I’ve always fancied the idea of a fixie and thought why not give an old clapped out racer a new lease of life. I found an old Dawes racer at the Brighton YMCA who have a load of old bikes. They recycle all old bikes forgotten, and left locked up around Brighton. I was specifically looking for a 70′s racer as has a rear drop which allows me to add tension to the chain. The newer bikes don’t seem to have this.
Screwdrivers, Allen Keys, Cone Wrenches, Cable Cutting tool, Plyers, Crank Puller, Socket Wrench and a Hammer. I found a really good bike tool set from Halfords for under £20 which had everything I needed, plus some tools I’ve never worked out or will probably ever need!
Stripping the bike
The bike was incredibly rusty and greasy so it took ages to try get the parks apart. I started with the easy stuff like cables, brakes, wheels etc. The part I got really stuck on was removung the crank. You’ll need a special tool for this called a crank puller. Don’t use a hammer as it will do more damage than good and the tool was under £10. Watch this video for tips on how to remove it.
Once I got all the parts taken off the bike it was time to clean the frame up before spraying it. There was a fair bit of rust which I had to get off and stripped as much paint off as possible. You can look to get it stripped down through sandblasting for a really clean finish, but I thought as this was first fixie re-build I wanted to keep the costs down. It took ages but I managed to get it as smooth a possible.
To start the spraying I used grey primer for the base coat, which was a spray tin available from any car body shop. Most of the tips I found were to use many light coats, side to side spraying and not to do it close. I sprayed the bike outside as there was little wind or rain, below is an example of the forks with the full primer undercoat. After it dried I used a gloss black as the final coat. Again, I used many coats to build up the final finish and then left the finished parts to harden in a hot shed for a week.
Putting it all back together
I think this probably took the longest amount of time, in no part due to the work, but mostly because I’d misplaced all the parts and they took ages to clean the old grease off. I managed to source new rims from Ebay and installed two options on the rear. A fixed gear and a normal single gear. The idea is to just switch the wheel around if you want want it fixed or not.
I found some classic pedals with brown leather straps to match the old school brown bar tape. They’re all from the Old Bicycle shop, check out their site if you’re looking for rare bike parts.
This was a great weekend project, and made me feel like I was kid again mucking around with my old bike parts. Highly recommended!
View a gallery of the fixie project – Photo Gallery