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Ugly fixed gear conversion...(3 posts)

Ugly fixed gear conversion...Deadly Tedly
Sep 4, 2002 5:36 AM
...I don't know if this qualifies as a "retro" bike, but this seems like the best place to post this kind of thing.

I decided to convert this old (mid 80's) road bike with full Suntour drivetrain to a fixed gear, since the hubs, rims and bottom bracket were toast. The rear axle kept breaking, the bottom bracket felt like it was grinding, and there were rust spots on the frame. All of this the result of years of neglect and storage in a wet basement. It was time to either strip it down and rebuild it from scratch, or toss it. I can't in good conscience toss a perfectly usable bike in the trash, and besides, I was looking for an excuse to build my own wheels for the first time.

Here's what the frame looked like before (sorry about the image quality). The yellow and blue stripes on the stays are reflecive tape I stuck on there a few years ago. The decal and the head badge say "DERYCKE", which was also the name of the bike shop (in Belgium) at which the bike was bought. Lugged steel frame, Columbus tubing.

I wanted to make an ultra-urban bike, but I hate when people put electrical tape all over their bikes, and I thought black spray paint was unoriginal. I wanted something that didn't look flashy, but still had some originality to it. To accomplish this, I sanded the rust off, sprayed the whole thing with primer, then painted the lugs and droputs black, and the rest of the frame with green chalkboard paint. That way, if I want to put decals back on it, I can just draw them on with chalk, erase them and redo them over and over. I converted my work stand into a paint fixture, with the help of an old derailleur cable (the rig was carried outside for the actual painting):

I got hold of some fairly cheap wheel parts, and built the front wheel. I tried to get everything from the LBS next door, but the Surly New Hub proved to be next to impossible, so I finally ordered the rear hub, cog and chain from Excel.

I went out for a couple test rides, and then this past weekend took it out for a "cummuting test". I rode for about an hour and a half, with baggy shorts and the messenger bag, and made a grocery run while I was out. It'll take a little muscle building to get used to slowing down by backpedaling, especially with the hills around here (Atlanta, GA). I caught up to a group of four bikers at a light, and while we're sitting waiting, the cop sitting behind us suddenly blared over his loudspeaker "my money's on the wannabe messenger at the back!" Once the light changed, I took off past them, saying "I guess I have to pass you now!" Kudos to the cop for knowing the difference between a real messenger and a wannabe (or maybe he just said that since it was Sunday). The wheels rode great, and I haven't had to do the first bit of truing so far, despite the fact that these are the first wheels I ever laced myself. Anyhow, here are the specs:

Things I already want to do to it:

- Wear the tires out and put some green Michelins on it
- Get a track bike handlebar, or just hacksaw this one and flip it over (not yet, since that's brand new bar tape)
- Get some short stack bolts and lose the big chainring
- Add a 15T cog to the other side of
Detailed specs...Deadly Tedly
Sep 4, 2002 5:58 AM
...Old stuff I kept:

Columbus steel lugged frame & fork
Handlebar, stem and seatpost (no idea who made them)
Vetta saddle (old, but newer than the bike stock equipment)
Suntour front brake
Suntour headset (almost toast)
Suntour cranks & rings (172.5 mm, 42T & 52T)
Shimano 600 brake levers (also old, but newer than the rest)

New stuff I added:

Mavic MA3 rims (32h)
DT 14/15 spokes & black nipples
Surly New Hub
Real front hub
Surly track cog 16T
Shimano track lockring
Shimano UN72 bottom bracket
primer & spray paint
Looks good! If you get shorter bolts for therwbadley
Sep 4, 2002 6:40 AM
chainrings, your can pull the 52t off. You still need to watch it tho, if your pantleg (or shoelace) gets sucked into the 'ring and chain you'll be toast. (or at least rip off your pantleg)

Nice ride, Remember, keep pedaling! :-)