A couple of weekends ago, I picked up a well-used and slightly seedy 2008 Raleigh One Way via the local Craigslist.
I knew when I bought it that it would require some work–and I figured there would also be things that I’d want to change to make it into my vision of a good urban single-speed, one optimized for two things:
- My relatively flat daily commute. About 16 miles round trip, with little in the way of elevation change (I live near one lake and work near another).
- Occasional (a couple of times a week) pre- and post-work rides through the Arboretum or down one of the bike paths, usually to add some mileage and enjoyment to my weekly riding.
The One Way, when I bought it, was basically stock–to the point of still having the original Vittoria Randos, which were so worn that the rear immediately flatted–so I’ll not go into how it’s currently configured (if you want to know, Raleigh USA will hook you up).
Instead, here’s what I’m going to change, and why. I’ll try to to most of it without spending additional money, as I bought this rig with a high benefit-cost ratio in mind.
Tires. I’ve already swapped the old, bald and tired Vittoria Randonneurs for a pair of Schwalbe Marathons (37-622) that I had hanging in the shop. These will, with little doubt, last nearly forever.
Saddle. I’ve already replaced the uncomfortable ass-hatchet that it came with (which will go into the donation bin) with a well-seasoned Brooks B-17 (and a different seatpost, since the B-17 was already attached).
Cockpit. Right now, it’s wearing the original 42cm drops with Tektro brake levers, both of which are slated for removal. To my thinking, drop bars are not well suited to city riding, especially on campus–when one really does want to have one’s hands near the brake levers at all times. I’d considered keeping the Tektros and using moustache bars, but I don’t have a pair right now. Instead, I’ll mount either a Surly Open Bar or a Nitto Albatross, with a pair of Avid levers and Ergon grips.
Drivetrain. The stock drivetrain is 46×16 with 175mm cranks. Since 175s are too long for me, I’ll swap them for a pair of 165mm. Depending on the condition of the chain, chainring, and freewheel, I’ll either try to eke out another few hundred miles or just replace them with something from the bin. I’ll keep the chainguard either way–all single-speeds should have a chainguard.
Pedals. Currently, no name touring pedals that clearly once had toe-clips and straps. I’ll either swap in a decent pair of toe-clipped pedals, or a set of platforms–probably VP-001s in whatever color (silver or black) matches the cranks.
Racks and baggage. There was a Planet Bike Eco rack mounted when I bought it, but that’s been removed because the stays were interfering with the rear axle bolts (of all things)–but it definitely needs something to carry my stuff, so that I don’t have to use a backpack all of the time. I’m leaning toward a saddlebag support in the rear and my old CETMA four-rail for the front–if I can make it fit; if not, I’ll hunt for something else.
Repairs. Now that I’ve been riding the One Way for a bit, it’s pretty clear that it requires a couple of repairs. The front wheel is out of true, the brake pads have but little life in them, the bottom bracket is not as smooth as it could be, and the front hub may also need re-packing. The BB I’ll replace with the crankset, but the front wheel will have to go to the shop for re-truing. The brake pads will get replaced when I swap the levers and re-cable the brakes.
Once I’ve got all of this sorted out, I’ll post some photos for your mild amusement.