Single-Speed Conversion

Discussion in 'General Discussion About Old Bicycles' started by twinflight, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. #1 Posted Dec 27, 2017

    Look Ma, No Hands!

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    There is a slew of vintage road bikes in my area for sale. Does a single speed conversion increase the value? Many are on sale for many weeks. I live in a college town and wonder if the extra cost is worth it. I’ve seen some guys that made a killing just doing the conversions; however, this was many years ago.


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  2. #2 Posted Dec 27, 2017

    I live for the CABE

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    Hmm, tough question. I would say that in a college town, a single speed bike is more desirable. More valuable, maybe modestly...
    Let's say you could get those vintage road bikes for $50, then add $50 total for the singlespeed conversion kit and new chain. Could the bike then be sold for $150-$200, man, I don't know.
    I know this though, we did a bunch of SS conversions in a bike shop when I worked there. Some of the conglomeration of parts made for rock solid performance. Some, however, were not so much, and caused some really unnerving chain skip when even a moderate amount of torque was applied.
    Having experienced a thorough cross section of SS and fixies, were I to build my own I would ALWAYS start with a frame that had rear-facing dropouts. Just my professional opinion.
     
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  3. #3 Posted Dec 27, 2017

    Riding a '37 Dayton Super Streamline

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    I'm seeing more work than money. V/r Shawn
     
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  4. #4 Posted Dec 28, 2017

    I live for the CABE

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    A lot depends upon the bike. Converting a Varsity might increase the value as they were made in the millions and plenty of originals are easily found. Hack off the cable guides and toss the drs of a high dollar ride with Reynolds frame and Campy components and you just shot yourself in the foot!

    I'm about to modify (due to my physical condition) a pretty decent bike . Nothing will be cut off and the components will go in a bag so that the bike can be returned to original condition if in the future I can't ride anymore or decide to sell it. No harm, no foul.

    Also, as stated previously above, the quality of the workmanship and replacement parts are critical. I've seen more than 1 butchered up ride the seller couldn't get back even close to the amount spent on the parts for the conversion.
     
  5. #5 Posted Dec 28, 2017

    Cruisin' on my Bluebird

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    If you live in flatland, a good single-speed is lighter, and depending on what went into the conversion, could be worth more. Should be worth more for the value of the new wheelset.
    As a rule, if you're buying bikes, a nice-original-condition, ignored/not ridden, and well-stored Craigslist buy is better, because if you want to make the conversion yourself, have nice parts to sell.
    picked this photo because my friend John has his pee-yellow fixie here
    FWIW, any time you do a nice job building a bike, don't expect to get your money back if you sell it - and if you've done it right, shouldn't be able to replace it in kind for what you have into it.
    ha5GHOG.jpg

    of course, a vintage fixie is a whole lot cooler, while a well-functioning vintage road bike is much more useful.
    FIrUGq9.jpg
     
    #5 bulldog1935, Dec 28, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2017
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  6. #6 Posted Dec 28, 2017

    Finally riding a big boys bike

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    If it's a question of profit, couldn't you just remove the derailleurs and cables, pick a decent gear ratio that maintains a decent chain line, and shorten the chain (providing it's useable)? I haven't done this, but I suppose cheap spacers could be used in the case of free hubs—take apart the cassette to get the gear you want, cut a couple pieces of pipe with an i.d. that can fit snug on the freehub and sandwich the sprocket you want between them to allow a straight chain line. With a single length of pipe, you could probably get a bunch of conversions done.
     
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  7. #7 Posted Dec 28, 2017

    I live for the CABE

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    Here is one I built for myself to ride. A late 1970's Czech made Favorit, originally a 10 speed racer. I removed the derailleurs, shifters, brakes. Installed 700cc allow wheels with a coaster brake, short alloy handlebars. Did I increase the value? I say no, if anything I destroyed an original vintage bike but it is what I wanted to ride and I kept all the original parts.

    Favorit-2.JPG
     
  8. #8 Posted Dec 28, 2017

    I live for the CABE

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    Yes to all the above. That would be a "quick and dirty" solution, EXCEPT, much of the time, actually most of the time the old 6-7-8-9 speed cassettes were one unitized piece. trying to remove one cog from the cassette would prove fruitless, even worse with the "freehub" designs. But I like where you're going.
     
  9. #9 Posted Dec 28, 2017

    I live for the CABE

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    That's a very nice one!
     
  10. #10 Posted Jan 4, 2018

    Look Ma, No Hands!

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    Was the problem with the tensioner? I picked up three lightweight Schwinns from the lbs for $20 each. They all have horizontal dropouts so I shouldn’t need a tensioner. The only problem is it’s -10 outside so there’s no way of road testing until Spring. Or could you? Has anyone used a trainer as a testing tool?


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