I finally finished my single speed conversion project. It started when my brand new Vitus Dee 29 was removed without my consent from Hassocks train station during the middle of the day. The fact that they caught the guy and he admitted stealing over £20,000 worth of bikes was little consolation since I still had no bike. I picked up an old Austrian Puch Pegasus for £20 from gumtree. The previous owner had apparently found it at the rubbish tip and rescued it. He had converted it to single speed, but it was suffering from a lot of rust since it had lived in Brighton by the sea and I suspect been stored outside. That salty air had not done it much good at all. It also had a clunking freewheel, candy C pedals which would not come off, attached to the original cottered cranks.
I didn’t get any pictures of it still in one piece, but having removed the wheels, the first challenge I had was how to remove the pedals and cranks. Cottered cranks require removing a cotter pin, but this one was not going anywhere. I tried everything in Sheldon browns guide here: http://sheldonbrown.com/cotters.html and got to the end when he says: ‘This has never failed for me, so I don’t know what I would do if it did’. Well I will tell you what worked Sheldon (RIP), taking an angle grinder to the spindle and just cutting off the crank. Of course that meant I ruined the bottom bracket, but that was no big issue as I was pretty sure it needed a new one anyway, and are cheap enough to replace. Sure enough once I got it off a load of rusty gunk poured out mixed with ball bearings, so that was no bad thing.
Once I had removed all of the components, this is what I was left with:
I then sanded the bike down, in many places to bare metal to remove rust in conjunction with a rust remover. I also rubbed all the decals off. After degreasing with white spirit and water mix, I primed it with a spray primer:
Finally, a few coats of Kobra black spray paint and it was looking pretty nice:
Now, the task of reassembling. Since I had ruined the pedals, I had to get some more. Luckily, chainreactioncycles.com sent me a single speed crankset for free, which were to replace a part on the stolen Virtus, but turned up a few months after the bike was stolen. They would do nicely, although the 38t sprocket is a bit of a low gear. I greased and installed the bottom bracket, added the crankset and pedals, and then added the bars. I learned in the process how to install tires onto the rims without using levers, which saves pinching the tube and ruining inner tubes, so that was a learning experience.
I also purchased the following items new (ebay and Wiggle.co.uk mostly):
|Puch Pegasus bike – gumtree||£20.00|
|400ml Surface Primer White||£5.49|
|Kobra KOB-10044 400ml Aerosol Spray Paint – Black Matt||£4.99|
|18g Lithium Grease||£1.94|
|Weinmann DP18 ALLOY WEINMANN DOUBLE WALL RIMS with Quando hubs including postage||£77.98|
|Sram PC1 1/8 1spd 114 Links Bicycle Chain – Black||£4.99|
|Park Tool Mini Chain Brute Chain Tool||£10.65|
|Cyclo Freewheel Remover BMX 4Peg||£6.64|
|Shimano Acera Bbun26B13 Cartridge Bottom Bracket – Silver, 68 X 113Mm||£5.99|
|Hammerite 5092868 100ml Rust Remover Gel Blister||£5.49|
|DICTA Chrome 1/8 Freewheel (crap)||£5.99|
|2 x Velox Rim Tape Narrow (Road)||£5.00|
|2 x Continental Quality Road Long Valve Inner Tube 700×20-25 Race 28 Presta 60mm||£9.98|
|HYCOTE XUK0232 Clear Lacquer Aerosol Spray Paint 400 ml||£5.39|
|Name Decal – flandria via ebay||£8.00|
|1 x 700 x 23c Gatorskin tyre||£20.00|
I reused these from the original bike:
- Bars & tape
- Brakes, cables & pads
- Shimano SPD Pedals (I had already from a different bike)
The best moment was reassembling the crankset and the back wheel, to find that the chainline was pretty much exactly perfect, so no need for spacers or redishing the wheel.
So this bike has cost almost exactly £200 all in, but I am very happy with the result. My only issue now is that it probably looks too nice, and is more likely to be stolen again, but having no brand, my name on, and obviously being a custom job should deter them somewhat.