Note that you can install the freewheel with your hand and tighten it with the chain, but if you ever want to remove it you’ll need the appropriate tool.
caloso is offline  
Old 04-29-20, 09:36 AM
  #5  
acir71
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Posts: 51

Bikes: Mongoose Maurice FS 2011 fixed gear, custom 2017 Haro Master Flatland bmx, Contrast FL475 mid school flatland bmx

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 8 Posts
Correct me if I'm wrong, I thought the thread surface width (on the hub) for fg cog & freewheel are different? I do notice that flip flops aren't the same on both side, the fg side has a 2 tiered thread size- the cog thread (inner) is bigger in diameter (same as the freewheel) while the lock nut (outer) one's smaller? I assume the freewheel won't sit in nicely if you install it on the fg side, only abt half of it's thread will contact the hub thread since fg cog is only abt half the width of a freewheel? Or is it ok to have it like that?

Last edited by acir71; 04-29-20 at 09:41 AM.
acir71 is offline  
Old 04-29-20, 10:54 AM
  #6  
AlmostTrick
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 6,978

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '70 Schwinn Lemonator and More!!

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1342 Post(s)
Liked 519 Times in 293 Posts
Originally Posted by acir71 View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, I thought the thread surface width (on the hub) for fg cog & freewheel are different? I do notice that flip flops aren't the same on both side, the fg side has a 2 tiered thread size- the cog thread (inner) is bigger in diameter (same as the freewheel) while the lock nut (outer) one's smaller? I assume the freewheel won't sit in nicely if you install it on the fg side, only abt half of it's thread will contact the hub thread since fg cog is only abt half the width of a freewheel? Or is it ok to have it like that?
Yeah, it's ok. There's still enough threads to properly hold the freewheel.

This is why "fixed" "fixed" hubs are best. Both sides have the double threads allowing a lock ring. One can then run any cog/freewheel combo they choose.
AlmostTrick is offline  
Likes For AlmostTrick:
Old 04-29-20, 12:15 PM
  #7  
Mikefule
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 182
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
Liked 37 Times in 28 Posts
Remember the sprocket/freewheel is clockwise to tighten, the lock ring is the opposite.
Mikefule is offline  
Likes For Mikefule:
Old 04-29-20, 01:29 PM
  #8  
jeffreydeguia
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Hoping this reaches all contributors on this thread but thanks to all! So based on your replies, are these pieces and tools (i can't upload a pic) all the things I would need to purchase?
  • Singlespeed or track wheel
  • Cog of appropriate size
  • Lockring
  • Lockring wrench
  • Chain whip or chain pliers
  • Grease
  • 15mm Socket Wrench

How would know which sizes or they all pretty much standard?
my chain looks little worn too, I heard that it's highly advised to change that during this process, advice?
jeffreydeguia is offline  
Old 04-29-20, 01:34 PM
  #9  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 39,040

Bikes: Ridley Excalibur, Gazelle Champion Mondial, On-One Pompino, Specialized Rock Hopper

Mentioned: 62 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2247 Post(s)
Liked 951 Times in 496 Posts
If you are going to have a freewheel, I would recommend front and back brakes. If you are going to keep it fixed, you really just need the front, although having both doesn't hurt.
caloso is offline  
Old 04-29-20, 01:38 PM
  #10  
jeffreydeguia
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
And you can't feasibly install discs on a frame and fork that was never designed for them.
any advice re: putting brakes on my fixie?
jeffreydeguia is offline  
Old 04-29-20, 03:59 PM
  #11  
AlmostTrick
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 6,978

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '70 Schwinn Lemonator and More!!

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1342 Post(s)
Liked 519 Times in 293 Posts
Originally Posted by jeffreydeguia View Post
Hoping this reaches all contributors on this thread but thanks to all! So based on your replies, are these pieces and tools (i can't upload a pic) all the things I would need to purchase?
  • Singlespeed or track wheel
  • Cog of appropriate size
  • Lockring
  • Lockring wrench
  • Chain whip or chain pliers
  • Grease
  • 15mm Socket Wrench

How would know which sizes or they all pretty much standard?
my chain looks little worn too, I heard that it's highly advised to change that during this process, advice?
Wait, in your opening post you said the bike your buddy gave you is a fixed gear and you wanted a freewheel. Now you want a cog and lock ring? And a wheel? What do you actually have and what do you want? Does the bike have any brakes on it now?
AlmostTrick is offline  
Likes For AlmostTrick:
Old 04-30-20, 10:30 AM
  #12  
Mikefule
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 182
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
Liked 37 Times in 28 Posts
Originally Posted by jeffreydeguia View Post
any advice re: putting brakes on my fixie?
Yes: do.

Some people ride without brakes, relying on skidding. Not having brakes is illegal in some jurisdictions. It will be a factor in any liability decision following an accident. Brakes are designed to decelerate the bike without breaking traction, and without sacrificing rubber from the tyre. Better to have brakes and never use them, than not have brakes and find that you need them one day.

A front brake is considerably more effective than a back brake. This is because the act of braking transfers more weight (and therefore traction) to the front tyre, meaning the front tyre gains grip and the rear tyre loses it.

You can therefore ride fairly safely with just a front brake, relying on back pressure on the pedals to slow the rear wheel. One associated risk is that in bad conditions (wet oily road, grit, mud, gravel, ice) if you lock your front wheel, you will certainly fall off. If you have a back brake and you lock your back wheel you still have a good chance of regaining control.

The front brake is easy to install and set up. A simple side pull calliper brake is good enough for most purposes.

The rear brake, although useful, is more problematic. If you change your sprocket size, you will need to position the rear wheel slightly further forward or backward to keep the chain tension. You can probably change by 2 teeth before you find that the rear brake blocks are in danger of catching the tyre or spokes — either of which would be a Bad Thing. You can of course add or remove links to the chain, which is a 5 minute job, but not something you'd want to do if you flipped the back wheel round to change ratios at the road side on a long ride.

Personally, I have front and rear calliper rim brakes on my fixed, and typically ride for hours without touching the brakes — but I know they're there if I need them. I never skid deliberately, but I try to use the drive train to control my speed. I know that I would ride faster in some circumstances if I was willing to use the brakes, but this is a game I play for my own satisfaction. The brakes are for emergencies or when all else fails: long steep descents and the like.

So, definitely fit a front brake, and probably fit a rear brake. Side pull calliper rim brakes are the easiest option, and should be easy to fit to any frame designed for road use.
Mikefule is offline  
Likes For Mikefule:
Old 04-30-20, 10:37 AM
  #13  
stevel610 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Valley Forge: Birthplace of Freedom
Posts: 692

Bikes: Novara Safari

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 164 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 35 Posts
Originally Posted by jeffreydeguia View Post
Hoping this reaches all contributors on this thread but thanks to all! So based on your replies, are these pieces and tools (i can't upload a pic) all the things I would need to purchase?
  • Singlespeed or track wheel
  • Cog of appropriate size
  • Lockring
  • Lockring wrench
  • Chain whip or chain pliers
  • Grease
  • 15mm Socket Wrench

How would know which sizes or they all pretty much standard?
my chain looks little worn too, I heard that it's highly advised to change that during this process, advice?
A less expensive route would be to take your rear wheel to the local shop, have them remove the fixed cog and put a freewheel of appropriate size on. It will be about 15 minutes of labor, and done right.

Buy the freewheel from them. A Shimano will probably be less than $25. They might not even charge to take the old cog off and install. But don't give them a hard time if they do, they are suffering during these times.
stevel610 is offline  
Likes For stevel610:
Old 04-30-20, 03:50 PM
  #14  
Mikefule
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 182
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
Liked 37 Times in 28 Posts
Originally Posted by stevel610 View Post
A less expensive route would be to take your rear wheel to the local shop, have them remove the fixed cog and put a freewheel of appropriate size on. It will be about 15 minutes of labor, and done right.
Short term less expensive because at the end of it, you have the result, but have gained no knowledge, and no tools, so next time you'll have to pay as well.

The right tools are an investment. Bikes are not complicated machines to work on, unless you buy the complicated parts the market tells us we need (hydraulic brakes, etc.)
Mikefule is offline  
Old 05-01-20, 11:29 AM
  #15  
jeffreydeguia
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
Wait, in your opening post you said the bike your buddy gave you is a fixed gear and you wanted a freewheel. Now you want a cog and lock ring? And a wheel? What do you actually have and what do you want? Does the bike have any brakes on it now?
sorry for the confusion, i'd like to reiterate, I'm noobie. I inherited a fixie, no brakes, and I want to change to freewheel w/ disk brakes. And I basically have zero tools to complete the job, so i'm also on the market for the proper tools (which I'm unsure which ones to buy)
jeffreydeguia is offline  
Old 05-01-20, 11:35 AM
  #16  
jeffreydeguia
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
Short term less expensive because at the end of it, you have the result, but have gained no knowledge, and no tools, so next time you'll have to pay as well.

The right tools are an investment. Bikes are not complicated machines to work on, unless you buy the complicated parts the market tells us we need (hydraulic brakes, etc.)
This is why I joined the forums, I'm trying to gain at least a tidy bit of knowledge to up my skills so in the future I wont need to run to the shop, any luck you can share me on which tools I need to purchase as well? Thanks in advance everyone for all the help again!
jeffreydeguia is offline  
Old 05-01-20, 11:59 AM
  #17  
TugaDude
Senior Member
 
TugaDude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,313
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 227 Post(s)
Liked 93 Times in 82 Posts
Originally Posted by jeffreydeguia View Post
sorry for the confusion, i'd like to reiterate, I'm noobie. I inherited a fixie, no brakes, and I want to change to freewheel w/ disk brakes. And I basically have zero tools to complete the job, so i'm also on the market for the proper tools (which I'm unsure which ones to buy)
What is the exact frame that you have? Reason I ask is it will help us if we know what it is. As was said above, unless it is already set up for disc brakes, forget about it. There are adapters where you could add a disc brake to a front fork, but I wouldn't go there, especially if it isn't a sturdy steel fork.
So that leaves conventional caliper brakes. And whether those are viable is based upon which frame you have. Some fixed-gear frames aren't conducive to adding brakes and some will accommodate brakes but only with some drilling or other preparation. Then there is the issue of brake reach. It really is more complicated than just "adding brakes".
TugaDude is offline  
Old 05-01-20, 12:22 PM
  #18  
Mikefule
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 182
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
Liked 37 Times in 28 Posts
Originally Posted by jeffreydeguia View Post
This is why I joined the forums, I'm trying to gain at least a tidy bit of knowledge to up my skills so in the future I wont need to run to the shop, any luck you can share me on which tools I need to purchase as well? Thanks in advance everyone for all the help again!
There is no limit to how many tools you can acquire over a lifetime in cycling and other activities. With a few exceptions which are absolutely bike specific (like a chain tool) they all have countless applications in other aspects of life. For example, a good set of metric combination spanners (ring at one end, open at the other), a good set of Pozidriv screwdrivers, and a good set of Allen keys. A 1/4" drive socket set is good for small stuff that you find on bikes. A 3/8" drive is a little more versatile for non-bike jobs, and a 1/2" drive is for bigger jobs like working on your car or motorbike.

Everyone needs a big, a medium and a small adjustable wrench (spanner) but should not use them by default. If you have a proper spanner available int he right size, use it.

Normal pliers, needle nose pliers, and good wire cutters (you can get specific ones for brake cable inners).

A chain whip in the right width for the sprocket. (1/8" or 3/32" for example.) One that is "too wide" will fit a narrower sprocket, of course. A chain whip is sometimes called a "freewheel turner" at least in adverts on Amazon.

If you have a freewheel, a compatible freewheel removal tool.

A C spanner for removing the lock ring. You will need the right size. A C spanner is sort of hook shaped with a tab at the end that engages with a notch in the lock ring.

A decent set of Allen keys.

In addition to a set of Allen keys for the workshop, something like this has many uses out on the road. They come with 3 sizes that you most commonly use.

A pedal wrench, if your pedals have flats where they screw in. Some only have Allen sockets on the blind side. A pedal wrench is a slim spanner of the right size to fit the flats.

A chain tool which can be used for splitting and re-joining chains, and freeing stiff links.

I'm in the UK and can find most of these things at Halfords, or local bike shops. They are also available easily on Amazon. One nice brand for bike tools, although slightly expensive, is Park Tool.
Mikefule is offline  
Likes For Mikefule:
Old 05-03-20, 06:54 AM
  #19  
ted_major
Senior Member
 
ted_major's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Posts: 84
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
Short term less expensive because at the end of it, you have the result, but have gained no knowledge, and no tools, so next time you'll have to pay as well
That’s true, but on the other hand, OP wants to switch from fixed to single speed, so they’ll need a chainwhip and lock ring spanner only once to remove the fixed cog.

It might make more sense to have the shop switch the cog for a free wheel and then when the freewheel needs replacing, buy the freewheel removal tool, which OP might get more use out of.
ted_major is offline  
Likes For ted_major:
Old 05-03-20, 09:53 AM
  #20  
IAmSam
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,361
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 301 Post(s)
Liked 47 Times in 28 Posts
What is it about this group that everybody has to complicate a very simple task?

OP said he has flip-flop hub, so...

The only tools he needs to convert his bike to singlespeed are a 15mm wrench to loosen the tracknuts so he can take his wheel off, and his fingers to screw the FW onto the other side of the hub before he flips the wheel to put it back on
IAmSam is offline  
Likes For IAmSam:
Old 05-03-20, 09:59 AM
  #21  
stevel610 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Valley Forge: Birthplace of Freedom
Posts: 692

Bikes: Novara Safari

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 164 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 35 Posts
Originally Posted by IAmSam View Post
What is it about this group that everybody has to complicate a very simple task?

OP said he has flip-flop hub, so...

The only tools he needs to convert his bike to singlespeed are a 15mm wrench to loosen the tracknuts so he can take his wheel off, and his fingers to screw the FW onto the other side of the hub before he flips the wheel to put it back on
Barring having a shop do it, I like your answer.

Also needs to purchase and install brakes.
stevel610 is offline  
Old 05-03-20, 10:03 AM
  #22  
stevel610 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Valley Forge: Birthplace of Freedom
Posts: 692

Bikes: Novara Safari

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 164 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 35 Posts
Originally Posted by jeffreydeguia View Post
sorry for the confusion, i'd like to reiterate, I'm noobie. I inherited a fixie, no brakes, and I want to change to freewheel w/ disk brakes. And I basically have zero tools to complete the job, so i'm also on the market for the proper tools (which I'm unsure which ones to buy)
Didn't realize you needed to add brakes. In that case I will change my suggestion because you are moving into a price area where you could get a new lower end bike for not much more.

YouTube KevCentral, he reviews Walmart and other affordable bikes. Find one in your price range and purchase. For what you are looking for a $100 coaster brake beach cruiser would work fine and be less expensive than the upgrades + tools.

Good luck.

Last edited by stevel610; 05-03-20 at 10:07 AM.
stevel610 is offline  
Old 05-04-20, 03:01 AM
  #23  
jeffreydeguia
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Sorry fellas had a hectic weekend. Based on everyone's replies (which I'm so grateful for), seems like the more sensible thing might just go to the bike shop and have them convert it for me, rather than spending on the pieces and all the tools
jeffreydeguia is offline  
Old 05-04-20, 06:16 AM
  #24  
catacombs
Member
 
catacombs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: /home/
Posts: 28

Bikes: Kilo TT

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by jeffreydeguia View Post
Sorry fellas had a hectic weekend. Based on everyone's replies (which I'm so grateful for), seems like the more sensible thing might just go to the bike shop and have them convert it for me, rather than spending on the pieces and all the tools
You might have some trouble finding a bike shop currently open in your area amid coronavirus.
catacombs is offline  
Old 05-04-20, 03:25 PM
  #25  
jeffreydeguia
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by catacombs View Post
You might have some trouble finding a bike shop currently open in your area amid coronavirus.
Yea I was shocked as well when I called learning to find that they're open on Oahu
jeffreydeguia is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.