The Official Retrobike Fixed and S/S thread

Nabeaquam

Retro Guru
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.
Avoid the inexpensive Chinese aluminum flip flop hubs. I stripped the threads off one doing down hill leg braking in the mountains of North Carolina. It was really frightfully steep and long and I was trying as hard as I could to slow down but still I wouldn’t trust them for regular riding. Sometimes it’s hard to get the chain line right. A bike shop will be able to measure and order the correct offset for you. Adapting old bikes to any style always presents a few problems. One of my turn of the 20th century bikes had a stripped hub so I couldn’t ride it. Everything is steel so I welded it together. I can never replace the cog but I can ride it.
 

StevemOs

Dirt Disciple
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.
I'd not thought about the hub width of the harden hub.....the falcon I'm picking up does have wheels, so i'm in no rush, and will do as you suggest, stick a cog on and use that as the basis of the build.

I'd wondered about the need for a shorter bb.. I will consider this.
Cheers for the advice!
 

henristig

Old School Hero
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Ahh, this is a thread for me! I transitioned from messengering on 90's mtbs to fixed gears many years ago and haven't been very active here since then. Browsed through the entire thread and was quite surprised there hasn't been a single steamroller posted yet. Not quite retro (maybe the first ones are starting to get there soonish), but timeless & iconic nonetheless.

Here's mine, -08 frame, orlowski fork and parts replaced as they are destroyed, humbly refusing to die eventhough it hasn't had an easy life; salt bathing through helsinki winters, riding stairs and dropping urban ledges on the daily, hundreds of miles every week rain or shine.

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Six years of messengering coming to an end, looking forward to once again treat this as a sport and hobby rather than a daily grind. Maybe get a proper track bike and build some power on top of this endurance...
 

Nessy

Retro Newbie
My last complete build:

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1986 Peugeot Talisman stripped and rebuilt to fixed gear.
Compagnolo Headset
Shimano Ultegra BB /Crank
ITM 300 Handlebars
Goku SingleSpeed Wheels

Ended up selling it as the frame was too big for me (63CM) and got an offer I couldn’t turn down.

Next build is just about getting started now on this; 1976 Claud Butler Olympic Road 58CM in original condition. Updates to come.

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Markone

Retro Guru
My latest build a Peloton NJS track frame with clamp on brakes back and front for road use.
 

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Gtpulse

Dyna-Tech Fan
Been on here 12 years and I don’t think I’ve ever visited this thread!

I started riding fixed gear probably about 10 years old on veteran/vintage bikes as the age we rode were pretty much all fixed. Moved on to fixed wheel (Penny Farthings!) mid teens on club rides, mountain bikes for mates rides and then when I started driving then met the other half suddenly I wasn’t on two wheels for ages.

Anyway the point of this story - when I started to get back in to cycling I still had a mountain bike, the friend who had encouraged me back out had a road bike. I couldn’t afford one but wanted to keep up with him. A fixed gear seemed the cheapest way at the time as I needed less parts. That was a touring bike with vertical dropouts, a half link in the chain to get tension right, Miche hubs on sprint rims. Surprisingly the tubs lasted hundreds of miles before I ever got a flat. The first time I did both tyres went and I realised I had to move on to clinchers.

By that time I had started buying other bikes and caught the retrobike bug.

The bike below I’ve had about 10 years I think, ridden it previously with a Chorus group on it. Some rationalisation of the fleet (now down to 20 bikes lol) left this one a keeper but needing to be my fixed winter bike. I say that but haven’t ridden in winter for a few years now.

It’s come out of storage as I want to get my legs built up again after an injury. I rode last week and found after an hour or so I had nothing left in my legs and struggled to get home. Fixed always seems to get me fitter so that’s the plan. Good excuse for a clean and photos.

Dave Yates guess late 80s early 90s? Don’t have the original forks but these do ok. Miche Primato drivetrain/hubs, Ritchey Road Aero rims, Cinelli bars/stem and bitsa brakes etc. It’s comfy, quiet and I can do miles on it. 53/15 gearing - tough but it’s flat around here.

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Markone

Retro Guru
Very nice I see you're not running a rear brake. it's too hilly where I am to ride without two brakes safely, but I wish I could a fixed gear bike looks cleaner without it.
 

Gtpulse

Dyna-Tech Fan
Very nice I see you're not running a rear brake. it's too hilly where I am to ride without two brakes safely, but I wish I could a fixed gear bike looks cleaner without it.
Thank you!

Rear brake - that’s what the legs are for!

In all seriousness we don’t have the sort of hills around here that you’d need a rear brake for. I don’t really use brakes much on the road and when I do it’s usually the front. The years of riding a Penny Farthing in my teens you kind of get used to slowing down without them, although they had a spoon/leather pad brake on the front wheel it was a dangerous option to actually use. The routes I ride around here there’s only one hill I can think of that I’d be extra cautious of as it ends at a busy T-junction.
 
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