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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I am about 6 months deep into the bike culture, and am ready to convert my 1970's road bike into a fixed gear! The original spokes are rusted to the nipples, so I'm replacing them with gently used set of wheels off of a single speed. Everything else is in fairly good condition... I'll probably replace the chain once I get the money.

Anyways, I'm trying to figure out how to go about this in the most economical way possible. I'm in college, and alas am poor. I have a chain breaker, basic set of tools, and some spare bike parts.. thats about it! I've read a number of articles online on how to make the conversion, and seem to just get lost. Can anyone dumb it down for me? I brought the bike into my local bike shop, and they literally laughed at me. The smirked and snickered at my bike, presumably because it is old and doesn't cost hundreds of dollars. In any event, I decided to not let that discourage me, and am ready to take on the job myself.
 

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A photo of the old rear wheel, new rear wheel, and your cranks would really help. It's a matter of making sure that your cog (or freewheel) line up with your chainring, so you have a good chainline.
 

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A photo of the old rear wheel, new rear wheel, and your cranks would really help. It's a matter of making sure that your cog (or freewheel) line up with your chainring, so you have a good chainline.
You forgot about the PBR!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yea Ill post a picture when I get home.. The freewheel hub is off of an older basic cruiser. I read. Sheldon's article a couple times, and I think I understand, but I also read another article that says it's damn near limpossible to make the conversion, but I may just be misreading it.. How much money would you guess i'm going to be investing in this? I've been scouring craigslist for a fixed gear wheel set but haven't had much luck. Any suggestions you have would be great' but I'll be sureto post a picture tonight
 

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You can build a single speed with that wheel, but not a fixed gear. Anything can be done, it's only a bicycle. Oh, I found a brand new set of wheels on our local classifieds for $30. Just saw the same set in a shop today for $120, and that was with silver hoops, not the sweet black ones like I got. Patience, and cash in hand.
 

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adlondon, if you are new to cycling I'd recommend you not start out with a fixed gear for all kinds of reasons. A single speed makes more sense and is easily made up of any deraillered bike. Simply choose whatever gearing you like for all-around cruising, say 52x20, and then remove the deraillers fore and aft and break the chain to fit the large front ring and the 20 tooth cog. People will tell you you can't do this with quick release dropouts in the rear and need tensioning devices in the rear dropout like on a track bike. This is not true. I own and have converted (cheaply) several inexpensive deraillered bikes just as described. You may not be able to get the chain tension real tight because you are at the mercy of some luck involving where the chain comes apart and how well this fits between the 2 gears, but even if it's a bit loose it will still work. I've had some bikes like this with a little chain sag and have never thrown a chain.

With this system you still have the rear cluster and can always get a new chain, add to the chain, or shorten it to change gears in the future if the one you initially chose is not to your liking. Forget about how it looks with all the unused gears in the cluster. It's only a utilitarian working device.
 

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You forgot about the PBR!
You'll also need:

• A Messenger bag (reffered to as a 'mess bag' within the community)
• A pair of skinny jeans. Girls jeans are preferable if you can find a pair that fit.
• A white belt
• A bunch of 'ironic' vintage t-shirts
• Grow a mustache (no matter how bad it looks on you)
• Forearm and neck tattoos of things you'll regret when you are older.
• Take up smoking clove cigarettes (or cigarillo cigars)

You want to essentially look like this:



or this:



(I'm kidding of course.)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Photo 4 and 5 are the wheel im using.. 8 and 9 are the old crank and wheel from the original bike.. I appreciate the feedback Ian. I've actually been riding around on my friends fixed gear for awhile, and would like one of my own.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
haha no i appreciate the humor.. hopefully wont be growing a mustache any time soon, but you never know!
 

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Photo 4 and 5 are the wheel im using.. 8 and 9 are the old crank and wheel from the original bike.. I appreciate the feedback Ian. I've actually been riding around on my friends fixed gear for awhile, and would like one of my own.
Just wanting one is good enough reason. I like the fact you are scrounging parts and are willing to ignore others disdain for what they consider junk. I understand low income and not being able to buy any old thing you want. I made up my early single-speeds for the express reason I was (and still am) poor by most peoples standards.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
update:

so I did some more research, and I definitely can't use the cruiser wheel set I have, so for now I will stick to my original one.. I ordered a Surly sprocket offline with a lockring, and will put it on my original. Couple quick questions..

1) can I keep my same crank and either a) try and take off the extra cranks to bring it down to one or b) leave the other cranks on there and just not use them?

2) do I need a special tool to remove my mult-gear sprocket off of the original road bike? I can't figure out exactly how to get it off..
 

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Your rear gear cluster can be removed, but you can only replace it with a freewheel, not a cog and lockring. The chainrings appear to be riveted, in which case you're better off swapping the cranks out.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
thats what i thought, but it says on sheldonbrown.com

"The cheapest way to convert a multi-speed bicycle into a fixed gear is to use the original rear hub, assuming that it is made for a conventional threaded freewheel. A fixed sprocket will thread right on, but there is no provision for a left threaded lock ring.

If you go this route, it is a good idea to use LocTite or a similar thread adhesive. You can use an old lock ring from a British-threaded bottom bracket as an additional safety measure, it is the same thread."

Doesn't that mean I can just buy a rear fixed gear cog and screw it on?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
right, i was just planning on using ultra-loc-tite or whatever the strongest thread adhesive is that i can find. I understand that this is not going to be the "ideal" fixed gear and will most likely have some problems and a good bit of man hours put into it.. I really just need a project to keep me level and something to work on during my spare time.. that being said, how the hell do i get my rear cog off??
 
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