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Horizontal dropouts vs true track frame

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Horizontal dropouts vs true track frame

Old 04-11-09, 06:30 PM
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xxguitarist
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Horizontal dropout road frame vs true track frame [New: Trek 400 opinions? ]

I've been riding on the road for about 8 years, and lately I've been considering a fixed gear setup. I rode ~30 miles the other day on my Trek in one gear, so that's not much of a worry for me. I liked the feel & challenge of it. It seems like most on here have track frames with the "fork ends" instead of an older road bike frame with horizontal dropouts.
Is there anything in particular other than the horizontal dropouts to check for if I take the old road frame route?
I'm capable of doing plenty of bike work myself, but I'd be buying the replacement wheels built, or having the LBS take care of that for me.
I hope to stay in the $300 range for this complete project, especially since I may be upgrading my road frame to a specialized roubaix comp. this summer.
I've read most of the stickies, and the DIY sections, etc. Still need some help understanding the hostility towards those who decide to build a fixed gear on an older road frame.
Thanks.

Last edited by xxguitarist; 04-18-09 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 04-11-09, 06:39 PM
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dont convert YOUR bike, buy a ****ty bike and convert it. after a few weeks, you will wish you had your gears. fixed is fun, but gears is where its at.
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Old 04-11-09, 06:39 PM
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that being said, i rode 33 miles brakeless fixed today
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Old 04-11-09, 06:50 PM
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I don't intend to convert my trek, it's from 2001, I was talking about your basic late '70s steel frame type road bike.
The trek will just be replaced by the roubaix, as my geared bike, if that works out.
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Old 04-11-09, 07:08 PM
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+give the frame a once over for damage. eyeball it and make sure it isn't twisted.
+stay away from cottered cranks
+try to get something with an english threaded BB
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Old 04-11-09, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by lukewall View Post
+give the frame a once over for damage. eyeball it and make sure it isn't twisted.
+stay away from cottered cranks
+try to get something with an english threaded BB
basically
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Old 04-11-09, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by xxguitarist View Post
Still need some help understanding the hostility towards those who decide to build a fixed gear on an older road frame.
Do what you want, screw the haters.
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Old 04-11-09, 07:21 PM
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i thought the OP wanted to convert his newer trek.
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Old 04-11-09, 07:24 PM
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Frame checks are obvious for me, sounds like cottered cranks are just a pain to work with and easy to identify, and to get a English threaded BB, Just avoid old Italian frames?

Originally Posted by dobber View Post
Do what you want, screw the haters.
Just making sure it was hate without too much reason behind it.
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Old 04-11-09, 07:26 PM
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definitely avoid cottered cranks. i got a bike with them, and replaced them and teh bb right away
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Old 04-11-09, 07:55 PM
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True track dropouts are designed to withstand the higher torques of fixed gear velodrome racing; the horizontal dropouts on conversion bikes are not - but they do work well enough for everyday city type riding.
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Old 04-11-09, 08:28 PM
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backpedaling will, with time, start to really mash up horizontal dropouts. Originally, the only frames with track ends were actual track frames which came with steeper geometry and some credibility. These days, half of the frames out there are road frames with rear-opening dropouts, which makes a fair amount of sense for the road.
The reason people hate on fixed-gear road conversions is because so many folks grind off downtube shifter bosses, derailler hangers, and brake cable guides for "that clean look." Convert whatever you want, but keep your dremel away from it.
If you're going to get an old steel frame, stick with one that was built for 700C wheels.
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Old 04-11-09, 08:47 PM
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i thinks some of the older Raleigh frames have a funky BB threading too, so watch out for those. they might be described on Sheldon Brown's website.


Originally Posted by xxguitarist View Post
and to get a English threaded BB, Just avoid old Italian frames?
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Old 04-11-09, 08:49 PM
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PunctualAlex,
Thanks for the insight.
If I ride this enough to smash up the dropout, then I'll know it's time to buy the *real* thing.

I was giving preference to the 700cc bikes, but I figured that if I needed, switching most 27'' to 700 wouldn't be too bad if I only ran a front brake, as i intend to.

I understand that grinding off the now- unnecessary bits would be purely asthetic, but I fail to see what's "wrong" with it. Seems to me that you may as well, if you'll be repainting or stripping & clearcoating the frame. Is the issue that some "ruin" a classic frame in the process?
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Old 04-11-09, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by xxguitarist View Post
I understand that grinding off the now- unnecessary bits would be purely asthetic, but I fail to see what's "wrong" with it. Seems to me that you may as well, if you'll be repainting or stripping & clearcoating the frame. Is the issue that some "ruin" a classic frame in the process?
Exactly - some very nice vintage road frames have had bits and pieces hacked off, and it tends to get the C&V crowd up in arms (and in my opinion, rightfully so on some nice frames.) On your average 70s bike boom road bike, it's not a big deal.

That said, I ride a Panasonic conversion with the cable guides hacked off, but it wasn't anything special to begin with - and the previous owner did the hacking.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:04 PM
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If you do it correctly, I don't really see anything wrong with it, unless you're hacking up a true classic. I converted an 80-something scwinn tempo, and I removed the bosses. You'll catch **** from some people, but it's your bike, your money. If you're going to do it, I'd suggest doing it right (fill in low spots and make it smooth), so you can't catch flak for doing a crappy job dremeling it. All in all, it's not necessary, mostly aesthetic, but the important thing is to get out and ride. Like dobber said, screw the haters.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by norskagent View Post
True track dropouts are designed to withstand the higher torques of fixed gear velodrome racing; the horizontal dropouts on conversion bikes are not - but they do work well enough for everyday city type riding.
This is the biggest b.s i've ever heard. You actually think fix gears can put out more torque than mtb's with huge gear range and a triple in front? Give me a friggin break.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PunctualAlex View Post
backpedaling will, with time, start to really mash up horizontal dropouts.
This is also total bull****. Good god.

A converted road frame will be for all intents and purposes the superior frame for general road riding/commuting. Why? Road geometry, ability to change out a flat without a fender readjustment. Ability to add full fenders, racks. Just because you're running a fixed gear doesn't mean a real track frame is the best for the road. It's best for the track.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:33 PM
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While I'm at it, how are the chances for a 700 wheeled bike with horizontal dropouts? Seems as one became the standard, the other fell out of favor.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:36 PM
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also, check the dropouts, since it can be kinda a hassle if you have to bend them in/space your wheel much (they only have the tool at one collective that I go to, but yea) and on a niji i converted to ss the dropouts were some weird spacing like 127. maybe its not such a big deal, but on a fixed gear conversion chainline is obviously one of the biggest things to get 100% right, whereas as far as I know a track frame will be fine from the get go. you prolly know all this, just my two cents.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by xxguitarist View Post
While I'm at it, how are the chances for a 700 wheeled bike with horizontal dropouts? Seems as one became the standard, the other fell out of favor.
Chances aren't too bad. By the 80's, most mid to upper level bikes were 700c with only some low-end bikes still using 27" wheels, and virtually all bikes still used horizontal dropouts then. Even if you end up with a bike originally intended for 27", with the right brake calipers you can still run 700c because the difference in diameter is small enough - I did that on my '83 Cannondale. It will put the bottom bracket about 4mm closer to the ground, though.

EDIT - I guess I should add that on nice bikes, 700c has been used for much much longer, but by the 80s 27" was phased out. If you're looking for a cheaper frame to convert, a lot of older frames will use 27".

Last edited by Business810; 04-11-09 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by xxguitarist View Post
While I'm at it, how are the chances for a 700 wheeled bike with horizontal dropouts? Seems as one became the standard, the other fell out of favor.
700C wheels have been pretty much standard on continental European road bikes since about the 1960s. Horizontal (forward facing) road dropouts were standard for even longer. It's only from the mid 1980s on that vertical dropouts and 650B and other wheel sizes made any significant inroads.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by freshnfunk View Post
also, check the dropouts, since it can be kinda a hassle if you have to bend them in/space your wheel much (they only have the tool at one collective that I go to, but yea) and on a niji i converted to ss the dropouts were some weird spacing like 127. maybe its not such a big deal, but on a fixed gear conversion chainline is obviously one of the biggest things to get 100% right, whereas as far as I know a track frame will be fine from the get go. you prolly know all this, just my two cents.
The other option is of course to add spacers to the hub. Having a straight chainline is important, but that can easily be adjusted by spacing the hub or using a different BB length.

Even if you do decide to respace the frame, cold-setting the steel is not too tough. I wouldn't try it on an aluminum frame, though.
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Old 04-11-09, 09:53 PM
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Business,
Yeah, I knew with the right brakes/mods, you could, but it'd be nice to be able to do it without changing anything around.

Maybe I'll start in on the hunt for a 56cm frame. Craigslist, here I come. I'll post candidates here for review.
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Old 04-11-09, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by norskagent View Post
True track dropouts are designed to withstand the higher torques of fixed gear velodrome racing; the horizontal dropouts on conversion bikes are not - but they do work well enough for everyday city type riding.
You're probably right. Old road bikes could handle the power of guys like the Cannibal and Indurain but can't handle the torque and power of fixie kids riding on the street.
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