Trying to turn a road bike into a Fixie



tribike2

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Mar 27, 2014
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Hello,
I've been wanting to Get a super cheap old road bike and convert it to a fixie just to play around on. I have a vague idea of how i will go about doing this. can someone take me through the process? ( keep in mind i want to spend as little money as possible) I know it will probably involve buying a different hub for the rear wheel, but other than that i'm unsure. Thanks for your help!
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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If you want to re-build a Road bike as a Fixie then you simply need an appropriate rear wheel ...

Ideally, you will get either a FLIP-FLOP hub or a TRACK hub or a wheelset which has one of those two hub types ...

  • the quality of the hub will determine its cost
  • some people have successfully used a wheel which normally uses a Freewheel with a Track Cog ... you will need a non-driveside BB lockring to secure a Track Cog on a "regular" rear hub
[*]you can buy a ready-to-ride Single Speed bike of unknown quality which has a Flip-Flop hub for under $150, BTW

Then, you need to buy a suitable TRACK Cog which has the number of teeth which you want ...

You will need a 1/8" chain ...

And, a chainring which has 1/8" (vs. 3/32") teeth with the number of teeth that you want.

At least ONE brake caliper is typically required for riding on the road.

If you want to build it as a "Single Speed" which is not a Fixie, then you need to buy a BMX Freewheel with either 1/8" or 3/32" teeth.

Check www.sheldonbrown.com.
 

fuzzcycle

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Nov 25, 2014
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i know this is old, but I'm bumping this b/c i'm wondering if anyone has had experience of doing this w/ a carbon frame.

i'm still a beginner at fixing bikes, but have been riding for a while now.

i spoke to someone at a bike shop about doing this, but they made it seem as if there would be component compatibility issues? But to what extent? I already understand that I will have to ditch/replace a couple things, but how does this equate to "incompatibility"? Perhaps they were just expressing their ideas incorrectly…
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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FWIW. I believe that whomever you spoke to at the bike shop is speaking from a lack of experience ...
  • OR, the answer which you received may have been due to imprecision in how you asked the question ... Because MOST people think that the way to effect a conversion from a multi-gear bike to a Single Speed involves a [COLOR=FF0000]chain tensioner [/COLOR]... A chain tensioner (apparently) cannot be used due to the stress which will occur on the tensioner when you back pedal ... That is, you will more-than-likely destroy the tensioner when you back pedal UNLESS the amount of slack in the chain is minimal.
So, if you truly meant a Fixie then using a chain tensioner with a frame which has vertical dropouts is problematic unless you are will to make a small modification to the frame's rear dropouts.
  • You can consult the Sheldon Brown website for most of the How-To options.
If you simply meant a(ny) Single Speed then your biggest obstacle (which is true with with ANY Single Speed bike, IMO) is deciding on the gearing that you will be implementing ... FYI. This (below) is a frame with vertical dropouts ...
700
The bike was set up with a 22t ACS Freewheel + 32t chainring mounted on the inner shoulder of on an XT crank. The rear hub is a vintage Campagnolo Road hub which was centered & narrowed to a 120mm O.L.D. before being laced. Eyeballing the bike, I reckon that the chainline is off about 1mm -- an acceptable offset.
  • BTW. I opted to slightly "mushroom" the top of the dropouts opening so that there could be some fore-and-aft adjustment ... A Campagnolo or Shimano skewer OR any vintage steel capped skewer is required to prevent slippage.
For a FIXED drive, you need a hub which has a solid axle ... The chainline is NOT a problem with a "track" hub ... Here is a bike whose stays were spread to accept a 130mm O.L.D. rear hub ...
700
The hub in the picture is a MICHE "track" hub with a 20t ACS Freewheel -- a 5mm spacer was added to each side of the hub to accommodate the frame. With the chainring mounted on the outer shoulder of a Campagnolo Chorus crank on its normal 102mm BB, the chainline is off by less than 1mm. Of course, you can do the changeover on a shoe-string budget OR with a sky-is-the -limit budget OR something in between ... So, if you are doing this as a DIY project, then YOUR biggest obstacle is time + deciding how much you want to spend.
 

fuzzcycle

New Member
Nov 25, 2014
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thank you, post was very detailed. will be checking sheldons site. after reading, I figured to go the S's route. but what do you mean by mushrooming? edit: saw this on sheldons page for DIY Ss/fixies http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/white-hubs.html
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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fuzzcycle said:
thank you, post was very detailed. will be checking sheldons site. after reading, I figured to go the S's route. but what do you mean by mushrooming? edit: saw this on sheldons page for DIY Ss/fixies http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/white-hubs.html
FWIW. As incredible as WHITE INDUSTRIES hubs are, if you want to use one of their ENO hub, then I think that you should try to find (special order?) one of the now-obsolete (not in the "catalog") versions of their Flip-Flop ENO hubs ...
  • That's my way of suggesting that you take a pass on it ... I bought one 10+ years ago, never bothered lacing it since I figured out an "easier" way to deal with the chain tension ... ... the one I bought was for a frame with 135mm spacing [COLOR=FF0000]WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?[/COLOR]
And, I didn't feel like ponying up for a matching front hub ... I must have bought the ENO hub before learning about half-links (for 1/8" chains) as another alternative remedy (never bothered using one, BTW). FYI. By "mushroom" I mean that the dropout looks like a FAT 'T' instead of just the simple, vertical slot. If you are not mechanically handy, then don't try it ...
 

acycling

New Member
Dec 3, 2014
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Originally Posted by alfeng
If you want to re-build a Road bike as a Fixie then you simply need an appropriate rear wheel ...

Ideally, you will get either a FLIP-FLOP hub or a TRACK hub or a wheelset which has one of those two hub types ...

  • the quality of the hub will determine its cost
  • some people have successfully used a wheel which normally uses a Freewheel with a Track Cog ... you will need a non-driveside BB lockring to secure a Track Cog on a "regular" rear hub
[*]you can buy a ready-to-ride Single Speed bike of unknown quality which has a Flip-Flop hub for under $150, BTW

Then, you need to buy a suitable TRACK Cog which has the number of teeth which you want ...

You will need a 1/8" chain ...

And, a chainring which has 1/8" (vs. 3/32") teeth with the number of teeth that you want.

At least ONE brake caliper is typically required for riding on the road.

If you want to build it as a "Single Speed" which is not a Fixie, then you need to buy a BMX Freewheel with either 1/8" or 3/32" teeth.

Check www.sheldonbrown.com.

Hello,

I recently purchased a trainer. However my fixie has flip flop hub with hex axle nuts locking and those seem to make dents inside the cups that holds the rear wheel.

When you say secured Track Cog on a regular rear hub, does it have those quick release locking?
 

alfeng

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2005
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254
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acycling said:
I recently purchased a trainer. However my fixie has flip flop hub with hex axle nuts locking and those seem to make dents inside the cups that holds the rear wheel. When you say secured Track Cog on a regular rear hub, does it have those quick release locking?
Sorry for the tardy reply ...
  • I do not know what you mean by "dents inside the cups" ...
FWIW. I took two of my rear wheels which have solid axles & "standard" size Track nuts & tried each wheel in my CycleOps trainer ([color=c0c0c0]I did NOT bother to mount either wheel in a frame[/color]) ...
  • With my CycleOps trainer, the flange of the non-driveside's nut fits "flush" against the lip of the "cup" which holds the rear wheel ... The length of the axle is approximately 170mm ... I allowed about 10mm of axle to extend beyond the outer edge of the nut
The driveside nut does not nest fully inside the axle holder ... Of course, if you have qualms about how your bike's rear wheel fits in your trainer then you can lace a vintage Freewheel type hub with a 700c rim ([color=c0c0c0]you will probably need to shorten the axle[/color]) ... OR, buy a "track" hub & replace the solid axle with an appropriately shortened hollow axle. FYI. I laced the rim of the rear wheel on the previously pictured bike on a vintage Campagnolo rear hub whose O.L.D. I shortened to 120mm by removing 6mm of axle spacer(s) & centering the flanges & shortening the axle ([COLOR=c0c0c0]I had intentionally respaced the frame's dropouts to 120mm so that it could be used with any standard "track" rear wheel[/COLOR]).
  • Regardless, AFAIK, you do NOT want to use a Track Cog on a "regular" rear hub with a hollow axle due to the potential stress on axle if-or-when you back pedal ... Of course, if your intention is to only use the Road hub which is designed to use a Freewheel with a hollow axle + Track Cog on your trainer, then it shouldn't be a problem ... Of course, you CAN install a BMX Freewheel on a regular Road hub for use on the Road or for use with your trainer.
[COLOR=FF0000]BTW. If the idea of excess axle protruding beyond the nut ([COLOR=FF00AA]or, the amount of exposed axle doesn't allow the nuts to nest in the cups as described[COLOR=ff0000]) troubles you, then I suppose that you might simply consider buying a spare set of nuts & thread them onto the ends when you are using the trainer.[/COLOR] I think that BMX nuts may be slightly smaller, but the axles are definitely longer ... AFAIK, BMX hubs only come drilled for either 36h or 28h rims
 

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