Fixed Gears Are Dumb! The Story Of My 1981 Voyageur

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I scored an NOS Sugino 44t chainring on eBay :) It just arrived.
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I also ordered a Shimano NJS lock ring and an All City 15t cog. My gear ratio will go from 2.78 to 2.93, giving me 4 more gear inches (75-79) and 15 skid patches on the rear tire. I just need a larger BBG bashguard and hopefully I have a couple links of black chain in the toolbox to complete the swap :)
 
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Ok! So by Wednesday evening all of my parts for the gear change had arrived.
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(Why the forum uploads this upside down is beyond me. Apologies.)
Anyway, I got to work. The 44t chain ring that I bought was actually intended to be used on the outside (as the big gear). Luckily running it backwards on the inside doesn’t harm anything. As is, it is ridiculously close to the chain stay. I had to tap one spot just a tiny bit to get it to clear, but it does. Just. Nothing larger will fit. I also noticed that my BB was a little loose, so I tightened it up a hair. I think I’m torturing these original components too much, I see a sealed BB conversion in my future...
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Unfortunately there was a problem with my rear wheel... I noticed last week that the rear cog was slipping ever so slightly. I tried to tighten it down but was not able to, it was already tight. Not a good sign... Removing the rear cog revealed that the threads had stripped :headbang: Not wanting to shelve this bike until the problem was solved, I decided to rob the low profile flip/flop wheel set off of my 1983 World. The good is that I was always curious to know how these wheels would look on the Voyageur, and they are quite a bit lighter than the 40mm deep V wheels. The bad is that I could no longer get a fair back to back comparison between gear changes. Ohh well.

I rode it to work the next morning and I could feel the bike had more get up off the line, so even with the slightly taller gear the lighter wheels were definitely helping out. I could slightly feel the taller gearing on the hills, but not by too much. My commute is 6.7 miles and I arrived at work in just over 22 minutes, a whopping 3 minutes faster than my previous best. :thumbsup:
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Those wheels are awful on there! But I ordered some really nice, super lightweight replacements. Next week!

My return trip home (6.3 miles) was also completed 3 minutes faster than my best, and I reached a top speed of 35mph! On my doorstep was an eBay find, a proper SR Laprade 26.8mm fluted seat post. Of course I detailed it up, and on it went. Bye bye to the shim! This is the 4th post I’ve had on the bike, and it will be the last.
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Planning on doing a long ride tomorrow... should be fun!
 

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Quick update before I ride to work... wheels came in! 24 spoke Rear, 20 spoke front. DT Swiss hubs, double butted spokes, H Plus Son Archetype hoops. Very, very lightweight! I decided to up the gear ratio again, this time to a 40x13. The front 40t is original to the bike and I used a 13t Shimano Dura Ace NJS cog and lock ring.
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A quick word about gearing...
I began this journey with 39x14 (2.78), 32mm tires, 75 gear inches. I easily made it up every hill in my way, so I figured I could go higher. Took the smallest possible step up (+5%) while having adequate skid patches.

Temporarily swapped to slightly lighter wheels and 44x15 (2.93), same tires, 79 gear inches. The lighter wheels made it much more responsive, hills were only ever so slightly harder to climb than before, hardly noticeable. I did my first ever century on this setup, plus I needed new wheels, so I figured lets go up again! The 44t chainring was also slightly too big, grazing the chain stays every now and again. Another +5% was in order...

I finally upgraded to some properly built nice lightweight wheels. 40x13 (3.07), same tires, 83 gear inches. I've been commuting on this setup since the previous post and it feels like I'm pulling a sled!! I'm standing on the pedals much more often than I ever had to before. Down hill top speed has improved considerably though. I'm considering dropping the chainring down to a 38, pretty close to the 44x15 I had previously but I'm trying to push through the pain and get used to it.

This bike has turned into my personal gym, and I kinda like it because I hate going to the gym. Up the resistance, up the mileage, improve components, and repeat. It's pretty fun process :) I've lost some weight and am in the best cycling shape that I've ever been in.
 
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I got to give you props on that Schwinn it is beautiful!
As far as riding fixed gear, you better have mad bicycle skills and some really good knees that you don't really like.....
I ended up after years of riding them having to go to clipless because my foot wouldn't stay on the pedals anymore....here's your sign...
Nowadays I hobble around putting off my knee surgery as long as possible!
For those that you haven't been told the fixies are hard on your knees.
 
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So we made the move from Phoenix to Seattle in April 2015. I realized that I HAD to reinstall my front brake, riding fixed around these hills without one is an absolute death wish.
All was great until December when some f#@ers broke into the “secure” bike storage room at our apartment and stole a handful of bikes, and of course mine was one of them...
Since it was my commuter bike, it needed to be replaced. This time I decided to convert an old 10/12 speed into a fixed gear, something that crossed my mind the first time around but I really didn’t have the knowledge or experience with fixed gears to do it then. Now I figured was the time! My weakness is old Schwinn’s in original paint black, and I remembered something about a Le Tour, so I started there and found a black ‘81 Super Le Tour on eBay that I certainly paid too much for, but at least it set the wheels in motion.
Upon arrival (at the apartment!) I immediately stripped it down and commenced the rebuild. I was familiar with State Bicycle parts, so I ordered a black flip flop wheelset with a 14t cog, polished riser bars and a black saddle. I retained the original 39t inner chain ring, removed the outer chain ring and put a BBG bash guard in its place and found some black Sugino crank bolt cover thingys. Pedals were upgraded from the alloy/steel Kyokuto’s to 100% alloy. I geeked out on the chain a little bit :) The original SR stem and seat post received black paint detail, as did the original Super Maxy crankset. I put a pair of Surly Hurdy Gurdy’s on out back and of course paint detailed them as well. I had some 32mm white tires lying around so I thought I’d give them a try, and this was the result...
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I rode it exactly one time in this guise. It was fine, I guess, but it didn’t have the feel I was going for. So I tore it back down for version 2.0...
In the 80s I made a single speed commuter from a frame salvaged from an abandoned mine pit, original color was orange, which was almost all gone and blended into the almost total rust. I used a bent white fork from an inexpensive bike that went on, along with bent pedals and crank. People would yell at me when I rode it telling me my frame was crooked, as if I didn’t know that. The wheels were potato chips so the caliper brakes were opened up. You got use to riding it in traffic so it wasn’t a problem for me as I used it daily. The drive was a five speed cassette with no derailleur, just the chain wrapped around the largest cog. I used to leave it in my back yard and it was stolen 3 times. All I had to do was walk around the block to retrieve it as people found it not worth riding. After 4 years of use the frame rusted through and broke so it felt like a swing bike. That was it’s end.
 
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