Upgrading to Single Speed

Following the trend of upgrading (baking stone) I have taken on a new project, to upgrade my commuting bike, to a single speed. So I bought a new chainset and a converter and set about making a single speed.

By commuting bike has a lot of sentimental value to me, way above the actual value of the bike. When I first got into road cycling a family friend of mine, John Tole who was a vintage bike parts dealer, brought me back a steel framed bike from Belgium. Sadly the badge is scratched off so I can not identify the manufacturer, but it was a beauty. John passed away a few years ago and to the bike has always maintained a special fondness.

Given the condition I generally ride my other bikes and leave this as a commuting bike. I have had ideas of getting the frame sand blasted and resprayed, then build it back up properly with some original campy gear, but funds have never stretched that far. So the next best thing, do it up as a single speed.

I was able to take some spare wheels, off another road bike, then buy some new parts, making it a very cheap conversion, and one to be proud of. I made the decision to move to 1/8″ chain, traditionally a track width, rather than the usual 3/32″, as it given a bit more strength, and is compatible with other parts from my track bike. I went for a 48 – 16, or ~79″ for anyone old school, as it’s not too hilly around me so I don’t think it will be a problem.

The conversion was great, it took about 90 mins, and involved stripping off loads of heavy components, and having the chance to give the bike a proper clean. I am still on the look out for some NOS forks (chrome 1″ with a Chris King headset – we can all dream), then some nice mud guards. Then I may consider riding it as a winter bike, but for now it is my dream commuter, a new lease of life for an old bike with a sentimental rider.



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2 thoughts on “Upgrading to Single Speed

  1. Excellent bike recycling (pun not intended). I’ve been reading about Tom Simpson this weekend and I’m slightly stunned that in the 1960s it was considered the height of technology to manage the TdF on 6 gears. (And a load of drugs but that’s another part of the story).

  2. […] given my commuting bike a new lease of life with a Single Speed conversion  I have been enjoying riding it around, until it broke on on me. Literally the handle bar just […]

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