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  1. #1
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    Singlespeed Training?

    I'm trying to piece together a training regimen for racing singlespeed races next year, up to a possible 100 miler. I'm putting road miles in on a geared bike, but all the trail riding (and obviously bmx work) is on a single speed, geared 34/18 (SC Chameleon) for around CT/NY/NJ trails.

    Putting in early season mileage now, only about 25 miles off road a week, running about 20, and riding another few hours. As I transition more to the bikes, I know that trail time is really important for the beating of racing, but I'm wondering if doing it all on the single speed will kill me... or more to the point...Am I looking to explode my knees? I don't come back from long days in the saddle with knee pain, but I don't want to start.

    38 yo male, 6'4", 180lbs. Skateboarder and surfer, too...

  2. #2
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    I ride my singlespeed almost everyday( commute to work on it , 45+ miles a week) and it has done wonders for my racing/ riding. I started communting on it last year, but have been singlespeeding to some extent since 1999. I mostly race geared XC and road, kind of hard to race my SS against a bunch of 20-30 year olds ( I'm Cat 1 50+) although a few years back won a few cat 1 ss races.
    I totally recommend SS for training and have excellent results to back it up.

  3. #3
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    I 2nd that, when it was warmer I bought a Single speed Thruster from Walmart for $79 on clearance and started riding it around the neighborhood several times per week. This did wonders for me on the trail. I need to get back on the thing, but it's been a little chilly, and I've been lazy. Funny thing, the bike is actually pretty decent, I really enjoy riding it. The worst part of the bike is the brakes, they are the worst brakes I've ever had. The rest of it is pretty decent as far as just training is concerned.
    Get the Thruster 700c Fixie Bike at Walmart.com. Save money. Live better.

  4. #4
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    as long as the gearing is apprpriate for the terrain ride your ss , I have never had knee problems

  5. #5
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    Sometimes it bugs my knees, so I just jog or walk up the steeper hills that make me bog down. You could do all your woods riding on it or use it part time, both have advantages. To do some quality work in the woods you might like the option of having a taller gear the other bike gives you.

  6. #6
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    Yeah, I've found that time on the SS has always been beneficial to being able to crank it out when needed... and helping clean up the spin on flats.

    More than anything, though, the ability to flow turns and keep speed and staying light over the rough has been the benefit. So similar to skateboarding or surfing, where one has the momentum to make more speed manifest and only fear or lack of technique to slow one down.

  7. #7
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    I just got a super cheap SS/road style bike that I keep at work, to hammer out 30-45 minutes. My commute and having two kids is killing my training.

    So far it is going very well, but cant decide if I should stay with the freewheel, or try the dark side... any opinions for training purposes?

    (looks to be 44/16 gearing)

  8. #8
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    I'm 25-30 miles to work by bike and have to be there at 7:10, so the commute isn't really a possibility. I do ride the motorcycle most days, so you know, the handling and the "eyes" are always in training...

    I ride a fixed gear from time to time, and it will probably be my rollers bike whenever winter decides to actually start...

  9. #9
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    Apart from the spinning aspect of riding a ss, a singlespeed is about carrying your speed, thinking about when to brake and brake as little as possible. I believe riding my SS has improved all aspects of my riding, everything from road to DH and I think a SS is a great training tool, a bike that most everyone could benefit from.
    Last edited by Hurricane Jeff; 12-20-2012 at 08:50 PM.

  10. #10
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    Yes and No. I raced SS exclusively last year. During the summer won 7 straight races and entered a 12HR race. Rode almost 60 miles and had to quit (had my appendix removed 10 days earlier), but legs felt great the whole time. Never any knee trouble all year.

    I found I can train on the SS for 3 straight days no problem, 4th day, going up hill turned into walking up hill. What I ended up doing was ride SS for 2 days then light spinning recovery rides on a geared bike then back to 2 days of SS.

  11. #11
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    An idea

    I have a 17 mile ride one way to school, and I need to be there by 7:00am. I bought a Redline 925, and drive 7 miles to a small parking lot. From there I ride the last 10 miles on the SS. In the morning I spin hard as it is mostly downhill. On the way back I do 50/60 cadence climbs to build strength.
    Support mtb'ing in the Portland area, join NWTA with your dollars, hands, and/or voice. nw-trail.org

  12. #12
    more skier than biker
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvwmvw View Post
    I'm trying to piece together a training regimen for racing singlespeed races next year, up to a possible 100 miler. I'm putting road miles in on a geared bike, but all the trail riding (and obviously bmx work) is on a single speed, geared 34/18 (SC Chameleon) for around CT/NY/NJ trails.

    Putting in early season mileage now, only about 25 miles off road a week, running about 20, and riding another few hours. As I transition more to the bikes, I know that trail time is really important for the beating of racing, but I'm wondering if doing it all on the single speed will kill me... or more to the point...Am I looking to explode my knees? I don't come back from long days in the saddle with knee pain, but I don't want to start.

    38 yo male, 6'4", 180lbs. Skateboarder and surfer, too...
    I've raced SS exclusively for the past few years. This past year, I won the Pro SS division in a 100 miler, placed 2nd in Pro SS in an 8 Hour, grabbed some podium's in XC in the geared Pro division while on my SS, and won my local cyclocross overall series title in the single speed A division. (I'm not bragging, but since forums are anonymous, want you to know that I'm not a beginning SS rider).

    Your 25 miles of off-road riding per week that you are doing right now, is honestly, not a whole lot (25 HOURS is a lot, but 25 miles per week on a MTB is not). So I would be surprised if you got knee pain at this point. (If you did, I would speculate that it would have more to do with the 20 miles per week of running that you are doing)

    It's impossible for me, or anyone else here, to speculate if you are going to have knee pain by ramping up your SS riding. Some people get it (knee pain), and some people don't. Me speaking personally, I never have, and I've even had a full ACL reconstruction surgery about 6 years ago from a soccer injury. But I know many others who have gotten knee pain, and it's impossible to predict.

    For me, the problems I get from so much SS riding & racing is in my lower back, and not my knees. To counter that, I ride & train on my geared road bike quite a bit.

    My advice would be to just start increasing your time on the SS slowly without any big spikes in volume. Increase slowly, let your body adapt, see how it feels, etc.

  13. #13
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    I know how few miles I have had going into this. I've increased regularly and am starting to transfer to mostly bike. 25 miles per week is n o t h i n g. I used to crank out 60 on the road before work a few years back, and ride 40+ several days a week offroad, so there is a base back there somewhere. I'm just worried about IT band issues, as the skateboarding always messes with it, too.

    I put together the next few months using a spreadsheet grabbed from Here and am planning on a 500+year of training. This spreadsheet seems to really put Friel's book out clearly and easily.

    So I guess I am going to have to get a HR monitor for the first time ever. Why not get a bit serious for a change? Less beer, more speed I guess. Must be my late 30s speaking. Any suggestions for something easy and cheap? I had a Polar back in the day, but hated it...

    Right now I'm just spinning on the trainer for an hour a day and pushing the Chameleon around for 2 hours twice weekly. As I get a better feel for my own legs again, I'll start in with the other workouts a bit more.

  14. #14
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    I think SS riding will make you better at riding an SS but may not improve your geared riding as much as spending that training time on a geared bike.

    Riding a singlespeed is much different than riding a geared bike. SS riding forces you to stand and grind climbs instead of efficiently spinning, like you would on a geared bike. Also, your heart rate drops on descents where you are undergeared.

    SS isnt all bad though. The punchy explosions you need to get over kickers will improve your short duration max power and leg strength.
    It can also teach you to preserve momentum which transfers over to riding a geared bike fast and efficiently.

    I have been racing 90% of my races geared and have no immediate plans to sell my singlespeed.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  15. #15
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    I got into cycling because running was bothering my knees too much, so I had the same concerns as you when I got into singlespeeds. I was a cat1 geared racer and bought a SS last winter for some cross training. I was having so much fun riding it that I decided to try the SS class for my first race of the season. I liked it so much I sold all of my geared mtb's. I raced mainly endurance events and podiumed at most of them, so I was putting in big miles & getting good results. So all of my mtb training was on the SS but I still used geared bikes for my road training (about 70% of my riding). I then broke my right wrist in August & was forced to effectively ride SS road too since I couldn't operate the rear shifters with a cast. I thought I would hate it since the roads are much flatter than the trails around here, but I ended up loving it! So I had a custom SS road bike built and use it for all my road training now except for recovery rides (I like to be able to spin easy in a strong headwind). So I'm 90% SS for all my riding and my knees are doing fine
    2014 Seven Ti geared bike (in the womb!)
    2012 Seven Ti SS
    2012 Seven Steel SS w/rigid fork

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