I can't imagine hacking hangers and cable guides, myself. But, ironically I may own about the oldest hack around. My '53 Ephgrave originally had a Simplex gear hanger drop-out, which was removed before the bike was repainted. It works just fine with a Sturmey ASC fixed-gear, and brings smiles when I note the different appearance of the two drop-outs. Someone, I can't remember who, noticed that when I was considering buying the bike. Thanks!
But, availability isn't the only reason folks might make fixed gear bikes from road bikes. I never ride on the track, and have owned only one track bike that I can remember. It was a Rafael Geminiani, which I sold after commuting on it for a few months. Too much toe clip interference for city riding, and just plain unpleasant. In contrast, my Raleigh Competition has made a lovely fixed gear conversion for me, at my age and with my riding habits. It's a bit relaxed, and just fun. Besides the Ephgrave and the Raleigh, I have a couple of other fixed gear bikes that were designed for fixed - but for road use way back when.
I'd darn near steal to get Ben Sanford's lovely pearlescent 'Traut track bike, but probably wouldn't enjoy riding it nearly as much as my road bikes. But, your mileage may vary.
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+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Bob Freitas wrote: I think everyone dislikes seeing parts of frames hacked off. My own take on this particular auction is market forces have already spoken. A nice condition Eisentraut Frameset like this (even a Traut) would probably be long gone at $800 buy it now had it been unmolested.<snip>
And Tobit Linke noted: I think the fixed gear craze has saved more classic bikes than it has destroyed. By renewing interest in old steel frames it must have saved thousands of frames from being thrown out.
As a classic bike rider rather than collector, the drivetrains of all my bikes are modified to either wide range doubles, single or triple chainwheels, hub gears, coaster brake .....or fixed gear.
A lot of fixed gear conversions are more respectful of the original bike than some high-handlebar conversions.