Introduction- Can You Turn A Fixie Into A Road Bike?
Gears usually help to increase pedaling efficiency of a bike by maximizing the mechanical advantage of a biker based on the terrain.
Most bikers prefer using bikes with a gearing system when they want to cover the greatest possible distance to avoid stress. However, a fixed bike requires that bikers use more strength and effort before they can complete a route or course.
You may be wondering if you can convert your bike to a road bike to help increase efficiency and maneuverability. In this article, we will talk about things you should consider before turning a fixed bike into a road bike.
Can You Add Gears To A Fixie?
Yes, you can add gears to a fixed bike. Although there are numerous ways you can achieve this, it depends on the dropout setup on the back wheel to know what will work best. Furthermore, you can also add gears to the crank.
Some of the options that you can consider when adding gear to a fixed bike are stated below.
Internal Geared Hub
This is the only option for horizontal dropouts because it is difficult to fit a rear derailleur on the open end of horizontal dropout. You can opt for a hub with as little as three speeds to around 14 speeds. Furthermore, you can also choose a coaster brake, wheel brake, single gear freewheels, or roller brake.
This is a suitable option for semi-vertical dropout as you will find nutted hanger adapters bolted inside the dropout behind the axle. There are two things to take into consideration when changing your fixie to a multi-speed freewheel, namely:
The outer locknut diameter (OLD): you will first measure the space between the rear forks with tape. You will measure the space between the dropouts from the inside of the dropouts. However, most fixed bikes are around 110mm to 118mm.
Check your bike frame to determine if it is made of steel or other materials like carbon fiber or aluminum. This is crucial as you need to stretch the frame if the dropout space is too small for the new hub outer locknut diameter.
It is also possible for you to change your crank to a double chainring or even a triple. However, you will need to have a front derailleur before you can use the gears. This will then help to multiply your available gearing ratios.
Steps for Converting a Fixie to a Road Bike
Here is a video showing how you can convert a fixie to a road bike (credit to RJ The Bike Guy):
Materials needed: shifter pod, variable speed cog set, shift cable, assorted Allen wrenches and pliers, rear derailleur.
Preparing the bike for installation
- Position your bike upside down or put it on a bike stand
- Remove the chain and deflate the rear tire completely. Release center-pull brakes or v-brakes if your bike has them.
- Take out the rear wheel. You need to either loosen the quick-release lever or use an Allen wrench to loosen the nuts on its axle.
Setting up the cog set
- Loosen the lock-ring of the cog set to help remove the rear-wheel fixed gear cog.
- Place the new variable-speed cog and align it with splines on the hub. You can then conveniently push and install the cog set on the hub’s wall.
- Add grease to the threads of the lock-ring and tighten the cog set to secure it.
- Install the rear wheel and inflate the tire.
Installing the shifter pod
- Remove the grip from your handlebars. Place the shifter pod on the handlebars and secure it using the grip.
- Fix the shifter cable along with the bike frame that leads to the rear axle.
- Install the rear derailleur onto the frame and lead the shifter to the cable slot on the rear derailleur
- Put the chain on the bike and place it in the center of the rear cog.
Note: Ensure that all the parts are working perfectly. You can do this by shifting between gears when on flat and irregular surfaces. You should also ensure the wheel bearings are in good condition and well-maintained.