Sunday, April 28, 2013

SS Blue Blimbler - SingleSpeed project, episode 1.

I've been commuting to work on a singlespeed bike for about six months now, and the reasons I love riding with just one gearing is a list that is as long as it is uninteresting to anyone other than me.

My current singlespeed is built around a modern frame that has vertical rear wheel mounting slots, which means I have to use an ugly durrelier hanger as a chain tensioner.  The tensioning of the chain is only the tip of the discontent, I've never liked my current frame even although theoretically there's just nothing wrong with it.

After a few false starts I finally found a nicer frame for my bike, a lovely old Dave Lloyd frame (with horizontal rear wheel mounts).  I'm not sure exactly what what the tubing is made of, but it's fluted in all the right places and butted where you'd want to see butting.  A better man than I has guessed that this frame is probably made of Reynolds 531.

Today I started the joyus work of preparing the frame to take the kit from my current bike, and as an aide-memoir as much as anything else I've decided to log the work I'm doing for this conversion.

I took the wheels off my current bike (seen in the background, named 'SS FrankenFreak').  The front wheel fitted better than it does on my current frame, but in order to fit the rear wheel I had to apply a little bit of muscle to gently pull the mountings outwards to get the wheel in.  It's snug, but hopefully not so snug that I need to adjust the frame.

So that I can use the original forks I decided to add a threaded headset, I now need to find a way of fitting my modern handlebars to this old frame.  As you can from this photo I added plenty of grease!

Here's the nice Campag headset that a friend helped me out with from his spares box.

I fetched some Campag brakes off eBay but the rear fixing was larger than the hole I had on the back of the forks so I had to carefully drill out the rear hole to 8mm.

The front brakes are now in place.

The rear brake mount still needs to be drilled out, but I can't get to it with a standard drill bit because the seat tube is in the way.  A friend has a flexible drill bit and has offered to help out with this bit of tricky drilling.


I've got some cheap vernier calipers coming from ebay so that I can measure the handlebars on my current bike, then hopefully I can find a quill stem with a front hinge or removable plate so that I can fit my handlebars without removing all the tape and brake leavers.

Go to part two of this singlespeed build...