Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
13 posts • Page 1 of 1
Keen to start commuting on a fixie and (probably foolishly) bought a track bike to do this on.
Given the wheels are not QR but track nuts is this an issue changing flats? I'll swap the tyres to Conti GPS 4000 to limit flats but they still can happen.
Does anyone commute on a track bike, and just carry a shifter or have you changed to QR skewers?
Do you need the horizontal bolt that sorts the chain tension on the bike or can you simply just take that off and have the track nuts do all the work?
Any and all advice appreciated.
Commuted for about 2 years on various fixie builds of mine.
You can buy a dedicated 'índustry specific' tool like the Surly Jethro Tule.... or you could do what I did and order an individual stubby 15mm combo spanner in through my local Repco tool store. Not the cheapest option, costing about $22 - but eloquent enough without paying a bigger premium for a trendy label. Here's a set shown for scale;
Before I went down this route, I looked at cheap & cheerful spanner sets from Soopa-Cheap Auto etc - but strangely 15mm was a size missing from a lot of their small cheap sets. I had wanted to just carry a single 15mm spanner from of these.
Another source of cheap, loose spanners that occured to me after I bought the stubby was either second hand stores, markets or pawn brokers. You often see loose spanners for like $2 or $3 bucks each. I think as a kid, I used to use a 9/16" combo spanner on my bikes before I later bought my own metric set.
If I absolutely had to use a crescent spanner on a wheel nut, I'd make sure it was at least a 200mm/10" jobbie with enough leverage. Shifters are never the ideal tool to use, but in lieu of the correct right size spanner being handy - make you have the right mechanical advantage from the get go and have less risk of a smaller shifter rounding off & munting things up. A bigger one would be too hefty to carry back & forwards every day.
If I did carry a shifter in my tool bag, it'd be one less than 150mm... but apart the fixie revival with their solid axles, hex nuts have largely died out on bike specific hardware. It's all allen headed bolts these days.
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Saw a guy off the end of the Spit Bridge on tuesday night changing a flat rear on a track bike. A suitable spanner + time is all you need.
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I've been doing it for a few years now. Fixed many flats it only takes a few extra seconds to get the wheel off if you have a suitable spanner. Fortunately i've inherited track spanners from the 1950's that fit in the saddle bag and works a treat! I've kept the horizontal bolts in - the trick is to make sure you either don't go too long between flats (not ideal!) or hit them with some wd40 every now and again so they don't seize up.
Oh (you may already know this) make sure when you adjust the wheel to allow for the chain stretch that you line up the rear brake pads to the braking surface (if you are running one). If you don't most likely the brake pads will rub against the sidewalls of the tyre.
n=10 (2013 & 2004 roads,2010 track,2x 2009 foldups,1990 hybrid,1992 trainer,2007 rental,1970's step through,1980's zeus)
Not to diss rkelsen's suggestion ... but I picked up one of these on a whim one day from my LBS; and I've been a bit disapointed with it. Perhaps there are better brands around, but the metal alloy used in mine seems relatively soft. I don't think I'd trust anything more than the 10 or 12mm socket on it, and then for nothing too torqued up. I probably enjoy "hoofing" up a wheel nut a bit too much with my foot with the little stubby spanner to compensate the lack of leverage you'd get with your hand on a regular sized tool box spanner.
One of these dumbell spanners is probably fine for most emergency roadside jobs on an older rides with predominately hex headed fixtures... like the brake shoes, cable pinch points for the brakes & gears etc etc etc. But if it works for rkelsen.. it may work for the OP too
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I'm thinking this would be the best option. Wheelnuts, lockring, various other nuts and what looks like a 6mm hex would cover most of what's needed. The bottle opener is rides end gravy.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
my commuting fixie had very tight spaces for the rear axle nuts, so I carried a spark plug spanner that fitted nicely. key was to run a good tyre combo (Vittoria Randonneurs were my choice) so I never really needed to change flats as they didn't happen. my rear was also vertical with an EBB for chain tension. fixie commuting was great, really enjoyed it.
Building more roads to prevent congestion is like a fat man loosening his belt to prevent obesity.
- Lewis Mumford
I've been commuting on a fixed gear for years. I hate spanners so I converted my wheels to QR.
As I use old high flange Campagnolo record pista hubs it was relatively easy to convert them to QR. I just gutted some old record road hubs I had in the draw and swapped out the solid axle, washers and locknuts from the pistas with the hollow road axle. Also had the added advantage making the OLD of the rear wheel 126mm. Perfect for my old frame.
A tip though, if you do convert to QR, use good quality internally camed levers. Modern open cam QR levers just don't have the bite to hold a rear wheel in place like old Campagnolo or Shimano QR's.
It would not be at all strange if history came to the conclusion that the perfection of the bicycle was the greatest achievement of the nineteenth century.
I just carried a 15mm spanner. It adds about 30 seconds to a wheel change, plus nuts make it easier to tweak the chain tension.
Edit: pricy spanners, meh. The one I use on my track bike - often - came from, I think, Kmart. No dramas.
Edit edit: I don't bother with banjo bolts. My road fixie doesn't even have track ends.
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