fixed gear conversion for road bike

Bicycle related chatter & discussion
User avatar
fenn_paddler
Posts: 154
Joined: 28 Mar 2007, 08:30
Location: Petersham

Postby fenn_paddler » 13 Nov 2008, 07:13

I was in NY last week and was intrigued by the bikes - lots of fixies with cut down bars, massive locks that must have weighed more than the bike itself & typically no brakes or lights. I can see why most of this makes sense over there - Manhattan is pretty flat so you don't need gears, Midtown is like daylight at night so you don't need lights, theft is obviously a problem hence the big chains, and navigating congested streets would be made easier with narrow handlebars. I can't understand no brakes but then NY'ers are very image conscious so there's clearly a trickle down of that mindset into bike accessories and brakes are for Freds or Schwinn riders.

However I've seen similar fixies around Newtown and even Petersham. I don't understand their advantages here - Sydney is a hilly city & gears are handy, and Canterbury Rd is hardly 42nd street so narrow bars don't offer the same lane splitting options (and would simply make the bike harder to control). Perhaps fixies and more specifically the type I described above, are another example of blindly following an American trend where it's not totally appropriate.

But having mentioned all of that I've been considering a refit of my old Cannondale road bike commuter and converting to fixie may be an option - but to simplify the configuration rather than attempt to slavishly follow an overseas trend. Plus it's getting harder to source parts for the almost worn out shimano 7 speed ensemble.

The question is, has anybody had experience with this item, which would eliminate the need to purchase another back wheel if I was to convert: http://www.surlybikes.com/parts/fixxer_pop.html.

I figure to convert the bike all I would need is:

- blanks to cover holes where gear levers are currently installed on down tube
- Surly fixxer per above URL
- Rear cog
- Probably a new chain
- Shorter chainring bolts so I can remove one of the chaingings.

Is there anything else I would need?

Would attempting to keep the chain tensioned correctly with relatively vertical cannondale road dropouts drive me up the wall?

Cheers,
Alan W

christian
Posts: 837
Joined: 30 Oct 2007, 19:21
Location: Earlwood

Postby christian » 13 Nov 2008, 08:05

You're going to find it next to impossible to get the chain tension right with vertical dropouts unless you use an eccentric hub, these are made my White industries and aren't cheap. Also this involves rebuilding your rear wheel.

Also I'm not sure if you can use road chain rings as they have ramps on them and they may drop the chain. If you don't have a ring the right size then you'll need to get one, the cheapest option I know for 130 bcd single speed ring is from http://www.cycleunderground.com.au/ Chain rinf bolts can usually just be files down.

User avatar
weiyun
Posts: 4173
Joined: 17 Nov 2006, 22:32
Location: Birchgrove
Contact:

Postby weiyun » 13 Nov 2008, 08:07

I agree with you Alan. But as you said, the mechanical simplicity of a fixed/single speed makes a lot of sense for a commuter bike. And then it's so macho to grind that 30 cadence up a Sydney hill on a fixie.
:lol:

The other item you need is a chain tensioner when using vertical drop-out, but only with single speed.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/singlespeed.html

User avatar
Toff
Posts: 1215
Joined: 20 Sep 2007, 14:34
Location: Stanmore

Postby Toff » 13 Nov 2008, 08:48

Once you ride a fixed gear, and put the right cog on it, I'm sure you'll find that it's pretty handy, and will get you over most hills (especially between Petersham and the CBD). Most fixie riders don't do long trips anyway. Maybe a 5km commute each way max...

Incedentally, the reason why so many fixed gear bikes have cut down handlebars without brakes is to do stunts, not for squeezing down narrow laneways. If you want to do the trick where you balance on one wheel and spin your handlebars around, you can't have a brake cable. Nor can you have drop bars, which would bang into the top tube.

Example

User avatar
weiyun
Posts: 4173
Joined: 17 Nov 2006, 22:32
Location: Birchgrove
Contact:

Postby weiyun » 13 Nov 2008, 08:57

Can you still turn the front wheel when there's a trail on the fork?

User avatar
Toff
Posts: 1215
Joined: 20 Sep 2007, 14:34
Location: Stanmore

Postby Toff » 13 Nov 2008, 09:02

weiyun wrote:Can you still turn the front wheel when there's a trail on the fork?

You just put a smaller diameter front wheel in, since you don't have to worry about brake drop. This is a reason why 26" & 24" front wheel fixies are still popular.

User avatar
mikesbytes
Posts: 6991
Joined: 13 Nov 2006, 13:48
Location: Tempe
Contact:

Postby mikesbytes » 13 Nov 2008, 09:28

fenn_paddler wrote:Would attempting to keep the chain tensioned correctly with relatively vertical cannondale road dropouts drive me up the wall?


If you wanted to delay the cost of an eccentric hub, you could go single speed (as distinct from fixed) and use a chain tensioner, either a purpose built one or keep the rear derailer.

User avatar
fenn_paddler
Posts: 154
Joined: 28 Mar 2007, 08:30
Location: Petersham

Postby fenn_paddler » 13 Nov 2008, 09:55

toff wrote:Once you ride a fixed gear, and put the right cog on it, I'm sure you'll find that it's pretty handy, and will get you over most hills (especially between Petersham and the CBD). Most fixie riders don't do long trips anyway. Maybe a 5km commute each way max...

Incedentally, the reason why so many fixed gear bikes have cut down handlebars without brakes is to do stunts, not for squeezing down narrow laneways. If you want to do the trick where you balance on one wheel and spin your handlebars around, you can't have a brake cable. Nor can you have drop bars, which would bang into the top tube.

Example


Ha ha! So they're all out of work artists / performers and never know when they may want to do a few party tricks with the front wheel whilst waiting at the light. Actually that's not true - no rider there ever observes a red light.

I reckon that's akin to a Mosman Landcruiser driver justifying a bullbar in case they hit a roo...

Petersham to north ryde has one hill in particular that may be a bit tough on a single speed - would need to test that out before making the commitment.

Cheers,
Alan

User avatar
fenn_paddler
Posts: 154
Joined: 28 Mar 2007, 08:30
Location: Petersham

Postby fenn_paddler » 13 Nov 2008, 09:57

weiyun wrote:I agree with you Alan. But as you said, the mechanical simplicity of a fixed/single speed makes a lot of sense for a commuter bike. And then it's so macho to grind that 30 cadence up a Sydney hill on a fixie.
:lol:

The other item you need is a chain tensioner when using vertical drop-out, but only with single speed.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/singlespeed.html


Yes this sounds like the way to go, but the costs start adding up. Plus you lose some of that elegant simplicity.

Cheers,
Alan

insomniac
Posts: 91
Joined: 19 Sep 2008, 15:29
Location: Dulwich Hill
Contact:

Postby insomniac » 13 Nov 2008, 10:06

Fennpaddler - I bought a SS fixie a fews week ago for my daily Dulwich Hill to CBD commute....I love it. There is no way I would now ride a geared bike to work. Not having to change gears all the time is a pleasure plus fitness benefits. Then when you do get on the geared road bike for longer rides it seem soooo easy. FWIW I'd just buy one new, they're cheap.

User avatar
weiyun
Posts: 4173
Joined: 17 Nov 2006, 22:32
Location: Birchgrove
Contact:

Postby weiyun » 13 Nov 2008, 11:16

insomniac wrote:There is no way I would now ride a geared bike to work. Not having to change gears all the time is a pleasure plus fitness benefits.

Some call it fitness training, others call it preparation for early TKR. ;)

TKR - Total Knee Replacement.

User avatar
weiyun
Posts: 4173
Joined: 17 Nov 2006, 22:32
Location: Birchgrove
Contact:

Postby weiyun » 13 Nov 2008, 11:24

Here's an interesting comment on the choice of cog for single speed relating chain wear.
http://sheldonbrown.com/chain-life.html

insomniac
Posts: 91
Joined: 19 Sep 2008, 15:29
Location: Dulwich Hill
Contact:

Postby insomniac » 13 Nov 2008, 15:41

weiyun wrote:
insomniac wrote:There is no way I would now ride a geared bike to work. Not having to change gears all the time is a pleasure plus fitness benefits.

Some call it fitness training, others call it preparation for early TKR. ;)

TKR - Total Knee Replacement.


Whilst there maybe cause for concern with TKR on an SS / Fixie I would of thought it could be minimised by

1) not overcooking the gearing - I'm running roughly 71"
2) Whilst I might be in a higher gear going up the steeper stuff, on the near flat and flats I'm probably riding in a lot lower gear and spinning rather than grinding out higher gears, hence less stress on the knee joints.

So I thus conclude - TKR is not as inevitable as it may be made out to be on an SS Fixie.

User avatar
mikesbytes
Posts: 6991
Joined: 13 Nov 2006, 13:48
Location: Tempe
Contact:

Postby mikesbytes » 13 Nov 2008, 15:49

It depends on the rider, I didn't find any issues running 73.9" for the week I had a borrowed fixie

User avatar
weiyun
Posts: 4173
Joined: 17 Nov 2006, 22:32
Location: Birchgrove
Contact:

Postby weiyun » 13 Nov 2008, 17:26

mikesbytes wrote:It depends on the rider, I didn't find any issues running 73.9" for the week I had a borrowed fixie

It's a chronic strain and may not manifest clinically in one week of riding.

But what's said is right, it all depends on the gearing choice.

User avatar
Toff
Posts: 1215
Joined: 20 Sep 2007, 14:34
Location: Stanmore

Postby Toff » 13 Nov 2008, 20:00

fenn_paddler wrote:Ha ha! So they're all out of work artists / performers and never know when they may want to do a few party tricks with the front wheel whilst waiting at the light. Actually that's not true - no rider there ever observes a red light.

I reckon that's akin to a Mosman Landcruiser driver justifying a bullbar in case they hit a roo...

Bingo! As we all know, what's important is how your bike looks up against the wall whilst you sip your latté.

I'd say even in NYC, few know that the narrow bars are for trick riding, and fewer still know how to do the tricks. Doesn't stop them buzzing around with only their chain as a means of stopping!

timyone
Posts: 4380
Joined: 22 Nov 2006, 20:29

Postby timyone » 13 Nov 2008, 20:10

Lol about the first message! man its fashion, and theres a fixie scene in most big cities, id love a bike like the ones youve mentioned, nothing to do with going between cars etc.

User avatar
jimmy
Posts: 988
Joined: 13 Nov 2006, 10:15
Contact:

Postby jimmy » 14 Nov 2008, 06:52

When I lost the ability to shift on the Rock Ride I did earlier this year, I pretty much worked out my gearing based up on my prefered cadance and what sort of speeds I wanted to do.

I ended up in the 39/15 which is about the 69", I was able to pedal at about 100rpm and I would then sit on about 31-32km/hr.

It is generally thought that a higher cadance saves your knees. So I would work out what sort of speeds you want to maintain on your commute, and then work out your gearing accordingly.

James

User avatar
weiyun
Posts: 4173
Joined: 17 Nov 2006, 22:32
Location: Birchgrove
Contact:

Postby weiyun » 14 Nov 2008, 07:16

jimmy wrote:It is generally thought that a higher cadance saves your knees. So I would work out what sort of speeds you want to maintain on your commute, and then work out your gearing accordingly.

All makes sense for flat land rides. Throw in some hills and the equation goes haywire. :cry:

User avatar
matt
Posts: 69
Joined: 06 Apr 2007, 15:43

Postby matt » 14 Nov 2008, 10:28

Theres also a big difference in the way a fixie and single speed climb. You can use a bigger gear on a fixie because your forward momentum is always helping you spin as you climb.

On a fixie I suffer more on the descent, on a single speed the climbing is harder. Of course this may have something to do with weighing 108kg.

timyone
Posts: 4380
Joined: 22 Nov 2006, 20:29

Postby timyone » 14 Nov 2008, 14:58

weiyun wrote:
jimmy wrote:It is generally thought that a higher cadance saves your knees. So I would work out what sort of speeds you want to maintain on your commute, and then work out your gearing accordingly.

All makes sense for flat land rides. Throw in some hills and the equation goes haywire. :cry:


Yeah going down hills fast stuffs you up. Just dont go too fast down them and its all good.

User avatar
fenn_paddler
Posts: 154
Joined: 28 Mar 2007, 08:30
Location: Petersham

Postby fenn_paddler » 06 Jan 2009, 09:12

Apologies if this has already been posted, but what's the consensus on this new Cell fixie?

http://www.cellbikes.com.au/p_2207_CELL__Cing1e_FIXED_GEAR_BIKE__Now_Available_For_PreOrder

This looks like a cheap way to get a fixie, though I'm not sure a 59cm frame would be large enough for me.

Cheers,
Alan W

christian
Posts: 837
Joined: 30 Oct 2007, 19:21
Location: Earlwood

Postby christian » 06 Jan 2009, 10:04

You would probably want to change the bars, and maybe the brake lever. I was told once that you couldn't sell a road bike in Australia with only one brake, this may be wrong. Anyway you may want a rear brake if you're not use to riding fixed. It has reasonable cranks, the hubs aren't anything to write home about. Its also a 81 inch gear, so unless you're Simon you would probably want to change this to something smaller.

User avatar
JM
Posts: 45
Joined: 13 Nov 2006, 11:12

Postby JM » 06 Jan 2009, 10:51

also if you ride "in" the bunch 2 brakes are a must for yours and the safety of those around you

1 brake means you should not ride in the bunch at all as your ability to break is compromised

I have 2 brakes and crashed twice last year and in both instances braking distance was an issue

User avatar
fenn_paddler
Posts: 154
Joined: 28 Mar 2007, 08:30
Location: Petersham

Postby fenn_paddler » 06 Jan 2009, 13:11

christian wrote:You would probably want to change the bars, and maybe the brake lever. I was told once that you couldn't sell a road bike in Australia with only one brake, this may be wrong. Anyway you may want a rear brake if you're not use to riding fixed. It has reasonable cranks, the hubs aren't anything to write home about. Its also a 81 inch gear, so unless you're Simon you would probably want to change this to something smaller.


JM wrote:also if you ride "in" the bunch 2 brakes are a must for yours and the safety of those around you

1 brake means you should not ride in the bunch at all as your ability to break is compromised

I have 2 brakes and crashed twice last year and in both instances braking distance was an issue


Thanks for the feedback guys. The bike is apparently drilled for a rear brake so that would be fine, but 59cm will be too small for me.

If they get some larger bikes in later in the year I might have another look.

Cheers,
Alan

User avatar
mikesbytes
Posts: 6991
Joined: 13 Nov 2006, 13:48
Location: Tempe
Contact:

Postby mikesbytes » 06 Jan 2009, 13:24

What size is your road bike?

User avatar
fenn_paddler
Posts: 154
Joined: 28 Mar 2007, 08:30
Location: Petersham

Postby fenn_paddler » 06 Jan 2009, 14:28

mikesbytes wrote:What size is your road bike?


Tis a 62cm frame.

User avatar
mikesbytes
Posts: 6991
Joined: 13 Nov 2006, 13:48
Location: Tempe
Contact:

Postby mikesbytes » 06 Jan 2009, 14:40

62cm is a less common size.

This is a good buy, but the wrong size for you

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/2008-Fuji-Track-bike-single-speed_W0QQitemZ260339313462QQ


Return to “Conversation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests