Older frame for fixed gear question

Bartek

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Jun 28, 2010
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Chchibu
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#1
Hello,

For some time now I have been thinking of building a fixed gear bicycle based on an older road frame. And recently I came across an older generic steel frame and am thinking of buying it. But before I do that, I would like to turn to you guys for some help.

The frame has horizontal dropouts spaced at 126mm. Will this create problems or can I use a 120mm hub without much hassle. And then what about the bottom brackets? Will I be able to locate one that is compatible with such combination easily and without spending much money on it?
And finally, what would be an ideal older frame to convert to a fixed gear bike?

Hope you can help.

Thank you,

Bart Z.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
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www.roadfixie.com
#2
Older road frame is no hassle.

1) If it's steel you can bend the crap out of it with no issues unless you are a really hard rider, it won't suffer.

2) I usually just throw a couple of flat washers on the axle to adjust chainline slightly. But you actually don't need to do this.

3) BB for fixed is generally square taper and comes in either JIS or ISO taper. Both will sort of fit on each other - so be a little caredul. More importantly is the length of the axle to set the chainline. Singlespeed runs closer to 109mm and shorter, and multiple chainrings run longer - like 113mm and up. Wonky chainline is no fun. Besides potentially cause the chain to suddenly depart from your cog (not good), it wears out quickly, is noisy and violates pretty much all the rules.

3) Best generic frameset is the one you find in a ditch and adopt it. Other than that - just about anything will work. If you don't have horizontal drops - then you can get either an eccentric hub wheel (I'm working on getting a bunch here) , or 'half link' your chain to fit close enough (did that for years) , or get one of the funky solid mount tensioners.

In short - if you jam econo on these you can use anything. Or you can spend as much as your wallet and conscious will allow you.
 

Bartek

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#3
Great news. Thank you for the reply.

Regarding the BB, the frame is from an older road bike, so it will likely have a wider axle than 109mm. And if that is the case, what is the BB I should be looking for? It seems like there isn't much info on the net about the issues with BBs while building a fixed gear.

Thanks and sorry for all these questions, but it is my first project and I am trying to think of any problems I can run into before getting a frame.

Bart Z
 

GSAstuto

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#4
Depends on the crankset you are using, plus the current chainline. I usually keep a few different BB laying around so I can pick the one that fits best. Sugino, Shimano, FSA .. alot of people make square taper BB's. Proper track frames will have the shortest axle and old 5-7 speed roadbikes will have next, then followed by 8-10 speed and triples. Also - you need to know if your shell is Italian or English thread. Once you narrow that down - then you probably have 3 choices.

Just a hunch - but if it's an older roadbike for sure. Then probably the 109/110 mm axle will be fine and running the single front chainring on the innerside of the crank spider. Hell, if you have all the parts from the old bike, you probably don't need anything except a rear wheel. (Hint, I'm selling one in the classifieds here). Just toss a chain on it and go. Any 1/8 chain will work fine for track cog rear and 3/32 road ring front.

Great news. Thank you for the reply.

Regarding the BB, the frame is from an older road bike, so it will likely have a wider axle than 109mm. And if that is the case, what is the BB I should be looking for? It seems like there isn't much info on the net about the issues with BBs while building a fixed gear.

Thanks and sorry for all these questions, but it is my first project and I am trying to think of any problems I can run into before getting a frame.

Bart Z
 

fredstaple

Speeding Up
Nov 1, 2009
198
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Puerto de la Santa Maria
#5
My 2 cents

Other than a bike with track ends, there is no better bike than an old steel road bike for conversion. I have widened the rear to accept a 130mm spaced wheel. I would think going the other way would not cause problems, but a long axel with spacer would fill up the space and not result in having to bend the frame or bend it as much.

You can find a lot of old parts on ebay for not a lot of cash as long as they are not rare or Campy. I strip old bikes I find in the trash of anything useful and just keep them in a box for spare parts. A good set of calibers will help in making sure you have the right measurements and don't end up buying a part that won't fit.

French bike with Stronglight cranks are a little difficult to work with as they have a propriatary crank remover and these are hard to find. Some older bikes have strange size seat tubes and posts can be hard to find or a limited selection. I converted an old Takara road bike that had an off size quill stem size, old US Schwins also used this, and it was a long time before one of these showed up on ebay.

I know people who have used an old freewheel hub and screwed on a single cog, then screwed on a BB lockring to "lock" it on. This is not a very stable way of doing things in my opinion and I would recommend buying a track hub equiped wheel as it is much safer.

Tektro makes a reasonable long reach brake if you have an old 27 inch wheel bike and want to run 700c wheels.

www.fixedgeargallery.com is a good source of info and a lot of pictures. There are a ton of bike stores that specialize in fixie gear that advertise on that site.

Chainline has been the biggest issue to get right for me. Play around with putting the chainring on the inside or outside of the spider. I have cut down an old chainring (removed the part with the teeth) and used that as a spacer to move the chainring inboard more (requires you to use longer chainring bolts). On one bike, I flipped the bottom bracket axel around and used the non-drive side on the drive side to get better line. The non drive side of the BB axel is sometimes shorter. If none of this work, used axels are not very costly and just get a few and play around with it.

If you buy some track/fixie specific crankset, you need to decide if you will use 1/8 or 3/32 chain and ring. I like the bigger stuff better, but both will do you fine. Easiest thing is just remove one of the rings from the crankset that came on the bike and use what you got.

Some trash bikes have one piece cranksets, these are really cheap and not much fun to work with. Cottered cranks also increase the pain factor.

Have a blast.
 

Bartek

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#6
Thanks for all the info. I appreciate your help.

GSAuto: Unfortunately, I cannot see the bike that you mentioned in the classifieds. The only thing listed by you is 440mm Carbon Team Frameset kit which has already been sold.

Thanks again

Bart
 

GSAstuto

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#7
I just posted a rear wheel in there for ichi-man. Maybe its not approved yet. Anyway - a nice Grand Compe (Black w/gold hub) and Vittoria Open Pave CX mounted. W/ 16 or 17 Cog and lockring. I put new bearings in it (NSK) in Feb. to replace the normally crappy OEM bearings that seem to go in just about every wheel these days.

Thanks for all the info. I appreciate your help.

GSAuto: Unfortunately, I cannot see the bike that you mentioned in the classifieds. The only thing listed by you is 440mm Carbon Team Frameset kit which has already been sold.

Thanks again

Bart
 

Bartek

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#8
It seems like the older steel frames on Yahoo Auction do not sell cheaply and I can't really use EBay due to high shipping costs from Europe or North America.

I am thinking of converting a singlespeed mamachari to a fixed gear. I have a 24in wheel mamachari that I would like to convert and I wonder if the hubs on these bikes need to be entirely replaced or replacing only the cog would do the trick.

Also, it seems like the biggest chainring for these bikes is 32T or 34T. Could I possibly use a single chainring from a different kind of a bicycle (older road for example)?

Any advice?

Thank you,

Bart Z.