Newbie - intro and some questions

Discussion in 'Singlespeed' started by dnedved, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. dnedved

    dnedved New Member

    Dec 5, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Hi All,

    I just recently got rid of my cars, moved to Amsterdam, and bought a single speed bike for commuting and pleasure riding. The bike was really cheap, and my original plan was to buy a multispeed bike after I got some money saved, and keep the singlespeed for a pub cruiser / guest bike. A relative introduced me to Sheldon Brown's site, I read a bit, and it's looking like sticking with single speed might be a good option that fits the terrain around here (flat) and my personal ideology (keep it simple stupid). Anyway, here's a picture of the bike when I bought it:

    I paid 20 EUR for it, and have already done the following to try to make it roadworthy:

    - new tires and tubes
    - added bottle generator and lights
    - added chain guard
    - replaced rear wheel
    - handgrips and bell
    - added a rear-wheel lock and a ABUS chain lock
    - tightened and lubed chain

    So I'm up to around 150 EUR now. The bike does okay on my commute -- don't know how long but it's about 40 minutes of hard cycling in each direction. I do have a few frustrations with it though, and wanted some good ideas on which direction to go in. My current problems are that the coaster brake makes stop and go cycling in the city a little tough -- my crank always ends up in the wrong position to start from a redlight, and there are times when I'd like to be able to brake without having to use both feet. I'm also frustrated that the bottle generator slips constantly in the rain, which I don't think makes for very safe riding. After reading around on the web, I'm thinking maybe I can get rid of these frustrations on my current single speed bike instead of starting over with a multispeed.

    One option I have is that my relative can give me a pair of center mount brake calipers which I can try to adapt to the bike, and then go about getting rid of the coaster brake. I could then look for a dynahub and get the front wheel rebuilt using it. My question about going this route though is whether caliper brakes will work well enough in the rain? It rains all the time here. I don't know for sure that I can get the calipers mounted and working, I don't know the best (and cheapest) way to get rid of the coaster brake. People around here seem to have a lot of drum brakes, and only mountain bikes seem to have calipers. I heard of a charging hub that has a built-in drum brake, would that be a good route? What about rear brake then?

    My options are sort of limited because I don't speak the language very well right now, and my budget is very limited. There are bike shops everywhere, but when I've gone to them communication is difficult, they're very expensive, and seem to be a lot more interested in repairs and general maintenance than customizing and rebuilding. I'm fairly mechanical, love tinkering, and can source parts when I'm back in the US for Christmas, so this sounds like a good project for me. I've also found two dealers in the open air markets around here who have loads of bike parts. There is a concept here of a "proper Dutch bike", and a lot of parts are very standardized. Some things are easy to buy, others more difficult. Everything I'd need for this project seems to fall into the difficult category unfortunately.

    Sorry for the long post, but had a lot of detail to cram in. Looking forward to any replies..