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Advice on what to do to my fixie

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Advice on what to do to my fixie

Old 05-13-14, 01:02 PM
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Dan Pellegrino
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Advice on what to do to my fixie

Hey gang,

I bought a fixie off Craigslist late last fall. I didn't ride it all winter but I've been breaking it out the past few weeks since spring is finally here. It's good on flat ground but quite difficult to climb anything with a steep grade. My daily commute is pretty flat but I'd like to have it be a bit more versatile for weekend rides and other excursions. Current gears are 48x15. I'm thinking of swapping the 15 out for something bigger- 18 maybe? Seems like a solid choice given the gear chart in the gearing primer thread. Do you think I could make this change myself? I've never changed a gear or a chain before but I'm trying to become more competent at bike repair and maintenance.

Frame is a bit beat but I do like it. I love how narrow the bars are in some instances- easy to maneuver in traffic but I also think they might be making my shoulders hurt a bit...

Feedback is welcome.

Thanks!

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Old 05-13-14, 01:26 PM
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I would go with a 17t cog. All you need is a chain whip and a lock ring tool. It's pretty easy, there's tons of videos on youtube showing you how to change them. As soon as I started riding fixed I bought both those tools and they've come in handy so many times if you need to change cogs or if something loosens up.
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Old 05-13-14, 01:30 PM
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It is not extremely complicated to change a cog and can be a good learning experience. It certainly something you could do yourself but you'll need a lockring wrench and chain whip. I understand there are combination chain whip / lock ring tools, but I've never used them. If you have to replace your chain you may need a chain breaker to adjust the length of the new chain too.
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Old 05-13-14, 02:15 PM
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Hey,

Thanks for the helpful responses. Do these seem like the correct tools?

Lockring wrench- Amazon.com: Park Tool HCW-5 Lock Ring Spanner: Sports & Outdoors

Chain whip- Amazon.com : Park Tool SR-1 Sprocket Remover/Chain whip with Header : Bike Hand Tools : Sports & Outdoors

Looking at the chain breakers I realized I already have one of these on a multi-tool- Amazon.com: Topeak Alien II 26-Function Bicycle Tool: Sports & Outdoors

Do you think I can add to links to my current chain? I've heard this isn't recommended but I actually had a new one put on right at the start of the current season- about three weeks ago.

Also, would the 17t cog recommendation still hold if I told you I can't skid or track stand in the current configuration?
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Old 05-13-14, 02:35 PM
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You probably want this:
Park Tool SR-18 chain whip | Retrogression with the 1/8 inch chain.
It's also good to have a real chain tool like this.

The lockring spanner you have will work but they are a pain in the rear because they slip. If you can afford it get this but lots of people make their own by filing down channel lock pliers like this.

Going up in cog size will make track standing and skidding easier if that is what you want to do.
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Old 05-13-14, 02:37 PM
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Yeah, those will work fine. The multi-tool chain-breaker may be a bit of a pain to use, but it should do the job. As far as 17t vs 18t, the difference isn't massive; ride whatever feels best for you. It will probably be slightly easier to skid with the 18t cog, but you're hopefully going to spend more time riding than skidding.
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Old 05-13-14, 03:49 PM
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Is the bike the right size for you? I only ask because the seat post is slammed and the stem is extremely short.

17t will be a good gear, I road a 48x17 geared bike for a long time, though mostly on flats. If you're having trouble climbing now, you will definitely find it easier with a bigger cog.
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Old 05-13-14, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by t x View Post
Yeah, those will work fine. The multi-tool chain-breaker may be a bit of a pain to use, but it should do the job. As far as 17t vs 18t, the difference isn't massive; ride whatever feels best for you. It will probably be slightly easier to skid with the 18t cog, but you're hopefully going to spend more time riding than skidding.
Good point. However, I wasn't sure if the prevailing wisdom was to start larger and work your way down.
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Old 05-13-14, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by molimo140 View Post
Is the bike the right size for you? I only ask because the seat post is slammed and the stem is extremely short.
The bike is a bit big for me. I want to put a little money into this bike now but I ultimately want to switch in a few months once I know exactly what I'm looking for. I can stand over the bar fairly comfortably but there's definitely a lot of contact. I haven't been properly measured either at home or in a shop.
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Old 05-13-14, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Pellegrino View Post
Good point. However, I wasn't sure if the prevailing wisdom was to start larger and work your way down.
I don't think there is any "official" way of zeroing in on a ratio that works; it's too much of a function of the bike, the rider, the terrain, etc. If you have access to a geared bike you could try out different ratios to see what feels good before you buy the cog, but that would only be semi-accurate since we're only talking about a few gear inches difference.
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Old 05-14-14, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Pellegrino View Post
Also, would the 17t cog recommendation still hold if I told you I can't skid or track stand in the current configuration?
The 17T cog will actually make it easier to skid. And 17 being a prime number means you'll have 17 skid patches.
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Old 05-14-14, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
The 17T cog will actually make it easier to skid. And 17 being a prime number means you'll have 17 skid patches.
Ah, good point. I'd read this before but had forgotten.

Stopped by my local bike shop today on the way home from work. The face the guy made when I told him I was considering adding links to my chain has sort of given me cold feet... Anyways, he ballparked parts and labor at $70. The three tools recommended by prooftheory plus the cog would run me about $140. I could skrimp on the tools, I guess. Obviously, the tools and the knowledge I would potentially gain from doing the work myself are a long-term investment. On the other hand, I don't want to be the naive n00b that potentially botches the chain and winds up paying more in the long run.

I've also had another idea from reading a few more threads here- is it possible I could go up two teeth and not need to mess with the chain? It does have a bit of slack but not much. Chain has 94 links. Also, the bike has a flip-flop hub.
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Old 05-14-14, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Pellegrino View Post
Anyways, he ballparked parts and labor at $70. The three tools recommended by prooftheory plus the cog would run me about $140.
What? That seems extremely expensive...

Chain whip and lockring tool.
Tree Fort Bikes - Online Bicycle Parts and Accessories, Bicycle Tools and Maintenance

Chain tool.
Tree Fort Bikes - Online Bicycle Parts and Accessories, Bicycle Tools and Maintenance

Cog
Tree Fort Bikes - Online Bicycle Parts and Accessories, Bicycle Tools and Maintenance

Chain
Tree Fort Bikes - Online Bicycle Parts and Accessories, Bicycle Tools and Maintenance

$60 bucks, not including shipping.
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Old 05-14-14, 11:12 PM
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^^Thanks for the links. (I wasn't trying to imply that I definitely had to spend quite that much; that was just the total for the tools recommended by prooftheory plus a surly cog on treefort.) These seem pretty solid and could be what I wind up ordering.

Still hoping someone might have some input on adding two teeth but keeping the same chain.
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Old 05-14-14, 11:27 PM
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Increasing your cog by two teeth will move your axle about 1/4" forward in the dropouts.

Based on the pic of your bike and how close your wheel is to your seat tube, you'll need to add a link to your chain.
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Old 05-15-14, 07:26 AM
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Actually the most alarming thing was the guy at the LBS wanting to charge you $70 for a cog, chain, and labor. I would avoid that place.
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Old 05-15-14, 08:11 AM
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Do you have spare links to add to your chain? The only difficulty with that is you can't push the pin out all the way and it is hard to judge. It isn't recommended but it is perfectly doable as long as you have a brake. It would be better if you had a spare master link.
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Old 05-15-14, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Jared. View Post
Actually the most alarming thing was the guy at the LBS wanting to charge you $70 for a cog, chain, and labor. I would avoid that place.
That's good to know. Could be time to find a new place.

Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
Increasing your cog by two teeth will move your axle about 1/4" forward in the dropouts.

Based on the pic of your bike and how close your wheel is to your seat tube, you'll need to add a link to your chain.
Originally Posted by prooftheory View Post
Do you have spare links to add to your chain? The only difficulty with that is you can't push the pin out all the way and it is hard to judge. It isn't recommended but it is perfectly doable as long as you have a brake. It would be better if you had a spare master link.
I don't have any spare links.
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Old 05-16-14, 01:24 PM
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Before buying a chainwhip, double check your chain size. Bianchi Pista's come with 3/32 chains. Not 1/8 track chains. So buying the wrong parts/tools sucks. I own a Pista and upgraded the cranks to 144 BCD and 1/8" chain.
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