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Can You Turn A Road Bike Into A Fixed Gear Bike?

A fixed-gear bike can be a huge asset because it allows you to improve the efficiency of your pedaling system. This is a hugely beneficial quality for a bike, especially if you plan to travel larger distances in less time. But can you convert a road bike to a fixed-gear bike?

Given that the bike has the right components needed for conversion, you can convert an older road bike into a fixed-gear bike. To do so, you will need to adjust some crucial parts of the bike, which include the cog set and the rear derailleur of the road bike.

If you have an old road bike lying around and want to upscale it to a fixed-gear version, it may take some time and work, but you can absolutely get it done! This article is a complete guide to help you make this transition and the steps you need to follow to make it happen!

road bike

Can A Road Bike Become A Fixie?

Yes, you can absolutely change your road bike to a fixed gear. However, to do so, you will need to make sure it has a few things available to be eligible for such a change. Before you start, there are a few things to look out for:

  • The bike must have the right components for a fixed-gear conversion, including a cog set and a rear derailleur.
  • You may need to adjust the wheel’s chain length and size to work properly with your fixed-gear setup.
  • You will also need to be comfortable making some basic adjustments and repairs to your bike, as you may need to take it apart and put it back together in order to make the switch.

If you are comfortable with making these changes and have a road bike ready for conversion, then you can turn your bike into a fixed gear!

How To Convert Your Road Bike To A Fixed-Gear Bike

Fixed-gear bikes are the newest trend in bike riding, and there is a good reason for this. These bikes make traveling easy and free and help you travel longer distances faster. 

However, it is worth considering how to convert a road bike to a fixed-gear bike so that you can enjoy the benefits of one at a much-upscaled value. Here are the steps you need to follow to make this happen.

Check The Angle Of Dropouts

One of the first steps you will need to take is to remove the wheel at the back of your bike and take a look at the slot where you can place the axle. 

This is called the dropouts. If you want to be able to convert your bike, the dropouts need to be either horizontal or diagonal in design. With a vertical dropout, conversion to a fixed-gear bike is much more time-consuming, expensive, and may not be worth the work.

Measure Dropout Spacing

Once you know you have the right dropouts, the next step is to check the distance between the two. In most cases, the spacing should be in the area of about 126 mm. This is the right spacing you need to install your wheel for the fixed-gear bike. Here is a video explaining how to measure dropout spacing on a bike: 

If there is more space than this, consider bending the dropouts to be closer, but beware, this move can damage your bike. Additionally, you can try looking for a wider hub for your bike.

Install Spacers If Necessary

One of the ways you can make up space in a bike with spacing less than the amount you need (126 mm) is to use a hub to cover some of the distance between dropouts. 

These can help ensure that your new wheel fits in the right amount of space. However, if the spacers are not enough, you can also replace the axle or try to make the gears work on the wheel you already have. This is not recommended as the costs can add up, and it is a pretty complicated process.

Adjust Your Chainring

Now you have the right amount of space to install the wheel; you need to focus your attention on the gears. Since you are going for a fixed-gear approach, you don’t need the additional front gears or chainring on your bike. 

The better approach is to replace them with something smaller. Road bikes typically have a chainring with 50-52 teeth, which is much larger than you need for your converted bike. 

Instead, you can look for a more affordable 48-tooth option, which will serve you better in the long run (although you can opt for a different option depending on how you intend to use the bike). The chainring can be removed using an Allen key.

Get Rid Of Unnecessary Components

Now that you are going towards a fixed-gear bike option, you don’t need all the components necessary to shift between gears. In this case, you can get started removing them all from the bike. 

This will help eliminate added weight and make your bike much lighter and faster as you ride it. The components you can remove are the derailleurs, the cables, and all of the shifters that help your bike move from one gear to the other.

bike chain up close

Make Sure Your Chain Isn’t Loose

With the removal of these extra items in the last step, you will notice that the chain is hanging loosely over the bike

This is dangerous and will make using your bike much harder. Instead, now that the chain has to cover fewer components, you can short it, so it is taut against the bike. You can use a chain tool to ensure that the chain is just as long as it needs to be to connect with the dropouts and your pedal.

Get Riding!

Your bike is now ready! You can take a quick test ride to ensure everything is in order. Check the gears and handlebars, make sure your brakes are working well, and give it some time to see how it works at different speeds. With all of those checks, you can start using your fixed-gear bike with no worries!

Final Thoughts

Converting a road bike to a fixed gear is not very complicated, but it does require some knowledge of how things work and what you need to get the job done. This guide provides the steps necessary to ensure that your bike will be ready for your next ride in no time.