The place for fixies and other rides without gears
Yesterday, I picked up the Repco Superlight that I won off eBay. I paid more than I wanted for it... but then, I was impatient and the frame was the right size, AND, it took 700C wheels.
First impressions? The frame was in okay condition with a few superficial areas of rust. Most of the original decals still on. Pretty dirty though...
Once I got it home, I had a closer look and seemed that the bike has probably never had a service since it was first built! But then, it didn't seem that it had been ridden very much either (apart from the slightly yellowed aged rubber look, the tyres were almost spotless!)... just the general mild corrosion and crud from sitting in a shed for the last decade. The headset was VERY stiff and the cables were rusted. The chain was surprisingly okay.
I partly bought this bike to teach myself some general bicycle mechanical skills (I've been too much of a chicken to do much work on the Cannondale and Colnago apart from minor adjustments). So I pulled out my copy of Zinn's road bike maintenance book and took apart the headset. It became clear why the headset was so stiff... the substance that I assume was grease at some stage had become a caked gummy residue. After giving it a good clean with a degreaser and then packing the bearings back in with new grease, it was MUCH better. Not entirely smooth unfortunately... the lower ?cup (the smooth surface that the bearings roll on) had a little bit of corrosion that I couldn't polish entirely smooth but it was passable.
While working on the headset and cleaning the fork, I flushed out a dead spider in its web in the stem of the fork.
Next, the cranks. They were generally pretty filthy around the BB, so I took off the cranks to give the general area a clean. The BB rolls "okay"... well enough that I'm not going to bother opening it up. I had a spare Campy crankset from the Colnago (that were also in much better condition; not rusted for one thing) so I put those on instead. Since I'm going the path of a SS, I decided to take off one of the chain rings (I'm keeping the 53T ring) only to discover that the chainring bolts on a double crankset need the second ring to be tight. Bummer. Feeling clever, I went off to Bunnings to buy some washers. Unfortunately, it seems like it's not working that well either... the best sized washers still don't provider a firm enough seating for the "nut" part of the chainring bolt pair and I damaged a couple of bolts tightening it. Functional, but I wouldn't trust my life on it. I'm buying some "track/BMX" chainring bolts from Ribbles.
The brakes: the original were really bad. I doubt they were that good originally but add a decade or so of corrosion as well. Bummer. Tiagra brakes at Ribbles is pretty cheap at the moment...
The original bike:
More story and photos to come...
I'm using only the 53T chainring on double road crank. From the point of view of chainline, would it be better to put this chainring on the outer position or the inner position?
Nice project. It should give you heaps of confidence to start working on your main bikes.
I'm no expert, since I've only just recently done my first SS conversion (of a MTB) but I think you'll find the chain ring will give a better line on the inner position. Mine did.
The BMX bolts I bought at my LBS only cost me $9 for 5 of them, so if you want to get cracking, you could knick around to your own local and see what they have. $9 won't break the bank ....
Out of interest, how much did you pay for the bike? I know it was "too much", but it would be nice to know what too much is.
Sounds like a good project! keep us posted!
Probably inner, but what are you going to do with the rear wheel, get a SS conversion kit or a SS puropse built wheel? either way, sort the rear wheel out first before setting the 53 in place, you want the chain to be pretty inline from the rear cog to the front.
The old spider up the head tube trick...a classic sign.
Your chain ring position will depend on the back end a bit too. If its a screw on cluster, you'll be limited by how much you re-dish your wheel. If its a cassette system, you can space them out to wherever you need. (With the age of the thing it'd probably be a screw on cluster, though.)
Have fun experimenting.
MY RIDES: My Velospace Profile
Off eBay, I paid about $130... however, I was thinking of reusing the brakes and cables (or else, I would have considered just getting a frame rather than the whole bike). I should probably also not have bought the bike in the middle of the night when I'm feeling drowsy... I misread the suburb that the bike was located, thinking it was near the city when actually the suburb was out near Penrith!
As for the wheel, the included wheels on the bike are in pretty bad condition so I'm going to use the wheels from the Colnago (Ukai rims, 105 hub) and use a SS adapter kit.
Thanks for that... Actually both set of brakes and their cables are now off the bike. I'm getting some new brakes (Tiagra) and cables.
On my one and only cheap fixed conversion,I used the original 6 speed cassete(welded up for fixed).I found the front 2 gears on the crank would line up with the centre 2 rear gears,giving options of 52/18(78gi),52/21(66.9gi),40/18(60gi) and 40/21 which I didn't even bother with.The big chainring did fit on the inside if only by a few mm,which is fine as the crank shouldn't move sideways.
The 52/21 seems about the best for me at the moment.
Yes,I know welding,and the look of the 6 gears isn't the pretiest,but it was an experiment that worked well,will step up to a flip/flop at some stage(more money off the missus).Nice bike,too,reminds me of my own!
Since nothing is going to be happening for a while, I decided to overhaul the bottom bracket after all. It took me ages to work out how to use the lockring removal tool on the adjustable cup side... then felt stupid when I had it figured out.
Gave the bearings and all the various bits a good clean in some mineral turps, put in some new grease and popped it back together. Amazingly, the BB is tremendously smoother than before so I reverse my previous judgment that they were "rolling okay".
The bike in its current form...
Um no, married! My wife likes bikes too!
Wish I was that spolied!The only way I can get my fixie in the house is when the missus goes to work(sneak it in for a bit of a polish/detail),as long as my sons don't tell.
She did catch me a couple of times on the track stand in one of the bedrooms.
I got a nasty look, a shake of the head and the only riding I got for a while was on the beloved fixie. (needed to know that,hey).
Such is life,Dominic
And would have the toolbox on top off the dining room table
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
nice bike. and imagine that, out near penrith! lol..
sorry some of us live out that way, some even further!
and we even have power out this way now-a-days.
looks like a great project. i have found a good wipe over the frame
with kerosine NOTE: OUTSIDE!!! IT STINKS and leave the rags out
there as well once you have finished is great for removal of
almost any kind of marks. it will pretty much only leave the paint chips.
i would highly recommend watching all of these videos. they are a great resource
for any singlespeed/fixed gear project conversion of an old bike,
across. it will step you through chainline and wheel dishing process.
ps- one thing i have learnt doing conversion, and just a suggestion
don't throw away anything. you will be surprised what you will
possibly re-use from the original bike.
i like to pedal
Okay... I used to live in Campbelltown.
The point I was making was that I wouldn't otherwise have bought a bike for about a hundred dollars but then spend 1.5 hours and $20 of petrol just to pick it up.
Thanks for the links! I'll have a look at them tonight.
A few bits and pieces have come in. I've also touched up the paint and installed some rather nice fenders...
I decided to paint some white highlights on the lugs:
Tiagra brakes have come in:
The hub spacers were delivered yesterday!
I'm running 53T up the front and 18T at the back. On the front, I'm using the big chainring from the spare Campy (Mirage) crank and chainrings I had from the Colnago. On the rear, I'm using an 18T "Shimano DXR" (?BMX) cog with spacers to get the right position on an otherwise 10-speed 105 hub.
It was irritatingly difficult getting the chainline correct and eventually, I actually settled on putting the big chainring on the outer position of the crank.
I discovered when my new handlebar (26.0 mm diameter) came in that the old stem was designed for bars with 25.4 mm diameter. ARGH!! I've bought a NOS stem off eBay but will now have to wait for it to come it...
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