Single-speed bikes???- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Single-speed bikes???

    I have a mountain bike, but thinking about getting a single-speed bike. Anyone with experience in this category? Is it just a fad and for bike messengers, or should I look at both single-speed and other multi gear road bikes?

  2. #2
    No-Brakes Cougar
    Reputation: Gary the No-Trash Cougar's Avatar
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    I know we poke fun at hipsters and messenger wannabes a lot in this forum, but I don't think there's really anything wrong with running to run or single speed or fixed gear rig. SS bikes can give you an aerobic workout and they tend to be lighter and virtually free of mechanical complication. Plus you have a straight, efficient chain line.

    As to what bike you should get, that's entirely up to you. Many folks will have many different opinions on the matter. Which one is best for you depends on what you intend to use it for. I would tend to lean more towards a mountain bike type frame myself. Something versatile that I can use both on and off-road. Some people feel a road or cyclocross frame is more efficient for road use, but consider building up something versatile like a Surly 1x1. This is a frame you can use almost any wheel/tire combination on, plus eyelets for fenders.

    Here's some other links to check out:
    Singlespeed forum on MTBR

    Sheldon Brown on Singlespeeding
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  3. #3
    MVW
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    Although I've used a 12-speed road bike for many years to commute, two years ago I bought an old Trek 7000, converted it into a single speed and I use it for commuting 90% of the time. I mounted some Bontranger Comfort B tires for smoother rolling. I'm running 38/14 and this gear ratio works great for me - I've attached a photo.

    I live in Wisconsin and this SS works great for commuting during the winter, which I never did until 2 winters ago.You don't have to worry about the derailers getting full of road crud or freezing up.

    Because single speed bikes are quite popular now, you have plenty of resources for reference and shops that sell bikes or components. Gary listed some good reference links that I've used in the past.

    Good luck!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
    enjoys skidding
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    I run a Haro Mary SS on my commute. Just switched out the 29er tyres for some 37c touring style tyres. It suits my commute as I need to ride on gravel for about a 1/4 of the way. SS is the perfect commuter for me.... http://www.r0dman.com/riding/simplicity-rules/

    IMO a cyclocross bike is the best option for commuting. Plenty of versatility, but unless you're in the states you're probably going to be priced out of the market and go a 29er like me.

    Depending on the bike you get it might have a deraileur hanger for gears later if you choose to go down that track (I doubt it unless it's VERY hilly where you live). You could also run an internally geared hub if you wanted down the track too.

  5. #5
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
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    I commute on a singlespeed mountain bike (only about half an hour each way).

  6. #6
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    interesting. maybe i can pick up a steel beater frame cheap and turn it into a singlespeed.
    save some bucks...

  7. #7
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    I got my first singlespeed about a month ago, and made sure to get a frame that came with a mech hanger, as I expected I'd need gears. Have loved it, and the only change I'll be making is stiffer gearing.

    Won't be using one off road (for now) but on the road, it's just great. And it's makign me a lot fitter.

  8. #8
    jrm
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    Sure

    Quote Originally Posted by bwheelin
    I have a mountain bike, but thinking about getting a single-speed bike. Anyone with experience in this category? Is it just a fad and for bike messengers, or should I look at both single-speed and other multi gear road bikes?
    The best SS roadie i owned was a flat bar on-one il pompino. I really liked the on-one with the flat bar and 38/17 gearing. Even though i would spin out on flats the bike was real fast and climbing on it was OK because you could stand, saw away at the bar and still climb stuff on it. YMMV.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasevr4

    Depending on the bike you get it might have a deraileur hanger for gears later if you choose to go down that track (I doubt it unless it's VERY hilly where you live).
    I kind of disagree with this statement. Especially if it is very hilly you don't need gears. You need the right gear to get up and you just don't pedal the way down. IMHO rolling hills with flats in between are the terrain asking for gears.

    I originally thought the same way and got a singlespeed despite living in (what I think is) a very hilly area. So I made sure to get a bike which also has a derailleur hanger. It turned out, that I do not think of converting the bike to geared because I only need the one gear to get up the hills. Although I have to admit that I already had to push the bike up the hill once, after I have not been riding for a while.

    apaju

  10. #10
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
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    I see the OP is from NY, so I might not be a whole lot of help. I really really really like to commute on a fixed (SS) road bike because road geometry just encourages you to go after it. I've commuted on a SS 26" and a 29er and I certainly thought they were fine, just not quite as much fun as the road bike. If you have a mountain bike or two, it might be nice to have a road bike around in order to have a different experience commuting.

    I also think that SS is fairly practical. I've done 130 mile trips in a day on the road, climbed almost every hill in my area. It is easy, simple and quiet.

  11. #11
    smell the saddle...
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    You mean there is an option to one gear? hmmm.

    I'm sure it depends on your terrain and personal preference, but an knowledgeable SS'er can find the right ratio for practically any type of terrain.

    I personally run a 48:16 ratio which is quite high. It's totally flat here and my commute it flat except for the section that goes through a waterway tunnel which I just hammer through.

  12. #12
    enjoys skidding
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    Quote Originally Posted by apaju
    I kind of disagree with this statement. Especially if it is very hilly you don't need gears. You need the right gear to get up and you just don't pedal the way down. IMHO rolling hills with flats in between are the terrain asking for gears.

    I originally thought the same way and got a singlespeed despite living in (what I think is) a very hilly area. So I made sure to get a bike which also has a derailleur hanger. It turned out, that I do not think of converting the bike to geared because I only need the one gear to get up the hills. Although I have to admit that I already had to push the bike up the hill once, after I have not been riding for a while.

    apaju
    I agree, however others don't. My reply was for those who can't hack some SS action.

    I ride a 32:14 on my commuter. (700c 37c's)

  13. #13
    M_S
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    42 x 16 on the SS road bike I just built up out of the parts bin. A little low considering Missoula is so flat, but I don't mind spinning out around 20 mph, and the slightly lower gearing makes starts and stops abit easier with a bag full of books and groceries.

    I really like the handling of the road bike, but I'm thinking about getting a ss cross frame and moving parts over. I won't be able to use the road bike for a good chunk of the winter, and that's the time when I'll really be wanting the SS for the reduced wear on the drivetrain.

  14. #14
    A Gentleman and a MTBR'
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    I've run my Monocog Flight AL as a 42X16 fixed/ 42x15 single speed with 1.25" tires for the last year and a half, I currently ride it in MTB form: 32x16 gearing

    I really have no desire to ride gears again, single speed allows you to take in your surroundings more. I find I spend less time thinking about riding and just... ride

  15. #15
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    When I lived in Manhattan, I used a singlespeed to commute. I even named it, "Skank."



    The bike was cheap when originally sold and the components weighed a ton. The frame wasn't so bad, though, so when I started throwing things out as they broke and I didn't want to spend money replacing them, a fun, fast bike began to emerge. Sometimes I miss it in my new city, but there are hills here and I have dodgy knees.

    Gear ratio was 52/20. It was a one-piece crank, so while I was able to remove the smaller chainring, I'd have had to replace the whole frame to get rid of the big one. Some BMX drivers fit on road hubs, so that's what's on the back. Chainline was good enough not to drop the chain, so I quit asking questions and enjoyed it.

    I really liked that bike. I even beat my roommate home from a bar on it in a bike vs. Taxi race, starting at the same time.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    My eyes!!! LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    When I lived in Manhattan, I used a singlespeed to commute. I even named it, "Skank."

  17. #17
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    Bianchi

    San Jose.

    Works great for my needs. Great frame, great fork.

  18. #18
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    Build up a rear wheel with an ENO eccentric hub. Perfect for vertical drops.

  19. #19
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    Surly Cross Check singlespeed with various bar setups depending on my mood. Right now it has Mary bars, but I also have midges and salsa bell-lap bars for it. Great all-rounder for road, rail-trail, and light singletrack use. Oh, and it sometimes sees cross races in the fall when I dont feel like riding with gears

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just me
    Build up a rear wheel with an ENO eccentric hub. Perfect for vertical drops.
    What he said! You don't have to 'get' nothing else. Just convert what you got. I think a SS MTB is the best commuter, unless you ride on nothing but flat, velvet smooth blacktop, which most of us...don't.

  21. #21
    sofa king awsm
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    I do 85 km's round trip on a Kona Paddy Wagon.
    Hot lunch is cooking in my saddlebag.

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