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Building my 90's Lemond into a cool single speed 650b errand machine

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Building my 90's Lemond into a cool single speed 650b errand machine

Old 05-31-23, 11:12 AM
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somebikeguy 
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Building my 90's Lemond into a cool single speed 650b errand machine

Hey crew

I've heartily enjoyed the advice I've gotten here on my Bottechia and Swiss Cross projects and am now turning my attention to the bike I commuted on for many years. I now live in a smaller town and work mostly from home but would like to show this old steed some love and have fun in the process.
Like all my bike projects I enjoy learning new things, supporting interesting small manufacturers (US based where possible) and ending up with something unique.

This frame obviously has some patina which I'm gonna lean into. I found these great mill finish "No BS" rims from Velocity - but ordered them in 650b to give myself more options for width and fender clearance. I'd previously considered building this bike for gravel but found the chain stay clearance to be limiting. I ordered what I think is a cool solution to front storage from Pelago

Past that I'm looking for some ideas.
Next step is Fork & Brakes - to clear potentially wide tires and accommodate the greater reach needed for 650b I'd love to use a fork like This from Soma but I asked and they have no plans to restock it. Any other ideas?
I believe long reach tektros could work on the Lemond fork but I have some great cantis on the shelf and like the added eyelets on a fork like the Soma.

Here she is, all stripped down

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Old 05-31-23, 11:45 AM
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Fun project! I did a 650B x 38mm conversion to a Lemond Buenos Aires some years back and really like the way it rode. I did have to dimple the chainstays to get enough clearance, but it wasn't hard to do in my bench vise, particularly given that those chain stays are fairly flat/ovalized, so they won't slip in the vise. I was using the original steel fork (it was a '97, a year or two before they came with carbon forks). I do have a Soma steel fork on my single speed and like it fine; if you don't get one with canti posts, you can get a caliper-brake model for 700c wheels and use it with 650B and long-reach Tektro brakes.
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Old 05-31-23, 11:56 AM
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Those NoBS rims are pretty heavy. I have a 700c wheelset on one bike and will be replacing with a lighter wheelset at some point. And I'm solidly in the Clydesdale camp. Those Soma forks are also heavy duty products. To me it seems that your frame might not be living its best life with "Mountain bike" weight fork and wheels.
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Old 05-31-23, 12:07 PM
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bark_eater Since I'm building this single speed with a rack and so forth I figured durability and simplicity were the way to go. The price and US origin on the NoBS were right so I went for it.

nlerner (btw this isn't the N Lerner from CT is it?) From a stamping on the fork I think mine is a 1996. I'm surprised you had to dimple the stays for 650b 38s. I'm not obsessed with width for round-town errands so I'd likely take less-wide tires with more clearance and no mods needed. If I'm not able to find a suitable 650b fork I don't see why I wouldn't stick with the Lemond fork and long-reach tektros?

btw here is how I had her set up for commuting for several years. The wheels are totally busted, broken spokes dented etc as are the fenders. That's why I'm starting from scratch. Also cuz I like projects


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Old 05-31-23, 02:06 PM
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The Crust Spark Rando fork is an option. What's the widest 700c tire the rear triangle will clear? I did a 650b conversion on a 00's aluminum Trek road bike that wouldn't clear 700x28's, and the widest 650b tire it would accept was 32mm.
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Old 05-31-23, 02:17 PM
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Perfect thanks!

When I had the 700c wheels installed I measured about 35mm. I'd be happy with 32 or 35mm 650b, with clearance.


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Old 05-31-23, 05:56 PM
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Out of curiosity I weighed the fork from the Lemond - it is within 15 g of the crust fork
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Old 05-31-23, 06:26 PM
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I have a 2002 Lemond Poprad, 700C wheels, all 32mm tires I have tried leave plenty of clearance. Some 35mm will fit with minimum clearance that I am ok with, others will not fit without rubbing the chain stays when accelerating or cornering aggressively. However, I believe the brake mount on the seat stays has more clearance than the Alpe d'Huez. I do not do much gravel, and only easy off road, 32mm is fine with me. I do have a set of Continental Contact, 35mm, that I switch to if I am doing a multi surface ride that includes a bit more of the off pavement riding.
I also have a 2001 Tourmalet, 28mm is max on that both front and rear.
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Old 05-31-23, 08:53 PM
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650bx38 Col de Vie. No denting needed.

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Old 06-01-23, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Dylansbob
650bx38 Col de Vie. No denting needed.

Great looking ride
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Old 06-01-23, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Dylansbob
650bx38 Col de Vie. No denting needed.
Hope you got around to replacing that missing chainring bolt.
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Old 06-01-23, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Dylansbob
650bx38 Col de Vie. No denting needed.

@somebikeguy this looks like a good template to follow. Brakes, wheels and tires seem to fit well. Nice looking bike. Your mustache bars would look good on this build. No new fork required.
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Old 06-01-23, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Hope you got around to replacing that missing chainring bolt.
That's for lower rotating mass.
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Old 06-01-23, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
Hope you got around to replacing that missing chainring bolt.
Back in the 2x5 gearing days, I had two inner chainrings, giving me half-step (50-47/14-23) for flatter rides and 1.5-step/"alpine" (50-42/14-23) for hills. One of my friends had a similar gearing strategy, but used only 3 of the 5 chainring bolts to facilitate inner chainring swaps.
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Old 06-01-23, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule
@somebikeguy this looks like a good template to follow. Brakes, wheels and tires seem to fit well. Nice looking bike. Your mustache bars would look good on this build. No new fork required.
Yep definitely under consideration. My project differs in that I'll have fenders and a rack/basket. The fork tempted me for all its excellent bosses. It would be nice to do fender and the rack "the right way". I certainly lived with the fenders installed per my picture for many years and likely could make do in the name of cheapness and originality...

Meanwhile... gratuitous hub shot. Blue was on sale so who I to say no...



Since this is an around town mule project I don't see myself ponying up for a White Industries freewheel. The Shimano SF-1200 sure seems like the one to beat... any other ideas before I pick one up?
https://www.performancebike.com/shim...67704?v=331852
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Old 06-01-23, 05:58 PM
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Retrogression is usually my first stop for fixed-gear/single-speed doodads. They have ACS freewheels for $26.

https://www.retro-gression.com/colle...paws-freewheel
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Old 06-03-23, 09:57 AM
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Received my new well priced FSA headset. Used a piece of pipe to press the crown race on. The top race threads on beautifully absolute butter. The lock nut however goes about a thread in and then feels very bad like itís about to cross thread. Iíve taken the top race on and off a few times run a file quickly over the leading threads. Each time the race is butter and the locknut is garbage. Cant see a visual defect on the locknut. canít figure this one out. Has anyone come across something like this?




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Old 06-03-23, 10:09 AM
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I used the fork to form the threads on the locknut my guess is they were either poorly formed from the factory or perhaps I somehow got an Italian threaded locknut? Either way working now
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Old 06-03-23, 02:52 PM
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A maybe dumb question... the axle on this 120mm track hub is long enough to fit my 126mm frame. To do this right do I add 3mm spacers to either side or do I get a longer (don't know correct name of the knurled-flanged inner nut) shown with the blue dimension below?


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Old 06-03-23, 05:13 PM
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3mm of spacers on each side is how I did my 126mm fixed-gear conversion. After 16,000 miles, I'd say it works.
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Old 06-03-23, 05:24 PM
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Cool. Did you use washers, a purpose made part or? I do have a lathe I could press into service here...
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Old 06-03-23, 05:45 PM
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Just regular axle spacers that you might use on a freewheel or cassette hub. Itís a good idea to keep the locknuts on the ends to get a good grip against the dropouts.
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Old 06-04-23, 05:33 AM
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I have a Surly Straggler that I am thinking along the same lines with 650b. I have a fork from Handsome cycles for a disc brake front and have a SRAM automatix coaster brake for the rear that I am going to lace up with some 650b velocity dyad rims.
Should be fun.
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Old 06-04-23, 07:07 PM
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Turned some 3mm spacers up and installed them as suggested so the serrations still hit the dropouts.


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Old 06-04-23, 09:05 PM
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Nicely done! Feels good to make your own stuff.
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