Sunday, 15 June 2014

Vintage Raleigh Single Speed/Fixed Gear Conversion Project (lots of photos)

An overview with lots of photos of my single speed/fixie conversion project on a beautiful vintage 12-speed Raleigh Team Panasonic Replica from the mid 80's.

I hadn't bought it with the intention of a converting to single speed but as you will find out that decision was almost made for me. After a few months of researching and sourcing all the parts here is the finished project.


Weinmann Type 500 brake calipers
Weinmann Type 500 brake calipers

vintage raleigh road bike crankset
Horrid Custom crankset with riveted chainrings

Non original Shimano Ultegra front derailleur

vintage road bike downtube shifters
Ah, downtube shifters

vintage team panasonic raleigh road bike

I'm a complete novice on retro/vintage bikes so hopefully someone more knowledgeable might be able to assist in the comments below but I think it was completely original apart from the Shimano Ultegra front derailleur which looked much newer and also didn't match the rest of the groupset.

After probably about 1,000 miles of mostly joyful* riding the rear derailleur suicidally over-shifted into the spokes at about 25mph and successfully ended its life and bent the derailleur mount at the same time. I was left with the choice between trying to source a derailleur which would work with the cassette and bending the frame back into alignment or sacking it all off and going single speed - converting to single speed has got to be the simplest option I thought.

*as joyful as riding a 52-42 with 24-15 cassette around the hills of Devon and Cornwall can be.

mangled rear derailleur
Ay, she's a goner!

As it turned out the "simple" singlespeed conversion was somewhat more complicated than I had anticipated and I was soon faced with a bewildering range of problems to solve - how do I get the correct chainline? What type of bottom bracket do I have? What length bottom bracket do I need? Will this crank be compatible? Which wheelset do I need? What's my rear hub spacing? What's my crank BCD? The list of considerations goes on...

Thankfully through a combination of the immense amount of information relating to singlespeed conversions on Sheldon 'The Oracle' Brown's website, as well as relentless Googling I could find most of the answers I was looking for.

Please scroll down for photos after the single speed conversion was complete. I will probably do an individual review for all of these parts at some point.

single speed 700c flip flop wheelset
'Premium' 700c single speed flip flop wheelset from

20mm deep alloy rims with chamfered edge

Shimano Golden Arrow FC-S125 Crankset
Shimano Golden Arrow FC-S125 Crankset

Shimano Golden Arrow FC-S125 logo
Circa 1986 so some wear to be expected, love the Golden Arrow logo

Shimano M324 Flat/SPD Pedals
Shimano M324 Flat/SPD Pedals - perfect for commuting and quick trips to the shop

The End Result

vintage raleigh singlespeed fixie conversion
Yes, I am really that tall :-)

Ideally the BB should be shorter so the chain ring can be mounted on the outside.

Randomly came across the vintage Raleigh dust covers on eBay which finished it off nicely. 

The Single Speed Component wheelset have been solid so far

Despite being brand new the Shimano M324 pedals matched the look well

42-18 gearing, very relaxed ;-)

Vintage gumwall Specialised Turbo S tyres

Final Spec
- Shimano Golden Arrow FC-S125 Crankset (full spec here)
- Singlespeed Components 'Premium' 700c wheelset with flipflop hub
- Vintage Raleigh metal dustcap covers
- Dicta 18T freewheel
- Specialised Turbo S tyres
- Shimano M324 Flat / SPD pedals
- Original Weinmann Type 500 calipers

So, is singlespeed all it's cracked up to be? I'm not so sure but that's a new topic for an article of it's own.

I'm sure some purists will be grinding their teeth at yet another vintage road bike being lost to single speed but hey, at least I didn't grind off the shifter mounts so maybe one day it will make it back into the world of gears.

All comments and questions welcome below (you don't have to register).


  1. Nice! Really like the Golden Arrow crank

  2. What length bb axle you go for.and why did you mount the crank on the outside?

  3. Hi Martin, unfortunately I don't know what the length of the BB axle is, I had to mount the chain ring on the inside as otherwise the chainline will be off.

    Ideally I would get a new BB which is about 5mm longer and then I could mount the chain ring on the outside in the proper position.

  4. Hi Lewis, do you happen to know now what BB length you are using on this crank?

  5. Unfortunately not, please see the comment above.

  6. Hi, to all who have asked about the bottom bracket, i've been and looked and it's BC1.37 X 24 68mm. I guess this doesn't help much with the overall width though?

  7. This is nice! I'm currently in the process of converting my old Raleigh Quasar, so am "relentlessly Googling" tips. I'm interested whether you opted for a 42-18 to achieve the "magic gear" and keep the chain properly tensioned?