Thursday, July 05, 2007

And Now For Somthing Completely Different

Inspired by a long wish to build a single speed bike & goaded into action by an article in MakeZine I finally got around to this. My old Oschner/Cinelli Columbus SL frameset with a Mavic bottom bracket, Dura-Ace 42 chain ring and a Shimano freewheel with only the 17 cog remaining (about 2.4:1). I used spacers to fill out the rest of the hub (thanks to Richardson Bike Mart for the inspiration) and removed all signs of gear shifting. Aligning the chain & getting the tension was surprisingly easy as the framset has fairly deep Campagnolo dropouts.

Maybe I should have called this post "How To Make A Really Lightweight Bike" as the first thing that struck me was the lack of heft, even for an SL frame. I imagine with a lightweight aluminum donor a sub 14lb bike could be easily done. Next to come on this one is some home-made (read cut down) bullhorn bars & a single front brake with a BMX lever.

So what's it like to ride? Well if it stopped raining for 5 minutes I could tell you! Actually first impressions are very good, it accelerates extremely well and the lack of weight really allows the aggressive frame to shine through. I found I topped out at around 22 mph which is totally acceptable. In all, a highly recommended project for anyone with a spare bike, some tools (the only specialty item is the $8 freewheel wrench), some time & about $20 to spend.

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