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  1. #1
    rollin
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    SS Schwinn...revive the classic!

    Started the biking obsession last summer after I took my old MTB out on some local trails and loved it. Since then I have mothballed the Schwinn in favor of a new Giant full susser (Trance X3) but still havent lost the love for her. This weekend I got this crazy idea while tuning her up that I dont need all of these gears to enjoy riding. So, in an effort to fill a niche I am taking the old Mesa (2000) and converting her into a smooth single speed. Also bought and will throw on a new stem to change the riding position a bit...but to the point, has anyone changed an old Schwinn over to SS?

    Any things I need to look out for? Already have a care package from pricepoint on the way with all the parts and bits...hopefully it will be here by mid week, as of now its time to tear the old out and get her ready for a new lease on life...

    Cheers,
    Chris

  2. #2
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    sounds like a fun build, any pictures?
    '11 Jedi
    '01 Straight8
    '01Rocket88< ran over it.. always do a full walk around!
    '00 Homegrown

  3. #3
    rollin
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    I plan on doing a "newb conversion" report thats fully illustrated....parts are supposed to arrive tomorrow, so hopefully it all goes down this weekend

    Cheers,
    Chris

  4. #4
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    Budget SS Conversion

    Funny -- I did the same thing, but with a 2005 Mesa GSD. I threw some Forte' levers on it, replaced the big ring with a bash guard, and used the Forte' SS conversion kit set-up in the back. When the POS Suntour fork that came stock on the bike broke, I replaced it with a Nashbar rigid fork.

    I ride it once a week and am really digging it -- feels like I'm 14 again. Plus it has the added benefit of making me a stronger rider and smarter with my line choices when I get out on my FS geared bike.

  5. #5
    rollin
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    Awesome to hear others have made the conversion leap, it gives me more confidance that I'm making a good choice...plus its nice to breathe some life into an old friend

  6. #6
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    Yeah, one or two.

    I love riding single speed as it's quieter, it's nice not having to mess with gears, requires less maintenance, is lighter, and is just a lot of fun.

    Mine:





    One I did for my friend:

  7. #7
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    '11 Jedi
    '01 Straight8
    '01Rocket88< ran over it.. always do a full walk around!
    '00 Homegrown

  8. #8
    Crazy about Homegrowns
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    'splain to me the pros and cons of a Single Speed setup. I've always wondered why people like them so much.

  9. #9
    CTB
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    Pros: Lighter, don't have to worry about gear selection, good training. I'm told it makes you think ahead and you vary the loading on your legs more than if you keep a constant cadence and shift to maintain it.
    Cons: God gave us gears for a reason, man! And in my case, I'd never make one ride before getting massively pissed off and just hiking back to the car. I'd look like B-Mech's "not amused" character on his friend's Carbon. Thus why my Sweetspot still has gears.

  10. #10
    Crazy about Homegrowns
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    Was thinking about doing it to my Factory Hardtail. Just to see what it's like.

  11. #11
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    You spend a lot more time thinking about shifting than you realize. When you suddenly remove that and all you have to worry about keeping the pedals turning, it makes for a very fun experience. You're legs are much more capable of power output than you probably realize.

    Aside from being lighter:

    - It's hard to lose traction when climbing because I'm spinning the cranks slowly, so there aren't any bursts of torque to break the tire loose.

    - A single speed drivetrain is more mechanically efficient than a multi-speed system.

    - It's less work since there's less to maintain, less to break.

    - It's quiet. With a chain slapping around the bike it much quieter. It's also fun to sneak up on your friends like this.

    - I never have to worry about dropping my chain.

    But for everything I can write, I'd encourage you to just try it. So many SS riders started out converting an old bike to just try it out, and ended up converting.

  12. #12
    CTB
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    You're legs are much more capable of power output than you probably realize.
    No, really, mine aren't. I can either torque up one hill in a "high" gear, or I can survive the entire ride. Can't do both - just ask my friends who are stuck behind me on climbs.

    Friends have suggested the "just pick a gear and don't shift on a ride" idea to get an idea for it, but I've never tried that.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    You spend a lot more time thinking about shifting than you realize. When you suddenly remove that and all you have to worry about keeping the pedals turning, it makes for a very fun experience. You're legs are much more capable of power output than you probably realize.

    Aside from being lighter:

    - It's hard to lose traction when climbing because I'm spinning the cranks slowly, so there aren't any bursts of torque to break the tire loose.

    - A single speed drivetrain is more mechanically efficient than a multi-speed system.

    - It's less work since there's less to maintain, less to break.

    - It's quiet. With a chain slapping around the bike it much quieter. It's also fun to sneak up on your friends like this.

    - I never have to worry about dropping my chain.

    But for everything I can write, I'd encourage you to just try it. So many SS riders started out converting an old bike to just try it out, and ended up converting.
    Every point is right on the money. For the full experience, you may even want to try a rigid SS. What I love about my rigid SS is its simplicity and efficiency. I'll always own a geared full-suspension bike too, but there's something really rejuvenating about getting out on the SS a couple of times a week.

  14. #14
    CTB
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    I'm no doctor, but wouldn't "lugging" yourself on a SS up hills (i.e. low rpm, high-grunt climbing) be considerably worse for someone with questionable knees? It's like lugging a car in 5th gear up a hill - very tough on the engine.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CTB
    I'm no doctor, but wouldn't "lugging" yourself on a SS up hills (i.e. low rpm, high-grunt climbing) be considerably worse for someone with questionable knees? It's like lugging a car in 5th gear up a hill - very tough on the engine.
    There are several good threads regarding this in the single speed forum, but the general experience is single speed is easier on the knees than geared. In my opinion it's because on a geared bike the preferred way to climb is to sit and spin it out, while on a single speed you stand up very early in the climb and grin out to the top standing. Since the knee works better and takes more force the closer it is to being straight, climbing standing up puts the knee in a better position to take the force.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    There are several good threads regarding this in the single speed forum, but the general experience is single speed is easier on the knees than geared. In my opinion it's because on a geared bike the preferred way to climb is to sit and spin it out, while on a single speed you stand up very early in the climb and grin out to the top standing. Since the knee works better and takes more force the closer it is to being straight, climbing standing up puts the knee in a better position to take the force.
    I agree, but Im not switching over to SS!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ducrider45
    I agree, but Im not switching over to SS!
    Just try it once. I think it would suit your "give me a bigger hammer" riding style.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    Just try it once. I think it would suit your "give me a bigger hammer" riding style.
    Help me find a 98 Homegrown Factory Suspension XTR (Bass Boat Green) 15" or 17" or a XT (Bass Boat Orange) and I'll build the S-20 as a SS. (I just found an orange one, but the guy is not willing to ship it)
    Last edited by ducrider45; 06-04-2010 at 07:05 AM.

  19. #19
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    Where did you find it?

    Come one dude, just give it one try. I'll even loan you my Eno Eccentric rear wheel.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ducrider45
    Help me find a 98 Homegrown Factory Suspension XTR (Bass Boat Green) 15" or 17" or a XT (Bass Boat Orange) and I'll build the S-20 as a SS. (I just found an orange one, but the guy is not willing to ship it)
    I just sent the money to my cousin (in Denver) to buy the bike for me. He will ship it back to me. Looks like the S-20 may become a SS.

  21. #21
    rollin
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    Well after a loooong time and a horrible experience at the LBS, I got my SS Mesa together. My townrunner was done with a budget.... i.e I ran out of money

    So instead of a new crank I retro fitted the new setup on the old crank/chainrings (not exactly stealthy or clean look, but it works)

    Anyways, she runs great now and provides a reliable errand machine when I dont want the new rig outside open to prying eyes/hands


    Cheers,
    Chris

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