Am i biting off more than I can chew?

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  • Hi Peeps,

              As a complete novice to all things fixed please could anyone help me with getting started on purchasing or building. I've been riding for the last few years to work from Brixton to Hackney on a standard commuter and after recently loaning a fixed wheel off some bloke i got chatting to on Elephant & Castle roundabout (gutted at having to give it him back, but I don't think he would have been that happy at keeping my bike) I'm dying to make the change. 
            Monies is tight and i'm handy but no mechanic, coupled with a baby on the way in Novemeber and a cramped flat. Realistically how difficult will it be to build myself one? I'm up for the challenge but don't really want to reach, say next year and still scratching my head over it. The other option is to buy a ready built one (pref second hand as I don't really go for swank looking things). I'm 6ft 4 also, would this be a problem over sizing a frame? I've looked into a cheap IRO frame i've seen, chatted to Bob down at Whitcomb but would value any tips or ideas in getting on the road quickly but also teaching myself the mechanics of the fixed wheel. I've basically got 300squid to spend... tops.
  • or look out for old 2007 langster's going for cheap

  • To ellaborate on my reply. Waiting around for a frame and 2nd hand/cheap parts gets boring and takes forever. It may be the cheapest way but then there's the chance that bits wont quite work together and you'll need to buy other bits. Getting a ready made bike is easy and also cheap. eBay costs a ton now because everyone is jumping on the scene and people are paying silly money for bikes that are possible conversions. I'd say look out for a Fuji Track, Specialized Langster, Bianchi Pista going 2nd hand either on eBay or in the real world and if you can't find anything then jump on the end of season sales and buy a new Fuji Track (only limited, but big, sizes left.)

    I bought my Fuji because I just wanted to get the bike asap.

  • cheapest, I reckon turn your existing bike into a fixed wheel? tell us about it...

  • Cheers for the comments guys,

                My current bike is a commuter Marin Fairfax which is pretty bad shape which is why I'm looking to make the switch pretty quick as i've not got the room to store two, even for a short period. Would this be a headache to convert and could I buy a kit containing the main components or is it better to source individual parts second hand?
  • You could wait until the next Ripley bike jumble which is on Sun Oct 14th (I think, need to confirm the date). Can get the train from london and then ride the rest of the way (bit of a bugger to bring back a second bike though - so if you know someone with a car you could be laughing).

    Normally quite a few decent frames and bits there.

  • Cheers Pip, I've not heard of that one. I coul do with a hand regarding basics such as frames. I’ve been chatting to Barry @ Whitcomb who suggested coming down to his workshop and he’d give me a little introduction to fixed wheel make-up but he mentioned there being many different types of tubing that I should be looking for. Any suggestions on this?

  • Reynolds 531 is a classic one I think. A lot of current custom frames are made with 631 which I think is nicer. Columbus is good too I think. Am I right in assuming Tange is standard pish.

  • if you want to build and want to look for parts. be very careful with ebay. dunno if there are dummy bidders (or maybe they're just plain dumb!?!?), but people out there are payin for used parts that cost more than brand new parts! cranksets for example.

    it is fun build from the ground up, but can be expensive. but sometimes you can get lucky. what i'd do is look for old complete road bikes and sell off parts you dont want/need. could work out cheaper that way.

  • cheers andrew and the fuji looks like a quick entry into fixed while i work out how not to crash at high speeds while I become competent in self build.. although I'll be honest that a part of me does want to go straight for a conversion/self build.

  • I've heard the Ripley bike jumble is hard to catch bargain as the messenger crew gets there early (fair play to em) and snaps up the top stock, would it be worth my while making the trip?

  • vintage or one-off track cranksets are hard to come by. try buying a sugino 75 in black ;)

  • cheers dogballs, i'll have a search and see if i can spot any bargains second hand. Again, ebay looks saturated with all things fixed and ain't got the chedders to make a mistake!

  • personaly i think you should be patient with you choice of frame...i dont think its a great idea getting an off the peg bike just to start riding fixed.i think you should keep your ear to the bay and keep logged on here,something is sure to come along.

  • cheers Aidan, there's so much on here that you're right, I just need to keep reading and learning for the time being!

  • i would say get a cheap fuji track to begin with - cheap fun and you can lock it up while you
    pop into the pub without looking out the window every five seconds like a bloomin tit.
    Then you'll have the time to figure out what you really want - i guarantee if you build up your
    dream bike now, before you've ridden fixed for a while you'll be wasting tons of money..
    Good luck though, whatever you decide.

  • Think Bungle is correct. Buy a Fuji Track. Get a brake on it. Change the tyres to rubinos when they are first up for replacing (no point getting no use out of the stock ones) then buy a BJ or similar and maybe some campy bits on it.

  • ok guys, great advice has me truly torn between the two options. Fuji track or build up a basic fixie... Front brake is a must, especially fanging it down borough high street. I spotted a similar thread with a link to a Shimano 105. The pista isn't is mentioned but isn't an option. Decisions. If i do decide on a second hand frame is teh best way to measure inside leg minus 1 inch minus 10inch or is that way off the mark? I'm 6 ft 4 and currently I feel like a steer a boat to work. Could i go a bit lower than the recomended? I'm moving to Melbourne next July with my girlfriend and new born so if I can raise the monies it would be nice to take a BJ over there to remind me of blighty!!

  • I reckon go for a Fuji Track, I built myself a fixie this summer out of an old road frame and I'm already finding myself lusting after a proper track frame, mainly for the raised bottom bracket.

  • Bigger frames are sometime a bit cheaper 2nd hand as they are less in demand, but there are less around so can be hard to find. My personal vote would be try and get a Fuji track 60 cm would prob be o.k but do a test ride, learn about the bits and start sneaking bike parts into your flat, storing them under the bed, behind the sofa and build up another bike as your knowlage grows. If you then sell the Fuji I don't think you will loose much money on it. Enjoy.

  • Ok, sourcing the fuji track, got to try and sell my commuter first (if anyone knows of a second hand fuji track going 60cm then please let me know and i'm going to fill every nook and cranny with bits and pieces between now and when I leave for OZ! All sorted, cheers guys. I'll speak to you soon again no doubt!!

  • I reckon build your own. I had a bianchi pista that got somewhat buggered in an accident and so decided to build me own. I managed to get an old raleigh frame (nothing special) from some bike shop in dalston to have a go on and within no time got a basic fixed gear bike going with bits and bob off ebay. I think i paid a grand total of about £60 (£30 for bike, £5 for new stem, £20 wheels, £5 cog) converting it. I'm now on the look out for a decent frame to build up one properly and i think. if you want a bike asap then it might take a while finding a frame that totally right for you and then doing it up so an off teh shelf jobby is probably a good bet.

  • Oh ya build your own, get on freecycle for an old racing bike frame, pull off the bits you dont need, reuse bits you can (like rear wheel rim) and ba-da-boom, you're up and fixed for 80 quid. Worked for me! Until it got nicked grrr

  • I'd go with the fuji personaly:

    Should be in good condition for a first-timer, minimum fuss/complications, proper dropouts.

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Am i biting off more than I can chew?

Posted by Avatar for empty7 @empty7