Fixie 2 Five Speed - Part 1
This is Rosie and yes, she is riding me. She's my fixie. Rose gold, chromed, chromoly frame, manipulated seatpost, tight geometry Potential of Hydrogen PH01 Sulphuric Acid. A discontinued brand and, by extension, model. She was a bit of an impulse buy. She's riding me because this is the 2012 Melburn Roobaix and riding a fixie up that year's "Koperberg" was a fool's errand. (Some did, many of them fell, some hard.) And no, the fixed cog hasn't had any wear, I run her "flipped" - freewheelin'. (Photo credit: Creux Cycling.)
Right now, she needs tyres, new bar tape and, if I can find an affordable solution, 2x5 derailleur gears. Melbourne doesn't have many really steep hills, but when you hit one of the ones that passes for a minor Tasmanian or Blue Mountains grade, an 80 inch gear breaks the spirit. If it's pavé, and cat 3, you'll suffer more than groin omlette, you'll suffer defeat, especially if you're a commuter hack, like me.
So, I've begun planning Rosie's conversion to a 2x5 "retro" TT, and it's a "gamble" on some cheap parts to test the possibilities then, maybe, if it works, even sort of, perhaps some NOS bits to do it properly. The thing is, this is a track bike, with a 120mm over locknut dimension, and the NOS gear for that on eBay is literally decades old and hundreds of Aussie dollars, and pretty much all original 105 and Record. I don't want to wreck Rosie and I don't want to wreck some antique Campagnolo.
So, the initial shopping list is "budget kids bike." Stop that Eduard Munch face, you've all ridden bottom end gear when you were kids, probably even on top end off-the-shelf bikes. Every manufacturer quantity surveys every component on a bike. Giant were one of the first to bring really neat rides to market that had top quality visible parts and lesser parts (not bad, just brandless) in headsets and bottom brackets.
These will prove the point, they won't break records in even a junior amateur TT. Frankly, looking at the hub, that shaft can't promise not breaking at all. Like I say, I'm proving the possibilities. Yeah, there's a rim and spokes to include in this shopping list, because I'm not wrecking my existing back wheel, but it looks doable. So, I've ordered an AU$19 hub. Spacers on both sides and, if it turns out to be 130mm OLD, I'll be able to respace it on the left side and still fit a 5 speed freewheel cassette in the frame. Lack of QR doesn't matter, and yes, the right 5 speed cassette is available, that's on its way from a Chinese factory, too. So, watch this space.