Over the last few days I have been reuniting myself with the art of riding a single speed bike equipped with a freewheel rather than a fixed wheel .
Over the years I have owned and ridden 6 such bikes and 1 that had a flip flop rear hub so I could run fixed or freewheel , these have ranged from a couple of basic Peugeots to an unknown make track bike that was a great bike to ride and own but I just couldn’t get on with riding fixed so spent most of its life on freewheel . I will have to try riding fixed again soon to see if with a more correctly sized frame it makes it easier, as the track frame was on the larger size of my fitment range .
Realistically, a single speed bike should be able to be built up a lot cheaper than a multi geared one due to the lack of gear levers and mechanisms that would need to be purchased. The lack of these components also reduces the weight of the completed bike as well . So far I have not built one using all dedicated single speed products, they have normally been assembled using components I already had in my various spares box .
I used a Sigma branded steel frame of unknown grade for quite a while and found it one of the best bikes I had owned at that time for commuting on , the lack of gears makes them an ideal commuting machine as they have fewer parts that can go wrong or need maintenance . The Sigma was a nice bike to ride and handled all I threw at it over the period I owned it . Another build I did was based around a modern alloy framed Saracen and again that was nice to ride but not quite the ride quality of a good old steel framed bike .
All other builds have been based around good old steel frames ranging from an early 80’s Falcon with Ti Tubing rather than Reynolds as can be seen from picture below. I built this one up with flat bars rather than drops so it was a bit more user friendly and ideal for nipping in and out of traffic . As mentioned earlier, I built one round what was believed to be a 60’s or 70’s track frame complete with rearward facing dropouts and undrilled rear brake bridge meaning it was only equipped with a front brake operating, which didn’t help with the riding experience . It was a nice ride and introduced me to the art of riding fixed gear as it was equipped with a flip flop rear hub .
The other bike that has not been mentioned so far is my Pollard Specialite which I have owned for 4+ years now and has been ridden in geared format and was converted late last year to single speed. Again this has been built around a steel frame that either started life as a track or pathe frame from an earlier era that at some point has been fitted with more recent front forks . When first purchased this was set up with later shimano 105 mechanisms and handlebar mounted thumb shifters and was rode with that set up for 3+ years before I finally decided to convert it to single speed . It’s a great bike to ride no matter what set up and as it bears the name of a Coventry / Bedworth cyce maker it has a link to my birth town .