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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)

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Old 05-29-10, 10:07 PM   #1
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cost of doing a conversion?

I have an old 1980's Norco Pinnacle mountain bike with a very worn derailleur. I rarely shift gears and want to convert it to a single speed bike. How much does it cost to do the average conversion, for the kit etc...?
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Old 05-29-10, 11:31 PM   #2
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it depends

if you want to convert it to a single speed, it depends on the specifics of the bike. If your bike has horizontal dropouts, the conversion can be nearly free (or under $30 at least). All you really have to do is remove all the un-needed parts (Shifters, derailers, and extra chainrings) shorten the chain, and then determine if you have a free-wheel or a cassette. If you have a freewheel, you need to buy yourself a new single speed freehweel. If it's a cassette, then you need to pick a cog you like, and buy some spacers.

If you have vertical dropouts, then you need a chain tensioner, as well as the stuff above.
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Old 05-30-10, 01:43 PM   #3
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I did a conversion... cost me a fair amount... then bought a track frame... then new components... and I wish I would have just spent my money on my final build in the first place.
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Old 05-30-10, 01:56 PM   #4
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it depends if you want to do it half-assed or right. if your bike is really from the 80's then it should have horizontal dropouts, so you don't need a tensioner (as mentioned above.

half assed:
-remove deraillers and shifters (will need a screwdriver or two and maybe a wrench)
-buy/borrow chain tool ($25)
-pick the gear you want in the front and back, shorten chain as necessary

-remove deraillers/shifters
-provided you have cranks with separable chainrings, remove all chainrings but the one you want to use. this will usually require a crank puller for mountain bikes to get at the smallest gear in the front. you will then either need to buy single speed chainring bolts ($10) or file down the ones you have (if done right it works just fine)
-a) assuming you have freewheel cassette, as the 80's had, you need a freewheel cassette removal tool ($5) and a large wrench. then you will need a single speed freewheel ($15). you will probably need to redish your wheel, which frankly should be done by someone who is experienced with dealing with wheels. you might have to pay for that if you don't have a buddy who can help
-b) if you happen to have a freehub, then you need the cassette removal tool ($5) and a chainwhip ($20) and a single speed conversion kit ($20). the plus side is you don't need to redish the wheel, the down side is you need the chainwhip.
-buy/borrow chain tool ($25)
-shorten chain to appropriate length for the gearing you have sellected

what it really comes down to is that the parts are almost no cost, but if you don't have the tools, that's what's gonna make up the budget.
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Old 05-30-10, 02:47 PM   #5
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Parts on the bike I kept and still use:

Crank arms, 52t Chainring, Handlebars, Stem, BB, Headset, Frame, Fork, Seatpost, Seat, Toecages/straps

Paid 50 bucks for the bike originally so tally for all that is 50 bucks.

I overhauled the headset/BB myself and opted not to replace them. They're old, and probably heavier than newer components, but they still work just fine.

What I bought:

New Wheelset (200)
New Tires (60)
New Brake handle (10)
new Brake (20)
Tubes (had tubes already but [5])
Brake Cable/Housing (10 bucks)
Rear Cog (20)
LockRing (2)
Chain (15)
Pedals (25)
headset spacers (.5)
Bar tape (5)
Shorter Chainring bolts: (2)
Rim Tape: (2)

Total new Crap: 370-ish

Total Tally: 420 bucks

Wow... I guess that's a lot more than I remember spending.

Though to be fair...

Originally I rode the bike as a ghetto Singlespeed, meaning, I stripped off all the unneeded parts and just shortened the chain and chose the best gear on the 5speed freewheel for chainline. At that time, I also replaced the brake cabling and bought the housings. That's also when I overhauled the BB/Headset.

A year later I started having problems on the rims and had to replace them and decided to go the extra mile to make it a full fledged Fixed Gear

I did have access to tools when I did most of the rebuild but I bought these tools after I finished so I could tinker at home:

Chainring Bolt Wrench (5)
Combination Chainwhip/Lockring/15mm/14mm/bottleopener tool: (20) <-- Avenir brand, but has worked great so far
Small 15mm Axel nut wrench/tirelever (20)
Expandable wrench for working on headset (10)
Chain Tool: (10) <--- I have a multi-tool with Allen wrenches that had this, but I lost the bolt that pushes out the pin.
14t cog (10) < ---- bought this because I thought I wasn't going to have clearance for a 52 chainring on the inside of the spider, so I was Gonna run 42/14 instead of 52/18, but turns out I didn't need it. Was a temporary solution since it was an avenir cog, which I bound to fail.

That's another 75 bucks right there. Throw in an extra chain I bought when I was running 42/15, as wheel as a different set of tires from before the new wheels, and you're looking about about 550 dollars I paid, in full for conversion. From start to finish.

If you have access to tools, and didn't be a dope like me, and also if you shop around more, you could probably do my bike for more like 400 or less. but since my project was over two years and I made mistakes and bought things I didn't need (not to mention the tools), it cost me more.

I would say if you have the know how and shop around you could probably do my conversion for a lot less, especially if you have access to tools. My cost rose because of the learning process.

But I learned a lot about bikes/biking during the build so the extra hundred or two was worth it.
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Old 05-30-10, 03:59 PM   #6
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I just did a conversion for $15, which was the cost of the SS chainring bolts. I just ripped off all the deraillers, shifters. Then I took off the unused chainrings (didn't want to take crank off so I just took a hacksaw to the smallest one haha).

I actually put a whole new rear wheel on it b/c i didn't want to mess w/ redishing, but I got the wheel for free from a friend who stripped the FG side of his flipflop hub.
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Old 05-30-10, 05:41 PM   #7
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my little bro got his rear wheel stolen so we converted his 80's mercier into a fixie. paid 60 bucks for silver dp18 laced to formula with generic cog and lockring. threw a gatorskin on it, shortened the chain. the most hassle-free bike upgrade ever.
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