Converting my bike to a 3 speed- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Converting my bike to a 3 speed

    I have a 2006 Cannondale F600 hardtail. I am not happy with its weight and the maintenance and high priced parts. I want to simplify but a single speed conversion may not be my best bet. I acutally would like to be able to shift the front 3 gears ans set the rear cog in the fifth position. Is there a way I can do that and not need a rear deraleur (for chain tension since I could shift the front three) I wonder if the chain tensioners people buy could work. Are they set in a fixed position or can they open up like a deraileur?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by flankwood
    I have a 2006 Cannondale F600 hardtail. I am not happy with its weight and the maintenance and high priced parts. I want to simplify but a single speed conversion may not be my best bet. I acutally would like to be able to shift the front 3 gears ans set the rear cog in the fifth position. Is there a way I can do that and not need a rear deraleur (for chain tension since I could shift the front three) I wonder if the chain tensioners people buy could work. Are they set in a fixed position or can they open up like a deraileur?
    If you want to be able to use all 3 chainrings, even with a single cog, you will still need a 2-pulley chain tensioner. Single pulley tensioners (Singleator, Soulcraft, Rennen, etc.) will NOT work. Your choices are:
    - Paul Melvin. People report a lot of problems with larger cogs with this tensioner, but it is light (under 100g).
    - Rohloff tensioner.
    - Derailer.

    I'd suggest starting a derailer and seeing how you like the setup. If you like it, then buy a more expensive tensioner. Take off your rear shifter and rear derailer cables, then use the adjustment screws to fix the derailer in place. If the adjustment screw won't turn quite far enough, you can clamp a short piece of cable with the barrel end in the end of your derailer and use the adjuster knob (if it's Shimano) to dial in the chainline.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 02-17-2007 at 11:53 PM.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  3. #3
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    I am thinking along the same line (3 speed) for my bike except that I am considering using the rear 3 speed cassette rather than the front chainrings. The rationale being that I would need only the rear deraileur, rather than the front deraileur and a rear tensioner.

    Intend to use the 32T chainring, intend to have 12-18-34 at the back, am thinking of parts of the dura-ace cassette that can be dismantled, need to look into it in detail on feasibility.

  4. #4
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    Mine works great!

    I use a front derailleur for my 3sp. It works great. The rear derailleur (minus cable and shifter) stayed on because it was the cheapest (I already owned and retired it from service) and probably works best because I'm going from a 22 all the way up to a 44.
    I've never thrown the chain, but I do use ss rear cogs, which have big ol' teeth.
    Doesn't look as clean as my dingle, but everyone definitely notices that it's a "singlespeed" bike right away (thanks to the ss rear wheel I built to survive a nuke attack). Then they are impressed that it's a tringle, though I'm not sure why.
    Inbred 29er Dinglespeed
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  5. #5
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    Hmmm, I'm thinking down the same avenue with my next build...

    *Don't mean to hijack your thread* But I don't want/need a granny. Is it possibly to use the limit screws on the FD so that it will only change betweeen the 32 and 44 t chainrings?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by lobolator
    I use a front derailleur for my 3sp. It works great. The rear derailleur (minus cable and shifter) stayed on because it was the cheapest (I already owned and retired it from service) and probably works best because I'm going from a 22 all the way up to a 44.
    I've never thrown the chain, but I do use ss rear cogs, which have big ol' teeth.
    Doesn't look as clean as my dingle, but everyone definitely notices that it's a "singlespeed" bike right away (thanks to the ss rear wheel I built to survive a nuke attack). Then they are impressed that it's a tringle, though I'm not sure why.
    I use the same set-up on my commuter / beater with great effect, have just used the limit scews to 'lockin' the chainline and likewise have never thrown a chain. Will soon investigate changing chain rings for more suitable gearing i.e. Whatever is the largest 'granny' ring I can get and maybe a 46 or 48 large chainring.

    majura: You should be able to use the limit screws on the front derailer to 'lockout' the granny you may need a longer screw. But why bother? just don't shift into the granny.
    Just Ride !

  7. #7
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    Majura: yes, you can. I had my road bike set up as a 1x4 last year, with a front derailer used to keep the chain from falling off. I used both limit screws to lock the front derailer in place from both directions. Works fine.

    I think wensiaw is on the right track if the goal is simplicity ... either way you have to have a 2-pulley tensioner in back, so why not have the same device do your shifting instead of still having 2 derailers on your bike? Advantages of shifting in the back are greater simplicity, much better gear selection and the ability to run 4 or even 5 instead of being limited to 3. Disadvantages are that the front-shifting 3 speed setup will shift more reliably in muck.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wensiaw@pacific.net.sg
    Intend to use the 32T chainring, intend to have 12-18-34 at the back, am thinking of parts of the dura-ace cassette that can be dismantled, need to look into it in detail on feasibility.
    An issue you'll have with that big of a gap between gears is the rear mech rubbing on the 34 while you're in the 18. I found a 7-8 tooth gap was the biggest I could manage, and even then one must use wider than normal spacing to make it work. Friction shifter mandatory.

    It does work very well, rides like a single with more versatility.

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