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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)

Total noob to fixies & bike mechanics

Old 11-05-06, 12:59 AM
  #1  
cal_gundert05
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Total noob to fixies & bike mechanics

This is more of an out-loud thought than a particular question. Read on if you wish.

I first learned to ride and got a beater bike a few months ago to get around my home town easier when I need to. I guess you'd call it a mountain bike, but it doesn't have a real "thick" frame like some mtbs...it almost looks like a road bike, except for the knobby tires.
I don't ride much for fun, or even to get around much because I live < 0.5 miles from campus, and I can take the bus for free when I need to.
But I've been thinking that a fixie could be fun to ride, although I've never riden one. I like the idea of a bike without gears, because you HAVE to suck it up and ride hard. However, the fixies I see people riding all have road bike frames and slick tires. But I'm hesitant to have a LBS convert my bike to a fixie because it may end up being a waste if I don't ride it. I suppose I could try converting it myself, but it would be my first bike job ever.

I guess I DO have a few specific questions. How much would it cost to have a LBS convert my bike to a fixie? Could it be done with my existing parts, would I need to buy new ones, could I find them for free? Could a totally inexperienced bike mechanic manage doing their own conversion? Anything else I should know?

Thanks all!
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Old 11-05-06, 02:54 AM
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https://sheldonbrown.com/fixed-conversion.html
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Old 11-05-06, 02:58 AM
  #3  
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you cant ride your bike to school cause its half a mile and you can take the bus for free?
does that mean that you think half a mile is far? i can ride half a mile in 2 minutes while sending text messages and eating hot dogs ('s, plural, double fisted, that's how i roll, what?!).
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Old 11-05-06, 03:11 AM
  #4  
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He can ride his bike to school, but it doesn't mean he gets to ride much, BECAUSE it's only .5 mile.
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Old 11-05-06, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by rustang
you cant ride your bike to school cause its half a mile and you can take the bus for free?
does that mean that you think half a mile is far? i can ride half a mile in 2 minutes while sending text messages and eating hot dogs ('s, plural, double fisted, that's how i roll, what?!).

Sorry, I condensed a couple different thoughts into one.
A) Since I live so close, riding isn't really worth it as I can just walk.
B) I'm in no way dependent on a bike to get around...I can take the bus for free when I need to go somewhere far away.

These 2 circumstances make it such that biking is not my only option. Although I could try to change my habits to bike more.
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Old 11-05-06, 07:00 AM
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I'd def. ride a half-mile commute. It takes 5 minutes to walk it, 2 to ride... which means 3 minutes for practicing backwards circles every day! As to riding being impractical for longer distances... depends. I'm happy to ride 6 to 8 miles even if the're a bus. It's much more fun and takes about the same time. Downtown, riding is faster even if the bus goes door-to-door. My buddy even beat the subway once, from one subway stop to another one 5 miles away.
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Old 11-05-06, 07:07 AM
  #7  
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this could be the start of a wonderfully long and slippery slope. if you try fixed and like it, the 0.5km ride could start getting a lot longer just for the fun of riding it.

as long as your current ride has at least semi horizontal drops converting should not be a problem and can be done on the cheap as long as you heed the advice within past posts on this forum and sheldons excellent resources.
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Old 11-05-06, 01:08 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by cal_gundert05
This is more of an out-loud thought than a particular question. Read on if you wish.

I first learned to ride and got a beater bike a few months ago to get around my home town easier when I need to. I guess you'd call it a mountain bike, but it doesn't have a real "thick" frame like some mtbs...it almost looks like a road bike, except for the knobby tires.
I don't ride much for fun, or even to get around much because I live < 0.5 miles from campus, and I can take the bus for free when I need to.
But I've been thinking that a fixie could be fun to ride, although I've never riden one. I like the idea of a bike without gears, because you HAVE to suck it up and ride hard. However, the fixies I see people riding all have road bike frames and slick tires. But I'm hesitant to have a LBS convert my bike to a fixie because it may end up being a waste if I don't ride it. I suppose I could try converting it myself, but it would be my first bike job ever.

I guess I DO have a few specific questions. How much would it cost to have a LBS convert my bike to a fixie? Could it be done with my existing parts, would I need to buy new ones, could I find them for free? Could a totally inexperienced bike mechanic manage doing their own conversion? Anything else I should know?

Thanks all!
Thanks for the replies, but I've still got a few lingering questions:

1) Is a knobby-tired, beater-framed bike suitable to be converted?
2) How much do you think a LBS would charge to convert (it has vert. dropouts)?
3) Could a first-time mechanic (me) do it himself? Do I need parts that aren't currently on my bike?
4) Is beef really what's for dinner?
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Old 11-05-06, 01:15 PM
  #9  
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just need new hubs for fixed or wheels(easier)about $200 and shorted the chain.
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Old 11-05-06, 01:22 PM
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Sounds like you have some sort of hybrid bike. I wouldn't mess with converting it, you'd end up being out more in parts and tools than you would pay for one of the ebay bikes or whatever, and you'd have a unique but not particularly good FG bike. Access to a bike co-op or a friend with tools and a good parts pile might lower the cost, but the results would be the same. If you really want to futz with the bike you have, I would go singlespeed -- $20 in parts and some wrenching and you can lighten you bike and simplify your life.
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Old 11-05-06, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooped
just need new hubs for fixed or wheels(easier)about $200 and shorted the chain.
Um, yeah, that's all you need. Forget about needing a new bottom bracket and/or crankset and chainring for chainline, probably new tires and tubes since the old ones are probably too wide for the new rims even if they are the right diameter, getting pedals that take clips and straps and then getting clips and straps, etc...
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Old 11-05-06, 01:27 PM
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Thanks guys. You've put the idea out of my head, at least until I have more know-how and/or money.
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Old 11-05-06, 01:39 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Landgolier
Um, yeah, that's all you need. Forget about needing a new bottom bracket and/or crankset and chainring for chainline, probably new tires and tubes since the old ones are probably too wide for the new rims even if they are the right diameter, getting pedals that take clips and straps and then getting clips and straps, etc...
not to mention he said it has vertical dropouts...sounds like a money pit to me...
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Old 11-05-06, 01:56 PM
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Yeah, as a guy who rides a fix with vertical dropouts, I'd recommend against trying it, esp. if you're a newbie mechanic. Ride it ss with a tensioner or get a frame with horizontal dropouts.
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Old 11-05-06, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cal_gundert05
Thanks for the replies, but I've still got a few lingering questions:

1) Is a knobby-tired, beater-framed bike suitable to be converted?
2) How much do you think a LBS would charge to convert (it has vert. dropouts)?
3) Could a first-time mechanic (me) do it himself? Do I need parts that aren't currently on my bike?
4) Is beef really what's for dinner?

I'm beating this into the ground now, but I'll throw in my 2 cents:
1)Yes, as long as it has horizontal dropouts and decent parts outside of the drivetrain. (Stem, bars, brakes and anything else you would want to keep.
2) I have no idea how much a shop would charge. It really depends on what needs to be done, which will differ from bike to bike. Trying to convert a bike with vertical dropouts is an exercise in frustration. Unless you really love the frame, its just not worth it. Be aware that many bike shops don't have a lot of experience with converting bike to fixed and tend to do things wrong. Find a shop that sells track stuff and has mechanics who ride fixed.
3) If you're mechanically inclined, yes. At the very least, you'll need a new rear wheel (or new hub laced to the old rim), track cog and lockring. You'll probably also need a new bottom bracket to get a decent chainline, though you may get lucky with what you have. If you can find a bike co-op, it will be much easier since you can use their tools and ask them for help.
4) Only if you're aaron copeland.
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Old 11-05-06, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by sivat
I'm beating this into the ground now, but I'll throw in my 2 cents:

Thanks, that's exactly what I wanted!
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Old 11-05-06, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by cal_gundert05
Thanks for the replies, but I've still got a few lingering questions:

1) Is a knobby-tired, beater-framed bike suitable to be converted?
2) How much do you think a LBS would charge to convert (it has vert. dropouts)?
3) Could a first-time mechanic (me) do it himself? Do I need parts that aren't currently on my bike?
4) Is beef really what's for dinner?
1) if you don't mind having a beater-framed fixie
2) unless you're content with a "magic gear," most people (and shops) will tell you it's simply not worth your trouble if it has vertical dropouts. as for labor rates, it's totally all over the place - call some local shops to get an idea, and shop around for the best price.
3) absolutely YES, and many of us would recommend you do just that
4) no way - tofu

good luck
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Old 11-05-06, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Landgolier
Um, yeah, that's all you need. Forget about needing a new bottom bracket and/or crankset and chainring for chainline, probably new tires and tubes since the old ones are probably too wide for the new rims even if they are the right diameter, getting pedals that take clips and straps and then getting clips and straps, etc...
don't forget.. with the new rim size comes comes new brakes...


to the orginal poster:

If you want to get into fixed riding I think at this point Craigslist and Sheldonbrown are your friends... read sheldon's site and watch criagslist for a good cheap(if your lucky maybe free) frame to convert, also try garage sales and resale shops...

Last edited by Morgie; 11-05-06 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 11-06-06, 04:42 AM
  #19  
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Seriously. Buy someone else's fixed beater from craigslist and then you'll have both bikes. Hooray for options!
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Old 11-06-06, 08:47 AM
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I wouldn't bother converting that bike to fixed. If it's working fine now all I'd do is change the knobby tires out for slicks (unless it's going to see a lot of snow). whatever's on sale for $10-$15 each.

If the shifting is beat, and you want to make it more reliable on the cheap, I'd do the cheap SS thing: dump two front chain rings and use a short stack bolt to bolt on the one remaining onbe, swap the freewheel for a BMX freewheel, or if it's a cassette hub remove the cassette, and put on a single cog with spacers. Get rid of the front derailer, shifters and both cables, but keep the rear derailer on for a chain tensioner. Converting it to a SS this way with new parts would cost you $20-$30 in parts. A shop would probably do it for you in less than an hour. You'd need a freewheel, or cassette lockring tool to do it yourself. you could probably get the tool for about the same pice as labor, which is what I'd do, because not only do you get the experience, you get the tool to use again later. Self sufficiency is gained one project at a time.
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Old 11-09-06, 11:15 AM
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I've done the magic gear thing and it's a fun little project at first and then after you've bought new chainrings and cogs and half-links and futzed around with it for weeks on end and your chain gets sloppy and your stuck with one or two ratios, it's not so fun anymore.
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