Building a Fixie

A few months ago I challenged myself to build a single-speed bike. It didn’t cost me that much money but taught me so much about bicycle mechanics. I now feel so much more competent when it comes to taking my bikes apart, servicing them myself, and upgrading components. It was a great process as all it really required was a bit of time.

When I go to university in October I will be requiring a bicycle as my main mode of transport. I do not want to take any of my current bicycles because they all mean a lot to me and are too expensive to leave locked up on the street during lectures. When thinking about this a month ago it therefore seemed really simple to me, I would just build another bike. I wanted a simple machine that wasn’t too flashy and I was hoping to build this one on the measly budget of about £50. When it comes to bikes £50 is not a lot of money at all. I figured if I just spent £50 on it then if it did get stolen (touch wood) I wouldn’t have lost a lot of money.

The amazing value £4 frame

The amazing value £4 frame

So I began my search, on and off, looking for a cheap steel frame. Eventually I found exactly what I was looking for on eBay, a newly re-sprayed steel frame, forks and bottom bracket. For all this I had to part with the grand sum of £4! A local pick-up and there I had it, I was on my way to building my bike. I already had pedals, cranks, seat, tyres, and a front wheel in my garage left over from other bikes. I knew it was now possible. I might be actually able to meet my measly budget and have a half decent bike at the end of it!

After a while scouring the internet to find the cheapest priced components I had purchased a stem, handlebar, chain and rear wheel. The rear wheel even came with a flip-flop hub, so it was ready to roll. I had just gone above my target of £50 but not by much, so I was still really happy.

Alex's Cycle Alex Cycling Chain Fixie Build

Cutting the Handlebar so that they are nice and narrow.

Alex's Cycle Alex Cycling Chain Fixie Build

Handlebar cut shorter with a hacksaw

Next I began the task of fitting it all together. First I inserted the 1” quill stem and then attached the handlebar to it. Next I put inner tubes and tyres onto the wheels. Then I fitted these to the frame and began sizing the chain and cutting it to the correct length. Once the chain was the correct length, I loosened the rear wheel and pulled it back in the horizontal drop-outs to give the chain a good tension. Now that this was my second time building a bike up from scratch the process went really quickly. Before I knew it I had just built my second bike. Re-using many parts I already had in my garage I am really pleased with the final product.

Alex's Cycle Alex Cycling Chain Fixie Build

Sizing up the chain, so I can use my chain tool and make it the correct length.

Alex's Cycle Alex Cycling Chain Fixie Build

Chain cut to the correct size and attached together.

Alex's Cycle Alex Cycling Chain Fixie Build

Chain pulled back in the horizontal dropouts so that it becomes taut.

I strongly urge anyone that wants to know more about how their bike works to try doing this. If you have any questions just ask. It is really easy and there are some fantastic video tutorials on YouTube detailing everything you need to know about bike mechanics. It is a really invigorating process to go through. You can restore life to an old bicycle and you can learn a whole lot in the process. Next stop for me is to build a geared bike, however I don’t think that will be for a long while.

Alex's Cycle Alex Cycling Chain Fixie Build

The finished product!

Alex's Cycle Alex Cycling Chain Fixie Build


3 responses to “Building a Fixie

  1. Excellent – but, I would have to have quick-release wheels. Just one of those mental things I need to keep me pedaling – particularly in the dark early hours on my way to work! Again, great job!

    • Yeah, normally I would go with quick release but I wanted the wheels to be more secure so went with the bolts. Also I will be using it for shorter journeys so the threat of a puncture isn’t as large for me on this bike 🙂 Thanks for commenting

  2. Nice one, Alex. The best way to learn is to get your hands dirty! Regardless of the hubs having track nuts, be sure to lock both wheels when leaving the bike at university, or anywhere. If you have not seen this already, it may be of some interest:

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