One thing is for sure, it is not that cheap to buy new bike parts in Australia. God knows how you can buy a brand new decent bike from a bike store for around $300 when the basic parts I am looking at are tallying up way above that. Perhaps the words "China" and "import" have something to do with it.
Anyway, I decided after visiting my LBSs (local bike shops) - one in Maitland and then another two in Newcastle - that they are not really versed in the single speed thing like they are down south. So I weighed up a few options, I could get the parts I needed off the net - which would be a risk as I am not exactly sure which part will fit with my frame and I don't want to order in the wrong part. Alternatively I could work with someone who does a lot of these conversions and get them to organise the parts for me.
And this is what I did. I shot an email off to Pony Bikes and asked them how hard it was to get the bits I needed.
hi pony b,
i got this malvern star for free! a "touristar" from early-mid 80s i guess. am keen to jazz it up a bit but keep the original paintwork. unfortunately i am not in melburn, tho lived there for a couple of years and was into the ss/fixie look but never got around to getting one myself. now that i have the star i want to get serious. i stripped it back to the frame and just need the parts.
could you do a quote of parts list of what would look good - maybe with a chrome look - and how much to ship up to Maitland NSW. let me know if you need measurments.
Not long later I recieved a quick reply. Pony B was onto the case and she drew up a list of parts and costed them. It wasn't going to be very cheap so I restricted myself to just getting the drive train parts .. the wheels, hubs, bottom bracket, chainring and cranks. The other bits I could scrounge myself. But I knew that if I was getting someone who new the game, I would be making sure that the parts I get will be the right size and fit my Malvern.
This involved a bit of measuring, so I had strip back the frame to just itself. I had removed everything bar the cranks, chainring and bottom bracket previously but now I needed to get rid of them. So instead as suggested I go off to the LBS (local bike shop) I went around to the brother-in-laws and got myself a 14mm socket and whipped off the cranks .. with plenty of persuasion using a screwdriver and hammer.
I then worked on the bottom bracket. I didn't have the required C spanner, so again the screwdriver and hammer came to the fore and tap-tap-tap later one half was off and then tap-tap-tap to get the other one came off. I took a photo of the bottom bracket minus everything and sent it off to Pony B.
The bottom bracket measurement
Making sure the frame will fit the rear hub
She confirmed that she had the right parts gave me the final price - $600 including shipping. I could almost buy a new single-speed for that! But I was commited now and this I had decided would be my birthday present to myself (by the time I finish this project it probably will be my birthday).
So I am now paid up and just waiting for the parts to arrive.
continued in Part 3 ...