lack of imagination....kinda long....
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  1. #1
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    lack of imagination....kinda long....

    this is kind of strange, i thought: a pleasant young lady comes into the shop looking for a frame to make into a budget 'fixed gear' bike for commuting- to her new job at the shop across town (!?). remember, she's looking to do this on a budget, so i remember an old motobecane that's been sitting out back all winter. i mainly kept it around due to the english bb. dimensions seem ok, after further quizzing it seems she's really interested in a ss, not a fixed gear and this looks like a good starting point. i sold the complete bike for a very 'craigslist' frame only price and she's on her merry way. she's promptly told by her new fellow employees that the bike just isn't any good for this sort of thing- she "can't upgrade the wheels" (the wheels are in great shape, but 27's), she "can't upgrade the brakes" (the old centerpulls work great), she "can't get good tires" (conti & bontrager both offer decent or better commuting tires), etc, etc.... i guess it seems strange to me that shop mechanics couldn't look at a neat old frame like this and instantly see the potential for helping a personable newbie coworker with a fun little project!!?? now i'm thinking i have to take this on as a challenge- soon it will be a cool little ss......
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  2. #2
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    Strange, sounds like her fellow employees need to be introduced to the fixed gear gallery where lots of people have turned old and otherwise forgotten frames into fun commuter bikes.

    I rode an old Nishiki frame bike with a fixed hub on 27" wheels for most of my college career and while it wasn't flashy by modern road bike standards I thought it performed just fine. With room for fenders on most of these older frames and better quality commuter tires (I used Schwalbe Marathon with the reflective sidewall) these frames are well suited for such duty.

  3. #3
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    Looks good to me

    It even has cotterless cranks. Like Asterisk, my early college bike was the same J.C. Higgins 10 speed that I bought in 9th grade with money from newspaper routes and lawn cutting gigs. Huret metal derailleurs, Weinman centerpulls, those butterfly wingnuts on the front wheels. Man, I thought it was almost as good as the Cinelli that the local Cat 1 rider rode and this was like 1966. Ha ha, little did I know.

    A can of Krylon and she was orange in time for college in Boston. Guys at the Bike Exchange on Bow Street would just shake their head as I upgraded the bar tape, clamp on bottle cage and rubber tips for the shift levers. Hey, I didn't care, the damn thing worked, didn't get stolen and got me all over town. Gave it to my future brother in law after my sophomore year when the biking disease took permanent hold. Even then, I had my balloon tired, tank special with headlights and luggage light with rocket reflectors J.C. Higgin with two speed Bendix coaster. Who cared, it got me around town. Upgrade route, dude, it's transportation.
    i've got limited minutes left in life, don't waste my time

  4. #4
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    I've never understood the fixie crowd. This bike was a heap when it was new. It was a school yard commuter. Why is it now "in" to take a heap and spend money making it a fixie. Sure you could get away with the few upgrades you said, but you still have a turd wrapped in a ribbon. I am not saying you need a LOOK 595 to make into a fixie, but just because it is old and tired doesn't make it worth spening a hundred bucks for creativity. It is like you gain style points for finding the bike at the bottom of the junk pile and making it work to prove how "real" you really are. Seriously, is there some sort of magic in finding 27" wheels and tires from QBP? Wouldn't it be more efficient to find an old track frame, or a decent 531 frame from an era gone by? If you are going to use a classic frame, get one that was worth a shite back then too.
    Cyclists really need to learn a little Rule #5.

  5. #5
    Done with winter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spookyload
    It is like you gain style points for finding the bike at the bottom of the junk pile and making it work to prove how "real" you really are. Seriously, is there some sort of magic in finding 27" wheels and tires from QBP? Wouldn't it be more efficient to find an old track frame, or a decent 531 frame from an era gone by?.
    No, it doesn't make you more real, it's just working with what you have available. Vintage track frames are going for huge money on ebay and far out of reach for a commuter bike. Same with anything made of decent steel (SL, 531, etc) and probably not available locally.

    Many people have these bikes left over from the 70s bike boom stuck in their garage or in the corner of the local bike shop gathering dust. Just build a new rear wheel, new tires and brake pads and you're rolling on a decent commuter bike. These are rides for people who just want transportation, not some European made frame vaulted in racing history.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by asterisk
    No, it doesn't make you more real, it's just working with what you have available. Vintage track frames are going for huge money on ebay and far out of reach for a commuter bike. Same with anything made of decent steel (SL, 531, etc) and probably not available locally.

    Many people have these bikes left over from the 70s bike boom stuck in their garage or in the corner of the local bike shop gathering dust. Just build a new rear wheel, new tires and brake pads and you're rolling on a decent commuter bike. These are rides for people who just want transportation, not some European made frame vaulted in racing history.
    +1...Also reading the original post, she wants a single speed. I could turn that bike into a single speed for $20(BMX freewheel and new tubes) and about 2-3 hours worth of work..

    1. remove all the derailleurs, shifters and cables
    2. remove the freewheel and thread on a BMX freewheel
    3. respace rear wheel if needed
    4. remove cranks and BB. relube BB. remove one of the rings. I'd keep the chainring guard since it's a commuter
    5. replace tubes
    6. replacing tires and brake cables will depend on condition.
    7. clean up frame and use white automotive touchup paint to fill nicks and scratches...

    That will make one sweet commuter
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

    My 3Rensho Blog: http://vintage3rensholove.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
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    a hundred bucks

    Quote Originally Posted by spookyload
    I've never understood the fixie crowd. This bike was a heap when it was new. It was a school yard commuter. Why is it now "in" to take a heap and spend money making it a fixie. Sure you could get away with the few upgrades you said, but you still have a turd wrapped in a ribbon. I am not saying you need a LOOK 595 to make into a fixie, but just because it is old and tired doesn't make it worth spening a hundred bucks for creativity. It is like you gain style points for finding the bike at the bottom of the junk pile and making it work to prove how "real" you really are. Seriously, is there some sort of magic in finding 27" wheels and tires from QBP? Wouldn't it be more efficient to find an old track frame, or a decent 531 frame from an era gone by? If you are going to use a classic frame, get one that was worth a shite back then too.
    spending a hundred bucks for creativity & a little fun with a neat old lugged frameset sounds like a bargain to me....

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by surly357
    spending a hundred bucks for creativity & a little fun with a neat old lugged frameset sounds like a bargain to me....
    Plus that bike has so much character. Lugged frame, high flange hubs, rear rack, nice paint scheme.....I would love to convert that frame..

    As you said, it's all about imagining the possibilities
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

    My 3Rensho Blog: http://vintage3rensholove.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
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    It's interesting to note that, of all the bikes and cyclists I have seen over the years, the only one that stands out in my mind is a young woman I saw on a street in San Francisco two or three years ago on a single-speed bike. From what I can remember the bike was a converted old '70s lugged bike with a flat mountain bike handlebar. It looked lean and very business-like. It was very plain and simple, yet it looked aggressive with its large diameter road bike wheels and the forward sitting position that the flat handlebar gave the rider. It didn't hurt that the young woman riding it was very attractive, neither.

  10. #10
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    "He knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." Oscar Wilde

    Done it both ways. A Reynolds 531 Puch and a Bridgestone 600. My son has the Puch at college and I got a rack and lights on the Bridgestone. Don't know if the 2nd son will take the Bridgestone, or an old Motobecane, or leave all the bikes in the basement when he goes off to school. Don't care all that much, either.

    The Puch cost more but their value as useful, rideable bikes is pretty much the same to me. Neither is any more real and neither effects the reality of the riders. I enjoyed putting basement parts on the Bridgestone and making it work the way I want it to. Putting a cog on the Puch and stripping stuff off didnt take much over an hour.
    We have nothing to lube but our chains.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by spookyload
    I've never understood the fixie crowd. This bike was a heap when it was new. It was a school yard commuter. Why is it now "in" to take a heap and spend money making it a fixie. Sure you could get away with the few upgrades you said, but you still have a turd wrapped in a ribbon.

    Thanks for your insight. Not everyone in the world believes in throwing away things that still work, and some of us enjoy tinkering with bikes. Sorry if the "fixie crowd" didn't check with you to make sure you agree with what should or shouldn't be "in" at the moment.

  12. #12
    duh...
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    a little confused... she works in a shop, but came to your shop? whatever, post pics of the finished product

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hickey
    +1...Also reading the original post, she wants a single speed. I could turn that bike into a single speed for $20(BMX freewheel and new tubes) and about 2-3 hours worth of work..
    I looked through thte pictures thread in this forum. Most Fixies, including yours are on darn expensive frames. Those look frames you used are $700-$1000 frames.
    Cyclists really need to learn a little Rule #5.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by spookyload
    I looked through thte pictures thread in this forum. Most Fixies, including yours are on darn expensive frames. Those look frames you used are $700-$1000 frames.
    yeah but I'm not normal My most expensive fixed frame is a custom built frame...The frame costs more than $1000...Total cost for that bike is around $3000(it's still a hell of a lot cheaper than a top of the line road bike). I have over $1000 in my Panasonic Keirin bike. I'm not bragging it's just my hobby and it's how I want to spend my extra $$$.... Look at guys like Terry B. He spends a lot more money on his bikes than I do.... I just happen to like fixed geared bikes...I should also add that 90% of my riding is fixed or single speed....

    Check out the cheap fixed gear contest thread. There are plenty of cheap builds that look great.
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by spookyload
    I've never understood the fixie crowd. This bike was a heap when it was new. It was a school yard commuter. Why is it now "in" to take a heap and spend money making it a fixie. Sure you could get away with the few upgrades you said, but you still have a turd wrapped in a ribbon. I am not saying you need a LOOK 595 to make into a fixie, but just because it is old and tired doesn't make it worth spening a hundred bucks for creativity. It is like you gain style points for finding the bike at the bottom of the junk pile and making it work to prove how "real" you really are. Seriously, is there some sort of magic in finding 27" wheels and tires from QBP? Wouldn't it be more efficient to find an old track frame, or a decent 531 frame from an era gone by? If you are going to use a classic frame, get one that was worth a shite back then too.
    I understand your sentiment and the responses. For example, if you read through www.fixedgeargallery.com, everyone seems to have dragged a bike out of the gutter or a dumpster, chopped off the bars, and put a Brooks on it. Meanwhile, anything store bought seems to be looked down upon. As someone who's all thumbs who'd prefer to pay a bit extra (if necessary) than spend time getting frustrated trying to handcraft a bike or look for one at the Goodwill, it strikes me as a bit odd. I suppose that there's something to having a unique, one-of-a-kind bike that represents your own creativity and hardwork. There's also probably a bit of iconoclasm and rebellion wrapped up in there. Who knows? I've always felt this was a bit ironic for the hipster crowd as it seems to elevate the machine over the man (or woman). I've always suspected that these salvaged bikes are not used for lots of hard riding or training but are more trophies or townies. Of course, I may be wrong. Anyway, all that really matters if the feel and flow of a fixie, whether it's on a unique P.O.S. or a stock entry-level track bike.
    "It is better to conquer yourself, than to win a thousand battles." -Dhammapada

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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    I've always suspected that these salvaged bikes are not used for lots of hard riding or training but are more trophies or townies.
    That's just it. A lot of these people are just using them as basic transport, whether it be to the bar or coffee shop... not pounding up some cat rated climb or out spinning intervals. I can leave the scene related attitude but I'm all for more people on bikes and less solo trips by car.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    I've always suspected that these salvaged bikes are not used for lots of hard riding or training but are more trophies or townies. Of course, I may be wrong. Anyway, all that really matters if the feel and flow of a fixie, whether it's on a unique P.O.S. or a stock entry-level track bike.
    I picked up my Schwinn at the thrift store for $30.00. Had a wheel set and bars at home. Stripped it down, cleaned it up, put it back together and rode it. I pretty much ride that bike everywhere now. In the few weeks I've had it I commute everywhere on it, work part time as a bike courier on it, and it has pretty much become my "go to" bike since I've gotten it. Believe me, I do ride it hard.

    In less than a month I've put over 150 miles on it, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. It actually fits me as well as my "expensive" bikes (if not a little better due to the bullhorns and my long torso).

    Nothing wrong with taking older frames and giving them a little TLC. If I hadn't of bought mine, it would probably be in a landfill now. Heck, I enjoy it so much I'm having a new wheel set built up for it now.

    If running were a person I would try to sabotage their life so that they were poor and drunk and living in the gutter pulling half smoked cigarettes from ashtrays in front of the Target. - Joe Daddio

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by spookyload
    I've never understood the fixie crowd. This bike was a heap when it was new. It was a school yard commuter. Why is it now "in" to take a heap and spend money making it a fixie. Sure you could get away with the few upgrades you said, but you still have a turd wrapped in a ribbon. I am not saying you need a LOOK 595 to make into a fixie, but just because it is old and tired doesn't make it worth spening a hundred bucks for creativity. It is like you gain style points for finding the bike at the bottom of the junk pile and making it work to prove how "real" you really are. Seriously, is there some sort of magic in finding 27" wheels and tires from QBP? Wouldn't it be more efficient to find an old track frame, or a decent 531 frame from an era gone by? If you are going to use a classic frame, get one that was worth a shite back then too.
    +1....the only reasons to use some old crappy frame is that you can so it for a lot cheaper that something you can buy new, that it has some kind of unique features not found on new frames, or that you just like messing around with bikes and money be damned you're gonna resurrect the old beast.
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  19. #19
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    Most fixies are not used for track racing or long rides. They are city bikes. You can take a "turd" bike and a hundred bucks and make a bike that is rides well, is reliable and won't cause serious grief or financial harship if it gets t-boned by a car or stolen.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeanutButterBreath
    Most fixies are not used for track racing or long rides. They are city bikes. You can take a "turd" bike and a hundred bucks and make a bike that is rides well, is reliable and won't cause serious grief or financial harship if it gets t-boned by a car or stolen.
    That was the exact reason I got mine! People see a simple black frame with no gears and they keep walking.

    I will do longer rides on my bike though. The longest I've done on mine is 68.43 miles. Was gonna be a real century, but it didn't work out that way. Had more than a few technical difficulties, but not of it was due to the frame geometry. I'll probably do a century on it very soon though.
    If running were a person I would try to sabotage their life so that they were poor and drunk and living in the gutter pulling half smoked cigarettes from ashtrays in front of the Target. - Joe Daddio

  21. #21
    duh...
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    why? cuz it's cheaper than buying a brand new $300 POS? cuz it's gonna be a beamuter (beater-commuter), that is less likely to get stolen? cuz it's fun? it's not that hard to understand...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeanutButterBreath
    Most fixies are not used for track racing or long rides. They are city bikes. You can take a "turd" bike and a hundred bucks and make a bike that is rides well, is reliable and won't cause serious grief or financial harship if it gets t-boned by a car or stolen.
    Another reason is you can add many personal touches to fixies. People mess with paint, fuzzy dice, different color schemes. What ever floats your boat. There is a certain segment of the fixed crowd(hipsters) that think a fixie has to look a certain way but for the majority of us, anything goes....
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

    My 3Rensho Blog: http://vintage3rensholove.blogspot.com/

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hickey
    Another reason is you can add many personal touches to fixies. People mess with paint, fuzzy dice, different color schemes. What ever floats your boat. There is a certain segment of the fixed crowd(hipsters) that think a fixie has to look a certain way but for the majority of us, anything goes....
    Why can't you mess with a new one just the same? Not saying you're wrong, but you have to admit that some of the attraction is fixing up some piece of crap into a bike that is uniquely yours and thinking you are cooler than the next guy for not simply buying a bike off the shelf. Just look at the messenger bikes you see in any city. They aren't built soley for function--they are built with whatever parts are laying around and they are meant to conform to the current fixie fashions. Make sure to slaP on some "Cars are Coffins" stickers, cut the bars really narrow and stick some alley cat cards in your spokes and you have instant cool.
    "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." -S. Hawking

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bocephus Jones II
    Just look at the messenger bikes you see in any city. They aren't built soley for function--they are built with whatever parts are laying around and they are meant to conform to the current fixie fashions. Make sure to slaP on some "Cars are Coffins" stickers, cut the bars really narrow and stick some alley cat cards in your spokes and you have instant cool.
    That's the hipster crowd.... Fixed is "in" in major cities...You had a lot of kids growing up riding BMX bikes that are now riding fixed.

    My fascination with fixies started I bought a new road bike frame and transfered all the components over from an old steel Bianchi. I didn't want to get rid of the Bianchi so I decided to make a single speed out of it. I used a 9 speed rear wheel with a single cog and a bunch of spacers. I converted many more frames since. I like working on bikes and I get my "fix" cheaper with fixed than geared bikes.

    I'm down to 5 rideable bikes. Only one is a multi geared bike. The rest are either fixed or single speed.

    I've run the gambit when it comes to fixies. I've had conversions, off the shelf, and custom frames. My current passion is Keirin frames....I like them all
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

    My 3Rensho Blog: http://vintage3rensholove.blogspot.com/

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bocephus Jones II
    . . .some of the attraction is fixing up some piece of crap into a bike that is uniquely yours and thinking you are cooler than the next guy for not simply buying a bike off the shelf.
    Riding any bike is cool, but within that I would rate riding a store-bought complete bike near the bottom. I can't help but wonder what people are thinking when they post pictures of their bone stock Giant Bowery etc. on FGG. We can see better pictures on Giant's web-site. Someone who puts thought and effort into things will generally be cooler than someone who does not, IMO.

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