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  1. #1
    Robtre
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    After 6 months on a geared bike, back to SS.

    I have been on a SS bike, for 90% of my riding, easy to conclude I love it. I am on my 8th SS bike, but often feel compelled to try new stuff. I built up a Kona Honzo, 27.5 plus wheels, and gears. I hated the bike, but committed to 6 months of riding it. First thing I did was drop the gears, and BOOM, back at it. Here is what I have learned:
    ~Riding geared bikes is a completely different workout. Sitting position, combined with spinning up hills burns the crap out of my legs, and my lungs want to explode.
    ~I am always in the wrong gear, and often times get dropped by riders I smoke on a SS bike.
    ~For me, riding a geared bike, sitting and spinning is so boring. Riding SS on steep terrain is a full body workout. I woke up sore all over today.
    Perhaps its my conditioning, but I can ride so much faster, and much more miles riding SS.

    "All-Mountain" geo hardtail, SS, with a dropper post is my jam!
    After 6 months on a geared bike, back to SS.-honzo-deux.jpg
    -rides bikes for fun.

  2. #2
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    +1!
    Yes, good to be back on SS? I have done the same recently.
    The only one I can't fully convert is the Diamond Back Haanjo - Thru axles - and I want to keep it as the geared alternative.
    The Pugsley fat bike, I threw gears on it for better efficiency on sand and snow - a fat bike SS is fun! but throw gears on it if you ever get one and want to use the efficiency of its tires.
    The other bikes in the stable are all SS - because otherwise, I'd cry.

  3. #3
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    Your observations bear out mine, when I switch out to a geared bike.
    One gear is all you need.

  4. #4
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    The Honzo works well as a SS? I want one, but I am worried about the low bb on east coast trails. They are sexy tho.

  5. #5
    Robtre
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    Low BB has been an issue, maybe 1/5 rides on my local stuff.
    -rides bikes for fun.

  6. #6
    Gimme free stuff
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    I wish the carbon or AL honzo was SS-able
    Ice Cream Truck
    Misfit DiSSent, single & rigid

  7. #7
    WNC Native
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    Welcome back and nice looking Honzo!

    Quote Originally Posted by JakeStroganoff View Post
    The Honzo works well as a SS? I want one, but I am worried about the low bb on east coast trails.
    Decently yes, just add a longer fork. I do prefer a higher BB height myself though.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  8. #8
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    I've "gone back to gears" twice this year, and barely made a total of 6 rides like that, much less 6 months!
    Definitely a different kind of workout. Better cardio, but gears don't make me faster overall(just faster in different places). Hardtail will stay SS, but my back's forcing me to build a FS bike, which means I'll be riding geared most of the time.
    Planning to run it 10sp and do all my short climbs standing, since SS has convinced me that's mo' better.
    Not much choice if I want to keep mountain biking, but I sure do miss the "direct drive" feeling of being connected to the bike every time I ride a geared one.

  9. #9
    wanna ride bikes?
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    Nice bike OP, I bet it rides just as good as it looks!
    Rigid SS 29er
    Fat Lefty
    SS MonsterCross
    SS cyclocross
    all steel

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  10. #10
    Having a nice day!
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    My friends like me less when I convert to SS I agree with the previous poster that gears are faster in certain places. It just seems that I'm faster on the SS in more places! But I have a geared bike that sees duty on days with a lot of ascending. Plus that bike is a whole lot of fun when it goes the other way.

  11. #11
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    Could not agree more.
    Anyone want to buy my Yeti SB6c? I cannot wait to sell it for a new Reeb SS.
    Less money on service is nice too...one less shock to deal with, and no rear linkage to mess with.

    #SSforLife

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by robtre View Post
    I have been on a SS bike, for 90% of my riding, easy to conclude I love it. I am on my 8th SS bike, but often feel compelled to try new stuff. I built up a Kona Honzo, 27.5 plus wheels, and gears. I hated the bike, but committed to 6 months of riding it. First thing I did was drop the gears, and BOOM, back at it. Here is what I have learned:
    ~Riding geared bikes is a completely different workout. Sitting position, combined with spinning up hills burns the crap out of my legs, and my lungs want to explode.
    ~I am always in the wrong gear, and often times get dropped by riders I smoke on a SS bike.
    ~For me, riding a geared bike, sitting and spinning is so boring. Riding SS on steep terrain is a full body workout. I woke up sore all over today.
    Perhaps its my conditioning, but I can ride so much faster, and much more miles riding SS.

    "All-Mountain" geo hardtail, SS, with a dropper post is my jam!
    Click image for larger version. 

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    What seat post is that? I love that color.

  13. #13
    EXORCIZE
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    Bike looks awesome, especially those long, straight top & down tubes.

    Quote Originally Posted by robtre View Post
    I built up a Kona Honzo, 27.5 plus wheels, and gears. I hated the bike, but committed to 6 months of riding it. First thing I did was drop the gears, and BOOM, back at it.
    I had a similar experience: built up a geared 120mm hardtail (to complement my rigid Unit), was hating it. Seated climbing sucked. When the RD broke off on the 3rd ride (divine intervention?), I converted to SS, and immediately began enjoying the bike and riding faster.

    I can't see ever owning another geared hardtail on my rocky trails. Seated pedaling isn't efficient, comfy or fun. If I'm going to sit much, it's gotta be FS.
    2017 Diamondback Haanjo
    2016 Pivot 429T
    2011 Kona Unit

  14. #14
    DFMBA.org
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    Yup, same here. My geared Niner Jet 9C sits in my garage with a sad face. Ride this 95% of the time. Love SS.

    Sent from my SM-J700T using Tapatalk
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

  15. #15
    Daniel the Dog
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    I ride both. The SS is fun in places and the SS in other places.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaybo View Post
    The SS is fun in places and the SS in other places.
    spoken like a TRUE sungelspeeder

    i am gonna admit something here. While I am looking for another stache to singlepseed; i currently have zero rideable singlespeeds. I singlesped (past tense of singlspeed?) for about 10 years exclusively so i know the drug and it's effects very well.

    But three things happened; i got older; had kids (mostly meaning riding time dwindled); and clutch derailleurs came out... When i finally bought my new stache (with the full intention of ripping the gears off immediately) i gave it a few rides. i found that the clutch derailleur made it both acceptably smooth and quiet and that i could stand and mash safely in any gear (just like the singlespeed) with none of the slipping that plagued my old geared setups from way back. That combined with my lack of fitness really helped smooth the transition.

    as i write this; i haven't ridden a sinlgespeed in over a year <GULP>. i do miss it but i think i'd miss the geared bike more these days if i didn't have it... as always with bikes; the answer is obviously n+1, i just hope i can afford one while i still have the semblance of fitness required to ride it up the hills round here.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    spoken like a TRUE sungelspeeder

    i am gonna admit something here. While I am looking for another stache to singlepseed; i currently have zero rideable singlespeeds. I singlesped (past tense of singlspeed?) for about 10 years exclusively so i know the drug and it's effects very well.

    But three things happened; i got older; had kids (mostly meaning riding time dwindled); and clutch derailleurs came out... When i finally bought my new stache (with the full intention of ripping the gears off immediately) i gave it a few rides. i found that the clutch derailleur made it both acceptably smooth and quiet and that i could stand and mash safely in any gear (just like the singlespeed) with none of the slipping that plagued my old geared setups from way back. That combined with my lack of fitness really helped smooth the transition.

    as i write this; i haven't ridden a sinlgespeed in over a year <GULP>. i do miss it but i think i'd miss the geared bike more these days if i didn't have it... as always with bikes; the answer is obviously n+1, i just hope i can afford one while i still have the semblance of fitness required to ride it up the hills round here.
    I am with you there. I converted my Soma from SS to geared with a clutch a year and a half ago. I keep trolling these forums thinking of going back but one thing sticks out in my
    mind......I also use this bike for bike packing and I can’t imagine SS with all my gear on. Maybe one day. I got an old Bridgestone mb1 hanging on the wall but it was my dads at 5’6” and I am 6’ so probably too small for me but even so it doesn’t have horizontal drops so a tensioner would be in order. Cheers!!

  18. #18
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    I tried the new-fangled 1x11 clutch derailleur system on my Honzo. After one ride, I went back to single speed and sold all the parts on eBay. Now I am quite pathetically buying the parts again. Why? Because I don't have a car. Single speed rules on mountain bike trails, but riding to the trails sucks severely. I've seen diehards pedaling at crazy high RPMs on their way to the trail, but that just isn't any fun at all. So sadly, my Honzo will soon have gears again.

    By the way, I am also not a fan of low BBs. But with a 140mm fork on the Honzo (first generation steel frame), the BB seems high enough to me.

  19. #19
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    Sounds like you need a dinglespeed.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sotak View Post
    Sounds like you need a dinglespeed.
    That's a cool idea but that kills the simplicity to me. If you have to go dingle you might as well go gears. I agree with the previous poster. I am so tempted but I just hate to be switching my bike back and forth every time a new ride comes up. I play enough with my bar setup and choice of lol. I think a good dedicated SS play toy is the ticket. How many on here have fun on an old 26er converted to SS and use their 650b/29ers set up with gears?

  21. #21
    MTB B'dos
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    As someone who just can't get the whole "SS for life" thing, I'm curious and have one question for all you lifers...What do you weigh - Are you what most would consider a Clyde, normal, thin? Curious if by chance weight plays into this at all as the OP said his legs hurt from all the spinning on a geared bike and I don't get that as someone who rides only geared bikes, but does like to mash a bit.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  22. #22
    wanna ride bikes?
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    Quote Originally Posted by iowamtb View Post
    How many on here have fun on an old 26er converted to SS and use their 650b/29ers set up with gears?
    29ers were made for SSing. I've never owned a 26er, but I've read the stories and it sounds awful. Seriously though I would not personally want a 26" SS as my trail bike, ymmv.

    I know a couple guys who have dingle speeds, it's a legit way to have a bike with two SS gears.
    Rigid SS 29er
    Fat Lefty
    SS MonsterCross
    SS cyclocross
    all steel

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    As someone who just can't get the whole "SS for life" thing, I'm curious and have one question for all you lifers...What do you weigh - Are you what most would consider a Clyde, normal, thin? Curious if by chance weight plays into this at all as the OP said his legs hurt from all the spinning on a geared bike and I don't get that as someone who rides only geared bikes, but does like to mash a bit.
    I am a lot like you. I like to mix it up and spin/mash about 50% of the time while riding geared.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    29ers were made for SSing. I've never owned a 26er, but I've read the stories and it sounds awful. Seriously though I would not personally want a 26" SS as my trail bike, ymmv.

    I know a couple guys who have dingle speeds, it's a legit way to have a bike with two SS gears.
    Well that's good in a positive way lol. I really didn't want to buy a conversion kit and convert lol. The bike is all original except the brakes so I will just leave it hang.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    As someone who just can't get the whole "SS for life" thing, I'm curious and have one question for all you lifers...What do you weigh - Are you what most would consider a Clyde, normal, thin? Curious if by chance weight plays into this at all as the OP said his legs hurt from all the spinning on a geared bike and I don't get that as someone who rides only geared bikes, but does like to mash a bit.
    in my experience there are mainly two types of people who ride nothing but singelspeed. those who don't have huge steep hills locally (like me in philly) and those who are just absolute monsters of fitness.

    regularly trying to ride a singlespeed in the mountains when you are unfit is really not fun. it is OK when your like me and occasionally go play in the bigger hills and mountains; BUT i can't imagine singlespeed being fun if it involves walking a lot on your regular climbs.

    i was still healthily in clyde territory weight wise back in the exclusively SS days, but i rode a ton; and as i said my local hills are definitely not mountains so my fitness could keep up with the local terrain. definitely the fastest i ever was on a bike, was when i was deep into being a singlespeeder.

  26. #26
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    I have a dedicated SS, geared and a geared fatty. Right now I'm weak, so the SS is mostly for commuting and not so much with trails. A few years ago, I built a 650b set for the SS and I do prefer it to the 26 wheels. However, it may be that the b wheelset is just better and so accounts for the current preference. My geared is a classic 26er hardtail and it would be between it and the fatty if I were to bikepack at some point. I'm currently 230ish, when I was in better shape I chose the SS most of the time whereas now I mix it up between the 3 with the fatty getting all the time in the winter. I'm in MN so I got no mountains, but a few hills. If I had mountains, my anger would sustain me and if I walked up steeps I would think of it as charging my anger for the rest of the ride.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  27. #27
    Armature speller
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    86kg, 32/20-22 gearing, 1000m climbing in 40km is normal here.
    Up to 5-10 min of walking per ride (>18% gradient).

    FTP about 240w
    Racing for last place in XC races...

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    29ers were made for SSing. I've never owned a 26er, but I've read the stories and it sounds awful. Seriously though I would not personally want a 26" SS as my trail bike, ymmv.

    I know a couple guys who have dingle speeds, it's a legit way to have a bike with two SS gears.
    Yeah, tried a Redline skookum, and a Rocky mtn Hammer 26" frames I converted to SS, no fun. Then bought a GT Peace 9r SS on clearance for $400 and it was a whole nother story. Sold, geared bikes were sold that is. About 5 years ago now only SS, and have converted 2 more to the religion.
    ROS9+ SS
    ROS9 SS
    GT Peace 9R SS

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    As someone who just can't get the whole "SS for life" thing, I'm curious and have one question for all you lifers...What do you weigh - Are you what most would consider a Clyde, normal, thin? Curious if by chance weight plays into this at all as the OP said his legs hurt from all the spinning on a geared bike and I don't get that as someone who rides only geared bikes, but does like to mash a bit.
    5'6" 220# not fat, 60 YO, usually 32t/21-22t except 29+ at 30/21-22t(DHFs are bitch to spin up) and don't like to HAB, sit and mash mostly. Rides at lunch look like trails/hills in the background, take em to normal destination rides Sedona, Utah etc also.

    After 6 months on a geared bike, back to SS.-ride7_18.jpg
    ROS9+ SS
    ROS9 SS
    GT Peace 9R SS

  30. #30
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    This was my first year without a geared bike. I had a range of SS's that had me covered though. I ride them all and enjoy them all.
    Rigid SS 29er
    Fat Lefty
    SS MonsterCross
    SS cyclocross
    all steel

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    As someone who just can't get the whole "SS for life" thing, I'm curious and have one question for all you lifers...What do you weigh - Are you what most would consider a Clyde, normal, thin? Curious if by chance weight plays into this at all as the OP said his legs hurt from all the spinning on a geared bike and I don't get that as someone who rides only geared bikes, but does like to mash a bit.
    8 years in of SS only for me. 200lbs (before clothes & gear) and ride a SS Fatty with 32x22, most my rides have 100-200' of climbing per mile. Some of the harder Pisgah climbs are more like 800-1000' in a mile or less.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    ...the OP said his legs hurt from all the spinning on a geared bike and I don't get that as someone who rides only geared bikes, but does like to mash a bit.
    Just reverse it. If you're used to spinning and just sometimes mashing "a bit", your legs would hurt, too, if you suddenly had to mash all the climbs!
    Switching from one to the other takes some getting used to, especially if you've been riding that one way exclusively.
    Give me gears, and I'm hammering the flowy stuff and short climbs that I'm normally taking it easy on SS('cause it's more fun in 32:13 than 32:21!), and am pumped to the gills by the time I hit a long climb. Then, trying to spin an "easier" gear and maintain an unaccustomed cadence is some serious work. Fitness issue, sure, but yeah it hurts!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by LyNx View Post
    As someone who just can't get the whole "SS for life" thing, I'm curious and have one question for all you lifers...What do you weigh - Are you what most would consider a Clyde, normal, thin? Curious if by chance weight plays into this at all as the OP said his legs hurt from all the spinning on a geared bike and I don't get that as someone who rides only geared bikes, but does like to mash a bit.
    Tall and thin here, 6'3" 205 lbs without gear.

    If your curious, buy a SS. They cheap, super fun, challenging, eye opening, simple, and enjoyable bikes. There's nothing like it, and there's only one way to find out... I highly recommend a steel frame and no suspension.

    It's not going to be a primary bike for most people, but it makes an excellent 2nd or 3rd bike for almost anyone.
    Rigid SS 29er
    Fat Lefty
    SS MonsterCross
    SS cyclocross
    all steel

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  34. #34
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    I own an '08 Monkey, setup B+/29+, have one wheelset built with a Pro2 Trials/SS hub I ran with 6 cogs for a long time, the thought has been there, just can't imagine it, the compromises just seem too great, basically never in the "right" gear.
    We have some major climbing here, most of the stuff we do is more like 3-700 ft per mile, my "mild" commute to the start of most rides is 100ft a mile and it's basically 10 miles of that. Also, sadly fitness just isn't there. Maybe when I get my new steel rigid with more modern geo I might convert the money to SS for a bit to give it a go.

    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Tall and thin here, 6'3" 205 lbs without gear.

    If your curious, buy a SS. They cheap, super fun, challenging, eye opening, simple, and enjoyable bikes. There's nothing like it, and there's only one way to find out... I highly recommend a steel frame and no suspension.

    It's not going to be a primary bike for most people, but it makes an excellent 2nd or 3rd bike for almost anyone.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  35. #35
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    Perfect! All you need is a surly cog.

    Of course there's tradeoffs, but you can say that about every component on a bike. You just accept it as different.

    A bike that descends well isn't going to climb as good, and vice versa. Does that make one better than the other? No, just different.

    My point is that you accept that you'll have to hike a couple of the steepest climbs, and you'll be spun out on anything flat, but it's all totally worth it when you are in the sweet spot.

    If your not in great shape, yet, just start with a slightly lower gear. No matter what kind of shape your in, the first few rides on a SS will test your limits. I say get outside your comfort zone!!
    Rigid SS 29er
    Fat Lefty
    SS MonsterCross
    SS cyclocross
    all steel

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  36. #36
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    Except that I fugged my knee up pretty bad earlier this year and have been nursing it using the gears so I can still ride, not sure how going SS would be for it, especially since I don't really "give up" so easily. I already run SS/NW chainrings on most of my bikes, so what sort of cog would one recommend for a beginner SSer running anything from a 36t-32t chainring?

    The thing I was asking about was the legs hurting with gears, which seemed a bit strange to me and was just wondering if it was mainly bigger guys, who were just standing and letting the weight do the work or if the avg SSer was slimmer and using torque/power more (when I stand, most of the time,it's because I'm resting my legs and doing just this).

    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    ......If your not in great shape, yet, just start with a slightly lower gear. No matter what kind of shape your in, the first few rides on a SS will test your limits. I say get outside your comfort zone!!
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  37. #37
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    For me it's definitely two different muscle groups. (last year) If I had a hard ride on the SS I could ride the geared hardtail the next day without too much trouble. Alternating gave those muscles a break.

    This year I only had SS's. Spent all my time standing. I recently jumped back on the fatbike (geared) and downshifted to do my first big climb, I immediately realized my sit and spin muscles were NOT what they used to be. I used to be able to power up a seated climb, now I feel like the only way I got through it was good cardio conditioning, not because I had good strong muscles.

    I wasn't soar, but I also have done most of the climbs since in a standing position. Now that the snow has arrived, I realize I'm going to have to rebuild those sit and spin muscles again.

    Gearing: I'm on 34:20 with 29x2.4". You'll probably want to be in the 32:22 range. Wheel and tire size makes a difference, so does crank length. it all contributes to your overall gear inch ratio.

    Start with a gear inch calculator. Ex: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html

    I have shorter, steep climbs locally. 150-200 ft per mile. If I travel a little I can get into some 5-800ft per mile range.

    Body weight can be used to climb gentle grades, but more often you'll be pulling on the handlebars, Hard, and grinding. I also highly recommend being clipped in as you'll need the extra power of pulling up on the opposing pedal. If you can't do that on your geared bike, it's only going to be harder on a SS.
    Rigid SS 29er
    Fat Lefty
    SS MonsterCross
    SS cyclocross
    all steel

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  38. #38
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    Well guys been almost 2 years for me and this morning I ordered a new cog. Going back to SS. I rode single track last weekend with gears but only used a couple gears in the middle and stood to mash the climbs and the next day I was sore in a good way. My triceps felt like I had done 200 push-ups. Who needs weight training if you ride like this enough. Good feeling and I am stoked to get my gear back on straight 😝

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