Thursday, April 30, 2009

Put it together Fool!

This is part three of the three part series on converting your classic road bike into a fixed gear bike.
  • It goes without saying that you need to have a minimum amount of mechanical skills and bike tools to complete this conversion.
  • If you really need help understanding the components or assembly then go to the source of all things cycling
  • The late great Sheldon Brown's website
  • The illustrated guides provided by Park bicycle tools.
  1. Start with installing your bottom bracket, then your assembled crank and chainring to make sure your chainring is close to the chainstay without running the risk of touching the stay.
  2. Now you need to respace your rear wheel hub, then redish the wheel. Respacing the rear wheel means removing the large one sided spacer on the drive side and replacing it with equal length individual spacers that are approximately equal on both the drive and non drive sides of the axle. Redishing requires spoke adjustments on both the left and right sides. The Right nipples will need to be loosened 2 full turns and the Left nipples will need to be tightened 2 full turns. Don't do this all at once. Do a max of 1/2 turn on each nipple, one side at a time until you get there. If you are not comfortable with this get a wheelbuilder to do this for you. Remember that since the nipples are threaded through the rim, they appear to need be turned the opposite way to tighten them. They are regular threaded but the perspective used when using a spoke wrench is the opposite. Just memorize this easy to remember saying for wheel building, "Lefty Tighty, Rightly Loosely".
  3. Now you can turn on the Track cog and use grease on the threads, then reuse the old Bottom Bracket Lockring to snug the cog to the hub. This is referred to as a suicide hub or faux lockring setup. This is appropriate for a budget fixed gear, but if your girlfriend or boyfriend will not be impressed without you rocking a block long skid, then just buy a rear track wheel and a classic cycling cap from the 80's. Viva La Claire!
  4. Set your chain by starting with the wheel all the way back in the frame. Then line up the chainlinks that will allow the next longest chain. Re-connect the chain with the wheel moved forward, and pull the wheel back to marvel at your new drivetrain with chain tensioned, with only a slight amount of movement.
  5. Get that seat attached to the post, post attached to frame. Bar attached to the stem, hip bone connected to steerer tube and button that ride up. Get your pedals installed and bolts secured for safety, drink a Red Bull and get your wings.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fixed Gear Conversion Gear Selection Guide

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This is the second part of the three part series on how to convert a bike into a fixed gear. Now you have the bike disassembled and separated with parts you intend to reuse and the parts you can then recycle. Now it comes time to go shopping, you need to buy a couple of things.

  • Narrower Bottom Bracket
  • Axle Spacers
  • Single Chainring bolts
  • New Track Cog
  • New Chain that matches the width of Track Cog

Gear selection is a personal choice like clothing. Many combinations will work but well fitting clothes work much better than ill fitting clothes. If you are focused on a budget fixed gear you need to reuse the maximum amount of your existing stash o'parts. Let's start with counting the number of teeth on your current large chainring. Why the large ring? Well in my opinion the larger ring looks better, runs quieter, and feels smoother. You can choose either so I have written the guide to cover both situations.

So if you are using a,

  • 53T-49T chainring start with a 17T cog, average ratio 3.0
  • 48T-45T chainring start with a 16T cog, average ratio 2.9
  • 44T-39T chainring start with a 15T cog, average ratio 2.8

If you have a chainring not listed go for a cog that represents a Ring: Cog Ratio closest to 2.9:1.

The second step is how to customize this guideline to your particular cog size given personal factors. See if any below fit your situation.

  • Weak Legs-add a tooth
  • Weak Character- add one
  • Ride above 20mph average- take away one
  • Flat Terrain- leave it alone
  • Moderate Terrain- add one
  • Demanding Terrain- add two
  • Running 27" wheels- add one
  • Running 650c or 26" wheels-take away one

Got your own add one, take away one criteria? Hit me with your comments.

In celebration of Earth Day, I am writing a 3 part guide on how to save an unused bicycle and convert it into a Fixed Gear that someone will ride.

  1. Find a suitable donor bike, dust is good, rust is bad. Make sure the rear of the bike frame will allow you to reposition the rear wheel forward and back, this frame feature is called horizontal dropouts, check the wheels, they should be generally straight and true with no rim dents and have a freewheel(5-8 speed), not a cassette.
  2. Clean the bike, not a super clean detailing but enough to get 80% of the grime off.
  3. Remove the chain.
  4. Cut gear cables, remove derailleurs and shifters.
  5. Remove wheels then disconnect brake cables and remove brake calipers.
  6. Remove all accessories(seat bags, bar bag, bottle cages, reflectors, kick stands, lights, computers, etc.)
  7. Remove pedals by putting a 15mm wrench on them and spinning cranks forward, then remove the cranks. (special instruction: If you want to do this without bike shop help you need to know your mechanical limits and the limits of your tools. DON'T TAKE APART ANYTHING YOU DON'T HAVE THE TOOLS TO REASSEMBLE.
  8. Select the parts you want to/need to re-use. I recommend those with wanting to recycle the maximum to REUSE ALL PARTS in good condition. Recommendations include recycling the wheels, cranks, chainring, pedals, seat, post, headset, handlebar, stem, front brake caliper and lever.
  9. Note the fit and size of the seat post. Older 80's steel bikes trend around 26.8 but have a high variability compared with the more common 27.2 size for new steel bikes. Make sure the fit is appropriate and that the previous owner did not replace the post with one too small and then overtighten binder bolt.
  10. Remove freewheel from the rear wheel and pie plate spoke protector.
  11. Clean the frame and fork again, now you can reach all the difficult areas and go about removing offensive stickers from the previous owner.
  12. Rinse and Repeat

Here are some pics of a small 50cm Raleigh Technium Tri-Lite. This will make my 4th or 5th Technium conversion. I usually don't do before and after pictures, but here you go. The remaining steps on conversion of classic bike into your own fixed gear will follow in upcoming post.



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Friday, April 17, 2009

Transparent Red is the new white.

I love how the ways color trends seem to wander around bikes. Black and getting your bike completely black was fun. Then, it was white and the ghost bike was born. Then bold colors that were opaque hit. Now it seems transparents and candies will again rule the earth. Here is the latest XL frame to come from 1Off . If you are interesting in building a bike with your own vision, hit me up I am only available one bike at a time, but that one bike might be yours.


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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Uniquely Custom Handbuilt FIXED GEAR wheelsets

As a Master Wheelbuilder I have the passion for creating uniquely custom handbuilt fixed gear wheelsets. With 10+ years of wheelbuilding experience the quality and precision of my builds are unmatched. If you are interested in a wheelset that cannot be purchased anywhere, I can help.
Custom features include custom colored Spokes, Rims and Hubs.

  • Single color $320
  • Two color $340
  • Three color $360
  • Mixed spoke color combinations $380



    Hubs available are Formula sealed bearing hubs spaced to either 120mm, 126mm or 130mm.

    Rims available are Deep Aero shaped either 25mm with eyelets or 30mm without eyelets.

    Spokes available are Sapim Race double butted 14/15/14g with brass nipples(black or silver)



    Custom wheels are started with 50% downpayment, with 2 week build window and balance due on delivery.



    Individual Components are available
  • Custom Spokes Qty 65- 282mm $80
  • Custom Hubset Front and Rear $120
  • Custom Rimsets Front and Rear $140



    Colors offered include the following: white, transparent blue, transparent red(featured in photos), candy lime green, candy pink, jollypop orange, solar rain, black chrome II, and anno red. Click on close-up view.











Monday, April 13, 2009

Schwinn Traveler III

Sometimes you find a bike you can't bring yourself to paint. Granted I was not sentimental enough to keep this a geared 10 speed. Original features sometimes fit just right and this is my third bike like this one. But nothing comes close to the original paint and graphics on this beauty.

  • Schwinn S stem and seat binder
  • Original Le Tour Crank and Seat post
  • Riser/City bars are not just a recent trend
  • Brand new Brazen Cycleworks custom wheelset



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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Vermillion Splash

Not red and not orange, it's Vermillion, damn it!
The two stage powder coat is courtesy of 1 Off Powder Coating. This lively and quite racy ride is a converted Univega Viva Sport it corners with confidence of a race bike but is quite comfortable just out sprinting anything that rolls. I was experimenting with low gearing, usually not my thing, but it looks like a BMX bike that is ready for a rail slide.


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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Antifreeze Ice Cream

It rides as good as it tastes. Candies, Pearls, Translucents, and Dormants are now flowing from 1 Off Powder Coating. The results are amazing in person, photos only capture 50% of the effect.
Classic Schwinn with nice flat crown fork.
Tange Levin HS
Threaded to Threadless Adapter
White Ti seat
Custom Brazen Cycleworks wheelset with classic Shimano high flanged hubs and black Sapim spokes and nipples.

Who is hungry for more?


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