I have a few bicycles but these are the cooler ones.
I bought both the Raleigh Supercourse and the Columbia Cyclone from the Greenhouse in Needham (or maybe it’s Wellesley), Massachusetts. It’s actually a greenhouse – with tons of used bikes and junk. Anyway, I bought the Columbia to turn into a crazy chopper, but it’s such a cool looking bike as it is that I’ve never had the heart to tamper with it. I’ve done nothing to it and the coaster brake doesn’t work so good so it’s a little sketchy to ride. I even tried riding it with the same tubes that it probably had since the 40’s but I didn’t get far before the tubes ended up on the outside of the tires. Of course these tubes are from the days when every manufacturer had their own custom sizes and there were no standards. Luckily, the kids at Broadway Bicycles in Somerville were able to find me a tube that fits an old Schwinn and is close enough to work on this one.
The Raleigh on the other hand, I had no problem taking completely apart. I bought it just for the frame – everything else would be replaced when I converted it to a fixed-gear bike. Basically, a fixed-gear bicycle is more like a track bike that you’d see in a velodrome than a bike that you’re probably used to. It has one gear and just a front brake – if any. Another important thing to understand is that there’s no freewheel – if the back wheel is turning, so are the pedals (and vice versa). All this makes for a bike that is really fun to ride, sometimes a little scary, super lightweight and mechanically simple. I built everything on this bike including the wheels and most of the parts came from Harris Cyclery in Watertown, Massachusetts. I’m glad I live close to there because these guys know a lot about fixies and they have all the parts. To see how beautiful these bicycles can be, take a look at the Fixed Gear Gallery. The list below is what’s gone into this bike.
- Raleigh Supercourse frame, GB stem & Avocet gel seat
- Shimano UN72 110mm bottom bracket
- Nitto bars & Cinelli cork tape
- Tange headset and Tange chrome fork (to replace the bent original)
- Shimano BR-A550 brake caliper & Shimano BL-R600 brake lever
- Shimano 165mm Sora cranks & Shimano M520 SPD clipless pedals
- Mavic MA-3 rims, DT Swiss stainless spokes
- IRO 32-hole fixed/free hubs
- Dura-Ace track sprocket & SRAM PC50 chain