A little while back I decided I wanted a Fixie/ single speed bike to see what all the fuss was about. I also wanted a better workout while riding, and couldn't exhibit self control on a normal bike by using only one gear.
Really awesome article about the culture, history, proper riding techniques, and dangers of fixies by Sheldon: http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed.html
But of course I couldn't just buy one; we all know it is much more rewarding and OG to build it yourself!
For this project, I used an old Univega bike frame from the 1970's. I really like the character and craftsmanship of older bike frames.
Hope you enjoy this instructable, and if you do, vote for me in the Bicycle Contest by clicking "vote" above!
Step 1: Supplies and Parts
The parts you will need will depend on your build, but this is a general list to consider:
- 1 bike frame and fork
- 2 wheels ( I got mine from Amazon.com, purefix single speed wheels 50mm, flip flop)
- 2 tires (700 x 25)
- 2 inner tubes (700 x 25)
- 2 brake sets with cables (Or just one; purefix.com)
- 1 single speed crankset (Amazon)
- 2 pedals (Amazon)
- 2 cages and straps (Optional, but very helpful when riding a single speed/ fixie)
- 1 saddle (Amazon)
- 1 seatpost (Amazon)
- 1 stem (Amazon)
- 1 bottom bracket (If needed, amazon)
- 1 single speed chain (Amazon)
- 1 handlebar (Mine are drop bars, purefix.com)
- handlebar tape(Optional, purefix.com or Amazon)
- sandblaster with sand (Optional)
- paint stripper (Optional, hardware store)
- powder coating kit (Optional, amazon)
* Important: Make sure your frame has "horizontal dropouts", which means the slots that hold your rear wheel axle are more or less in a horizontal plane. This allows for forward and backward movement of the wheel to adjust for chain tension, which is necessary to prevent your chain from slipping off. Alternatively, there is now a special hub you can buy if your frame has "vertical dropouts" . This hub allows for some horizontal adjustments for chain tensioning (http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/white-hubs.html)
When working with an old frame, you may inevitably run into sizing problems when trying to put new parts on. As with any bike related problem, sheldon brown is the go-to source. (http://sheldonbrown.com/fixed/index.html)
Step 2: Step 1: Modifying the Frame
The first step is to do any modifications necessary to your frame.
For this Univega frame, I had to sand down the slots of the fork with a dremmel in order for the wheels to fit inside.
Step 3: Step 2: Strip the Frame
I used a combination of paint stripper and sandblasting to get the paint off my frame. Alternatively, if you do not have access to a sandblaster, you can take it to an car paint shop and get it sandblasted and painted.
Make sure to get all the paint and any rust off the frame. If you decide to sandblast yourself, it can be a laborious process, but you can do it!
*Important: Wear a respirator while sandblasting to prevent silicosis, which is caused any tiny particles (in this case, sand) that get lodged in alveoli. Silicosis is a chronic disease and is no fun. Thanks to "retasker" for reminding me.
Step 4: Step 3: Painting the Frame
Amazon sells a powder coating kit for about $100, but I decided to simply let a local powder coating company do it for me, since they only charged $100 for the frame and fork. In addition, I didn't have an oven large enough to bake the bike frame in after powder coating.
Make sure you take everything off the frame before painting/ baking.
Don't forget the bottom bracket! This can be confusing, as it may be right or left threaded, depending on your frame model and origin. Sheldon has a list of them: http://sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-bottombrackets.html
You may need certain tools, depending on your bracket type: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/tools/bottombracket.html
For mine, I simply had to use a spanner wrench and alot of elbow grease.
Step 5: Step 4: Bike, Assemble!
I only ran into one problem:
My seat-post was too small for my frame, so I had to shim it with a piece of a soda can.
The wheelset I bought was a "flip flop", which means that one side has a fixed gear, and the other side has a single speed gear, which can free spin. You can switch from fixed to single speed by flipping the wheel around and attaching it to the rear axle. I switch from fixed to single speed periodically, because I like to go down hills fast, which is very very difficult with a fixed gear bike, because the pedals have to keep moving at the speed the bike is moving.
Good tips for :
wrapping the handlebars: http://sheldonbrown.com/handlebar-tape.html
saddle adjustments: http://sheldonbrown.com/saddles.html#adjustment
bottom bracket right or left threaded: http://sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-bottombrackets.html
Step 6: Step 5: Ride Yo Ride
Now its time to show off your sweet mutha build and make all your frands jelly.
Hope you enjoyed this instructable, and if you did, vote for me in the Bicycle Contest by clicking "vote" above!
Also- feel free to axe me any questions you may have.
More awesome articles by Sheldon. You think you know how to ride a bike until you read these. I know I did.
Finalist in the
TomS230 made it!