Saturday, May 16, 2015

Poor Man's Fixed Gear

Well, it ended up as more of a "fixed wheel" in the end, but I'll get to that.

I picked up this Huffy Open Road a few months ago for free, knowing full well that it would not be worth making truly roadworthy again.  It would have to be thrown out eventually, but I didn't feel right doing it immediately.  I planned to salvage the half-decent parts from it such as the alloy wheels and the reflectors.  Before doing that, though, I wanted to give it a chance to roll on its own again. 

I removed the dead derailleurs along with the seized center pull brakes made of stamped steel.  The freewheel was completely rusted solid as well.  I realized that I could make this into some sort of fixed gear bike and use it until either the freewheel unlocked itself or unscrewed from the wheel. To give this bike one last hurrah, I threw on the old brake that came on my Ross road bike and a chain that I was going to throw out anyway.  After calculating the proper gear ratio and sort of eyeballing the chain line, I put the chain onto the 40 and 15 tooth cogs.  I filled the dry-rotted tires which still held pressure, much to my surprise.  

The frame itself, aside from being worthless to begin with, was probably all rusted out on the inside.   It was so flexible that I would not have wanted to sell it off to someone else who would then break it and get seriously hurt.  It was no matter to me, though; I threw on a saddle I had lying around and the only thing that cost me money was the brake cable which was 50 cents.  

I took the bike out on its maiden voyage, unsure of what to expect.  I headed to the garage about a sixth of a mile away to pick up my green Raleigh.  About 100 feet after I got on, the rear wheel suddenly locked up and I slid for about 20 more feet.  I was somehow not caught off guard by this and came to a stop rather gracefully.  

As it turned out, I may not have gotten the chain line perfectly straight as the chain tried to make its way onto the large chain ring.  This pulled the rear wheel forward but instead of just moving the axle, the frame was so weak that the dropout and chain stay actually buckled under the stress.  The rear axle then bent along with the dropout, rendering the hub (and therefore the whole wheel, at this point) unusable.  

Wait, is that a one-piece to three-piece bottom bracket kit?

The actual locking up of the wheel was caused when it touched the other chain stay.  I think the whole rim is slightly Pringle-shaped now but I wouldn't actually consider this or the bike to be a loss.  

Well, I suppose it's time to strip off the reusable parts and send the frame to be recycled.  I hope the steel will live to see another day as something a little better than a Huffy road bike.