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First off - I'm a complete amateur when it comes to doing repairs on bikes. Anything exceeding changing tyres, tubes and perhaps adjusting the brakes is something I've never attempted before. However, I feel like I should get better at it, and this should be a great project.

Here's a pic of my bike, a vintage (don't know precisely how old it is) Fuji Ultimate road bike (10-speed):

Vintage FUJI Ultimate

I'd like to do the following things:

  1. Temove derailleurs, related cabling, gear shifters from bike
  2. Replace the cassette with a single chain ring at the back, but not a fixed one. I'd like it to be single speed.
  3. If possible, still use the cranks on the front (the small ring), without having to do any removal / replacement
  4. Get a new chain and put it on
  5. If possible: replace the current brake calipers with up-to-date (cheap-ish) ones, e.g. tektro brakes (but still leave the current brake levers on the bike)

I'd specifically like to ask you all for some advice regarding how to go about this project:

  • Which parts will I need to buy, and what specifically would you recommend? I don't want to end up accidentally buying the wrong size ring/chain or something like that.
  • What tools will I need? I have a basic toolkit, and some pocket bike tools.
  • Are there some online tutorials you could point me towards?
  • Will new (Tektro?) brakes fit on to this bike?
  • Will I manage this? :D

Finally, here is another picture of the rear wheel / hub / cassette of the bike, to provide slightly more information to everyone:

enter image description here

  • Are you sure that is a cassette? Show the dropout. – paparazzo Dec 1 '17 at 22:49
  • Regarding 'will [I] manage this?" Yes! Persevere and take some time to do research on component compatibility and concepts like 'chain-line'. There are loads of great resources on the web. – Argenti Apparatus Dec 4 '17 at 20:17
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A bike this age will have a freewheel type hub (as opposed to a freehub). Sheldon Brows says a BMX freewheel can be used to replace the existing 5 speed freewheel. Hopefully the chainline would then align with your inner chainring, but you may have to re-space the rear hub and re-dish the wheel.

See https://www.sheldonbrown.com/singlespeed.html

BTW the term cassette is generally only used to refer to the stack of sprockets used with a freehub, not a freewheel.

The tools you need will include a chainwhip and the appropriate freewheel removal tools. Park Tool Company has a good set of videos on freewheel removal and installation that includes identifying the appropriate tool. Link below.

I believe that BMX freewheels will come with a sprocket designed for a 1⁄8 in (3.2 mm) chain as also commonly used on single speed bikes, so that's the chain you'll want. You will need to look for a 1⁄8 in chainring that fits the crank spider. The existing rings will work fine with that chain - you'll want to check whichever ring you want to use for wear of course.

While we're talking about the cranks - your bottom bracket is likely to be worn out so you'll want to service and potentially replace that.

I can't see the dropouts in the pictures you included but you'll need a way to tension the chain properly. If the dropouts are slots that allow the wheel to be moved front to back you are good, otherwise you'll need an add on chain tensioner of some sort.

Park tool:

  • Typically these bikes come with 42-52 chainrings without any ramps or pins. In conversion you just keep the 42 tooth one and it works great with singlespeed chain. – ojs Dec 4 '17 at 20:25
  • @ojs thx, update made – Argenti Apparatus Dec 4 '17 at 20:32
  • thanks so much for this excellent answer @ArgentiApparatus, I think this'll get me pretty far. i'm going to look into this stuff, and get back to y'all with some questions if i'm not quite sure what to order. – nikUoM Dec 4 '17 at 23:03
  • You're welcome. BTW, do that bike a favor and give it a good clean. I shuddered every time I looked at the pics you included :) – Argenti Apparatus Dec 4 '17 at 23:06
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Transmission is already covered, so I'll answer about the brakes. Older bikes have brakes mounted with a bolt that goes through the frame or fork, while newer have a shorter bolt and a recessed nut that extends into the frame. You'll need to find old style brakes or something where the bolt can be replaced. An easier way to improve braking would be keep the old brakes but replace brake pads, levers, cables and cable housings. Modern brake levers have different geometry that improves braking a lot.

  • thanks a lot @ojs, this is great. any suggestions on which particular cabling, housing, pads, levers to buy? – nikUoM Dec 4 '17 at 23:03
  • Product recommendations aren't really popular here because prices and availability do vary. So, pick ones that are available. For brake pads, Kool Stop Salmon is pretty good but there are already many discussions about the subject around the web. – ojs Dec 5 '17 at 18:07

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