Hi all mechanically minded peeps:-)
I'm keen to give building up a fixie/singlespeed a go to learn more about how a bike goes together and heck it's a good winter project for when it's too cold to ride hey!
Can anyone point me in the right direction of any good books, websites, locally run courses etc which will help me with the build?
Experience level is: not a total noob. I know all the bits and what they do, I just don't necessarily know the right way to put 'em all together:-)
FWIW Someone posted in the forum recently about a girl in Melbourne who built up her own bike (it was pink I think) - that's whats inspired me to give it a crack!
On the Mojo I'm running 44x16, on the Raleigh I have 44x15 (soon to be 46x15) and on the wet weather fixed bike it's 44x16 and 44x17.
I'd only ever dare the hills on the Mojo because the wet weather has 155mm cranks and takes a fair push to get moving.
I swear I lose that spanner five-six times a day. I once lost a tube for a couple of hours, never check the mail whilst working on a bike.
I'm aiming to earn my place on Red Berry Espresso's wall.
Yep that's the guy.....a Herculean effort IMHO.
Hi all, thanks for the tips and advice! Will check out the community workshop - is that the one in Plympton?
The need for tools is something that has occurred to me, but right now I have no idea exactly what I need and how much they cost so Maya I may well pm you, cheers for the offer:-)
Browsing the web suggests the chain line is the hardest thing to get right, so Lucas you've confirmed that for me:-) But I think I may be in luck with my frame tho' - a Cinelli Gazzetta - has track dropouts so heres hoping that'll cause a few less headaches!
Good tips on Sheldon's site and Park Tools - both have helped me in the past so will revisit them.
Just bought home the frame last night - dark grey/blue!!
I'm a jealous man!
My next shall be one of those curved Visps.
My son's commuter is a VISP roadie. No, the frame isn't pretty but it's strong and well put together, just untidy welds and the worst stencilled paint job outside of my workshop. They are insane value.
have fun Bekster. Dark grey blue sounds good though I think some give the frame a paint job?
Thanks Maya, I reckon I'll go for the factory colour for now... maybe down the track I can pull it apart again to spray it something wild if I feel like a change.
Having said that chromed forks or chain stays would be sweet!
I wouldn't dare to respray that frame unless some catastrophe fell upon the paintwork.
Like I said, I'm jealous!
One of the trickiest bits in building a fixie/single speed is getting the chain line correct. (Assuming you don't need to cold set dropout spacing.) You need the correct length BB axle and the correct spacing for the rear freehub or cog. If you are unsure ask your friendly LBS to check your build before you ride.
The rest of the build is pretty straightforward and great fun.
You can have a lot of fun with anodized bits, even coloured chains. And making your own leather grips, colour matching cable outers, etc etc.
Oh, and Google is your friend!
A few misconceptions on what makes things difficult.
Firstly, although chain line is very important if running fixed (less so if ss), it's not hard to get right. You simply fiddle with spacers to move the hub side to side to get the cog and the chainring lined up. I've never played with sealed bearings but with the old cone and ball, you simply move the hub along the axle and set up the spacers to suit. Yes, this does move the rim off centre, but it's easy enough to pull the rim back into line by loosening the spokes on one side and tightening them on the other. Very little adjustment of the spokes is needed, you can do it on the bike using the brake pads check the wheel's true and the pay off is the opportunity to get the wheel nicely trued. Wheel building/truing is more scary than difficult.
The other issue raised is cold setting the frame. You don't have to. If your hub is wider than the frame, a steel frame will spring to take it (my Europa is currently working this way), but a track hub will almost certainly be the same or narrower than your rear drop outs - simply add spacers to fit the frame (a washer or two usually does the trick). You can't cold set aluminium or carbon, nor can you spring it.
You do not need track drop outs - any dropouts, forward or rearward facing, that allow you to move the wheel backwards and forwards are fine. Track wheels usually come with nuts rather than quick releases so safety isn't an issue. Quick releases can be used successfully (we used to use them with geared bikes before vertical dropouts), that's what I've got on the Road Chief at the moment, but they are a pain in the bum to get the chain tension just right - alright for ss but for fixed, I like a nice, firm chain (many would call it 'tight' but it works for me) and with the nuts, you can 'walk' the wheel backwards to get the tension right to within a poofteenth.
Vertical dropouts can be used, either by fiddling with chainrings and cogs and half links, or by filling a bit of play into the dropout (not recommend but effective) or by spending a bit of money buying an eccentric hub which is basically a hub on a cam so the axle stays put but you can roll the wheel backwards and forwards. The ENO hubs work really well - I saw carbon roadie converted to fixed gear one day using the ENO hub.
And remember, there's very little you can stuff up on a bike that a bikeshop can't unstuff and at worst, you simply have to buy a new part. Bikes is cool to play with ... but it's probably better to learn on a $50 oldie than your new $5,000 carbon roadie.