EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Off-Season Sports & The Lighter Side › Cycling › Converting my old mountain bike to a fixie -- is this a good idea?
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Converting my old mountain bike to a fixie -- is this a good idea?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have a 1992 Cannondale M1000 hardtail mountain bike. I bought it new and put literally tens of thousands of miles on it. I finally replaced it this year with something new.


The bike is fairly ugly to look it. It also needs a full tune, a new front derailleur, and new cranks (the pedal arm is stripped).


For a number of reasons -- but mostly because this is a 24-pound bike -- I've been trying to sell it for $100 on craigslist for the past month. I've had some interest but no takers. I suspect it's too much work for someone who wants a cheap bike, and too eccentric for someone who wants a project bike.


It seems that converting this to a single speed coaster might be a suitable thing to do -- since it needs a full tune, new derailleur, and new cranks, why not just discard all those anyway? My shop in town said it could be done for about $150 total, including labor.


Does this sound like a good idea?

post #2 of 8

This being a Cannondale, I surmise that it is an aluminum frame.  With that much mileage on it, I would first inspect all the welds and tubes to make sure that there is no metal failure anywhere.  That frame may no longer be safe to ride.  Because of metal fatigue, the lifespan of an aluminum frame is not as long as that of steel.  

post #3 of 8

The biggest problem with converting frames to fixed-gear usage is finding a way to tension the chain.  Frames with vertical dropouts (or nearly vertical) don't have the ability to slide the rear wheel back and forth to provide chain tension.


Part of the purpose of a derailleur is to provide chain tension.


If you do have vertical drop-outs, you can still run single speed (i.e., not fixed) by routing the chain through a derailleur in order to provide chain tension.  Surly also makes a single-speed tensioner for use with single speeds.


If you want to run fixed and you have vertical dropouts, then the derailleur won't work, and you'll have to look into eccentric bottom brackets...  White Industries made one at one point that fit "regular" sized bottom bracket shells, not sure if anybody else does.

post #4 of 8

yeah you can not run fixed gear or coaster brake on that thing.  it would need some way to tenison the chain other than a chain tenisor. IE slide drop outs, eccentric BB, track ends elect....


you can SS the bike though the way Kevin F outlines.

post #5 of 8

lol just read your thread on TGR...... lol since when are coaster brakes light? and since when its lighter faster? if lighter was faster XC WC race would be getting won on full rigid fixxed gear cross bikes, with 30 c tires.....


no reason to go fixed, no reason to go coaster brake, just do standard freewheeling singlespeed and run brakes front and rear. 

post #6 of 8

I wouldn't go fixie... I would go singlespeed.


You can buy kits to convert the freewheel cover to support a single gear.


Then you can enter in singlespeed specific mountain bike races

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Sorry -- I said "fixie" but actually meant single speed. I'm not sure I could ever get used to not pedaling.


My thought of a coaster brake was to simplify operations since the brakes needed a tune anyway. My assumption was that a coaster brake would weigh less than handles, brake arms, cables, housing, etc. -- but that was only an assumption.


Sounds like the only way to know if it would work at all is to just take it into the shop and see what they say based on the dropout.


It is an aluminum frame so I'll ask them to look at the welds and junctions, too.


I'll report back.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

So I took the bike to Hellgate Cyclery. As suggested here, it did not qualify for backpedal brakes because of the dropout. Hellgate put a single speed conversion on it with spacers and installed a Surly thingy on the back that looks like a derailleur but is not -- it's there to keep some slack in the line? Anyway, I had to have the brakes serviced and get new pads. With some other tuning up the bill came to $133; with Specialized Fat Boy 1.25" slicks the bike weighs 22.5 pounds.

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