Another first build person.
Sorta confused as to what i should pay for a crankset, as most track/ss ones seem to go for way more than the $30 i paid for my frame.
So do I just take the smaller chainwheel off some old roadbikes crankset, or do i buy a new one for 60 or 80 or whatever. how much does it matter? what do you guys do?

lol. Im pretty sure your the guy that just bought my frame off ebay. Hi.

ekoh, meet your new best friend… he was called sheldon brown (or sheldon for short).

he knows everything… especially about fixed gears when you are starting.

the bit you are looking for is in the 2nd link and refers to chainline.

the short answer is no you dont have to have a track/ss crankset, but you do need a straight chainline. double or triple road cranks with the right bottom bracket will help you get that for less $$, which combos will do so will require more research but isnt hard to find out.

As mentioned, chainline is a high priority. A few other points:

If you take a chainring off a road crankset, you will need to get single chainring bolts, which you can get from your LBS for a few dollars. This option will be cheaper than getting track specific cranks (if you already have the road cranks).

If you need to buy a crankset, I’d just go straight for a track specific crank. Most of the cheap “single speed/track” cranksets on eBay aren’t track specific anyway, i.e. the chainring can be mounted on the inside and the outside of the spider. True track cranks only have one mounting position for the chainring.

Another consideration will be tooth size: track chains are thicker than road chains, and so are the track cogs/chainrings. Track are 1/8, road are usually 3/32. So you can’t use a road chain on track rings/cogs.

I suppose you can run a track chain on a road chainring (if this is a bad idea for some reason I’m not aware of, please post).

It doesn’t really matter which route you choose (I’ve done both), just make sure it all matches up.

Reason for track cranks only?? i think itd be sest to run old road cranks if your looking to do it on the cheap. i run campy record, suntour surerbe, shimano 600, zeus, and carbon FSA road cranks on fixies…

I find the BCD of the crank is more important than if it is track/road specific.
For instance it’s much easier to get track chainrings in the zone of 42-52T.

And track chainrings are mostly 144BCD which obviously limits your cranks options if you get me.

I have campy victory/suntour superbe pro/shimano 600 & Zues Pista cranks. go team All work well on fixies. As long as your keeping the crank lengths to 165-170. i had 175 and could feel the difference on the knee’s and couldnt get the set up rite.

Find youself and old bike shop and you’ll have know worreis finding chainrings. i dont really think thats the biggest dilema unless your running Zues or Campy Victory cos they run one of a kind BCD.

172.5-175’s are fine if yur tall enough

just be careful of pedal strike if your on a conversion.

If he needs to buy cranks anyway, he may as well get track cranks. There isn’t a price difference between cheap ‘track’ cranks and cheap road cranks when buying new. But if he buys cheap road cranks he’ll need to convert them.

Also I found that to get the best chainline on a road crank, I had to put the large ring on the inside, which doesn’t look the best.

True: BCD could be considered a limitation, e.g. can’t go smaller than 42 on 144 BCD. But 42-16 still gives 71". Good gearing without running a dinner plate sized rear cog.

If you need to buy a BB anyway then that doesn’t necessarily matter. You just need a spindle that’s 5mm shorter than the applicable road BB then you can put the ring on the outside.

I’d recommend road cranks because there’s a wider choice of cranks, chainrings and suitable BBs, generally cheaper secondhand than track stuff.

I run a Sugino Mighty Competition road crankset with the inside ring (46t) on the outside and smaller chainring bolts. 171mm crank arms. Haven’t had a problem at all. The crankset cost me $45 off ebay. I also use a 1/8" “track” chain. I also use an Ofmega Mistral track crankset on my other bike, with a 42t road chainring and track chain, the thing is silent as hell and runs fine.

As most people have said, if you want to spend f-all on a crankset, run a road crankset with one ring (try and get a shorter crank arm length), get some smaller chainring bolts from your LBS and maybe flip your bottom bracket spindle around to get a better chainline (if it’s an older style cup and cone BB). It’s what I did for my girlfriend’s fixed and she has no problems at all. The crankset cost me $5, the bolts $5 and I used the original inside ring (42t) on the outside.

i’m running a 1/8th chain on a 3/32 chainring and 3/32sprocket. Seemed a bit of a weird idea at first but but hasn’t caused any problems. There’s a bit of side-to-side movement, but the chainline is pretty good so the chainring just settles in the middle of the chain.

Putting the chainring on the inside of the spider just happened to line it up nicely - i think that tends to happen with most standard 80’s road bikes, before they started sticking shitloads of sprockets on the back of them and changing the geometry.

I got some really cheap crank sets.