The place for fixies and other rides without gears
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My apologies in advance as I have posted s a similar post in the Repco appreciation thread. I was told that what I wanted to do to this bike may not be in the spirit of aprreciation!!:)
I would also like to go into little more detail here.
I have just bought an old early 80's Repco Traveller off ebay . I was after an old bike, with a view to using it to learn how things tick bike-wise, learning a few skills (without practicing on my good bike), and figured a good starting point would be to try to turn a bike into a single speed. I could buy a single speed for a few hundred doallrs, but that isn tthe point, i wanted to learn, and do it myself and figured this owuld be a good place to start.
I began by taking it to pieces, using some trial and error and lot of Google and Youtube. It all went really well and quicker than I expected. You beauty I thought, this is easier than I thought!
I have started stripping the paint off the frame, as the paintwork was razzed. The bike is pretty rusty and in a bad way generally, but I purposely wanted a rustbucket so i could have the satisfaction of bringing it back to life. Ive been polishing up all the shiny bits and they look fantastic. Its very exciting to see them get so clean.
Anyway a few things I have discovered:
- Its bl**dy heavy!
- I can't remove the big chainring and use the smaller one, like in all the nice simple youtube vids because it is attached to the crank.
- The wheels are not 700C as advertised by the seller but are old steel 27 inch ones, so the bargain discount tyres I just bought from Ribble to chuck on wont fit!(who knew there was such a size)
- it has a freewheel and not a cassette, which I discovered when trying to remove it with a cassette removal tool.
Ive picked the brain of a nice guy selling vintage bike bits on ebay and he tells me I cannot convert the bike into a single speed unless I buy a new rear wheel. So i have come to a crossroads in what I want to do with the bike.
I'm kind of torn about how I want to proceed with this as for one thing, I know they arent worth anything and were somewhat of an el cheapo bike even back in the day, so can I justify the expense of the things I want to do??
On one hand I'd really like to keep it retro looking. On the other hand I could replace heaps of stuff and make it a lot lighter.
1. One way to go would be just to quietly overhaul all the old bits and pieces and put them back on the bike and retain it in its original condition as a geared bike, then sell it. I have 3 geared bikes and I dont need another.
2. Or do i simply buy a new wheel (or wheels), and retain all the other bits as is? (even the crank arms by themselves are heavy, but I like the way they look). However will this option make riding it as a single speed pure hell due to the weight? And what about the issue of being forced to use the big chainring? will this also cause an unnecessary amount of huffin and puffing. I live in the inner west of sydney and there a few little hills about.
3. Or do I replace a whole bunch of stuff? Like, can I put modern cranks and bottom bracket on this baby? How do I know what will and wont fit? i.e. the BB recess in the frame, connecting with the BB, connecting with the cranks.
4.A fellow on the repco appreciation forum said I can convert my existing wheel, and descibed some method which flew completely over my head. It was called a "suicide hub". But I figure anythiung with "suicide" in its name can't be good!! He advised me to ditch the steel wheels anyway and find a set of alloy 27" wheels, and to replace other bits an pieces like cranks, stem and handlebars to shed the weight.
Any advice appreciated!
If you want to convert it to a single speed you need to remove the freewheel and then replace this with a BMX single-speed freewheel.
However, you could also complain to ebay that the item did not fit the description and get a return/refund.
Assuming that you stick with the conversion, you will want to dispense with the steel wheels and replace them with an alloy set. You can get either 700C or 27". You can do the single-speed conversion.
Another option to consider is a single-speed with a coaster brake rear hub. (Pedal backwards and you've got another brake!)
Thanks for your reply.
I cant really complain to ebay now as the bike is in a million pieces!!
Would a BMX freewheel fit straight on? Ive read a bit on forums and other people are saying it needs some lockring or lock nut? (Or I totally have the wrong end of the stick)
At this stage I am considering just putitng it back together as it was for the exercise/learning experience and either getting rid of it, or proceeding with the conversion thingy at a later date. I am so far off being able to reassemble the thing anyway (I'm still stripping paint off frame), so will have plenty of time to think about it.
I dont think that 700C wheels will fit in any case. I got the disembodied fork and tried to slot it onto a 700 wheel, to see if the brake calipers would still reach and the forks were too narrow to go on the wheel - unless I was doing something extremely stupidly wrong (it was late at night)
Just another quick question - I have a spare sora crankset and BB (I switched to a compact on my roadie). Hypothetically, would this fit into an old frame or are they two different species?
BMX freewheel doesn't require a lock ring, that's for a track cog to lock it in place. The freewheeling mechanism prevents it from unscrewing. As for the BB, depends on the sizes/threading. If they are the same it SHOULD fit. For the forks, try spreading then apart with your hands if just a little bit too narrow to fit the front wheel. If there is a huge difference in size between the front hub width and the width of the fork, the fork may be damaged, I can't recall but I THINK front hub widths haven't changed that much over the years, as opposed to rear hub widths!
Merida Ride Lite 93 2012
Mojo Urban fixed
1984 Christoff R.I.P
Front hubs are basically either 90mm or 100mm. In the past 100-something years, I don't think that there have been any other major changes in the widths of front hubs. I spread my Raleigh Twenty forks with my bare hands. It still rides just fine.
Hi Guys and thanks for answering.
Ive taken both of my 700c wheels off my roadie and tried to fit them on the Repco frame. In both cases the dropouts seem to be about 1/2 cm or so too narrow to be able to slot the wheel right in. I tried pulling the front forks apart but didnt have the strength to shift them. Do you reckon a bike shop might be able to do a bit of 'creative resizing" (i.e. bend the frame a tiny bit) so that i can use these wheels?
Yup, it's called "cold setting" - better bicycle shops will do it for you. Most of your average suburban ones won't. Just ring them up and ask if they will spread frames and forks.
That's great! I might look into it. I live in the inner west of sydney where bike shops are springing up like mushrooms! It could take some footwork to track the right one down.
I'm almost done getting all the paint off but have come across a strange mark. Not sure if its just some kind of blemish or if it might signify some underlying structural problem. It's on the top tube right near where it connects to the head tube.
I was wondering if anybody could please cast an experienced eye over these pics?
There is also a similar mark in the same area on the down tube.
to be honest, its with my un-experienced eye, just by looking at it it seems like some sort of stress mark.
and with it on the downtube also, it could just be a slight stress mark.
Doesn't look like it would be anything major or structural, i say just ride it. But i may be wrong.
Those marks don't look like anything to worry about. As for the dropouts being too narrow, on some hubs there are spacers on the axle between the cone nut and lock nut(or elsewhere), just take an equal amount off each side so the hub will fit into the dropouts.
Dont worry, the marking/stains are from heat during the brazing or staining from not cleaning the flux or flux flowing into the grain
Ride more and worry less
"Him"-You do realize that you now own one of the rarest of all high end Nishikis ever produced?"Me"-But its still a Repco mate
you could easily single speed the bike if you want to keep the existing wheels. As long as the dropouts are horizontal which i assume they are. Just choose a gear you want to ride in and shorten the chain and put it back on that gear. Easy single speed. not fixed but it'll work
Suicide hub is used to describe a hub with a fixed cog but no reverse threaded lock ring like a track hub does. Hubs for freewheels have the same threading as a track hub so you can just screw a fixed cog on. You can also put a lock ring from an old fashioned bottom bracket if you wish, but my experience is that a right thread lock ring don't work well enough to be relied upon so I don't bother with a lock ring now. The suicide part of the name comes from the possibility of unscrewing the cog when putting reverse pressure on the pedals such as when slowing/stopping. If reverse pressure is your only means of stopping then this is a problem and I wouldn't do it, because it is most likely to happen when you are trying to stop in a hurry. With functioning brake(s) on your bike if you do manage to unscrew the cog (which takes a bit of effort) the brakes remain an effective means of stopping.
My fixed wheel road bike has wheels rescued from the hard rubbish which I re-spaced and re-dished which was probably what was described. I don't run it with a lock ring as my bike has normal calliper brakes front and rear.
Steel wheels apart from being heavy don't stop as well in the wet. I have vivid memories from my youth of pulling on the levers and having almost no braking force for 50m or more, which is a bad thing if you haven't allowed for it. Lightening the other bits is less important. BTW the radius of a 700c rim is only 4mm smaller than that of a 27" rim. If you are lucky you might be able to extend the pads far enough to work with the smaller wheels. if you can make it work 700c wheels are more convenient.
Thanks for all your answers. Ive decided to just put the bike back together and get rid of it. Ive since acquired a more suitable frame for a conversion and will concentrate on that!
Thanks again for your tips and ideas.
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