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[James Brown singing] My dropouts...they got cooooooold set!

a wheel with a multi-gear cassette sits in the newly widened dropouts of my Fairdale Coaster bike

Okay, I know I only just posted about it, but here’s the result. So what the heck am I up to?

Basically, I’ve had this 2015 Fairdale Coaster sitting around in storage at home since I was hit by a truck in 2022. I was fully compensated, got my current bike to replace it, and after $35 to Wheel Simple, the frame and fork were fixed. So now I have a backup bike, but it had no front wheel and still only a single speed in the rear. I’m happy it got me back into bikes, but I want more than one speed for this hilly city of mine if the bike is to have any utility.

I picture this bike one day serving as a comfy errand/grocery bike. I have a number of spare parts as I’ve tinkered with my Space Horse, learning what’s comfortable and useful to me over the past year and a half. Most of what’s still on the Fairdale is plenty useful, including some cheap but effective rim brakes and cruiser-style bars. As long as I get some kinda derailleur hanger adapter I can throw some cheap rear mech on it with a friction shifter up front and I’ll be good to go!

Well the thing is, the Fairdale has track fork ends since it was designed for that single speed. That also means the rear spacing was pretty narrow: around 110mm. So I took a bike axle and nuts, and little by little cranked the nuts until the rear spacing was spread out to around 130mm after spring-back. The picture you see at the top of this post shows the rear wheel from my wife’s bike fit into the Fairdale! This whole process, for those unfamiliar, is called cold setting, and I was only willing to risk it because the bike was essentially a write-off. But no cracks! Not too much strain! Gotta love a steel frame (even if this one is high-tensile instead of something nicer)!

I still need to wait until I have a shed before I can really build this up into something rideable, but it was so rewarding to try something new and have it work out. The geared wheel spins perfectly right in the center of the frame - so I kind of got lucky there with the frame and dropout alignment. Or perhaps that’s just the advantage of working slowly with an axle and nuts, alternating sides. Can’t wait until I can take the next steps with this thing!

P.S. I know when they’re horizontal fork ends on a track bike/single speed they’re not technically “dropouts”, but I couldn’t resist a dumb play on lyrics in the post’s title.