Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I’m Fixed!

Got my track hub and sprocket and accessories by UPS yesterday, built my wheel and took off my big ring today after work.

It’s been a while since I built a wheel so I had to consult my articles to make sure I laced it up properly but it went together quite easily and dishing was just not an issue – it sort of self-dished. Yes Jobst, I did the stress relieving according to your directions and I also set the spokes in the flange with the screwdriver method. I was prepared to adjust the chain tension as in Sheldon’s literature but it just wasn’t necessary. The chain line seems just fine but there does seem to be a little more noise than I was expecting – I might toy around with this a bit later. New hub, new spokes, very old Campy rim 36° 3-cross… I used lots of Phil’s Tenacious Oil in the threads and ferrules.

I got some chain ring bolts for single rings but damned if I know what tool you’re supposed to use on those things… they’re hex on one side but you need like a really wide flat blade screwdriver on the other side – I improvised with a chisel but I couldn’t provide too much counter torque. Anyway it looks cool and I doubt if my chainring will fall off but I’ll check it after a few rides.

My sprocket is a 16t and the hub is a true track hub with a reverse threaded lockring. I picked the gear after analyzing cadence vs. speed for a pretty wide range. The 16t gives me a 71 inch gear which means I’ll be going 12.4mph @ 60rpm and 24.8mph @120rpm so that seems to be the right gear for a commute bike while still allowing some fun training rides.

The saddle is about 5 inches higher than the handlebars, which gives the bike a real no nonsense, look and the brake totally sucks which is good enough for a fixie. I put on my Nashbar SPD clones and they were a good choice because they’re very easy to get in to and plus I can now justify something better for the Eddy Merckx.

Got it all together and went for an 11pm cruise around the neighborhood and I was pretty happy with the result. The FUBAR fork and front wheel alignment didn’t totally screw up the steering and I think I could even ride no hands after a few more practice rides. I did some stops like I may have to do in traffic and quickly got the hang of that. I tried to do a track-stance a couple of times but found that to be quite a bit more difficult than on my derailleur bikes.

So, first real test will be my commute tomorrow – stay tuned… same BAT time… same BAT gear. I’ll have to get there early since I don’t have lights on this bike (early in = early out).

I should have photos up shortly - since I don’t have a digicam I have to wait until Costco develops my film and then scan in the prints. What a fun project!