The place for fixies and other rides without gears
I am thinking out loud (tap tap tap on the keyboard) and maybe you can help me.
I would like to build/source a fixed gear bike. Currently, I have a 29er mountain bike. I bought my first pair of clipless shoes a month ago and want to improve my pedaling.
The Goals of this project are:
1. Spend less than $400 ($300 is probably around the sweet spot).
2. Give me a project to work on (I live in an apartment so probably no frame restorations).
3. Improve my cycling by getting used to not coasting, and improving my circular pedaling technique.
4. End up with a cheap bike that I can 'practice' my bike maintenance on.
It would be a bonus if I ended up with something that can double as a short distance commuter and a maybe one day be ridden on a track, if that interest takes off.
I am leaning towards a track frame because of what I have read about the geometry being more suitable for fixed compared to a road. I suspect the track fork end is probably going to make life minutely easier as well. I could be swayed either way. It will mostly be used for casual rides on Brisbane bike paths.
These are the options I am considering:
Purchase a new track frame from cycling deal. http://www.cyclingdeal.com.au/buy/track ... th-fork/TF
Buy wheels and components separately and put it together.
Draw out the project over a few months as I source the different parts and assemble it slowly.
This doesn't appear to be as good value as option 2 but the level of customization has the extra fun factor.
Purchase a new track bike from cycling deal. http://www.cyclingdeal.com.au/shop/bike ... bikes/1016
Buy a few extra replacement parts and swap out the bits I don't like.
Pull it apart and put it back together just for fun.
Find someone someone selling a suitable bike or frame at a reasonable price that can be built or converted into fixie.
Buy the parts needed to make it up.
I would be interested to hear any opinions on which would be the best value for money and most fun, taking my goals into consideration.
Feel free to tell me if any of my ideas are stupid and suggest a 'better' alternative.
I will try to update this thread with future developments if people are interested.
Keep an eye out on Gumtree or the classifieds here. Remember that even though you can get a frame for say $150, the rest of the components all add up quickly, then theres the things that are easy to forget like tubes, tyres, chain, etc. There's quite often a few guys on here who have parts they are willing to get rid of cheap to help a member out. I have a 17 tooth track cog you can have, probably a spare 1 1/8 stem too. Good luck with it mate.
Merida Ride Lite 93 2012
Mojo Urban fixed
1984 Christoff R.I.P
Thanks for the advice Pete. I think I will try to source at least a frame before taking up your offer on the cog and stem.
Did some measurements tonight to work out what size frame I need to keep my eye out for.
Luckily the wife and I are both about the same dimensions so I am aiming for a build we can share.
I think I am looking at around a 53cm frame.
Me 167cm 76.5cm
Wife 165cm 78cm
Go option 2 mate.
Will be the cheapest straight up By a LONG WAY and you can upgrade parts as you desire once you realize what the important ones are anyway.
Those HASA bikes are pretty solid straight up from what I have read. You won't build a bike anywhere near as good for 400 bucks.
I've spent more than $400 purely on the driveline (cranks/BB/chainring/chain/cog) on my track bike lol
An important factor, how quickly you want the bike?
If you want one within a week, then really is just opt 2.....
If not in a rush, opt 3 should be the best as it ensures you got the best bang of the buck for every parts.....but it might take a few months...
Time is not really important. In fact I cannot afford option 2 immediately and would have to wait a month or two anyway.
However, I can afford to get started get started with a cheap frame now.
Ok, so even if you can get a frame and wheels for $250 together (and that is the absolute cheapest you will find if you want a proper frame with track ends and a wheelset that won't strip the hub bearings on the first skid and even then that is scraping the bottom of the barrel) then you need to find:
Brake setup if you want brakes.
Tough ask with $150 to play with. You Definately won't be getting anything other than bottom range parts and then you will still low the budget.
Unless you just want to build a conversion from a kerbside frame. Do it once, do it right. Many people here will be able to attest to that, myself included.
Now for my actual opinion, buy the complete, ride it, see if you enjoy fixed, then you can build yourself something nice. With the old bike, sell it to a mate / pub bike / give it to the missus, whatever. It's only 300 down the drain compared to the 6-700 you will have to spend to build something half decent to realize that you don't like fixed.
It is a big ask to get new decent frame and wheels and other bits all new.....for $300-$400....
Conversion from a used road bike from ebay is more realistic. Look out for good steel with a good front wheel and other bits for $200~ then you still got $200 for rear wheels and a bit of new drive train components...
As HLC said, also consider buying completed, that also have a bit of resell value, so you can try and upgrade if you got hook....
I'd say buy an old road bike with the right bits and convert your own. Get the right one (screw on freewheel) and you might need ONLY to source a cog.
Chains can be shortened and rejoined, wheels centred and trued easily, gears stripped off. Then you just need to make things roadworthy if the donor bike has been sitting around a while (tyres, tubes, brake pads, new bartape). Teach yourself a bunch about mechanicry too.
Ok, so you get yourself an old roadie with a screw-on freewheel type hub. That's all well and good that you can screw a new 1/8th sprocket on the rear, but that now presents 2 problems with your statement.
1) What will the lockring thread on to? The lockring is singularly the MOST IMPORTANT piece of any fixed gear/track build. Why? Because it HOLDS THE SPROCKET IN PLACE. It's no fun riding down the street then slowing down (or skidding) and having your cog unthread off the hub which will mean that you cannot stop (if brakeless) or you will crash, in the shock of it all. You can screw on an old BB lockring onto the hub, but whats the point? It still threads in the same direction and can unwind with the sprocket nice and easy.
If you are riding fixed, you need a rear TRACK hub with reverse lockring thread or you are taking your life into your own stupid hands. They call these sorts of conversions - freewheel threaded hubs 'suiciding it' for a reason.
2) If you are reusing a chain (which I wouldnt) then make sure you get a 3/32 rear sprocket to match your 3/32 chainring and chain. Otherwise if you get a 1/8th sprocket, you will need a 1/8th chain, which is compatible with 3/32 chainrings/sprockets, but not the other way around.
Just for everyone's info, Standish cycles in SA are having a clearance on the Malvern Star One Star for $299, reduced from $699. Not sure of the specs but would be a good intro bike for anyone looking at SS/FG riding. I saw a Fuji on bike exchange for around the $400 mark too. Apparently Big W now have a fixie for $98 too.....
Merida Ride Lite 93 2012
Mojo Urban fixed
1984 Christoff R.I.P
Quite right, well pointed out. In my answer I simply didn't have the time to go into the minutia of the build, simply answered the question as simple as a simpleton could.
You seem to understand the fundamentals of building a fixed gear bicycle quite well, though I assure you that at least one working and well adjusted brake is far and away the most important piece of equipment on such a bicycle. In fact I'd go so far as to say if you ride fixed gears on the public roads without a brake you are a douchebag of the highest order.
Obviously this is highly subjective, except for my opinion of those who ride without brakes, but my experience in this highly subjective world is limited to little more than 10 years riding fixed gears bicycles, of which I built and own three, through all traffic conditions including daily commuting and occasional track racing. Two of the three bicycles have 'suicide hubs' and I assure you I've never spun off a cog.
Last edited by rustychisel on Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I picked up the Big W SS today since I know absolutely nothing about fixies and it seemed like a good bike to get and fix up over time while having an actual bike in the process. It actually doesn't look too bad and seems to ride reasonably well (though to be honest I wouldn't know the difference).
I can't post pics but here's the link. I took off the stickers before I took the photo and have readjusted the seat since.
Experience or no experience, telling someone to suicide a hub is just bad advice all around. I'm sorry, but it is.
And you never having spun off a cog, maybe you don't skid, or run big gears, or hammer your bike like I do because I've killed hubs, wheels, sprockets, lockrings... I've tried and tested it all and drivetrain is something I will never ever skimp on. Especially as it is an integral part of slowing and stopping my bike. Would you let your girlfriend or son or father ride around on a suicide hub? They may not be strong enough to skid and potentially unwind a sprocket now, but one day...
If indeed you are running brakeless, then a track hub is a neccessity and that is why the lockring is the most important piece. I agree, a brake is very important, but realistically, most people build a fixed gear bike and leave the brakes off and go and ride somewhere nearly killing themselves in the process. A brake may save you in the instance that you've built a bike with a crap/flawed drivetrain, but in my experiences, I see heaps of rubbish conversions rolling around with no brakes, no foot retention with riders not wearing helmets, so ultimately no brains either. If I can stop one more hipster wannabe from riding around giving people that ride fixed/track bikes on the road a bad name then I will, because ultimately, one of these idiots are going to get killed and before you know it, it'll be like Japan and parts of Europe where the cops start cracking down on trackbikes on the the street and the fun is ruined for all of us.
Safety first, and this means using the right equipment for the task at hand.
Look, what I say is obviously not the be-all and end-all but like you, I have a lot of experience in this subgenre of the greater cycling culture and I want to pass on that knowledge for people to use. If they choose to take my advice or not, I don't care, but I would like to think they have researched all options first.
In saying that, you lot can criticize my road bike/road riding technique all you like because I know very little about geared bikes. Ridden SS/BMX and then track all my life so I'm not going to turn around and crap on about stuff I know nothing about!
I think I am convinced against a road bike conversion for now but may have discovered an option 4.
Either the Reid Griffon or Harrier.
These are priced around my budget but have the benefit of having a store nearby in Brisbane.
1. Don't have to shell out about $60 for shipping if buying from cycling deal or another online store.
2. Can have a look at what I am getting before buying.
I have read through the two main Reid threads at BNA.
I will be sure to share my thoughts if I take that route. I will at least check out the store.
Checking out Gumtree to try and find a good deal. Found this one.
http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/highgate ... 1000945954
and they're $96 at big w.
The big w bike looks good for $96. I spent more than that on second hand parts for my ghetto fixie.
I mean, making suicide hubs and re-dishing wheels is great fun, but if your intention is to obtain a training tool for cheap, go the big w and ride it instead of futzing in your shed.
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So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
I checked out the Brisbane Reid Cycle store the other day.
My leg was cramping and I clip stacked on my way there, so I didn't stay very long.
The bikes were ok but the prices I was being quoted weren't the special prices listed on the website, so it didn't feel like it was as good value.
Cell Bikes currently have a special for a fixed gear bike for $300 with free postage.
http://www.cellbikes.com.au/CELL-Fixie- ... -Freewheel
This seems to be the best value I have found so far.
Riding the demo bike at Reid made me realise that if I took the prebuilt route I would be jipping myself of half the fun.
I am going to attempt an old road bike restoration / conversion.
Originally I said no frame restorations, but now I am after something I can attempt to paint.
I have started keeping an eye out on Ebay and gumtree and posted a WTB thread here.
If you are going the restoration route, buy a track frame.
The only way I know how to identify a track frame is by the fork ends. I don't know how to distinguish one from the geometry. I expect finding an old track frame within budget might be more of a challenge as old road bikes seem to be much more available.
Pretty much all th is to it! Unless its a super old roadster or something! A few old steel track frames have been on eBay lately and gone for sub 200!
Check out this thread for my experience with the above mentioned big w SS. It needed plenty of attention to get it shipshape but i've done about 140k on it so far and absolutely love it. Fantastic ride and it looks great.
When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments- Elizabeth West.
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