Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Singlespeed & Fixed Gear
Reload this Page >

What old road bike frame to convert?

Notices
Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

What old road bike frame to convert?

Old 12-15-14, 10:33 PM
  #1  
SGMongoose
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posts: 53

Bikes: Bianchi Pista

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
What old road bike frame to convert?

I've been looking through craigslist for a bike or frame to build a winter/leave outside commuter from. I'm trying not to spend too much on the frame.. but what i want is something lugged with decent steel, but nothing fancy... i rather not pay for a name

I guess I'm at a loss at where to start. I would really like a frame that takes as many ISO parts as possible.. specifically an ISO BB so i can upgrade the current BB on my bike.

So i guess what brands, makes, and years should i be looking for? or atleast which ones should i avoid?
SGMongoose is offline  
Old 12-15-14, 11:01 PM
  #2  
Leukybear 
THE STUFFED
 
Leukybear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 12,681

Bikes: Rock Lobster; EAI Bareknuckle; Evil Insurgent

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 360 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
You want a bike/ frame with these:

Fixed Gear Conversions

There's WAY too many to go into detail but, I leave these points below if you want a conversion with a clean no rear derailleur/ tensioner look:

You need a frameset that has horizontal dropouts so you're able to adjust chain tension

Protips:
Avoid ALL cannondale road bikes; all vertical dropouts
Avoid ALL GT road bikes; either vertical dropouts or very short horizontal dropouts
Avoid newer Treks and specialized.
Avoid bikes with any carbon tubing whatsoever; chances are they have a vertical dropout
Be extra careful to pay attention to the drop outs of aluminum tubed bikes; very good chance of having vertical dropouts but there are plenty with horizontal dropouts however
Be careful of older treks, they are known for having very short horizontal dropouts
An easy way to tell is the type of shifter the bicycle uses, look for bikes with down tube shifters.


Off the top of my head, can't go wrong with older:
Schwinn
Miyata
Centurion
Peugeot (VO has solved the lack of french parts problem)
Raleigh
Fuji
Panasonic
Ross
Free spirit

Might cost more $, but who knows you might find a good deal on these brands:
bianchi
pinarello
olmo
rossin
bottecchia
colnago
cinelli
ciocc
faggin
de rosa
eddy merckx

Last edited by Leukybear; 12-15-14 at 11:21 PM.
Leukybear is offline  
Old 12-15-14, 11:07 PM
  #3  
hairnet
Fresh Garbage
 
hairnet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 13,198

Bikes: N+1

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 346 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
Most road bikes mid to late 80's and on should be what you are looking for. If in doubt you can ask about a bike in the C&V forum. Personally, I favor Japanese frames and with them I only have to measure the crown race to see if it is ISO or JIS.

Are you trying to build a whole new bike or move parts from your current frame to something else? I second Leuky that there is way too much info to easily type out here.
hairnet is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 03:38 AM
  #4  
europa
Grumpy Old Bugga
 
europa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 4,229

Bikes: Hillbrick, Malvern Star Oppy S2, Europa (R.I.P.)

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 370 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Find a bike that's got horizontal dropouts, fits properly and is very nice to ride. If it doesn't fit or is rubbish with gears, it will be as a fg ... assuming the poor old dear doesn't steel wheels or something stupid like that.
europa is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 03:59 AM
  #5  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,082
Mentioned: 189 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10610 Post(s)
Liked 550 Times in 438 Posts
What about adding "Track" or "Pista" to your searches. That may bring up some newer frames, although they may have steep seat tube angles and short wheelbases. Can you compensate for the seat tube angle with the seat and seat post position?
CliffordK is online now  
Old 12-16-14, 07:40 AM
  #6  
SGMongoose
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posts: 53

Bikes: Bianchi Pista

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Leukybear View Post
You want a bike/ frame with these:

Fixed Gear Conversions

There's WAY too many to go into detail but, I leave these points below if you want a conversion with a clean no rear derailleur/ tensioner look:

You need a frameset that has horizontal dropouts so you're able to adjust chain tension

Protips:
Avoid ALL cannondale road bikes; all vertical dropouts
Avoid ALL GT road bikes; either vertical dropouts or very short horizontal dropouts
Avoid newer Treks and specialized.
Avoid bikes with any carbon tubing whatsoever; chances are they have a vertical dropout
Be extra careful to pay attention to the drop outs of aluminum tubed bikes; very good chance of having vertical dropouts but there are plenty with horizontal dropouts however
Be careful of older treks, they are known for having very short horizontal dropouts
An easy way to tell is the type of shifter the bicycle uses, look for bikes with down tube shifters.


Off the top of my head, can't go wrong with older:
Schwinn
Miyata
Centurion
Peugeot (VO has solved the lack of french parts problem)
Raleigh
Fuji
Panasonic
Ross
Free spirit

Might cost more $, but who knows you might find a good deal on these brands:
bianchi
pinarello
olmo
rossin
bottecchia
colnago
cinelli
ciocc
faggin
de rosa
eddy merckx
Thanks! this is exactly the starting point i was looking for!
SGMongoose is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 07:48 AM
  #7  
SGMongoose
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posts: 53

Bikes: Bianchi Pista

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
Most road bikes mid to late 80's and on should be what you are looking for. If in doubt you can ask about a bike in the C&V forum. Personally, I favor Japanese frames and with them I only have to measure the crown race to see if it is ISO or JIS.

Are you trying to build a whole new bike or move parts from your current frame to something else? I second Leuky that there is way too much info to easily type out here.
I pretty much want a frame where i can add a crank and bb that i already have.. and buy a new wheelset, cog, and chain and be done.

Yeah, after i posted i realized my question was a big silly. But I'm thankful Leuky took the time to type that.

From what i understand tho, some of the older french bikes (peugeot, motobecane) or raleighs could have non ISO BB. How old is too old? is there a certain year where the majority started using ISO brackets? am i safer sticking with a japanese frame?

Also whats the deal with Univega, are there any worth looking at? it seems like the overwhelming majority of bikes available are that brand.
SGMongoose is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 07:53 AM
  #8  
SGMongoose
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posts: 53

Bikes: Bianchi Pista

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by europa View Post
Find a bike that's got horizontal dropouts, fits properly and is very nice to ride. If it doesn't fit or is rubbish with gears, it will be as a fg ... assuming the poor old dear doesn't steel wheels or something stupid like that.
I agree. thats defiantly something i need to keep in mind.. that i can't fix a poor riding bike just by removing its gears.

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
What about adding "Track" or "Pista" to your searches. That may bring up some newer frames, although they may have steep seat tube angles and short wheelbases. Can you compensate for the seat tube angle with the seat and seat post position?
Thanks, i always do search those terms. But it seems anything with track dropouts always adds a few hundred to the price right off the bat. but i do keep an eyelet in case one comes up for the right price. Also i prefer a frame that has fender braze-ons on the drop outs, which the majority of road frames do.
SGMongoose is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 10:48 AM
  #9  
nightfly
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,242
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 5 Posts
One that fits should be your first priority.

Second horizontal drop outs make your life easier but could get an Eno eccentric hub if you have a frame you love that doesn't have them and don't mind spending the money. Not ideal but doable.

I built up a beautiful old Italvega from the 70s. Chromed lugs, horizontal drop outs, no cable guides etc. Put on nice mostly vintage italian parts. But it didn't fit so all my hard work was for naught.
nightfly is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 12:10 PM
  #10  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,082
Mentioned: 189 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10610 Post(s)
Liked 550 Times in 438 Posts
I've seen some people on this website that are rebuilding frames.

If you can do a little machine work or welding/brazing, then you should be able to put your own custom dropouts on the bike.

That would open you up to almost any steel framed bicycle frame.
Maybe some Aluminum frames.

And, if you could build custom dropouts, then you would even be able to modify some CF frames to suit your needs.

Frames with bad derailleur hangers often go for dirt cheap on E-Bay.
CliffordK is online now  
Old 12-16-14, 02:13 PM
  #11  
Huffandstuff
Senior Member
 
Huffandstuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,776
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd just avoid French bikes all together, the old peugeots are a nice ride but still can be a pain with the odd sizing and you can get the Swiss threading which means a Phil wood bb. I have a preference for late 70s/early 80s Japanese bikes. Easy to find parts/frames and smooth riding.
Huffandstuff is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 02:30 PM
  #12  
TejanoTrackie 
Veteran Racer
 
TejanoTrackie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Ciudad de Vacas, Tejas
Posts: 11,161

Bikes: 29 frames + 72 wheels

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 705 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 10 Posts
Originally Posted by Huffandstuff View Post
I'd just avoid French bikes all together, the old peugeots are a nice ride but still can be a pain with the odd sizing and you can get the Swiss threading which means a Phil wood bb.
Old French bikes from the 70s bike boom era are ok if you keep the stock parts and just freshen them up a bit. I converted an early 70s French Mercier into an SS, keeping the stock steel cottered cranks and bar/stem combo, and just got a nice set of 27" wheels with a 120mm flip/flop rear hub from Velomine for $119 + shipping. The only parts I replaced were the seatpost and saddle.
__________________
What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.
I see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel keeps getting longer - me
TejanoTrackie is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 05:15 PM
  #13  
hairnet
Fresh Garbage
 
hairnet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 13,198

Bikes: N+1

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 346 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by SGMongoose View Post
Also whats the deal with Univega, are there any worth looking at? it seems like the overwhelming majority of bikes available are that brand.
Univega came out with some excellent bikes, but they made a wide range of high and low end bikes. American based so compatibility is no problem. I have an older high model that I adore.

Last edited by hairnet; 12-16-14 at 05:19 PM.
hairnet is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 06:40 PM
  #14  
Leukybear 
THE STUFFED
 
Leukybear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 12,681

Bikes: Rock Lobster; EAI Bareknuckle; Evil Insurgent

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 360 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Haha I knew I was forgetting one of the biggies!
Yup, too many to name.

On a whim,
Benotto made good bikes too, might be cheap nowadays due to obscurity of name.
Leukybear is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 06:47 PM
  #15  
Six jours
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 6,401
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
JFWIW, I've come across quite a few 80s Centurions with vertical dropouts. The Raleigh Technium line from the same time period also sometimes have vertical dropouts or very short horizontal ones. (In addition to being generally crummy frames).

Providing a general list of brand names suitable to conversion is admirable (and ambitious) but probably doomed to failure.
Six jours is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 07:11 PM
  #16  
Cute Boy Horse
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 623
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 220 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by SGMongoose View Post
From what i understand tho, some of the older french bikes (peugeot, motobecane) or raleighs could have non ISO BB. How old is too old? is there a certain year where the majority started using ISO brackets? am i safer sticking with a japanese frame?
I think french bikes have the same width of bottom bracket as the standard (68mm) so it's a matter of using a threadless cartridge BB or just changing the spindle.

The only raleighs you have to watch out for are the gas pipe ones, the ones that used raleigh branded parts. Those have wide (70mm or more) bottom bracket shells and nonstandard threads. I have one of these bikes, I cheated it by a combination of changing the spindle and screwing the cups in more than usual, but this barely leaves any room for the lockring.
Cute Boy Horse is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 07:15 PM
  #17  
Leukybear 
THE STUFFED
 
Leukybear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 12,681

Bikes: Rock Lobster; EAI Bareknuckle; Evil Insurgent

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 360 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Six jours View Post
JFWIW, I've come across quite a few 80s Centurions with vertical dropouts. The Raleigh Technium line from the same time period also sometimes have vertical dropouts or very short horizontal ones. (In addition to being generally crummy frames).

Providing a general list of brand names suitable to conversion is admirable (and ambitious) but probably doomed to failure.
+1
It was off the top of my head with minimal research. Spoonfuls or even bags of salt should be taken.
Leukybear is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 01:20 AM
  #18  
Soo__Fuego
Senior Member
 
Soo__Fuego's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 1,022
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Nishiki bikes are also a decent road bike to convert and my areas CL is flooded with them.
Soo__Fuego is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 03:39 AM
  #19  
Night_shift
Senior Member
 
Night_shift's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 388
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've got a 74 Bianchi Rekord and I have struggled for two years to restore it (with time period correct parts) or to rebuild it as a SS/FG. Problem is it's made of HI-10 Gaspipe. and while it would weight ~20lbs as a SS/FG I already have a Wabi Classic so I'm not really sure to do with it.
Night_shift is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 08:33 AM
  #20  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 21,060

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 125 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1975 Post(s)
Liked 318 Times in 228 Posts
Originally Posted by Huffandstuff View Post
I'd just avoid French bikes all together, the old peugeots are a nice ride but still can be a pain with the odd sizing and you can get the Swiss threading which means a Phil wood bb.
You can usually keep the original cups and just find a spindle to work with whatever crank you pick.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 10:51 AM
  #21  
Huffandstuff
Senior Member
 
Huffandstuff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,776
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
You can usually keep the original cups and just find a spindle to work with whatever crank you pick.
Yeah, my pnw mindset always goes towards sealed bearings, but while it's possible to just swap spindles, the OP doesn't even have a bike so why intentionally handicap yourself. Around here a Peugeot that isn't rotted out goes for 150-200 bucks anyways, I found an old fuji/miyata sister bike for forty bucks.

Plus if he's feeling with cottered cranks, he'll have to buy French cotters and have to find a shop with a press.

TL;DR : I'm still bitter about the old motobecane I owned.
Huffandstuff is offline  
Old 12-18-14, 09:43 PM
  #22  
SGMongoose
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posts: 53

Bikes: Bianchi Pista

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
it's actually getting kind of frustrating... seems like everyone on craigslist thinks old equals vintage and collectible.
SGMongoose is offline  
Old 12-18-14, 11:14 PM
  #23  
Six jours
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 6,401
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Leukybear View Post
+1
It was off the top of my head with minimal research. Spoonfuls or even bags of salt should be taken.
You did better than I would have. I just mean to point out that there are probably exceptions to every brand a person could think of.

The short answer, IMO, is to find a frame with long horizontal dropouts, that weighs less than 10 pounds, and that isn't French. (Useful FG bikes can be made with all of those, but weeding them out helps prevent headaches for the inexperienced - we all remember our first French bike...)
Six jours is offline  
Old 12-19-14, 05:36 PM
  #24  
SLY300
Junior Member
 
SLY300's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Riverside, CA
Posts: 11

Bikes: Aventon Mataro, '11 Leader Kagero, '87 Puch Mistral

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have an '87 Puch Mistral I converted pretty easily. The drop outs aren't completely horizontal, but getting proper chain tension is very manageable. Most Puch frames are the same way from what I've researched.
SLY300 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
bassogap
Classic & Vintage
26
10-24-17 04:29 PM
cyclezen
Framebuilders
25
11-14-12 12:56 PM
greaper007
Framebuilders
13
12-22-11 11:29 PM
damnable
Road Cycling
7
08-31-11 10:57 PM
daven1986
Bicycle Mechanics
1
07-06-10 10:52 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.