Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Building Fixed Gear Bike # 1" Using Giant Built, Schwinn World (Tiawan) Lugged Frame

Hello and Welcome,
Before I start I would like to thank everyone who has checked-out the new Face-Book page for this blog. For the short time it has been up I think it is doing pretty good. If you have not seen it yet, the link is in the right column. Just click on the logo "Hugh's Bicycle Blog on Face Book" and you are there. Please show your support and click on Like while you are there.

Please Left Click on Pics to Enlarge. Use Back(<)Button to Return

Above: I was able to purchase the track wheel, 14 tooth 1/8 cog and lock-ring and the 1/8 chain for 83.00 including delivery. Except for the chain which I picked-up locally.
Above: After a quick bottom-bracket rebuild, in which I had to replace both cups and bearings. I mounted this 2 chain-ring, 3 piece crank. (after I removed the small chain-ring of course) It is a 3/32 width so the original 3/32 chain worked fine in front. But rode on top of the 14 tooth fixed cog. I had two choices, a wider chain and new crank or just order a 3/32 fixed cog. Being the 3/32 crank is bent, it was a no brainer. So I ordered a 1/8 single crank and picked-up the 1/8 chain locally. Besides I think the 1/8th set up is the correct way to go. And I don`t know enough about fixed-gear bikes to be "cutting corners". (pun intended)

Above: In this pic with the new 1/8th chain, the chain -line looks pretty good. But the chain is sloppy "side to side" on the crank. This is because a road bike chain-ring is made to fit a 3/32 road chain. I rode it like this after a quick mock-up and it seemed ok. Although at this point I had not yet rebuilt the head-set. I just gave the head-set bearings a quick smear of grease for now. I wanted to make sure this thing is going to go together ok before I do the total rebuild. It also has used tires on it for the mock-up and at this point I had not trued the wheels either. I am also using a scrap saddle and no tape on the handlebars.
Above: This pic is how I discovered the problem with the road crank. After examining all the pics carefully. I noticed in this pic the chain-line looks terribly bad. The problem is that "the crank is bent". When the drive-side arm in about the One o'clock to Three o'clock position the chain moves away from the frame. So that is how I discovered the bent crank. Once again taking digital pics of the job in progress has proven to be very helpful.
So I ordered a "Fixed Gear Crank Set" 170mm (arm length) 46 tooth w square taper.

Above: The frame is scratched much worse than it looks in this pic. And the fork is even worse. All the graphics (decals) are in rough shape as well. So I decided to make my own graphics that would cover-up the damaged graphics and most of the paint scratches as well. Being a blue bike, I decided to go with a patriotic red white and blue theme. And by placing stars all over the frame in a random "non-pattern" I will able to hide countless nicks and scratches.
Above: Not bad for my first attempt. But the huge "Schwinn like" red graphic on the fork looks awful. And still does not hide enough of the scratches and scrapes. So to match the white piping I did on the seat stays I decide to remove the fork and paint it white as well. I drew all the stars by hand on 3M trim tape and razor cut each one myself. The first ones were a little rough, but after a while they improved.
Above: As Roadie Ryan suggested I flopped and Chopped the handlebars and did the road brake-lever top mount thing. Being a true fixed wheel conversion, it will only have a front brake. *And I Do Not Advise Anyone To Do The Same* This time I cut the bars with a hack-saw. I think I was able to do a better job with the saw over the pipe/tubing cutter. Being that I was cutting right in the center of the curve where the bars are not always perfectly round. And using a pipe-cutter on an out of round pipe is tricky at best. Well, I opted for the hack saw and it gave me a better cut while not affecting the roundness of the bar pipe in a negative way.

I sanded the fork down right after Michigan lost to Michigan State in football Saturday. It was a good way to get rid of my aggression. Before spraying the primer I was careful to remove all the dust possible from the metal. I used a cleaning wipe followed by a dry wipe. And gave it a little time to air-dry before spraying.
In the cool weather I always allow extra time for the paint or primer to dry.
Above: The following day I was able to spray the paint outside, despite having to spray in between wind gusts. After spraying I moved the fork and stand back into the shop and turned up the heat for a while. About 7 hours latter I moved the fork into the house to cure over night. At this point it was no longer tacky but the paint did not feel totally dry either. At some point during this process the tires arrived. I could not be more pleased at how it is coming together so far.I did degrease the bearings and cups and re-built the head-set properly before installing the fork. I also trued the wheels, polishing and greasing the front. The front wheel is a good match even though it is salvaged.
Above: I think the white fork gives the color scheme some balance. I will be removing my blog sticker from the top tube and adding some graphics,possibly some white piping. And I`m not 100% sold on the brake lever type or location. So you may be seeing some change there as well.

Above: While I had the front-end apart I cleaned-up the reflector mount bracket with the fine brass wheel brush. Afterwords I gave it a quick coat of Turtle Wax Chrome Polish / Rust Remover. The white saddle has just arrived and I did exchange the black cork tape for white. The only other hold-up is the crank. But I have been told it is en-route.
Above: These pedals are used take-offs. I like the way they feel, I think I will be
keeping them on the bike permanently. And, It does not hurt that they were free as well.

Above: I did not take this brake caliper apart before polishing it, like I normally do. Can you see the difference? I sure can. Please, Let me know what you think.
That's all I`m going to show you until I get this thing 100% finished. But that should be real soon. Until Next Time.. Please Ride Safe & Remember to Always RESCUE,RESTORE & RECYCLE.


  1. Wow that is looking sharp Hugh with the white saddle and bar tape it will be a thing of single speed beauty. The fork came out really nice. Looking forward to the next installment.

  2. Thanks Ryan,
    The single crank set arrived right after I finished this post today. Tomorrow I should be able to "wrap it up". That is as long as no unforeseen problems pop up. Doing the flop and chop on the bars worked out great. It is a very natural grip position on this bike. If I don`t finish it tomorrow, I should have it finished sometime Friday for sure.
    I am still amazed at how natural it felt the second time I rode the bike. Which by the way is also the second time I ever rode a fixed gear. I am beginning to understand why this fixed-gear set-up is so popular with some folks. It is truly a unique cycling experience. I will be avoiding any kind of real traffic for a while. But that's ok , I have never been a big fan of traffic anyway.

  3. Ever since reading Sheldon Brown's glowing remarks about riding fixed I have thought of at least trying it but haven't done so yet. Have to be on the look out for a great deal on a flip flop wheel-set so I can try one out ;-)

  4. Looking good, just a thought on the brake handle placement, on the right side, flat-bar style, as far inboard as possible. The decals really pop nicely, and hide the flaws, but promise your not going to bedazzle anything. =)

  5. Hey Ryan,
    Reading Sheldon Brown`s comments is what got me pondering the idea as well. Also I have watched a few videos on the topic. One in particular was about a New York City bike messenger. I thought if this guy can survive riding in New York city traffic. It must be possible to ride a fixed-gear bike in a safe manner. However I have no plans or desire at this time to learn to play bike polo. Nor do I plan to hang-out at trendy coffee shops. Our coffee shop here in Highland is about as trendy as Floyd`s barbershop:) But it`s the place to be if you want to find out whats going on. And in a town that does not have a real newspaper, that's a big plus.
    Anyway, when I`m looking for a deal I do a Google shopping search every other day or so. Eventually the right deal always comes along.
    I`m already thinking about my next fixed gear project. Cheers

  6. Hey John,
    I tried that exact thing today (great minds think alike) I just could not come up with a lever that that suited me. But I have used this brake position in the past and it did work well for me. It is just a little trickier taping that side, but it can be done.
    And if you mean... bedazzled:
    The act of adding bling ( glitter, jewels ) to a clothing item. Often popular among latino men. A animalistic form of attracting a mate ( much like...
    I promise I wont do any of that..LTMS

  7. Note: The proceeding definition (bedazzled) was taken from the urban dictionary. It was not mine. And no offense was or is intended.

  8. No offense taken. Jokingly, I didn't want to see any rhinestones or glitter-stuff being glued to anything. Dont know or care to know about latino male or animalistic mating rituals/habits. LoL That urban dictionary is something else. Probably written by bored middle-school kids who should be out riding bikes.


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