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How do I convert my road bike to a fixed gear?

This has been answered on the internet in various other places, but I am new to bike repair and modification. The things I have read are geared towards people who seem to know bike parts well. With the exception of my most recent bike, every bike I have ever owned were fixed gears. I got a used road bike specifically to practice working on it and eventually converting it.

That being said, what is the best way to go about converting it to a fixed gear? Like I said, I know next to nothing about the subject, so please feel free to over explain.

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I would change the wheel out to one with a fixed sprocket. Then shorten the chain to fit it by removing the master link and adjusting length to fit. Take up play on the chain by sliding the wheel back in the elongated slots and and tighten the new wheel.

Remove all your cables and shifting hardware and you should be good to go.

Regards,

Frank

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Sounds good but the OP probably should make sure the new wheel brake arm can connect properly to the frame. If not keep the hand bakes. +

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Brakes!!! Right... I wish I could vote your comment up.

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If your rear wheel has a freehub (as opposed to a freewheel) Surly makes a single-cog cassette that just slides on and locks down like a gear cluster. If you have a freewheel, there are single-speed freewheels available from Shimano and Dicta (to name two brands). You'll need a freewheel tool, a vise and possibly a chainwhip to get the old one off; bear this in mind as opposed to simply hiring it done by the bike shop.

If you really want to do it right, you'll re-dish the rear wheel so it's more nearly symmetrical, and that's when the fun really starts. There's something very Zen about wheelwork. There are loads of tutorials available online; I particularly like the ones available at Instructables.com

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There is a lot of good advise here but something that was not brought up is the dropouts. If your road bike has vertical dropouts then you can't turn the bike into a true fixed gear bicycle. The dropouts are the slots that the axle of your wheel fits into.

However if you have a bicycle with semi-horizontal or horizontal dropouts then you can convert the bike into a true fixed gear. As mentioned above, it will require a special type of wheel that you can thread a fix gear cog and lock ring on to. Unfortunately you can't use a hub with threads for a freewheel because if you try to skid stop you will unthread the fixed cog.

If you are just trying to turn it into a single speed you can ignore the above information.

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Re verical dropouts

The problem with vertical dropouts is that you can't tension the chain by moving the wheel forward/backward in the dropout. You can still do the conversion if you add a chain tensioner. This is a tensioning gear that bolts onto the chain stay. It's adjustable and pushes downward on the chain to take up any slack. I think they cost about $10-15. I got one on ebay and it seems to work ok for my daughter. I think Harris Cyclery also sells them, http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/

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Chain tensioner are good for single speed free wheels or hub gears with vertical dropouts but perhaps not so much use for fixed wheels - they would likely break with an adult or teenage rider due to the high back forces that can arise ....

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Brian -- you're probably right about fixies. Our single speeds have freewheels. The tensioners can be fiddly. There's also such a thing as a half link that you can use to take up the slack on a chain. I was able to remove the tensioner on my daughter's single speed by using one. With the half link, there was just enough play in the wheel mounting to tension the chain. Just google "bike chain half link".

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Here's how I did it.

Starting state:

The bike was a steel roadbike with horizontal dropouts.

As other commenters have said, this is essential. Don't start if this is not the case.

New Parts:

I bought a fixed gear hub, and a rim, and took it to a bikeshop to build.

They put a stainless steel fixed cog on one side and a freewheel on the other.

The fixed cog was built for a thicker chain. So I bought the appropriate one.

A thicker chain can work on smaller cogs, but not vice versa.

Removing Old Parts:

I removed the shifters, and all the cables, and then I removed one of the front chainrings.

I kept the brakes.

Putting On new parts:

Fixed gears are easy!

Add wheel.

Add chain.

You'll need to to size the chain properly, so Put the wheel on in the middle-ish of the dropouts, and then remove links until it's snug. Use a magic-link, or whatever it's called to finish it.

Tension it.

With the wheel in the dropouts tug back gently till there is no slack in the chain. Hold it snug while you tighten the bolts. The chain should not droop, but it should not be super super tight either.

Now tighten the bolts more.

And snug those bolts down again.

Check the chain tension, if it's too tight, loosen it.

If it's too loose tighten it.

Maintenance:

Chain Tension is the only thing you ever have to worry about.

Check it regularly.

Keep it snug.

Too loose and it will slip off

Too tight and it will climb off.

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CAUTION! Keep in mind that the chain will not stop unless the back wheel stops when your working on your fixie.

If your finger is riding on the inside of the chain when it meets the chain-ring, you could very well lose it. At least its gonna' hurt...a lot.

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If i was you i wouldn't. I ride a conversion and they are full of issues. Track frames are the way forward im afraid. Conversions need chain tugs really to be skid-able. The chain will loosen with every skid. Eventually your frame will start to bend due to the pressure applied during skidding. If you are going to convert it i would run a front brake and try not to skid stop do many times. i would advise getting a track frame but converions can still be fun but just a bit of hard work.

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That's a good point, Harry. It's better to use a track frame and build around it. These frames are made to take the pressure...for e.g high gear ratio and for skidding. The back triangle is narrower compairing to road bikes.

Peace ✌

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I say build one for sure but due to my age, I took the flip flop hub route. Mine is a 1976 Royce Union. I did put front and rear side pull brakes in mine. I wanted to add these as a last resort. It's a good idea in case the fixie experience doesn't work out for you. The bike becomes an Urban Street bike. Either way, they're both cool. You can't go wrong!

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If your road bike has vertical dropouts then you can't turn the bike into a true fixed gear bicycle. The dropouts are the slots that the axle of your wheel fits into. However if you have a bicycle with semi-horizontal or horizontal dropouts then you can convert the bike into a true fixed gear.

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I stumbled onto this single gear cassette (https://www.amazon.com/Cyclingdeal-Conve...) on Amazon for Shimano freehubs that should make the conversion easier. I'm also sure that other companies (including Problem Solvers) make similar items.

This would let you keep your existing rear wheel, remove the dérailleur, and shorten the chain to make the conversion.

It would also let you keep the multi-gear cassette and dérailleur if you ever decide to switch back, or to make the bike more valuable when you sell it to help pay for your next bike.

Just remember to keep both front and back brakes to help you avoid becoming a Human Hood Ornament when your encounter inattentive drivers who are paying more attention to their phones than their driving.

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