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Single-speeds and rear spacing?(12 posts)

Single-speeds and rear spacing?ohio
Nov 19, 2001 1:28 PM
I scrounged up a nice old Italian road frame and fork that I'm going to build up as a single speed for my Boston commute, and general fun. Question:

With 126mm spacing (I think) what is my best bet for finding a cheap rear wheel? Can I find an old 126mm rear hub, and just replace the 6-spd freewheel with a BMX freewheel? On hubs of other sizes, can I replace the axle (thinking about track hubs in particular)? Should I just have a framebuilder respace/bend the stays on the bike?

I'm probably just going to work this out on my own, but if you have any advice about chainline on this kind of bike, that would be very helpful too.

Thanks in advance,
pic of bikeohio
Nov 19, 2001 1:31 PM
don't know if it'll help answer my questions, but I sure like looking at it. Benotto 3000 (Italian-made, not mexican). Columbus SL...
I have one of those too!!spookyload
Nov 19, 2001 2:42 PM
Mine is light metalic blue and was made from Ishiwata tubing. It was a little lighter than the columbus sl, and a little cheaper. I built it to road race in 85, and raced the nationals cyclocross on it in 86. As light as it was it withstood 20 cyclocross races and is still as true and straight as ever. I almost had cantilever bosses brazed on in 86 but resisted temptation, so it is still virgin. Mine is 126mm spacing by the way. I ran a Ultra seven speed freewheel in the back with a single 39 in the front.
Hmmm... probably 120mmohio
Nov 19, 2001 1:41 PM
I think I was wrong about 126mm spacing. The frame is from the early 80s...
As always, check sheldonbrown.comStraightblock
Nov 19, 2001 3:22 PM
for all the info you'll ever need on single & fixed gear conversions. Yours should be easy.
That gives lotsa options, no advice...ohio
Nov 19, 2001 4:01 PM
The possibilites are virtually limitless. I was hoping to find out what people recommended as a fairly easy for an experienced mountain mechanic whose only experience with old road parts is rebuilding a 1980's LeJeune Champagne when I was in 7th grade, using whatever tools I could find in the workshop. (the LeJeune is still going strong by the way, all original and being used daily by my brother out in WI)

Looks like I'm going to be using an old 6-speed freewheel wheel, that should have the correct axle length, and then probably redishing it to get the correct chainline... Should I buy a longer axle so that I can use standard locknuts, or will it be okay with quick-releases?

Again, any advice relevant to the build is welcome, whether or not it answers my questions.

Thanks all,
I use a quick release on my fixieStraightblock
Nov 19, 2001 4:42 PM
with no problems. Don't use a superlight TI skewer, though. Look for an old-school all-steel skewer with knurled teeth where it contacts the dropouts. It seems to let it "bite" and hold better.
re: Single-speeds and rear spacing?alexfr99
Nov 20, 2001 7:13 AM
Very cool bike. I actually looked at the same frame on ebay from "bikieray". Nice guy, you will be pleased. I have built several fixies using older road trames. I have had the best success using older campy or dura ace hubs. They are threaded on the freewheel side and can accomodatea track cog or freewheel. All you need to do is to slde the axle over to the non drive side. I have been able to just move some drive side spacers to the non drive side. Once you realign the axle you will then need to re-dish the wheel since you don't have so much drive side space. Ultimately, you will achieve a stronger wheel. You will also need to get the chain ring as tight to the frame as possible. I have usually attached the chain ring on the in position which sometimes means you must have the chain ring bolts in backwards. I would avoid newer threaded hubs with sealed bearings because they are harder to service and harder to "realign". Although true track wheels will also work, you may run into the hassle of replacing a short axle. Best bet: older campy or D/A hubs. Check ebay for wheels or wheelsets. If you're using a track cog, use lock tight as you screw on the cog and you're good to go. Write me direct at if you need any more advise etc......good luck
Another waytubs
Nov 22, 2001 8:58 AM
Why do you have to build it up as a fixed wheel? Just use any old cassette type rear wheel. For Shimano you will then need an early type cassette where all the cogs are separate. Use the spacers from the cassette + some spares to position the rear cog such that it aligns nicely with the front. For Campag it is easier because all but the top end cassettes are separate cog, and spacer packs can be bought separately. Most decent bike shops have odd bits about to help. If you go this way you will already have a handful of different ratios to try. Personally I find 42/15 about right. You will loose the delight of fixed wheel pedaling, but it is so much easier in traffic, cornering, and decending, and the real pleasure of single speed, getting the most out of minimal kit, is still there.
If you go this way just get your shop to spring the frame a little if rqd, depends which wheel you get. Enjoy!
Smart thinking.muncher
Nov 23, 2001 9:16 AM
Simple, but brilliant - I have no idea why that never occured to me, with a bunch of spare wheels around the garage, but I can now look forward to a weekend playing with some ratios - oh the wife WILL be pleased...
Another wayohio
Nov 26, 2001 5:10 PM
I'd do that if I already had a cassette wheel lying around, but since I'm starting from scratch, I might as well go with the simpler/lighter/cheaper out-of-date wheel, that will end up being a cleaner setup. I also want the option of going fixed, which you can't do with a cassette hub unless you fill the body with solder...

Managed to find a nice fella who is shipping me a set of 6-spd DA w/tubulars for $40. I'll need to redish them, and throw on a bmx freewheel. But I'd say that's pretty good.
can go fixed if old cassette Shimano- get hub adapternm
Nov 28, 2001 5:52 AM