In June of 2014, I had my parents send me my Aunt’s old bike. I was excited to dive into the world of single-speed cycling, and lots of people use vintage road frames to build them up. I chronicled the rebuild (my first time doing things on my own) in this post, if you’d like to see the full story.
Since then, it’s been through a number of iterations as I’ve continued to tailor it to meet my needs both stylistically and for utility.
When I took it out of the box it looked like this:
When I was done with my rebuild, it looked like this:
Since it was for commuting to work, I added a rear rack for my pannier:
I eventually decided to ditch the rack, since it really took away from the cool factor of the vintage frame. I now use a backpack to carry my stuff to and from work. Around that same time, I decided I wanted to try pursuit bars. So I replaced the bullhorns, and got some regular brake levers. I also finally found a seat post that fit, since the existing old one was actually too short. So iteration #2 was a pretty decent overhaul:
I liked this overall but got uneasy when I would really get down in the horns and my hands were very far away from the brake levers. Eventually I decided to go back to regular drop bars.
At the same time I decided to chop 2cm off my quill stem, and switch from an 18t freewheel to a 17t freewheel. So, here’s iteration #3:
Then Hurricane Harvey struck, and our house and garage were flooded. The bike, along with all the other bikes, was half under water for almost 2 weeks. The frame was salvageable as were most of the parts, but after giving them a decent clean they started to exhibit signs of damage – especially the freewheel and the rear hub.
So, I ordered a new set of wheels, a new chain, and a new freewheel. I went back to 18t this time. I find it a lot easier to start with it, but I miss the speed I could reach with the 17t. Oh well.
So finally, almost 4 years later, we’re at iteration #4. It looks very similar to the above pic, but the new wheels are the biggest difference. I had wanted to ditch the fixie-style deep rims for a while, so I was happy for the excuse. The regular wheels look better with a classic lugged frame.
So we’ll roll with this for a while. I’m already contemplating moving to riser bars – but, we’ll hold off for a while.
I guess that’s the beauty of these old road frames; you can do anything with them, and they are so easy to change around. This bike was originally a 10 speed, but it was very simple to make it single, and would be just as easy to put it back.