David Forbes' Frejus Fixie

Here's my bike. My father bought this Frejus road bike, S/N 89279, new back in about 1962, when I was teeny tiny. The story is that his mother bought it in Italy and brought it back with her to Minnesota. He used it to commute in the sixties. The bike was rather nice for its time, with Campagnolo hubs, headset, BB and shifting equipment, Amobrosio bars and stem, Nisi sewup rims and Mafac Dural Forge brakes.

It fell off the roofrack of our Citroen station wagon one evening in 1967, resulting in the rear derailleur tab breaking off and the right rear dropout and fork getting bent. I ended up getting the rear dropouts replaced and repainting the bike in Rustoleum spray-can hammertone grey as a result of that old damage.

I got the bike converted to fixed gear in August 2004 with a Suzue Basic hub with EAI 19T cog, Mavic MA3s and Continental Sport 1000 tires on thornproof tubes. I kept the old Campy front hub, which still runs smooth and tight. All the wheel work was done by Ordinary Bike Shop in Tucson, which appears to be the only shop here that understands fixies.

I trimmed off the outer portion of the original worn-out 47T chainring to space out the chainring bolts. I recently found two nice new 47T chainrings on ebay to make up for this butchering.

I took the front brake off November 2005 because I discovered after a couple weeks of riding fixed that the brake is not needed in the flat Tucson valley if you pay attention to the traffic lights. Wheeee!!! Then I put it back on three months later - no crashes or scares, I just decided that having a sleek nude fork crown was no substitute for being able to stop in a hurry if needed. I gently straightened one of the original Mafac road brake levers and mounted it in the middle where it belongs on a fixie.

I built up a rear wheel in January 2006 using a Campy Record track hub from ebay, a Mavic Open Pro rim and double-butted DT spokes. It came out rather nicely for my first wheel build. Thanks Sheldon for the how-to! The gearing is now 47x17.

The headlight is a bit of a story. I'm an electrical engineer and I had always hated the external battery bag on my Niterider 10 watt halogen light. I figured if I could get the current draw down to 1/2 ampere, I could use two lithium-ion cells tucked inside the bar ends and really clean up the lighting arrangement.

The Schmidt E6 light from Peter White Cycles was just the ticket. I bought two 18650 Li-ion cells (3.6V, 2000 mA-H each) and a protector circuit board from one of those low-budget companies with a web presence. A locking toggle switch, a two ohm dropping resistor for the 6V 3 watt halogen bulb, and a DC charger socket completed the installation. There are many colors of 24 gauge hookup wire strung inside the bars, with red and black wires emanating from a small hole drilled near the stem clamp out to the light. It works great - I get over 4 hours of use from one charge.

Updated May 14, 2006

The bike in 2004

The bike in 2005