Fixed Gear Southpaw Polo Bike
by Troy Nelson
This bike started life as a beach cruiser and is now my 29er Fixed Gear Southpaw Polo Bike.
When I first got the bike I rode it around a few times but didn't feel it was what it could be. So the work began. The first thing I did was take off the 26" balloon tires and see if my spare 29er wheelset would fit. To my surprise it fitted right in, no problems. Now I had an idea of what this bike could be.
The next thing was to figure out a way of stopping. The front fork didn't have any brake mounts so it had to go. I ended up fitting a Surly Karate Monkey 29er disk fork with an XTR front brake. I wanted a really good front brake because in bike polo you're only holding on with your left hand.
Now that the front was done, I had to figure out what to do with the back. I knew I didn't want a coaster brake. Since the frame didn't have any other kind of brake mounts, my only choice was to run it fixed. Not a big deal, I've never had a fixed gear and was excited about trying something different. I had a rear wheel built up with a Surly Flip-Flop hub and a WTB rim. Put on a 32t chain ring and a 17t fixed gear.
Once I was done with all that, the rest was easy. I changed the seat and post (SDG I-beam), new bars and grips (Ritchey Rizers w/ lock-on grips), Surly Flask, and Surly Tuggnut (for opening beer and keeping the rear wheel in line). When I was nearly done a friend of mine said "Since you're going fixed, why not set it up southpaw?" I was intrigued. Southpaw, what does that mean? That's what decided me on the Left-Side Drive. It was easy to get set up and the only snag was swapping the pedal axles around.
Riding fixed takes some getting used to. I've taken the bike offroad five times now and I'm getting the hang of it. Played polo on it twice. Works great at polo, especially when you need to back up to get the ball :).