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  1. #1
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    My Dingle Speed Moonlander

    My Dingle Speed Moonlander-xixnuso.jpg

    I just wanted to share some information for anyone else who may be interested in a dingle speed setup. I recently shared a picture of my bike on a different forum and I received some interest in how it's set up.

    It's taken some trial and error to get the setup dialed in, but the way it works now is that I basically always have a second gear available in case I really get into the shit. I keep a 28t and 30t up front on the OD crank. On the rear, I change the setup depending on the season. In the winter I run 22t and 20t, and in the summer I've been running 18t and 16t. The result is:

    Winter (with studded 4.8" wazias or bud/lou):
    • 28x22 / 38 gear-inches, perfect for powder
    • 30x20 / 46 gear-inches, perfect for commuting

    Summer (with Big Fat Larry in the rear and a 4.8" Jumbo Jim up front)
    • 28x18 / 45 gear-inches, perfect for hill climbing or technical trails
    • 30x16 / 56 gear-inches, perfect for flowy single track, commuting, and descending down gravel roads


    I bought my first fat bike this past winter. The previous owner had built it up from the frame, and made some great decisions that helped with the dingle speed setup. Between my local LBS and my own fiddling, I think I have it dialed in pretty well.

    When I first got the bike, it was set up 28x22 with the rear axle fully slid forward. This was great because the wheel couldn't slip forward under torque so there was no need for a tensioner. For a single speed setup, this was ideal.

    In order to move to a dingle speed setup, I had to make a few adjustments. Fortunately the cranks (Surly OD) were perfect. The inner 28t was already a narrow-wide. Considering the stock Moonlander came with 38t/22t, the 28t is a great compromise. For the outer ring I bought a steel surly narrow-wide 30t ring. I could have gone 31t or even 32t, but I found that a two tooth difference still gave me plenty of options, although a 3 tooth difference would likely have worked great too.

    The rear wasn't hard at all. I just had to readjust the spacing kit in order to accomodate two gears. I think I picked up one extra spacer in the process just to make it the perfect fit. In the winter I use two surly steel cogs (22 tooth and 20 tooth), and in the summer I'm using two cheap dimension cogs (18 tooth and 16 tooth). I have to use an extra spacer in between the dimension cogs because they're thinner than the surly cogs.

    I ended up using the same chain for summer that I used in the winter. Because the cogs are smaller, I slide the wheel back in the drop-outs, which gives me some room to work when I want to swap gears. More on that in a second. When I swap back to winter I'll likely get a new chain or add a half link or two so that I can stay in the same drop-out position with the larger cogs. Fortunately single speed chains are dirt cheap ($8 or so).

    The next challenge to tackle was how to swap gears easily. At first I thought about using a singleator, which would let me run a the wheel fully forward (no slipping), but with an extra link of slack. That slack would let me switch gears without moving the wheel. Fortunately this didn't work out because the singleator was too close to the large 22t cg. We ordered a tuggnut with the intention of still using the singleator, but in the end I haven't needed the singleator at all (and it ended up on another project bike).

    The tuggnut actually ends up serving two roles. The first is that it prevents slipping, which does happen if you really stand up and pound on the drive train while climbing a hill for example. Or if you slam on the disc brakes on a fast descent. The tuggnut keeps the drive train in place and lets me pull the wheel further back in the drop-out.

    When I want to swap gears, it's pretty straight forward:
    1. First loosen the quick release on the gear three or four turns.
    2. Then I pop out the tuggnut from the drop-out track. I do *not* adjust it in any way. In this way I can guarantee the same position when I tighten it all up.
    3. Next I slide the wheel forward. This gives me enough slack to move the chain from one gear to the other.
    4. Finally, I pull the wheel back and insert the tuggnut. Driveside is good to go.
    5. I have to play with the non-drive-side a bit in order to make sure I get a good alignment with my disc brakes. This is the only real issue because my brakes are finnicky. I think I need a new H-clip.
    6. Once satisfied, I tighten it up and am good to go.


    All in all this process takes less than a minute. I have a second tuggnut on the way that will basically remove the guesswork from the non-drive side.

    So that's pretty much it! All in all it works wonderfully. With all my winter setup, my Moonlander clocks in around 32lb (that's with studs and tubes). My summer setup on Jumbo Jims should be right around 30lb. If I ever go tubeless that should put me just under 30lb. Not bad at all for a bike that seems to clock in around 36lb stock.

    So, many of you may be wondering what the big deal is? Why do single speed at all? Well, that's a great question and one that I ask myself quite a bit. I've really come around to the idea that I end up loving the single speed more often than I hate it. Having the second gearing available pretty much covers a majority of the downside to single speed. The biggest downside is that when you only have one gear, you can spin and stand up to cover a wide case of scenarios, but there are just sometimes where you need a different class of gearing all together. By having a second gear available you have a plan B available.

    For example, here's a few ways that I've used this setup (especially now that I have the gear-swap process pretty much down).
    1. One day I went out with a friend to run some gravel hills out on public land prairie. I started the day in my higher gear which was perfect for flowy gravel and sandy trails. After getting back to town, we made an unexpected stop at a single track course that is built into a river valley. I had a hard time with the steep climbs, so I switched down to the inner gear and away I went!
    2. I've regularly used the higher gear to commute to work (I live in flatlandia), especially in winter. On the days that I want to stop by the local park and try out a few trails, the lower gear comes in handy. Especially if there's been a recent snowfall.
    3. I recently did a gravel grinder up on the North Shore in Minnesota. I substantially underestimated the climbing. In fact the first hour of the race was basically a 5-8% grade climb out of the Lake Superior basin. After 20 minutes of brutal climbing at 56 gear-inches, I realized I could just change it out. I took a quick break, swapped to the other gear, and had a blast for the rest of the race which was essentially mostly climbing and rolling hills. The last 6 miles of the race were all downhill. I ended up swapping back and tearing down the gravel descent in my top gear, which was crazy fun with my 4.8" jumbo jims.
    4. ^^ That same trip I ended up doing another ride on my own which consisted of essentially a single 10 mile gravel road that went straight up into the mountains. I used the climbing gear to get up, then used the faster gear to tear back down. It was really, really fun.
    5. I've used the same strategy when exploring the Sheyenne River Valley in eastern North Dakota. All flat up top, mostly rolling flat in the valley, but very steep climbs to get back out.


    Of course there's all of the normal single speed benefits, too. My favorite is that there are simply fewer moving parts. Especially in the winter when you can have more things freeze. January in North Dakota usually means a high of -10F. I don't have to worry about a frozen derailleur or shifting cables.

    The other main advantage is that it's really hard to launch a chain. Recently I downed my geared road bike because I stood up (first mistake) and cranked too hard, which caused the chain to launch on the front chainring. Ugh. That definitely never happens in a proper single speed setup. the entire setup is almost silent, which is a nice benefit when you're floating over fresh powder (and completely useless when you're running studs on pavement haha).

    At this point pretty much the only reason that I'd swap over to a geared setup would be for bikepacking. I can see that it would be very useful to have a range of lower gears when you're loaded down. But for everything else I've been able to make do with the dingle speed setup. Plus it's a fun conversation piece.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My Dingle Speed Moonlander-screenshot-2018-07-05-15-39-26.jpg  

    My Dingle Speed Moonlander-screenshot-2018-07-05-15-39-50.jpg  

    My Dingle Speed Moonlander-screenshot-2018-07-05-15-42-28.jpg  


  2. #2
    Rhymes with fartmaster
    Reputation: Leopold Porkstacker's Avatar
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    Bolt-on axle interface will do away with the inevitable dropout slippage that a skewer provides.
    one by nine works just fine but single speed is all ya need

  3. #3
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    True! But then I need a wrench to switch gears

  4. #4
    This place needs an enema
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    Quote Originally Posted by blaineb View Post
    True! But then I need a wrench to switch gears

    Great writeup.

    A DT (steel) RWS should fit in whatever hubs you have there, and usually provides enough bite to prevent slippage. When I used them on my Pugs I never had a slip.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Great writeup.

    A DT (steel) RWS should fit in whatever hubs you have there, and usually provides enough bite to prevent slippage. When I used them on my Pugs I never had a slip.
    Thanks Mike. I hadn't seen the RWS components before. The slippage certainly is an issue, but really only when I'm really cranking on the thing (up hill, standing up to pedal). The bigger issue is keeping everything lined up perfectly after a gear swap. My BB7s are so noisy if I don't have them perfectly aligned in the drop-out. That being said I do think I need a new H-clip, because most of the time it isnt even the rotor rubbing but more of a soft clanging that almost sounds like a spring bouncing around back there.

  6. #6
    Stubby-legged
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    Perfect timing!
    I was in the garage debating (by myself) converting my moonie to single speed for the summer.
    This put me over the top.....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way View Post
    Perfect timing!
    I was in the garage debating (by myself) converting my moonie to single speed for the summer.
    This put me over the top.....
    Awesome Here's a chart I've made to help me dial in on chain lengths and gear inches.

    For my moonlander, I've found that I want to use one or two teeth more than I would normally expect for a non-fat bike. I have also found that airing down to < 10psi for winter mode is essentially like adding the equivalent resistance of 3-4 teeth on the back. Thus, 38 gear-inches in winter mode is not nearly as spinny as you'd expect with the full setup.

    One of my favorite memories of this past winter was a post-blizzard commute. I had 8-10" of fresh powder. With a silent drive train and only one speed, it was truly blissful. This was at the end of March, so it wasn't even that cold.

  8. #8
    Stubby-legged
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    First ride on the single speed moonlander.... Wheeeeee!
    Gotta re-gear for my riding area and then get out da way!
    I think I can ride over almost anything.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1spd1way View Post
    First ride on the single speed moonlander.... Wheeeeee!
    Gotta re-gear for my riding area and then get out da way!
    I think I can ride over almost anything.
    Awesome! That is definitely a prime advantage of the single speed fattie -- you can ride through anything basically without worrying about chain slippage. Just ride and go.

    The momentum of the big wheels help too.

  10. #10
    Stubby-legged
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    Quiet. Silent. Dedicated.
    Except for the bike speaking to me in the terminator's voice, "Look at those puny legs!, Pedal faster you little huuuuman!"

  11. #11
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    Great write up and concepts. The pictures and steps really help the reader visualize. Why do you have the different teeth options on the front vs. the back?

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    Paul

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