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Single-speed questions(12 posts)

Single-speed questionsxxl
Jul 10, 2002 4:11 AM
OK, I got myself an old frame for single-speeding, a steel 70's Raleigh, with 126mm rear dropouts. I'll be using a set of 27" rims to build wheels, and I'd like to use a flip-flop hub. My question is: what width rear hub should I use? 126mm would be the intuitive answer, but I'm not sure the frame wasn't originally 120mm, cold-set to its current width (built with no derailleur hanger, or braze-ons of any sort). And I see newer hubs available in 130-135mm sizes. Would it be possible to spread the dropouts for these, if I wanted to run, say, a Surly, or even a Nexus hub instead? Is frame fatigue at issue?

I read the Sheldon Brown stuff, and I understand chainline is important, but after that, my understanding is what Hollywood would term a "soft focus." Any enlightenment from more experienced hands would be quite helpful, before I go through the trouble of building up wheels, etc.
re: Single-speed questionsDave Hickey
Jul 10, 2002 6:54 AM
My 70's Gitane single speed is using a 130mm rear hub. It's a tight fit but it works. Actually, with a single speed, the tight fit is a good thing.
A suggestion....Ginz
Jul 10, 2002 7:12 AM
Hmm...126mm. I don't see why you couldn't respace a rear hub to 126mm. Most singlespeed hubs are set up for 130mm or 120mm and some are set up for 135, but those are mostly for mtb.

You might look into the Surly "new" track hub or the Suzue basic track hub, which are spaced at 120mm. Both are easily respaced (ie. the axle is easily swaped out for a longer one). Again, Sheldon Brown can help you with this. It's worth paying a little extra for the advice in this case. However, i doubt that squeezing the stays in by 3mm on each side would cause a problem. Some frames are built with 132.5mm spacing so they may accept a 130mm or 135mm hub.

I can't imagine someone would build a frame with no braze ons, then cold set it from 120mm to 126mm as if they wanted to fit a freewheel in there. My guess is that someone may have stripped the road frame of it's braze ons and added the new dropouts, then repainted it. If you are set on a Nexus hub, I'd call and ask Sheldon, himself.
A suggestion....xxl
Jul 10, 2002 12:43 PM
Good suggestion, thanks. Just as an FYI: the frame paint is original. This was an old Raleigh Super Corsa (touring job). The lack of braze-ons is, I think, indicative of its age (early 70's ?), when it was felt that brazing weakened tubes; there aren't even any water bottle bosses (on a touring bike, for chrissake!)
A suggestion....Dave Hickey
Jul 10, 2002 1:06 PM
The biggest problem with my Gitane is the lack of water bottle braze-ons. If you don't mind a fred look, two pipe clamps attached to a bottle cage works great.
re: Single-speed questionsLone Gunman
Jul 10, 2002 7:19 AM
I just bought a new Suzue basic rear track hub that is a 36 hole for $36+ship from Harris cycle, it is a flip flop. One local old bike guru told me to set up my chain line with the hub before having the wheels built. My spacing will be 126mm. The hub I bought has spacing available up to 130mm and the spacing you decide to use (If I understand correctly) is determined by the size of spacers that you use between the locknut and the cone nut, the axle is long enough for 130mm spacing. I ended up rebuilding a 1972 Schwinn approved Malliard high flange hub for the front.

I think as far as spreading the frame to accomodate a hub in the world of SS really is not necessary, just get the right size hub and axle.
Jul 10, 2002 8:32 AM
The only outstanding question being, is it possible to respace a Nexus, or other internally geared hub?

The answer: Beats me, ask Sheldon Brown. :o) But, without any braze-ons, you'll need clamp-on cable stops for rear brakes and the shift cable, which for some hubs is actually two cables. Also, many such hubs have a torque arm to stop the axle from spinning in the dropouts. This might make your nice singlespeed with no braze-ons awfully messy.
It was almost undoubtedly 120 mm originally ...Humma Hah
Jul 10, 2002 9:32 AM
... and has gotten twanged to 126 mm. Likely, somebody stuffed a 130 mm axel in the 120 mm opening at some point.

A steel frame can easily flex +/- 6 mm and not care a bit. You could stick 120 or 130 mm in there with no fear of damage. The frame will very likely outlast everything else on the bike.

I'd leave it as it is, scrounge a 120 mm rear wheel, scrounge around for nice thick serrated washer or a spacer of about 5 mm, and play with washers and spacers to tweak the chainline to perfection.

The old rear wheel I just adapted to my cruiser started life as a 120 mm with a 6-speed freewheel (Shimano HG). I screwed off the 6-speed freewheel (aka "corncob") with a FR-1 tool, screwed on a 1-speed freewheel. Removing the corncob revealed a stack of spacers that included one of 10 mm, one of about 5 mm, and a couple of 1 mm washers: in other words, it was really a 103 mm built up to 120. I yanked the big spacer, played with the others, and my chainline is perfect in my 110 mm spacing.

Those spacers can be pulled off wrecked wheels and used to adapt a 120 mm wheel to your opening, and tweak alignment at the same time.

I suspect you'll find adapting whatever is at hand to be as easy. The key is to use an older freewheel-style hub, not a modern freehub, for singlespeed. For fixed, a purpose-built hub is best, as the fixed side should have a locking ring to withstand backpedal forces.
A thought about the Nexus ...Humma Hah
Jul 10, 2002 3:15 PM
... not that I've ever dealt with one, but its an extension of a 3-speed internal gear hub, and some of the same issues apply ...

The trick with internal gear hubs is setting the cable tension for shifting. Since the frame does not have bosses to hold the cable on the chainstays, you'll need to add some. I'm sure there are clamp-on devices to do this, just make sure you're happy with that solution before committing to a Nexus.
A thought about the Nexus ...xxl
Jul 11, 2002 1:16 PM
Thanks for the added thoughts on Nexus. I probably won't go with one, seems silly to spend that much on a sub-$100 frame that'll see almost exclusively flat terrain, but I was curious about whether it would even work. I also wondered, really, whether the "proper" hub size selection now would help avoid any chainline problems down the road, so to speak. If I understand everyone correctly, I could pretty much run whatever width I wanted, except maybe the 135mm., and dial it in with spacers as needed. (I'll probably go with a narrow flip-flop hub.)
Suzue Basic Track hubLone Gunman
Jul 11, 2002 1:43 PM
Mine just arrived today. The first thing I noticed was that the axle appeared to be almost locked up tight. Released the lock and cone nut and removed and took a peak inside, free bearings with little to no grease so I packed 'em and reassambled, and adjusted the nuts to be correct and the hub spins real smooth, lock ring fits okay on the hub threads. One thing I am curious about; Harris Cycle mentioned that I should buy track nuts and since this is a track hub, it came with track nuts. The seller of the hub said that these nuts on the hub would chew up my dropouts. How, Why?? THESE ARE TRACK NUTS AND THE NUTS THEY PICTURE ARE BASICALLY THE SAME THING!! And $7.95 for 2 nuts.

Anyway, the hub is beefy, is a fairly nice match for the front hub and appears to be pretty close spacing wise for my frame. I am satisfied with it and the rims came also, very shiny to match the frame, wear sunglasses when this pup is around. I may even wear my old Bell Chrome helmet, or would that be just too much??
"I may even wear my old Bell Chrome helmet"Ahimsa
Jul 11, 2002 5:33 PM
You better post a pic of this! Brah! I'd love to see that!

THAT is style.

I wear a chrome dome myself. An old skool BMX style chromie. Hate the new helmets for the most part. Too gaudy. Too many vents and fins and ducktails and sh!t. Ech.

I wish my old Bell hadn't been broken.

Nonetheless, I like the looks I get with this shiny silver "military helmet meets skate bucket" strapped to my coconut with "Hell" emblazoned across the front. Beats any Giro Pnuemo I've ever seen.

A. (Call me "bullet head"..."chrome dome"...anything but "organ donor")