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1982 LeGran Seville Single Speed Conversion

Submitted by on December 4, 2009 – 9:09 am8 Comments

Specialized All Condition Armadillo Tire

Feb 2010 update - Finished in all its glory

I had spent months looking for a cool, used bike to convert to a single speed but up to that point I was still leery of actually buying anything that would require a significant amount of work.  Other than fix a flat or change a saddle I had never done any real bike “wrenching”, and let’s face it, no one has ever accused me of being mechanically gifted.  So the thought of overhauling a bike was a bit daunting.   However, when Mike started showing me all these vintage Schwinns he had been buying, fixing up for reuse or sale I decided it was time for me to get my feet wet.   I’ve known Mike since Jr high,  If he can do it I can do it, right? So I pulled the pin on this low end, department store 12 speed touring bike:

1982 LeGran Seville

1982 LeGran Seville

It’s a 1982 LeGran Seville with 27 1/14 wheels and a lugged frame made from steel tubes you might see in a plumbing supply store.   It was not a very attractive bike but I was seduced by the chrome wheels with shiny spokes and a chrome tipped fork.  I figured for $50 what could I lose?

Taking it down to the frame

I had planned all along to have my local Richardson Bike Mart do the heavy lifting yet I was determined to do as much of the work as I could.   I realized it doesn’t take much skill to take a bike apart so I went about  deconstructing it  pretty quickly.   The first thing was to strip everything from the frame so I could have it powder coated (and carefully label and bag the parts I’d be cleaning and polishing for reuse).  I also learned buying new replacement parts is a task that doesn’t require advanced skills either.

Powder coated

Back from being powder coated

I am enamored with the classic, early French  bikes with their understated paint schemes,  shiny bits and leather.  So I had the frame and fork  powder-coated a dull gray and added a Brooks B17 and Toshi leather wrap for grips to go on the cheapo moustache bars I picked up at a local bike swap meet.  I also updated the brakes, handles and had new cables and housing installed.

I had not owned a single speed since I was a kid and I had never even ridden a bike with moustache bars so I was a little nervous about spending a considerable amount of cash on what was ultimately a  “proof of concept” bike.   Would it look right, would it be comfortable, was I throwing my money into the black hole of bicycles?

LeGran-Seville-finished

LeGran Seville single speed conversion

When I went to RBM to pick it up I was delighted.  The finished product looked awesome, at least to me.   I threw it in the back of my truck and sped home to take a few quick photos, load my gear and then head downtown for the the Bike Friendly Oak Cliff inaugural Tracing The Footsteps of Lee Harvey Osawald group ride:

bridge

Crossing the Houston Street viaduct

This has been my go-to bike for riding downtown ever since.  It was a worthwhile experiment and paved the way for me to get more bikes on the road. – Chris

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Chris started riding a bike again when he noticed the Preston Ridge Trail being constructed across the street from his house. Since then he co-founded Biking in Dallas, has gone through countless Craigslist bike projects (some better than others) and can be found pedaling around town on a Electra Ticino with a camera in tow.

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