Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Peugeot Fixed Commuter Number 2!

New Commuter
I built a new commuter for this winter out of an old Peugeot Premiere. I love old Peugeots, they ride nice, feel nice, and have quite a sporty look to them. Maybe they were slightly ahead of the game when it came to geometry. Peugeot made millions of this style of bike, according to the serial number this one was made around March 1986. Peugeot uses Mangaloy HLE tubing and welds them together in such away that the weld seem is incredibly thin. They achieve this thin weld look by welding the tubing inside and out, I still haven't worked out how they do this. There are so many of these bikes still running, the system must work.

How the bike looked when it was donated to me
Iv'e been looking for an old road bike just gappy enough to fit a set of Rocket Ron's or similar cyclo-cross tyres to for quite a while. When this Peugeot got donated to the shop it was the perfect candidate for a new project. I don't need another bike, I'm not sure anyone ever needs more than one, they just turn up and get ridden and loved and enjoyed and then they end up where I can't part with them.

I had an old fixed gear Peugeot with the same frame as this and in the same pearlescent white colour about 5 or 6 years ago and I loved it and I sold it to someone for 100 quid. I still see it locked up all over town still going strong, and usually wish I still had it.

There's nothing quite like stripping all the crap off these old bikes and getting down to just the frame fork and sat post (never throw a Peugeot seat post away, there a weird diameter and only come in one length). I love dissolving all the candle wax thickness grease out of the bb and headset, cleaning off thirty years of road film from the rear triangle and throwing out all the discoloured and rusted cable housing. Most of the parts from the bike were destined for the bin. The chainset was a moulded aluminium thing with non replaceable rings, the bb was in reasonable shape but had to be binned due to overly long square taper length. The wheels, bars, brakes and gearing system all went the journey also.

Fixed/Fixed Halo hub on velocity deep V with 16t Dura ace cog and surly lock ring
I had a reliable and bomb proof fixed rear wheel lying around that I built up about 4 years ago that has done a lot of miles but since there's nothing to wear out other than the bearings (which were fine) this set up was still going strong. The wheel fit great in the forward facing dropouts. I used a Kenda cyclo-cross tyre on the rear because it had slightly better clearance than the Schwable and it was incredibly tight around the chain stays.

Truvativ MTB bars
I used some Truvativ XC bars and only cut about 1/2 an inch off each side, the days of super skinny bars are numbered both stylistically and practically. When you only have one gear I find it helps tremendously to have wide bars when it comes to climbing steep hills. I put a cheap dual pivot road brake up front with a BMX style 2 finger lever. I had to drill a wider hole at the back of the fork steerer for the modern brake hardware.

The fork got modified considerably on this build, the original axle width was about 8mm but I had to grind the slots of the fork dropout to 9mm to accept the hub I was using, I also had to file the underside of the cast crown a little to give just enough clearance for the Rocket Ron tyre. I also had to chase the treads on the fork steerer, and file a little off the crown race mount in order to fit a new and non pitted crown race that would work with the existing headset.

The afore mentioned front wheel I built radially using 3 old 36 spoke wheels. I got the rim from a modern commuting wheel with a collapsed hub, I got the hub from a 70s touring bicycle wheel with an incredibly worn braking surface, and I lucked out on some old spokes out of a rusty MTB wheel which was tangentially built but worked spot on for 700c radial building.

The chain set is an old Shimano triple off a hybrid and the ring is a new 42t standard comuting middle ring. I fit a 107mm BB and the chain line was almost dead on 42mm. I used 4 pieces of brand new KMC 510 chain which were off cuts from 25 9 BMX set ups and attached them together for a free new chain.

Pedals were Wellgo and found in the discard bin at work as was the Giant road saddle.

South Shields in the sun in March
The bike rides great, I haven't rode fixed much in the last few years and it felt so natural and fun to get back on it. I built this bike for icy conditions and simplicity of equipment through the salty and corrosive winter but the frosts never really came this year. The bike has seen a lot of rain however.

The 42 16 gearing is a bit lighter than I normally ride but because of the slightly bigger tyre and the fact that I want to hit more gravel, pave, bike paths, tram tracks and woods on this thing it works out about perfect. It's awesome to have a fixed gear that feels this solid and because of the extra tyre girth I can still short cut over people's lawns or down the occasional 3 stair.

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