Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Friday, April 17, 2009

3-Speed 29er

A while back, I bought a Motobecane 29er frame off of eBay, with thoughts of building up a fixed gear monstercrosser from it. These Motobecanes are made in Taiwan, apparently by Kinesis. It is badged as an Outcast 29, but am frankly confused by this.

The Outcast 29 has track ends, and uses V-brakes. The Outcast 29 frames for sale (cheap) on eBay have sliding vertical drops and are disc-only. This is what I bought. Of course, two minutes after hitting the Buy It Now button, it flashed on me that I couldn't run the 29er flip-flop wheels I was planning on, because they aren't disc-compatible (obviously).


So, back to eBay for a set of singlespeed 29er disc wheels. The 29er single speed wheels all use a freehub body, similar to the old Shimano DX BMX cassette hubs. There is no real good way to turn that into a fixed gear without irreparable damage to the cassette body, so I resigned myself to running freewheel.

I built it up with some Performance disc brakes, a carbon handlebar and old XT v-brake levers, and single-speeded xt crank (from my Trek STP I had built up, last year), plus my VooDoo fork from the 69er.

Didn't like it.

I rode it around town, and just couldn't warm up to the whole freewheel singlespeed thing. I don't mind spinning out on a fixed gear, but having to coast all the time on the spinny was annoying.

So, back to the drawing board. I started eying the freehub on the wheel, and it occurred to me that I had a lot of spacers on there to get the chain line straight. I took the cog and spacers off, got out the box of orphan cogs, and started playing around. Half an hour later, with the addition of a beat-up old XT derailleur and a SunTour front shifter mounted upside down on the right-hand side of the handlebar, I had a functional 3-speed.

I still didn't like the handlebar, though. So, I fitted my On-One Mungo (mustache-style) bar and some modified Tektro brake levers. Now, at least, it looks cool and gives me the riding position I prefer on a singlespeed/fixed gear bike, offroad.

The bike is currently shod with the 2-inch streetish tires I had attempted to shoehorn into the '84 Stumpy when I was trying to build it into a Monstercrosser. I have a set of knobbier offroad tires which are soon to be fitted.

I covered up the brand and model name on the frame. I consider it to just be a Kenesis frame, since the only thing that makes it a "Motobecane" is the parts spec.

When I swapped bars, the shifter cable came up a bit short. I'll swap it out, soon, so that the shifter can be moved a tad closer to the brake lever.

Eight-speed spacing, 8-speed chain. I might have been able to get 4 speeds out of it if I had used 9-speed spacers, but this was definitely a "whatever's in the parts box" sort of build. Besides: Low, medium and high are really all you need! Right?

The XT crank, with only the 32-tooth ring.

The original shifter position on the carbon bar.
I hope to get the bike out on the trail, soon (it's a little snowy for that, this weekend). If it works out as well as I hope, I plan on using it for something pretty cool (more on that, later).
If not, I actually found a disc mount which threads onto the freewheel side of a flip-flop wheel, and ordered it. If the spacing actually works out (the spacers are sold for chopper/lowrider guys to mount up discs) this may end up as a disc-equipped fixed gear mountain bike, yet.


At 9:31 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

Man, that is one sweet bike. I like the way you cobbled it together with whatever you had on hand. It does seem like it'd be cool as a fixie.

Though personally, I'd want a bunch of gears on it.

I really like the Motobecane frame. Looks very sharp.

At 8:38 AM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

That bike is awesome Jon!!!It is very Jeff Jones'esque with that minimal rear hub,he builds 6spds with a modified xt cassette.Nice work!I hope the weather turns nice for your yard sale

At 12:01 PM , Blogger Jon said...

The yard sale was already postponed until next Saturday, and the weather guessers are calling for ttemps in the 70s, all next week. So...fingers crossed.


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