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I'm trying to get a steel singlespeed and I find it quite hard to find something in the market that is light and with brakes.

Will one notice any difference if, for example, one gets a Cinelli Vigorelli road frame:

vigorelli road

with a kit like this:

kit

kit2

compared to a similar bike frame without brakes used for track races?

vigorelli track

Is it noisier, less stiff or something like that?

  • You really cannot find a light singlespeed steel frame? Are the offerings by makers such as Gunnar and All City not doing it for you? – Argenti Apparatus Oct 29 '18 at 20:40
  • @ArgentiApparatus no, I have not been able to find a steel singlespeed, with rim brakes, easy to get from europe and under 2600gr with fork. – nck Oct 29 '18 at 20:58
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    Anywhere in Europe? Chebici of Järvenpää, Finland can custom build you one under the price of stock Cinelli. I believe there are quite a few shops that can do the same no matter where in Europe you live. – ojs Oct 29 '18 at 21:44
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    Well, lightweight steel singlespeed frames are a kind of specialty product. But your weight limit makes things easier, just get a Surly or equivalent and a carbon fork :) – ojs Oct 29 '18 at 21:58
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    I agree with @ojs, there are a lot of options of under 2.5 kg steel framesets available in both Europe and Asia online stores, both singlespeed and geared – Grigory Rechistov Oct 30 '18 at 7:38
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Riding the bike, the only thing you would potentially notice is if there's any difference between the rate of engagement of the two ratcheting mechanisms being compared, i.e. that specific freehub versus specific freewheel, and also any differences in how noisy they are. Examples exist of each that are more or less noisy or quick-engaging, so there is no universal answer.

Cassette hubs made for derailer use and converted to singlespeed via spacer kits have the disadvantage of being weaker and less laterally stiff than dedicated singlespeed hubs, because the drive side bracing angle is steeper and there's less total spoke tension. That could be noticeable depending on the rider and circumstances, especially if you're pushing what your chosen rim can handle strength and stiffness wise.

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    You've also got the annoyance of a chain tensioner in the latter case. – Batman Oct 29 '18 at 23:11
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It may be possible to install rim brakes on the track frame — there might be holes on the frame bridge and at the fork's crown to install calipers. From your second picture it cannot be seen for sure. Neither of these two frames accept disk brakes.

Note that fixie's frame is likely to have rear dropouts spaced for 120 mm rear hub, while the geared frame is designed for rear hubs 130 mm wide (unlikely but possible 135 mm, and other combinations are also possible).

Mind presence/absence of bottle mounts on these two frames — it might "feel" different on long sunny days whether you have a bottle with water with you or not.

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