How To: Townie Upgrade


There seems to be a plethora of older American made frames out and about (Schwinn, Ross, etc.) that can be had for dirt cheap. I picked up this American Ross frame at a flea for almost nothing and made a few upgrades. After a bit of searching on Sheldon Brown, I realized that there was an easy way to ditch that old one piece crank and those dopey pedals for a nice new crankset with a decent front ring size. Pretty simple, fun project and a nice upgrade to make the townie more of a force to be reckoned with.

1. Remove old cranks and knock off the metal cups with a hammer and screwdriver. These American frames have a huge diameter where the bottom bracket goes (I’m assuming to allow the one piece cranks to be snaked through the frame) so an adapter is needed to allow modern bottom brackets to be threaded inside.

2. Push in and tighten down the bottom bracket adapter. It helps to dry fit the adapter and bottom bracket beforehand to make sure you’re installing the correct side of each of the adapter pieces on the correct side of the frame (or you can do it wrong first like me).

3. Screw in the bottom bracket with the bottom bracket tool.

4. Screw on the crank arms with an allen wrench.

5. Fit the chain to the new chainring size. Done.

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  1. Posted November 2, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    COASTER BRAKE! that’s what makes a townie really fun.
    my townie essentials

  2. Posted November 5, 2009 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Nice ride! Now I am determined to build one.
    What kind of stem, handlebars, and wheels do you have there?

  3. Posted November 5, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Cheapo, cheapo (but that was kind of the point).

    Stem – Kalloy
    Handlebars – original, but I think they are Wald low rise which are still dirt cheap
    Wheels – 26″ black on black coasters, seemed hard to find 700c coasters for s decent price, maybe I just didn’t look hard enough.

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