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).
4. Screw on the crank arms with an allen wrench.
5. Fit the chain to the new chainring size. Done.