Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder - Conversion

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Today

Update December 5, 2013 Below


Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
After
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Brown Frame - Before

I have had a nice Fuji frame around the shop for sometime.  It is a S-12 S frame.  The frame was an ugly brown with some rusting and a few broken cable brazeons.  With the broken cable holders I decided to remove the rest of the cable holders and turn it into a fixed gear bicycle.

The frame was going to be powder coated a midnight blue with a cream colored head tube, a paint look from the first half of the 1900's. The paint came out a blue that looks purple in the sun light, not exactly a color you want to build a bike on spec and expect to sell it easy, so I put it away until the summer and have it repainted.

Looking at the frame each day through the endless winter it started to grow on me and the frame is my size.  An idea for the frame struck me. I often get questions from customers about this bicycle seat, or that set of handle bars or those set of peddles and sometimes I can answer the questions and sometimes I have not used the product.  This purple frame I will turn into a bicycle for me to to check out new products on and maybe be able to answer more questions.

The first set up of this bike will be a fixed gear bicycle with 700c wheels.  The frame has a lot of clearance so I will set it up with 700 x 40-45 mm tires for gravel path riding and maybe a little soft trail riding.  I will either put straight bars or porter bars for an up right riding position.  I will be purchasing a new Brooks leather saddle for the bicycle, I have reworked so many used leather saddles in my life that I am going to treat myself to a new Brooks saddle.  I think I will also purchase Brooks leather handle bar grips.  I will also be adding modern side pull breaks for better stopping and I have not decided on a crankset yet.

The look of the bicycle is going to be very thought out, I am going for a certain look and can't put it into words yet  I guess the look will show when the bicycle is done.  I look forward to riding the Fuji.

I may be getting a little older, but I am starting to like a more upright comfortable riding position and riding long distances all day, touring.  I like to take my time and see the world and keep my options open to explore new roads, paths, country trails and landscapes.  There are a lot of new forest preserve paths and tunnels under busy highways and roads in my area that I am looking forward to using to connect myself out of the suburban area to the country.  I am looking forward to weekend touring on the Fuji.

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Frame Powder Coated
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Frame Powder Coated
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Frame Powder Coated
Bottom Bracket Area
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Fork Powder Coated

So far the only component that I have purchased so far is the headset.  I went with a Velo-Orange headset.  I really like Velo-Orange headsets and components for that matter, the quality is very high and overall the headsets are thought out very nicely.  I ordered the Velo-Orange 1" Threaded Headset with caged bearings and JIS 27.0 mm.  The JIS stands for Japanese Industrial Standards, which works well with Fuji, Nishikie and other Japanese frames.

I pressed the headset cups into place and packed the bearing cages in grease.  When installed I love the look of the larger sized bearing cups and the overall slightly brushed finish look.  It stands out well against the blue/purple.

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - New Velo-Orange Headset
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Headset Cups Installed
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Velo-Orange Headset
Installed
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle -  Headset & Fork Installed



I recently ordered wheels for the Fuji fixed gear.  I was originally going to put wider tires and wheels on it and make a gravel grinder, but I already have a gravel grinder in my World fixed gear, so I have decided on 700 x 20 mm wheels and some narrow high pressure tires.  I wanted descent wheels with out paying a lot, a good value,  after searching around some I found a Sta-Tru High flange flip/flop hub with an Alex rim.  I had a Sta-True rear wheel on an 1980's Cannondale that I had near 25,000 miles on and it held up great.  For the front I went with another Sta-Tru wheel with a Shimano hub and Alex rim.

The wheels look good, the rear wheel the bearing cones seemed to be way to tight so I repacked and set the bearings better.  The front wheel was fine but just for the heck of it I repacked the front bearings also.  Overall the wheels seem to be a good value I will update there performance as I go.

The rear flip/flop wheel came with a fixed cog and lock ring.  I will not use the cog, it is cheap and a little light-duty.  I was not planing to use it anyways, I did not know it came with it.  The lock ring looks pretty good.  Below is a link to the wheels I used.

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Rear Wheel Hub

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Rear Wheel Hub

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle -  Front Wheel Hub

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Wheels as of Now


When I cant sleep in the middle of the night is when I usually work on my own bicycles, so last this is what I did, or maybe I should say early this morning.

I installed the cog and lock ring on the rear wheel and added a free wheel to the other side of the hub, I do not know why I added the freewheel, I only have used the freewheel on my black Gravel Grinder once, when my bad foot was to soar to brake properly on the cog side, but then I have many many BMX freewheels around.  Below is a photo of a lock ring tool, this is used to tighten the lock ring on a fixed gear cog and also used to tighten a lock ring on a bottom bracket.

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Cog - Lock Ring - Freewheel
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Cog - Lock Ring - Freewheel
Installed
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Lock Ring Tool

Below are links to freewheels, cogs, lock rings and lock ring tools.  If you are new to fixed gear or single speed bicycles you will have to experiment with a gear size to find the one that fits best for you.  The lock ring tool is a useful tool to have, especially if you plan on doing a lot of work yourself.  One thing to decide before you order cogs and freewheels is to decide if you are going to use a 3/32" or a 1/8" chain, once decided order your freewheel and cogs accordingly.  

With the cog installed I also installed a Bontragger 23 mm tire road tire I have had around for a while, I should have two, for I took it off another bike as a pair, but can not find it, someone must have snagged it on me!

With the rear wheel complete it was time to work on the stem and handle bars.  I have been thinking about the handlebars that I want on this bike for a long time, before I even thought of the bike as a whole.  I have decided on porter handlebars for a more path racer look.  I really like Velo-Orange products and they have a nice selection of handlebars at a descent price for the quality.  I ordered two handle bars, a porter handle bar with a very small amount of rise and a flat porter style bar.  I went with the porter handle bars with the slight rise, they curves look a lot more pleasing.

The stem is a salvaged aluminum stem from my parts collection, no name.  It is really nice quality for no name.  After cleaning and polishing on the bench top buffer it looks great and will go with the handlebars beautifully.  I am very pleased with the look of the handle bars, can' wait to get some bar grips on it, just need to pick them out.

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Velo-Orange Handlebars -
No Name Stem
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Handlebar & Stem - Installed


Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Handlebar & Stem - Installed


Thats where I am on the Blue/Purple Fixed gear project.  Can't wait to ride it.

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Bicycle Now
I decided to go a different way with the Fuji frame and I pretty much threw it together in 15 minutes because I wanted to use it that afternoon, because of that I do not have many photos besides the final photos.

I have decided to go go the path racer direction.  I am pretty much a gravel grinder at heart so I thought I would do my version of a path racer / gravel grinder.

I did not really like the narrow 20 mm wheels for this frame, those wheels have been moved to a Panasonic DX-2000.  The frame is made for 700c wheels but 27 inch wheels fit fine with a little clearance.  Not rear brake needed, but a brake would probably not fit the 27 inch wheel on the rear anyways.

I would make a link to the wheels I used, but I got them for $20 at a swap meet.  The rear is a flip flop fixed gear hub and the front matches.  They are basic Weinmann rims and maybe Origin 8 hubs.  I know they are available at Niagara Cycle Works and Harris Cyclery on the inter web for a lot more then $20.  They are basic but I have been riding the same set for many years that I also paid a lot more then $20 for.  The tires are 27" x 1 3/8" cross tires, again I have rode these tires for many years and happen to have like 5 sets around the shop.

At this time I also installed the cog and lock nut, I have completely forgot the number of teeth on the cog, I am thinking 18.






Next I installed a Dura Ace crank that I got at a flee market.  Someone at some point turned the Dura Ace crank into a single speed crank and was missing the large chain ring, the crank was in fabulous shape.  I will replace the Dura Ace crank soon with maybe a Sugino retro crank or another retro looking crank like the ones below.  The Dura Ace crank just needs to be put back to a double chain ring crank, I believe it is first generation Dura Ace.  The Dura Ace crank chain ring is also to small for me, I like at least 46 tooth.



Next is a city brake lever I had in the parts collection and a new Tektro modern dual pivot brake caliper with hex nut attachment for older bicycles.  It is a long reach caliper which with the pads all the way at the top barely fits, but being a fixed gear it will not be needed much.  I will be ordering a standard reach caliper soon.  I also put the front brake caliper lever on the right side of the bars.  This is backwards, should be on the left for front brakes, but if I have only one brake I like the lever in my right hand, a personal like.




The saddle is a parts collection Bontrager saddle.  I do not like it at all but ti will work for now.  Thinking Brooks B17 or maybe a Brooks Flyer or B67 to go more with the path racer theme.



That just leaves the standard seat post and some leather handle bar grips. I believe the cheaper handlebar grips below are the ones I have at the shop with plans of ordering the Brooks handlebar grips.



Part of the theme is the brown, honey or aged leather look, which will eventually all match.  I am not a fan of black leather components at all.

Below are some final photos to this point with updates coming.  The bike rides so smooth, it feels like it just wants to go by itself.  Since I first road it hard on Sunday it keeps calling me, calling me to ride and ride and ride.  It is so lite also, partly because there just isn't much to it.  When I look at it it almost says a Jeep look to me, like a Jeep Wrangler, simple and tough.

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Side View
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Angle View
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Front View
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Head Tube View
Love the Cream Against The Purple
& The slight Point on the Lugs
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Front Half
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Dura Ace Crank
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle - Cog View
Need  Chain Line View - Its Perfect!
Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Finished Bicycle -  Rear View
So there it is, my version of a path racer with a few updates to come.



Update December 5, 2013

I road the Path Racer as the photos above showed for about 1000 miles with a brooks saddle, not the saddle photoed, it was awful.  I have since put a couple of thousand miles on the Path Racer in a new configuration and love it even more!!  It is my 99% bike.  I have also ridden in a few maybe impromptu Alley Cats, and it performed wonderfully!

Off are the Velo-Orange porter handlebars, which are going on a different project and on are some old Shake Road Champion handlebars and a new Nitto Tallux Stem.  I also replaced the Brooks saddle with a very comfortable cheap saddle.  I took the Brooks off because I ride this Bicycle to night class a lot.  I put strangley enough 27 x 1 3/8 inch tires.  Very cushy!  I also added the full set of brakes and I like the crazy blue, orange cables, lime green handlebar tape.  Below are the results.

One more update, I replaced the 42 tooth Dura Ace Crank with a true 46 tooth crank.

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Today - Side View

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Today - Angle View

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Today - Front View

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Today - Handlebars

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Today - Rear View

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Today - Artistic Photoshop View :-)

Fuji Fixed Gear / Path Racer / Gravel Grinder
Today - Handlebar View


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