Blog 11-07-23

With my first two single speed bicycle conversion projects now both complete, I’ve turned my attention to project No.3, the Surly Pugsley fat bike, and yes, contrary to advice from learned professionals, it will also be single speed. I may be wrong but I hope to prove otherwise. Progress is slow, mainly down to the local sandblasters being closed down for the summer trades holidays but they will be open again on the 17th, so I’ll be able to get the frame and forks strip then.

In the meantime, the bike has been totally dismantled, each component getting a thorough inspection and either bagged for cleaning later, placed aside for repair, or discarded for replacement. The mains parts to be replaced are the wheel hubs. The rear was the Shimano Alfine hub gear, so that was being replaced anyway. The front Hope hub was something the worse for wear, being over 10-years old, so will also be replaced. Both wheels will be based on Surly hubs to match my other bikes. Both have been ordered along with the handlebars, which will need painting.

I had just enough primer paint to start with the wheel rims and it’s so much easier to paint them separately than when assembled with hubs and spokes. In keeping with the “fat” theme of the Pugsley, I’ve gone for eight chunky sized panels of colour on the rims, using the same six fluro colours I already have, along with black and white. The overall colour scheme is a variation based on the other two bikes but I’ve deliberately gone for an asymmetric design in keeping with the odd-looking offset rear of the Pugsley. The drive side of the Pugsley frame is 17.5 mm to one side to cater for the wider tyres. To finish off, I’ll either be painting black “separating” bars between the blocks of colour. However, this raises an issue. What colour do I use to add a border to black or between adjacent black and white? Silver, perhaps?

A key part of this project is to trim some fat from the fat bike. With a starting weight of 17.60 kg, the conversion to single speed along the some careful thoughts to lighter weight components such as tyres, inner tubes and pedals, I’ve set myself a target weight of 13.00 kg. And to keep that weight down, no more frame bags, handlebar bag or rear racks. I want the Pugsley as light as possible but without spending £1000’s on carbon fibre parts.

So, where are we at the moment? Well, both wheel rims have their blocks of colour completed and are hanging in the shed to cure overnight. Next, I’ll give them a inspection and sort any faults, before smoothing them down with 1200-grit wet ‘n’ dry paper. After that, I’ll tackle the black borders between colour blocks. Just waiting for some silver paint to arrive. However, I was unable to get silver from the same Spray.Bike brand, so will have to do some testing first on scrap metal before touching the wheel rims. Both brands are acrylic based, so with some luck they will be compatible. More soon.

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