The Official Retrobike Fixed and S/S thread

oddnumber

Retro Newbie
May not be very retro, but it's a lovely bike nonetheless.

What gearing are you running?

bm
Thanks very much bm :)

I'm running 48:19 which lets me keep up on club rides but isn't too hard on the knees when I meet a hill (I ride fixed rather than s/s).
 

Markone

Retro Guru
Great thread! This is one of two fixed gear builds I've completed in the last few months. Graham Weigh badged track frame, Reynolds 853 doubtlessly built by Paul Donohue for Graham Weigh.The wheelset are Halo track fixed/fixed, Nitto bars and stem and Stronglight crankset 49x19 and brakes back and front for the Chiltern hills!

It rides very well indeed light quick and responsive!
 

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markoc

Orange 🍊 Fan
Didn't realise we had an SS thread, so popping this here. In this months 98+ SS BOTM too. Lots of inspiration on this thread that I wish I'd seen before embarking on collecting parts for this one over the last 11 years :)


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Markone

Retro Guru
This is the second of the two fixed gear bikes I've recently finished.I got this as a tatty vintage track frame and some parts most of which I replaced and had the frame purple powder coated.It looks a lot better now I think! 🙂
 

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StevemOs

Dirt Disciple
I am about to take possession of an early 70's falcon with road dropouts, which i am thinking of converting/restoring as a fix/ss. To do this I am thinking of building a new rear on a Harden large flange flip flop hub I have..

I have never built or really ridden a fixie before so I looking for any advice before I start tinkering.. cheers.
 

Nabeaquam

Retro Guru
I am about to take possession of an early 70's falcon with road dropouts, which i am thinking of converting/restoring as a fix/ss. To do this I am thinking of building a new rear on a Harden large flange flip flop hub I have..

I have never built or really ridden a fixie before so I looking for any advice before I start tinkering.. cheers.
Try and mock-up so you can see chain line and ss hub spacing in an old frame. Both can be overcome but some parts might not work.165 crank arms are better, in my opinion, on a fixie as well as pedals with short spindles and no protruding ends. You can have pedal strikes when your learning. You can convert forward facing drops to track fork ends but it’s not easy to get them parallel. You have to make a jig. Here is one I converted.D35843C9-8808-4096-B432-CFA5C15CD858.jpeg5A8ED3F7-5479-4453-BAB6-AFE57AA87099.jpeg98C1813E-70D2-48CA-9255-090F4D34BAD6.jpeg4C48572A-D941-46DD-8254-72484D28E08D.jpeg41FF6A4D-8C05-4D77-B82F-325094A44CAE.jpeg
 
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StevemOs

Dirt Disciple
That looks hard core! I was figuring that as its an old frame with horizontal ish ( def not vertical dropouts) I should be OK and add a tensioner if I really needed.. I'll look into shorter cranks I think and also the pedal profile. What sort of gearing would be advised for the rolling countryside of Northamptonshire?
 

Nabeaquam

Retro Guru
That looks hard core! I was figuring that as its an old frame with horizontal ish ( def not vertical dropouts) I should be OK and add a tensioner if I really needed.. I'll look into shorter cranks I think and also the pedal profile. What sort of gearing would be advised for the rolling countryside of Northamptonshire?
We’ve ridden fixed gear bikes 100 to 200 km on rolling country with a few steeper long hills. I’m from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA. In 2014 I rode Hadrians Wall Cycle Way, which, in the middle section, is similar to here. For this type of riding 44x16 would work, but that might be too easy for you, depending on you conditioning and age. Remember, you have to pedal downhill as well, you never rest your legs. I guess it depends on how far you want to ride. These bikes seem to have a speed where they are happy at a particular gearing and they like to go fast if you have a light weight frame. Of course, a good front brake is a must as are toe clips. A good brake saves knees. Toe clips come in handy for emergency stops. You can do a hockey stop with toe clips with a little practice. Emergency only, you don’t want to bend a rim. You can also fold a front chainring trying to do an emergency stop so a strong crank and chainring should be used. You can fold a robust chainring trying all your might to stop a fixed gear. My son folded a heavy duty chainring and jumped off the bike to avoid being plowed down by a cab in NYC. The bike did cartwheels and landed in the middle of an intersection. Some old track bikes had three arm cottered cranks and that won’t stay straight for us as it was only intended for acceleration and not forced resistance. Again, these things are fast. Wind can really be detrimental to you on a longer ride as you can’t compromise by dropping to a lower gear. The wind is something you should think about before a long ride. Your pedaling technique will improve riding fixed and if you mountain bike you will just naturally be able to pedal a lot more than someone who doesn’t ride fixed gear. You can pedal almost all the time, over obstacles and avoid more pedal strikes on the trail. I hope others chime in as I’m no expert, I just do it with what I have in my junk stash, but 44 x16 seems ok to me. A tensioner is necessary, you have a lot of forces.
 
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Jonny69

Senior Retro Guru
I am about to take possession of an early 70's falcon with road dropouts, which i am thinking of converting/restoring as a fix/ss. To do this I am thinking of building a new rear on a Harden large flange flip flop hub I have..

I have never built or really ridden a fixie before so I looking for any advice before I start tinkering.. cheers.
You'll be better off starting with a modern flip flop hub or a 70s Normandy if you're going to build a wheel IMO. The Harden will likely be 110mm or 120mm wide and I think the axle might be smaller than the usual 9mm. Besides, Harden hubs predate that bike by decades. They're really nice hubs, but it'll be out of place on a 70s fixie conversion. Keep it for a nice 50s frame.

Easiest way to 'just try' fixed gear is to unscrew the freewheel (assuming it's a screw-on one) and put a 3/32" fixed cog on instead. Choose whichever gear you usually ride on the flat and get that number of teeth. 48 x 18 is a good start (= 52 x 20 or 42 x 16 if that's what's on your chainset). Tighten it up good and proper, put the chain on and see if you like it. If yes, get a flip flop hub with a lock ring and rebuild the wheel. Stick with 3/32" cogs if you don't want to change the chainring. You'll also need to change the bottom bracket to a narrower one for the correct chainline.
 
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