1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Re-vamping to fixed/single speed

Discussion in 'Fixed Gear and Single Speed' started by dudi, 6 Dec 2007.

  1. dudi

    dudi Senior Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    Hi Everyone

    I have just bought myself a lovely old bike, it's in decent condition and i intend to re-vamp it to either fixed gear or single speed, not sure which one yet.

    The bike i have is a Puch Mistral road bike, bought for £15 from local free-ads. it has horizontal drop-outs and 700c wheels, the frame is in great condition though the paintwork is a bit shabby, bonus is it is just the right size for me!

    Is this a good bike to be srating ot with? I understand it has a Reynolds 531 frame, how do I confirm this?

    I plan on having it ready fairly soon for my daily commute.

    does anyone who has converted before have any tips?

    which is better for city riding? fixed or single speed?

    does anyone have any pictures i can use for inspiration??

    help and encouragement always appreciated.

  2. palinurus

    palinurus Guru


    Single speed is relatively cheap'n'easy. I did it for a while. Nice to ride around and not worry about buggering around with gears, esp in traffic. Choose the right ratio and it isn't too bad into a headwind in the winter either (Just try riding your regular bike without changing gear to figure this one out)

    Fixed i'd wager would be a bit more fun. Probably a lot more fun.

    Pictures? try fixed gear gallery. Cheap hacks all the way to outrageously-expensive wall art.

  3. dudi

    dudi Senior Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    Well I just came home without changing gear, and tried to keep up with the wheels, i.e. not freewheel, and it was surprisingly easy... even uphill. and the gear ratio wasn't too slow on the flats either. I think my wheels may need new hubs, so I may get one of thos flip/flop hubs and have one of each.
  4. tomb1960

    tomb1960 New Member

    Mine has a flip-flop hub. Have to confess that since changing to the fixed sprocket I haven't even thought about going back to the one that freewheels! Good luck with the project - sounds fun!
  5. peejay78

    peejay78 Well-Known Member

    first thing - measure the rear dropouts, 120mm is ideal. does it have a double or single chainring? single is even better, means things can stay the same. you can use a double chainring but it looks so nasty. i look for old five speeds to do up. because it's a first fixed normally for newbies i'm not fussy, 531 is perfect, i go for 501 or even carbolite. i don't care.

    what i do:

    basically, strip all the bits off except the brakes, ditch the rear wheel, buy a fixed wheel with the right axle spacing and stick an appropriate sprocket on. stick chain on, check chainline, add spacers/bodge if necessary, off you go. a 1/8 chain will go with a 3/32 chainring by the way. but a 3/332 won't go with a 1/8 sprocket. so i keep the front chainring - cheaper.

    not necessarily that much of an inspiration, but i have been converting step-through frames for ladies to start fixed, here's some examples. i invariably flop and chop the bars, and also swap the weineman 'brakes' for tektro or something similar. be careful if swapping weinemans though, you will need tektro BOLT calipers, not the allen key ones.

  6. dudi

    dudi Senior Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    This is a picture of the bike I'm starting out with.


    At the moment it has all the easy bits removed, just left with the cranks, axle & bottom bracket... along with the forks... everything else is off.

    I've decided I'm going to use the wheels off my Dawes Discovery, fit a fixed hub to the rear and only the front brake, most likely.

    I've also got a quote for powder coating, any colour I like, sand blasted and coated for £35 plus VAT. not bad I reckon. I was thinking of a Matt finish, what do you reckon?
  7. peejay78

    peejay78 Well-Known Member

    i personally wouldn't bother painting it, i like the colour.

    when you say fixed hub to the rear - are you going to build the wheel yourself? i guess so. if it's only front brake i'd change the lever and mount it on the top of the bars, otherwise you'll need a dummy hood on the other side for balance. the brakes look like deep drop weinemanns, so will need a deep drop replacement if you go that way. if you're only using a front i'd definitely replace the caliper with something sturdy.
  8. dudi

    dudi Senior Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    Yeah, I was planning on putting the new hub in myself, but don't really know what it entails yet...

    the only reason I'm re-painting it is because the paintwork is chipped in quite a few places, right down to the metal.

    What I would like to do is find a place I can get decals to put back on the bike... do you know of any off hand?
  9. peejay78

    peejay78 Well-Known Member

    any frame restorer should be able to do that for you, and source the decals. they will be able to put a suitable alternative on, and a 531 sticker.

    with regard to the wheelbuild, the wheel with have to be stripped and then rebuilt with probably new spokes, depending on the length required and the hi or lo flange hub. you would be better off buying a hub (14.99 SJS) and a cpx 22 rim, some spokes, all for a realtively cheap price, then building it yourself. you will need a spoke key, truing stand, and other bits and bobs.

    my advice: buy a fixed rear wheel. it's not cheap, but it's the best way. like i said, measure the rear drops, then buy the right length axle/wheel combo. whatever happens after that, you have a lovely rear wheel you can drop across to your next build.
  10. Tail End Charlie

    Tail End Charlie Veteran

    My advice would be to buy a fixed wheel also. I had one made up in the summer and the whole thing was only £90 including tube and tyre and a sprocket and it has been spot on. Unless you know what you are doing pay someone else to do it. I just took along the old wheel for the shop (Rick Green's, Handforth, Cheshire) to measure up. As PeeJay says I now have a wheel to swap if at any time I decide to change frames (the one I am using only cost £40 for the whole bike).
  11. dudi

    dudi Senior Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    Today was a good day.

    I went to the LBS to buy a crank extractor and to pick the owners brains on this project. after a chat about the pros and cons of fixed gear Vs Single Speed it was decided that fixed gear is the way to go for my commute.

    The icing on the cake came when I asked him about where I might get a fixed hub from, just so hoppened he had one spare on a wheel that was scrapped by one of his customers. So for the princely sum of £8.99 I got my tool, plus a hub, and a lot of helpful advice on where to go with the project!
  12. If you're re-vamping your bike does it mean that you have 'vamped' it on a previous occasion?
  13. dudi

    dudi Senior Member

    Ipswich, Suffolk
    lol... I would put the oiginal vamping down to the manufacturers...
  14. peejay78

    peejay78 Well-Known Member

    all you have to do now is buy a cpx 22 rim (because they're cheap and nice) and some spokes, calculate spoke length, buy truing stand then off you go.
  15. Dont forget the dishing tool and the spoke prep. Oh and a spoke key!