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will using a casette really mess things up?

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)

will using a casette really mess things up?

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Old 12-09-08, 02:49 PM
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mindaugas
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will using a casette really mess things up?

I have an old steel bike I am working on converting. This is my first time doing something like this and I was reading using a cassette will mess things up since the chain is not aligned correctly. I don't have cash right now to spend on a hub so I was just going to use the cassette I have and keep it on the smallest cog. It will be temporary, after xmas I can go get a hub. Am I risking a nasty chain fall-off-lock-up or maybe break and whip me in the face? I'm going to shorten the chain that was on there to fit, picking up tools today.
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Old 12-09-08, 02:53 PM
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If it's really a cassette, you can move the cog you want to use in order to get a good chain line. If you mean freewheel, it'll be all right, but not ideal. Move your chain ring inside/outside the spider to get your best chain line.

Find out the difference between cassette and freewheel here: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/free-k7.html
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Old 12-09-08, 02:57 PM
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Think about how a geared bike works, the chainline isn't exactly straight throughout the different gears. If you have a cassette with multiple speeds just use the same chain the bike came with and it will be fine since its designed to be flexible.
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Old 12-09-08, 03:01 PM
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Note that if you're using a cassette, it'll be a singlespeed but not fixed, so the drivetrain-horrors aren't quite as face-scrapingly bad. If the chain snaps, just coast and pull over using your brakes. If this is the case, obviously ensure you're leaving the brakes on the bike - you'll want them both.

Other than that, get the best chainline you can on whatever cog, fiddle with the wheel in the dropouts to get a decent chainlength and cut your chain (with the correct tool) and you should be set.

Enjoy the bike, be safe and ride!
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Old 12-09-08, 03:29 PM
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pretty sure it is a cassette its from a shimano rsx component set. I stole some parts from another bike, put on aluminum wheels, etc. rsx were late 90's components so it meets the time frame for being a cassette. I don't plan on aligning the chain though since I want to use the smallest cog. thx for link too!
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Old 12-09-08, 03:39 PM
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How many teeth does the smallest cog have and why are you set on using that one? If you have a cassette hub, I'd recommend getting a single-speed spacer kit, which many shops will stock.
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Old 12-09-08, 03:56 PM
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idk how many teeth it has, I wanna use it because that's what I've been using. the derailleurs busted a long time ago and I've been riding without shifting. I'm not opposed to using a different cog though. I was reading the gear sticky as well and when I get home I'll try to figure out which one I should really use. my main goal is to get the bike working, I hate paying $8 to park in dt Denver. plus I get to work faster on my bike. I stole some 700c wheels from my wife's bike so I could put some hybrid tires on that my friend gave me so I don't slide around in the snow. ... as much
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Old 12-09-08, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mindaugas View Post
idk how many teeth it has, I wanna use it because that's what I've been using. the derailleurs busted a long time ago and I've been riding without shifting. I'm not opposed to using a different cog though. I was reading the gear sticky as well and when I get home I'll try to figure out which one I should really use. my main goal is to get the bike working, I hate paying $8 to park in dt Denver. plus I get to work faster on my bike. I stole some 700c wheels from my wife's bike so I could put some hybrid tires on that my friend gave me so I don't slide around in the snow. ... as much
As long as you don't want anything special, used derailleurs are very very cheap and might be the easiest way to get it working.

Just saying.
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Old 12-09-08, 04:10 PM
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One of my first SS conversion was done using the cassette. It worked, but the chainline was actually pretty finicky. My suggestion is just get yourself a really cheap derailleur unless you have your heart set on the FG/SS route, and if you do I'd just put down the twenty some dollars for a SS conversion kit...try performance bike
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Old 12-09-08, 04:21 PM
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nice, I didn't know performance had a conversion kit. I'll just use that, thanks for the link. I wanna go single speed, that bike is already 7lbs lighter with everything I stripped off it. plus the chix dig it. I've got my OCR3 still and I plan on getting something with at least shimano 105 after xmas. the ss I'm trying to build is purely a commuter/beater.
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Old 12-09-08, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mindaugas View Post
I have an old steel bike I am working on converting. This is my first time doing something like this and I was reading using a cassette will mess things up since the chain is not aligned correctly. I don't have cash right now to spend on a hub so I was just going to use the cassette I have and keep it on the smallest cog. It will be temporary, after xmas I can go get a hub. Am I risking a nasty chain fall-off-lock-up or maybe break and whip me in the face? I'm going to shorten the chain that was on there to fit, picking up tools today.
Nothing bad will come of stripping off the derailleurs/shifters and shortening the chain to use the freewheel as a singlespeed. Doing a simple conversion like this will not result in chain-induced facial flagellation! We do it all the time at the community bike co-op. It's what most commuters ride in New Orleans.

People on this forum tend to over-emphasize chainline. Yes, it the chainline is really bad (like an inch or more) your chain might want to shift gears on ya, be a bit noisy, or "have increased wear" but its really easy to avoid. Just eyeball it and you'll be golden. You'll have a great winter beater until the bike lust takes over and you want a "proper" singlespeed.

FYI, older chains tend to work better than newer ones for these conversions so stick with the old chain if it's not too rusty.
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Old 12-09-08, 07:18 PM
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I got the chain off but now I don't know how to get it back on. I can't figure out how to push that rivet back in, is there a special trick?
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Old 12-09-08, 07:38 PM
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Two stories... I rode a hobbled SS for a little bit while I saved, same deal, picked out the cog I wanted on the casette. Worked just fine. Tried to do the same on a friends bike, all the chain did was slip off the casette every time. Tried different cogs, just kept 'shifting' and kicking it off. That may have been another problem entirely though. Good luck and stick to a sideroad while you get the kinks worked out.
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Old 12-09-08, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mindaugas View Post
I got the chain off but now I don't know how to get it back on. I can't figure out how to push that rivet back in, is there a special trick?
did you push the pin all the way out of the chain?

back when my khs was a five speed i wrecked the rear derailer. i rode it on the big ring and small cog and never had a problem.
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Old 12-09-08, 08:19 PM
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ya, I pushed it all the way out, I discovered that was my mistake. a lot of cursing and a clamp did the trick though, but the chain is still one link too long lol. but I'm almost there.
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Old 12-09-08, 08:57 PM
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Okay, Merton this isn't funny anymore. First Kassebaum, now this?
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Old 12-09-08, 10:15 PM
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bust the cassette apart and re-arrange the cogs until the one u want is dead on center

sandwich 2 bigger cogs around it as chain keepers. use everything else as spacers.
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Old 12-09-08, 10:39 PM
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i rode like this for 2 months... take off the small chain ring if possible...

chances are the big ring will line up pretty close to the second or third smallest cog in the rear. MAKE SURE TO USE THE SAME CHAIN AS BEFORE (or the same diameter chain). shorten the chain to the right length, and ditch all the derailleur crap. You'll look like a bit of a tarck star... but it'll work.
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Old 12-09-08, 11:07 PM
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I got everything lined up and took it around the block, road great. I'll give it a good try tomorrow morning on my way to work. I tried to take the cassette off but my puny arms couldn't hack it so it remains. My cassette locking tool locks but I tried for a good 15 minutes and didn't even get the damn thing to budge. I've done some dumb things so far so maybe I was pulling on it the wrong way. There is a mark on the cassette with an arrow that says lock. I was pulling in the opposite direction which I thought was right since that was the free direction. And the chain whip is not an easy tool to use.

Before:



After:

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Old 12-10-08, 11:51 AM
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So you do have a cassette on a freehub and not a freewheel? I can't make it out from your pictures. Cassettes are tricky because it's really easy to overtighten the lock ring. Those ridges ensure that it takes a tremendous amount of force to loosen if you overtighten. Check out the Bicycle Mechanics subforum for tips on loosening it. Two from me: Counter-clockwise is loosening & while you are pushing on the chain whip and freewheel remover keep the handles near one another for leverage and so you don't bust a hand on the cassette when it slips. Good Luck
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Old 12-10-08, 01:04 PM
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I take to opposite approach to removing a stubborn lock-ring.

1. Orient the wheel vertically in front of you, with the cassette away from you.
2. Install chain whip on large cog (more leverage I think) with the handle on the left side and close to parallel with the ground (horizontal).
3. Install lock-ring tool to the right, close to horizontal.
4. Left hand on the end of the chain whip, right hand on the end of the cassette removal tool, push down hard. Be ready to fall over if you put your body weight into it a little too much.

Haven't been beaten, haven't been injured yet when I use this technique.

Last edited by tashi; 12-10-08 at 03:28 PM. Reason: spelling is kewl
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Old 12-10-08, 02:41 PM
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cassette on freehub is what I have. Thanks for the tips guys, I'll give it a shot this weekend.
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Old 12-10-08, 11:23 PM
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if that's the case then full just run the cog you want with some spacers to get the right chain line
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Old 12-11-08, 02:02 AM
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what things other than cassette spacers, have you guys used to space the cog?

i ask becuase i dont want to use other cogs as spacers, and therefore dont have enough spacers to fit the length of the freehub body.


this diy chain tug could help slipage:
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