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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    83

    Converting 1980's to Single Speed

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    Hi all!

    I want to convert my 1980's Fuji Gran Tourer SE to a single speed simply because it is SOOO dang heavy, I almost roll backwards. I've been doing a lot of reading, but I'm still pretty clueless about the exact details. I know I want to put on lighter wheels (first!) before even doing the single speed conversion.

    That said, can you look at the pictures and tell me what measurements of crankarms, etc that I will need? I can't afford to have a LBS do this because I'm broke as broke gets.

    Also- if you have any parts that I need, I'll buy them from you!

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    371
    I doubt it'll get much lighter when converted to a single speed.

    This frame very likely uses the now obsolete rear dropout spacing of 126mm. You won't be able to find an off the shelf new wheel to fit this spacing. You'll need to have a shop narrow a modern 130mm spaced wheel, or space out a 120mm track width wheel. This bike likely also uses the obsolete 27 inch rim size. Todays 700c rims are a little smaller. This change may require brake calipers with a longer reach.

    You don't necessarily need to change the crank to go single speed. It is possible to take off one chainring. In fact, that is the most common way these days to procure a single speed crank for an old bike.
    Laura

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    83
    Hi Laura,

    Sorry I've been missing for so long. Thanks for your knowledge! Can you tell for sure that the spacing is 126 from the photo? I don't know anything about this!!!

    I use for commuting and it's miserable. It's so heavy and it feels like the wheel wobbles (like it's not on tight but it is.) I'm thinking of just selling it and getting a new single speed bike. I'd love to convert it, but since I don't know enough about it, the shops are saying it would be 300+++ to convert with new wheels, etc.

    Also- do you have a single speed suggestion? I want something light (under 25lbs) - I've looked at the Felt Dispatch and Bianchi pista

    Thanks a million!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    California
    Posts
    371
    Quote Originally Posted by Jordyne View Post
    Can you tell for sure that the spacing is 126 from the photo? I don't know anything about this!!!
    In the photo it looks like a six speed freewheel. That generally implies 126mm - except if it is a certain uncommon Suntour freewheel that squeezes six gears in place of the five on a 120mm spaced rear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordyne View Post
    Also- do you have a single speed suggestion? I want something light (under 25lbs) - I've looked at the Felt Dispatch and Bianchi pista.
    I think Jamis has a single speed option.
    Laura

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    lost in my own thoughts
    Posts
    302
    I've converted my 1983 Fuji Espree to a single speed. It wasn't cheap, even if you do work yourself.

    First off, your brakes don't seem like they'd have room to move down for different (700c) wheels.

    If they don't you'd have to re-lace and re-dish the existing rear wheel and add spacers in place of the gear cluster to make them single-speed compatible.

    Barring that you could just get a Surly singleator and tension the chain and get rid of your shifters.

    And my frame is lighter with alloy wheels vs. steel - and worth more too as steel wheels drag a vintage bicycle's price down. If I had it to do over though, I wouldn't choose the deep v'd rims as they only fit 700x28c tires. The frame can clear 700x32 the rims can't. I'd go with non-v'd Velocity A23's or something. But alas, it's still an nice ride. A lovely one, too.

    (Also, vintage Japanese steel bicycles are some of the lightest bikes out there? This is because of the high-quality thin-diameter tubing. Most modern bicycles can't come close to the quality of vintage steel. That's why people restore them. Some have them repainted and have the rear end - cold-set to accept modern cassettes. It's not a cheap process, but the amazing quality and lightness of these frames is unmatched. It's probably your heavy steel wheels that make the bike feel sluggish and or "roll-backwards-y"??)
    Last edited by moderncyclista; 02-23-2013 at 12:17 PM.
    "Things look different from the seat of a bike carrying a sleeping bag with a cold beer tucked inside." ~Jim Malusa
    2009 Trek 520-Brooks B-17 Special in Antique Brown
    2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker-Brooks B-17 Standard in Black
    1983 Fuji Espree Single Speed-Brooks B17 British Racing Green

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,479
    Maybe just new wheels, then?

    You could have them built.

    And perhaps a lighter-weight seat-post and saddle. Probably a couple other small things you could do, too. Like pedals.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

 

 

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