Robert L. Craig lives in Michigan In and is building himself a single speed from some old equipment that he has “acquired” he wants a little advice on gearing and anything else he might need to know about single gears.
Question: While at my cousins this week I adopted a Panasonic touring deluxe road bike from the 80s. Although I took it for parts I have discovered it to be a really nicely made bike with all Japan made components.
I am thinking of making it a single speed and have fit a nice set of 700 track wheels with a 16T cog freewheel in place of the rusty spoke 27s. The cantilever brakes will work nicely.
The triple crank set has a 48 and a 42 chain ring and you can fit ether to the outside position. Which would be best for this type of bike? The roads hear are mostly flat but it is very windy all the time.
I am used to building bikes with lots of gears but like the simplicity of the single speed rebirth going on. Any advice is always appreciated.
If you live in a fairly flat area I will go for the 48 tooth chainring, because with a 42 tooth chainring with a 16 tooth freewheel you will be spinning your legs off and probably you will never get on top of the gear even uphill into a headwind, your legs will be a blur most of the time.
So the 48 x 16 will be the best gear. I would go for a fixed wheel gear as it gives you excellent bike control and teaches you to pedal smoothly and adequately.
Make sure that you have a straight-chain between the chain wheel and the sprocket. I this is offline, it will wear out quicker, and the chain will occasionally jump, making it dangerous and not much fun to ride.
To get a perfect chain line, you can use spacing washers on the bottom bracket to move everything across. Smaller spaces can be inserted between the chainrings and the crank for a slight adjustment. As long as the chain looks straight and runs well, then it should be OK. Test it by spinning the cranks backward as this pushes the chain off if it is not.
Will the 700c wheels fit OK into the 27-inch brakes? It’s essential to check that the brakes work correctly. Good luck, Robert!