Here’s the first version Takara build with chop and flop handlebars, Shimano 105 freehub singlespeed conversion and recycled Schwinn Le Tour II crankset with stock ‘rat trap’ pedals.
It worked well enough, was cheap at $91USD, fast, and light at 24 lbs. (10.8 kg). However the chain-ring was geared too high and both the old seat and the chopped handlebar hurt my delicate old wrists, hands, neck and butt!
I swapped the bull-horn bar for a short-rise ‘ape-hanger’ bar to add to the height of the Very Tall quill stem. That allows my neck to be in a neutral position. For brake levers I’m using old ones from a Raleigh.
Swapping the ancient seat was easy too and the Bontrager Sport gel seat was a bit more comfortable-but not much. The Schwinn geared-too-tall crankset I replaced with a Fuji 4-bolt set with a 44-tooth MCS chain-ring. By experience I know this ratio (44×17) works well for my level of fitness and riding terrain. Orange Primo brand plastic platform petals add color and match the Electra rubber grips.
I swapped the rear wheel for a Presta valve Alexrims B450 flip/flop with a 17-tooth freewheel and 17-tooth fixed cog. In front is an Alexrims DH19 with Schrader valve and I fitted German Continental Gatorskin high pressure 700x23c tires front and back. The kickstand is a vintage Swiss-made Pletscher Esge and I’d love to find one of their old cargo racks to match.
Changed the too-sporty, too hard Bontrager seat for a Cloud9 gel seat with cushy rubber bumpers and installed a pair of Planet Bike fenders to keep the mud and water off my face and back in the wet season-if it ever comes.
I still need a cargo rack and some lights to make the bike usable in all seasons and weather. Taking it to the bike trail I found it light, fast (for a singlespeed) and fun. The tires have less rolling friction and don’t seem to be any slicker than the lower pressure commuter tires I’ve been using.
Nothing is free though and the bike grew to 28 lbs (12.7 kg), the cost from around $90 to over $450: