Puch recycling to single speed
This little Puch recycling to single speed project came about when I was approached by a customer, who has a Giant carbon framed road bike, that he is now using for commuting in the south east. As he is intending using it in all weathers, he decided that this would take too much of a toll on the Giant, which would also require more maintenance, so he called and asked if I had any old frames in the barn that could be converted to a single speed bike – something simple that would be easy to maintain and have less moving parts to worry about. I asked him if he would be happy with a steel frame or if he particularly wanted something lighter. He said steel would be ok as long as it wasn’t too heavy.
After checking through the old bikes I had in stock (there was a pile in the corner that I hadn’t touched in over 12 months since they came in), I found an old green Puch racing bike that was the right size frame, so I dragged it out and had a look. The first thing that hit me was how heavy the thing was – around 18kg I think! Having said that, I noticed that it had the original steel wheels and I reckoned that without these and all of the gear assemblies it would be significantly lighter.
I wasn’t wrong – the wheels were heavy old things which were rusted anyway so only good for the scrapheap, the chainset when removed must have weighed a couple of kilos alone and the steel handlebars were junked in favour of some lighter alloy ones. Once the bike was completely stripped, the frame itself was not particularly heavy and looked in fairly good shape, so after scraping off the decals (apart from the badge on the headstock – I left that one as a nod to it’s heritage and masked it before painting) and rubbing down (fingers are still sore now from doing that!) I finally got to the stage where I could repaint it, as the customer definitely did not want a kermit green bike. I know that he likes dark colours so I chose to paint the frame in Satin Black. I use this stuff a lot as it goes on easy, covers really well and is dry in about half an hour.
I was really pleased with the result of the spray job so set about rebuilding the bike, trying to keep the weight down as much as possible. Nothing much I could do about the frame and forks, so the ancilliaries had to be lightweight. As I have already said, the heavy steel bars were replaced with some lightweight alloy ones, I already had a brand new set of light alloy wheels with sealed bearing hubs that were really free spinning, the old graunchy bottom bracket was changed for a sealed bearing Shimano unit that was also considerable shorter than the original in order to get the chain line as straight as possible, and I also had a 48t single alloy chainring. As the rear wheel was screw-on type, a single freewheel was added (18t) to give the ratio that the customer wanted. The original brake levers and calipers were maintained as they were light alloy, I just changed the brake blocks to some alloy compatible ones.
Once all of this was assembled on to the frame and lined up (needed one small spacer on the freewheel to straighten the chain line) it all looked pretty good, and a quick test ride proved that it was also pretty nice to ride. When weighed, it came out at a shade over 10kg, which I was quite pleased with, all things considered.The customer said he might change the brakes for some more modern dual pivot units, which although heavier, would give more powerful braking and inspire more confidence. I think he’s going to be pleased with the finished article – he has seen photos and is well impressed with the transformation. I don’t suppose it would be to everyone’s taste, but It is certainly more practical and suitable for his needs, and it also means that the Giant can be kept clean for his long summer rides.
Puch recycling to single speed
Location distances (check how far we are from you on AA AutoRoute)…..postcode LD8 2SA
Including Powys, Wales, Herefordshire and Shropshire: Presteigne 4.1 miles; Knighton 7 miles; Kington 6.1 miles; Hay-on-Wye 16.7 miles; Llandrindod Wells 18.6 miles; Newtown 37.3 miles; Craven Arms 21.3 miles; Ludlow 25 miles; Leominster 19.4 miles; Hereford 26.4 miles; Builth Wells 18.7 miles; Brecon 32.3 miles; Tenbury Wells 25.6 miles; Shrewsbury 42.5 miles; Bromyard 31.6 miles; Eardisley 11.1 miles; Wigmore 16.4 miles; Kingsland 14.2 miles; Crossgates 15.4 miles; Clun 14.3 miles; Bishop’s Castle 19.9 miles.