conversion going down in flames!!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    conversion going down in flames!!

    please help. i am trying to convert a MTB to single speed and am running into problems!!
    I purchased more tools than I wanted too already and hope I dont have to get any more. I was trying to do this on the cheap.
    I almost have everything off the bike, I cannot remove the crank arm as I cannot access the bolt holding it on, therefore I cannot remove the small chainring.
    I am told I have a freewheel, which I had removed for me but cannot get the individual cogs off. I keep trying to read and figure out what to do but I just get confused. Please help... thank you!!
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  3. #3
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    go to your bikeshop, as them to look through their junk bin for an old bmx freewheel, and spin it on. Thats what I did with my old schwinn varsity townie ss.

  4. #4
    CB2
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    With a freewheel, you just buy a single cog freewheel, these are available from about $15-$80 depending on quality.
    I'd buy a cheap one for now, and when you decide you like it and know what cog works best for your terrain, a White Industries is definitely worth the coin.
    You'll probably have to respace the rear axle and redish the rear wheel.

  5. #5
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    your original plan will not work for many reasons. 1) the freewheel won't come apart, and if it does you still have no way of mounting one of those cogs on your threaded hub. 2) a 14mm socket is all you need to remove that nut in your crank and then a crank puller which is a great tool to have and can be as cheap as 10 dollars. 3) I would recommend heading to your LBS and just asking them what route they would take, sometimes diy is not worth the hassle if you don't have the know-how or proper equipment to do the task.

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the responses. A BMX freewheel doesnt fit on

    So my plan of using a single cog from the freewheel and using spacers will not work because A. Its a freewheel and B. the threaded hub. ???? All of the DIY guides must have not been using a freewheel to demonstrate the conversion. Thank you for your help.

  7. #7
    bikexor
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    I'd trash whatever wheel that freewheel came off of.... go to a pawn shop/used bike store/ whatever and get an old wheel that has a casette and freehub... then you can proceed as you intended too without new tools.

    you're just gonna have to buy a crank puller... or get the lbs to pop it off for you, then you can fix up your chainrings, and push the crank back on.

    how are achieving chain tension?
    Little Shred Riding Hood

  8. #8
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    ok, so how do i tell it is a wheel w a cassette and freehub?? I bought a crank puller, so a 14mm socket and that will do the trick. Chain tension is a bridge I will cross later. I will cross my fingers at first then if need be create and or buy a tensioner. thanks for the help.

  9. #9
    holding back the darkness
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    You must first understand the difference between a Cassette and a Freewheel. A cassette has the gears, but no internal mechanism, and relies on the ratchet mech within the hub to work. A Cassette slides onto the Cassette Body of the hub (black thingy with splines). Many conversions use this style in conjunction with a single, simple cog + spacers and a lockring to make singlespeed a reality. A freewheel is self-contained and is attached to the hub (usually by threads, but in your case apparently via splines. Many people inaccurately use the two interchangeably, which may be the cause for your confusion.
    What you have is some sort of multi-gear freewheel, very similar to a cassette. In a freewheel, the ratcheting mechanism is contained in the gear and the hub just spins on its axle. A cassette is a cluster of gears which slides onto a cassette body which contains the ratchet mech as a part of the hub itself.
    Typically, when singlespeeders refer to a freewheel they are referring to a single cog with a self-contained ratchet mech which threads onto the hub.
    The thing you have a picture of is about halfway in between the two different options you have to convert to singlespeed, which is about as far from either as you can get.
    The thing you have pictured will not separate into its constituent cogs.
    The thing you have pictured will not thread onto anything.
    Check the part of your hub that you planned to mount the gear to. If it ratchets and spins unidirectionally and independently of the axle, all you probably need is a cog and a lockring (assuming you already have the spacers). $20 or less and you can be rolling.

  10. #10
    nothing to see here
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    +1 on the cheap wheel with a cassette body from lbs or wherever.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  11. #11
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    Don't give up yet (some of these guys are a little knowledge challenged). Here's some instructions on how to make the best of the freewheel <a href="http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=373319&highlight=freewheel+conver sion"> Homemade SS Freewheel </a>.

    Also curious about this statement
    Quote Originally Posted by dillman
    Thank you for the responses. A BMX freewheel doesnt fit on
    The freewheel standard is international. There are a couple whacky BMX freewheels (left hand and metric) otherwise it should fit.
    Last edited by aka brad; 11-20-2009 at 03:58 PM.
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dillboy
    please help. i am trying to convert a MTB to single speed and am running into problems!!
    I purchased more tools than I wanted too already and hope I dont have to get any more. I was trying to do this on the cheap.
    I almost have everything off the bike, I cannot remove the crank arm as I cannot access the bolt holding it on, therefore I cannot remove the small chainring.
    I am told I have a freewheel, which I had removed for me but cannot get the individual cogs off. I keep trying to read and figure out what to do but I just get confused. Please help... thank you!!
    If you have a Dremel or an angle grinder, that'll make for a sweet granny ring removal tool. As for the cogs on the rear wheel...it's not absolutely imperative that they be removed...put your chain around the appropriate cog and roll with it. Yes, I know it's ghetto, but in an economic depression, run whut you brung.

  13. #13
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    thanks for all the responses, AKA Brad - interesting thread you found. I think I will try that method first, if that doesn't work I suppose I will try to find a different wheel w cassette body still attatched.

  14. #14
    one chain loop
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    what woot! said.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  15. #15
    AZ
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    Also curious about this statement
    The freewheel standard is international. There are a couple whacky BMX freewheels (left hand and metric) otherwise it should fit.[/QUOTE]



    Wondering about that one myself .

  16. #16
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    I have the crank puller, just need to get the 14mm socket so I can use the crank puller.

    AKA Brad - I tried to thread a BMX freewheel onto it and it wouldnt fit. I have another BMX bike I could salvage and see if that one fits. Otherwise I am going to use the link you provided and try to get the cogs off that way. It seems pretty simple, mount it to a peice of wood and put it in a vice then bust the cogs off w a whip and brute force.... is there a lockring I would need to get off first?? Thanks for all the help.

  17. #17
    AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by dillboy
    I have the crank puller, just need to get the 14mm socket so I can use the crank puller.

    AKA Brad - I tried to thread a BMX freewheel onto it and it wouldnt fit. I have another BMX bike I could salvage and see if that one fits. Otherwise I am going to use the link you provided and try to get the cogs off that way. It seems pretty simple, mount it to a peice of wood and put it in a vice then bust the cogs off w a whip and brute force.... is there a lockring I would need to get off first?? Thanks for all the help.


    He linked you a thread highlighted in red , you need to read that , it has all your answers.

  18. #18
    holding back the darkness
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    Post a picture of the wheel (hub) you're working with. The one that you actually want to use. That is the most logical place to start.

    Does it look like this? This is a cassette body.


    or like this? This is a freewheel, thread-on hub.

    Last edited by subliminalshiver; 11-20-2009 at 05:11 PM. Reason: misread previous post... my bad.

  19. #19
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    It looks like the one on the bottom. Will post photo soon. Off to hardware store so I can bang the lockring off.

  20. #20
    AZ
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    Free wheel , get the lock ring off and your almost home . Hang in there its getting to the easy parts .

  21. #21
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    The freewheel standard is international. There are a couple whacky BMX freewheels (left hand and metric) otherwise it should fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS
    Wondering about that one myself .
    Okay, the hub threading for a multi-geared freewheel sold in the US since the 1970's is a International Standard (ISO), which is also the Japanese (Suntour/Shimano) standard. I recognise the freewheel as a Shimano (HG-37), so I know it is ISO. This is the same standard used by 90% of BMX freewheels, the others being the 30mm threading for smaller 14t and 15t freewheels, or left hand freewheels with reverse threading. I was advising dillboy that his hub was ISO, so if the BMX freewheel wouldn't screw on, it is most likely a left hand reverse thread or Metric.
    Just one more rep and I get the toaster!

  22. #22
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    success!!! got the lock ring off!!!! I need more spacers to complete the job, but happy that I made it past the free wheel hurdle. I hope finding freewheel spacers isn't too difficult. Thanks for all the help.

  23. #23
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  24. #24
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    a couple shots here, the freewheel and all the cogs. The cog I will try to use, then a ghetto setup using spacers and a larger cog as a spacer. I'm shutting down this project for the day, will attack it again in the morning and hopefully be riding by sometime tomorrow. Haha, thats wishful thinking.. Thanks again for all your help.

    ps whats the best way to clean the cogs using household items??
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  25. #25
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    degreasing soap (yes dawn works if you don't have really industrial solvent type stuff) and an old scrub pad, once you clean the cog you're gonna throw it out, and I find pads easier to work with that brushes for getting into teeth etc.
    steel wool or those plasticky ones, makes no difference.

    have at 'er! awesome watching you problem solve.
    If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!

  26. #26
    AZ
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    Good job , keep it up .

  27. #27
    SSolo, on your left!
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    Quote Originally Posted by dillboy
    success!!! got the lock ring off!!!! I need more spacers to complete the job, but happy that I made it past the free wheel hurdle. I hope finding freewheel spacers isn't too difficult. Thanks for all the help.
    You can get an aluminum set of fancy colored anodized spacers for about $12 at LBS or you can take apart a worn out cassette and take the spacers off of it. Keep it going and post up! and as W00t said, "...run what ya brung!"
    Get off the couch and ride!

  28. #28
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    I cleaned up the rear hub and put the cog that I need on, so that part is ready to go. This morning I took the crank off w the crank puller in hops of taking the smaller chainring off so I can attatch the middle one. It seems there is no way to access the bolts holding the small chainring on!! It seems like it will detatch but I cant get at the bolts because of the teeth!! Please help, I hope to one day ride a single speed...
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  29. #29
    one chain loop
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    looks like that you have a lockring that holding that chainring to your cranks.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  30. #30
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    is this the lockring you are talking about?? if so, i mounted the crank to a peice of wood and banged the hell out of the lockring, trying to get it to spin off with no avail
    Any other options??
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  31. #31
    one chain loop
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    nvm.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  32. #32
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    got it, lefty loosey. now to the hardware store to get some shorter bolts to put the chainring on. Will any bolt/nut combo work as long as it is the correct length to hold the ring to the crank??

  33. #33
    one chain loop
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    your old chainring bolts will work fine, you can either add spacers or file the female part shorter. please do not use hardware store parts.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  34. #34
    AZ
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    BMX chainring bolts are the correct length if you have any of those available .

  35. #35
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    ok, a lot of progress has been made today, but some issues still need to be resolved.
    1) I used washers to make the crank-chainring connection snug .... ghetto but it will work until I get to LBS to get BMX bolts.
    2) I have two cogs on the hub... one is acting as a spacer, I need a half link chain in order to get the right tension and I may not need a tensioner!!
    3) Due to my lack of bike mechanic skills the rear wheel will not spin when completly attatched to the bike .... I think it may have somthing to do with the freewheel... I cannot take the freewheel off, the LBS did it for me before and now it is back on for good..... I am still able to change cogs/spaceres if neccesary... any ideas on what would cause this????
    Once again thank you for your help, I would have given up long ago without it
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  36. #36
    pedal me happy
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    In the pic it looks like your cog is spaced out and hitting the chain and seat stays. Just
    guessing by the pic but it might be the problem.

  37. #37
    AZ
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    Yes , narrower spacer , you can use pvc pipe to make spacers , cut it to width .

  38. #38
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    had a bolt on the wrong side of the chain stay so the hub was rubbing. Moved it to the otherside and viola!!! single speed machine!!! took it for a spin but was hesitant about cranking on it because of the lack of tension, rode great though. Looking forward to finding a half link tomorrow and seeing if that will get rid of some slack, otherwise finding a old derailluer to convert into a tensioner. Thanks again for all the help!!!

  39. #39
    AZ
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    Congrats , you have gained valuable experience .

  40. #40
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    just switched cogs in the rear to a 16 and the chain is very tight... dont need a tensioner at all!! too bad it is dark now so I cant take it for a ride.

  41. #41
    Drinking the Slick_Juice
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    the first and second picture scare me
    "If women don't find handsome , they should at least find you handy."-Red Green

  42. #42
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    at least you're not the one riding it!! i plan on going to LBS tomorrow to get some BMX nuts. The washers aren't even flush w the chain ring, kinda angled a bit because they are hitting the crank arm...... scary for sure.... but free

  43. #43
    holding back the darkness
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    Did that freewheel you modded just thread on all nice? I didn't even see any threads on it at all in the first pics you posted.

  44. #44
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    yea, this pic should show the threads,,,, went on very easy...... i think the conversion was harder getting the bike apart then building it back up.... i got very lucky with the gearing working out.
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