Help - Junker 26" touring bike into fixed gear
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  1. #1
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    Help - Junker 26" touring bike into fixed gear

    I've read sheldon brown, I've read other random pages, and I've looked at a lot of vogue sites that sell the top stuff, but I can't grasp what I need to do. I just found a shitty old huffy touring bike. 26" x 1 1/8 wheels. It has the space to fit 27's if needed (I think)... It no longer has a rear brake bolt area, and I also ground off the welded on kickstand to save a bit of weight.
    It has reverse-horizontal dropouts "<" instead of ">"
    The wheels are bolt on, and five speed threaded whatevers (sorry, I really can't remember the term), and the lockring is the old-school two hole removal system.
    The wheels are pretty well in true, but I want some of those alignment things (chain tensioners) to make it easier to keep the wheel centered between the stays..

    How would I go about making this a fixed gear ride, not considering the front crankset (this will be the easy part)?

    WIll I need to buy a new rear hub? I'm really trying to make this a really inexensive "swap the rusted handlebars, and figure what to do with the cassette under $50 type job. I want it to be my rain bike

  2. #2
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    We're both confused

    Is this a derailleur bike? is the "whatever" a freewheel? If so, the cheapest conversion requires the purchase of only a cog (and maybe a chain,since the old one is probably rusty). Thread off freewheel (requires proper tool -- and that's not a "lockring"). That might be hard, but Sheldon has some tricks for that, too (if you're trashing a freewheel, you can remove it "destructively"). Thread on fixed cog, re-space axle to get proper chainline, re-dish wheel to center rim. Pick a chainring to use, and remove the other one (or not). get chain to proper length. Done.

    I suggest you read Sheldon again, and think about it just a little more.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lalahsghost
    ....It no longer has a rear brake bolt area, and I also ground off the welded on kickstand to save a bit of weight.....
    You need to do two things:
    Thing 1: post some pics of the bike, include a pic of the rear brake bolt area since I'm really curious about exactly what you did to that area (especially with the grinding off the kickstand comment).
    Thing 2: spend more time on Sheldon's site.
    Optional Thing 3: hit some rummage sales and perhaps find a better conversion project, kind of hard to lighten a tank. You should be able to find something for under $15. Earlier this summer I picked up a decent 1989 Schwinn LeTour at a rummage sale for $5, and while I am using it as a geared bike it was still a good deal and didn't take too much work to put it back into good working order. I suspect the Schwinn will weigh less than the Huffy even with a brake bridge and kickstand still attached to the Schwinn. But, hey, if the Huffy works for you then have fun and work with what you've got.
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  4. #4
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    It was technically a derailleur bike. The RD was a generic "FALCON" dropout mounted derailleur. Freewheel! Yes. For some reason I couldn't remember what it was called last night... It obviously needs a chain since the old one is in my wastebin. I re-read the sheldon info... and is there a way to get away with just putting a new threaded cog, and respacing the axle, without redishing the wheel? I don't have the knowledge of dishing/truing a wheel enough to do that on my own. I guess why I was confused is that everyone else makes it seems that fixed conversions are pretty easy. :shrug:

    Treebound: I'm in rural WV. This is a find of a find for me (for being free) I'm re-aquiring my old soma sport frame that I got from a yard sale (size 56-58) from someone who I sold it to and they tacoed the rear wheel in less than a year, but other than these two rides.... it's a blue moon event when you see bikes for sale around here.

    Also any tips on removing very stubborn pedals? I've been lubing the threads from both ends , and also tried the hot/cold method, and they still seem to be pretty damned stuck...


    I just took a dremel with a cutting wheel and ground/cut the bridge off. Mostly a "oh, what the hell " type action. I plan to smooth it out if I go any further with this project.



    You can find larger images here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lalahs...ed/2008/09/29/

  5. #5
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    I use one of the ParkTool pedal wrenches, the longer one, and it usually gets all but the most stubborn pedals off. At the local shop they have had to resort to rigging up a breaker bar extension to a pedal wrench to get the real hard to remove pedals off. Be certain you're removing them in the right direction, clockwise facing the bike on the left side and counter-clockwise facing the bike on the right side. With my pedal wrench I find putting the crankarms horizontal to the ground (edit to clarify: pedal forward on the side you're working on) with someone holding the bike upright and then pushing straight towards the ground on the end of the wrench sometimes gives me the best success. A few I've had to stand on the wrench to get them loose. (Hopefully I don't have the unthreading direction wrong.)

    Using a freewheel body with a single cog is best saved for single speed setups. Using the freewheel hub threads for a fixed gear is not a recommended direction, especially if you're just going with a front brake only. A true track or fixed gear hub with a lockring is the only safe way to go if you don't have a rear brake in my opinion. The most economical way to single-speed convert a geared bike is to just remove the rear derailer and leave the freewheel in place and use whichever cog lines up best with your chainring. There are examples of folks welding cogs and freewheels, but my opinion is to have good medical insurance if you go that route.

    For the chaintugs or tugnuts you can go with Surly or MKS, I think there are a few others as well:
    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/sub/1...es.aspx?s=1087

    http://www.surlybikes.com/parts/tuggnut_pop.html

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/sub/1...es.aspx?s=1648

    http://www.businesscycles.com/trtool_chaintugs.htm

    I've never used them on foreward facing dropouts though.

    Looking at your pics, if it were me, I'd run the stock freewheel as a singlespeed until I could build up or find a true fixed gear or flipflop rear wheel. A built-up rear wheel should be able to be found for under $100, maybe under $50.

    Other folks will have other opinions.

    Have fun with the project and keep us posted on the progress.
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  6. #6
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    is there a way to get away with just putting a new threaded cog, and respacing the axle, without redishing the wheel?
    When you re-space the axle, the rim will be moved sideways. So you have to re-dish or the wheel will be off-center. It's not that hard -- you loosen spokes on one side, and tighten on the other, and the rim is pulled toward the tightened side. You do it a little at a time and it's not that tricky. An old rusty bike can be a problem, though, because the spoke nipples will often be badly seized.

    If you really want fixed-gear you'll have to face that, or get a new wheel (and I wouldn't be so sure a larger wheel size would fit). However, if a single-speed is acceptable (might be better in your hilly terrain anyway) you can do it as treebound suggests. You don't need chaintugs or the like, unless you're going to be removing the wheel frequently.

    Personally, I wouldn't have chopped the brake bridge off. If may have been providing some structural function by stiffening and strengthening the seatstays. Keep an eye out for cracking or bending at the seatstay/seattube junction.

  7. #7
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    lots of problems with that... there seems to be no means of adding a rear brake... looks like somebody hacked off the bridge. ok if fixed, but not ss. if going fixed you will have to change pedals to install either clipless or at the very least some that use clips and straps. then you'll need to find a way to make that wheel fixed; I guess if you can weld it would be cheap. all that plus chain, new bars, brake/levers/cable/housing = more than $50. and I'm guessing it's got cheap steel rims- no fun in rain, brakes don't like to work when wet. you can buff a turd, but underneath it's still a turd... not worth it imo

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by FatTireFred
    lots of problems with that... there seems to be no means of adding a rear brake... looks like somebody hacked off the bridge. ok if fixed, but not ss. if going fixed you will have to change pedals to install either clipless or at the very least some that use clips and straps. then you'll need to find a way to make that wheel fixed; I guess if you can weld it would be cheap. all that plus chain, new bars, brake/levers/cable/housing = more than $50. and I'm guessing it's got cheap steel rims- no fun in rain, brakes don't like to work when wet. you can buff a turd, but underneath it's still a turd... not worth it imo

    I agree. If you have to put 50 bucks into it to get it together you spent 30 bucks too much.


    It is a heavy poorly made bike. Wait for a 20 dollar bike that is worth putting a decent cog and chain on the thing.
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigrider
    I agree. If you have to put 50 bucks into it to get it together you spent 30 bucks too much.


    It is a heavy poorly made bike. Wait for a 20 dollar bike that is worth putting a decent cog and chain on the thing.
    Well, he said used bikes are far and few between in his area, so my thinking is to keep working on it until another frame comes along. Use this bike to sort out what is liked and what isn't and use the current frame as a rolling/riding parts hanger waiting for the next frame to transfer the parts to.

    As long as the OP is having fun and isn't doing anything too dangerous then keep on keeping on (so to speak).

    And if he does begin to do dangerous stuff then keep the video camera handy.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by treebound
    Well, he said used bikes are far and few between in his area, so my thinking is to keep working on it until another frame comes along. Use this bike to sort out what is liked and what isn't and use the current frame as a rolling/riding parts hanger waiting for the next frame to transfer the parts to.

    As long as the OP is having fun and isn't doing anything too dangerous then keep on keeping on (so to speak).

    And if he does begin to do dangerous stuff then keep the video camera handy.
    Well, I partly agree. I just wish he hadn't hacked that brake bridge off. The quick and dirty way to get this bike rolling is the ghetto single-speed, using an existing cog and ring, but I'd really want two brakes for a SS. Alternately, I'd thread off that freewheel, clean up the threads, and put on a cog with plenty of blue loctite. As long as you're not skid-stopping or otherwise using major back-pressure, there's little danger in the so-called 'suicide hub".

    But that brake bridge still bothers me. I'd really be worried that the structural integrity of the rear triangle was compromised, especially since he can't know the condition of the metal (rust, impact damage, etc.). I like to fix up junkers, but if somebody offered to give me that one, I'd say, "no thanks; it's wrecked."

  11. #11
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    Yeah, the brake bridge bothers me too and would put the bike into a parts only category if I saw it at a yard sale. Are there any bikes made without a brake bridge? Even track bikes without brakes from the factory have that bridge on there like the ones in this thread:
    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...11052#poststop

    It will be interesting to see if he has any problems with the seatstays.
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  12. #12
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    Primed the whole bike up, got a flat bar and a front brake, and waiting for the glopaint paint. 'Tis will be my winter bike! Did some other crazy things, but you'll see when I take photos.

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