Help converting my HT?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Help converting my HT?

    I just finished a 24 Hr race on my HT and I just can't believe how comfortable it is. I love my Burner, but the HT fits like a glove. I've been wanting to try SS for awhile now and I'm curious what I would need to convert it into a SS to make sure I dig it b/4 shelling out the cash for an actual SS. Here's a few questions I have and if anyone can help me out, I'd appreciate it. What's the normal cog ration you guys ride? 32/18? 32/16? Higher/lower? I'd rather not buy a new chain if I can afford it b/c I just replaced the whole drivetrain on this bike already. Can I just use a Gusset SS Conversion kit and a Surly Singleator or will I run into more problems than it's worth? Or should I just spend the extra $25 to get a new chain too?

    Thanks for the help. If this is all I need, I'll be SSing in a matter of weeks.
    Why would I need more than one gear?
    @A_SingleSpeeder
    EPA = crooks!

  2. #2
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    Gusset Kit and Singleator should be all you need. You can probably get by with your current chain if it is a recent replacement.

    Gearing really depends on your terrain, but I found 32:18 to be a good place to start for moderate hills.

    There is more info in the Singlespeed FAQ (top right).

  3. #3
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    What's the normal cog ration you guys ride? 32/18? 32/16? Higher/lower?

    The typical starting ratio is 2:1, or 32:16, 34:17, 36:18 etc. If your bike is still configured with gears, just count the number of teeth on your middle ring (probably 32t), and then as you ride select one gear in the back that suits you (while in the middle ring up front). Try an entire ride with only that gear and without shifting. When you find the gear you like, get off the bike and count the teeth on it. Then order short crank bolts (or use washers) so you can remove your big and small chainring and only leave the middle ring. Order or buy a shimano DX cog of the same number of teeth you had previously selected (they're about $4 each). Get some cassette spacers while you're at it, or just use a few segments of PVC pipe to secure and align the rear cog with the middle chainring.

    You can reuse your chain no problem as long as it's new-ish, although you'll have to cut it down to size. Or you can also buy an SRAM PC58 chain for $15, which is an awesome SS chain from my experience. You can just use your old derailleur as the chain tensioner, it works great and has the added benefit of allowing you to keep a decent amount of slack in your chain. This is beneficial because if you want to put a larger or smaller cog on you can do so without shortening your chain, or having to replace it with a longer one (i.e. with a single roller tensioner like the singleator, you are very limited with the range of cogs you can install without altering your chain length). Plus your old derailleur will generally do a better job of preventing the chain from skipping over the cog under power (if you search the archives you'll see a bunch of complaints about single roller tensioners sometimes causing this problem). Yeah, the old derailleur doesn't look as streamlined as a single roller tensioner, but if you're just trying it out for now, that's what I would do.

    good luck

  4. #4
    brother on a mission
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash_FLMB
    I just finished a 24 Hr race on my HT and I just can't believe how comfortable it is. I love my Burner, but the HT fits like a glove. I've been wanting to try SS for awhile now and I'm curious what I would need to convert it into a SS to make sure I dig it b/4 shelling out the cash for an actual SS. Here's a few questions I have and if anyone can help me out, I'd appreciate it. What's the normal cog ration you guys ride? 32/18? 32/16? Higher/lower? I'd rather not buy a new chain if I can afford it b/c I just replaced the whole drivetrain on this bike already. Can I just use a Gusset SS Conversion kit and a Surly Singleator or will I run into more problems than it's worth? Or should I just spend the extra $25 to get a new chain too?

    Thanks for the help. If this is all I need, I'll be SSing in a matter of weeks.
    I have run 34:20, and now I am running 33:19. I ride in central New England. If you have your old drivetrain parts (spare cassettes, etc.) lying around, you do not need to buy anything to build a single speed. Just bust apart the cassette and use the spacers that some with it to get the appropriate chailine. As the last poster wrote, you can also use your old derailleur as a tensioner. If you have difficulty with the chain popping off a ramped cog, you can use two larger cogs on the outside of the smaller cog to prevent the chain from comoing off (spacers:large cog: 1 spacer: drive cog: 1spacer: larger cog:spacers:lockring.) What type of frame are you converting?

    Enjoy your build.

    GF

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the great information fellas. I didn't see the FAQ sheet on the right. I checked that out also. This is some great info and it seems I'll be able to do this supercheap to test out. If I like it (and I'm betting I do), I'll be looking to build up a SS frame. One question though is about using the derailler as a tensioner. I'm guessing I'll need to keep the shifter and cable attached to it to hold it in the proper position. Otherwise the chain would be way out of place...is that correct? I do have a couple of old cassettes laying around so I'll try that trick first. But I'm also heading to the bike shop today to pick up a part for my wife's bike, so it's a good time to pick up some cheap spacers too.

    I live in the NW with lots of rolling hills and mountains. I find that unless I'm on a super steep hill, I stick to the middle gear and 3 or 4 in back. I'm a grinder not a spinner. I think I'll try 32:18 gearing at first and adjust accordingly. (I'm moving to AZ in a few months and I think that's when I'll really dig SS.)

    I'm testing (or converting) SS on an Airborne Liberator. If all goes well, I'll be building up an actual SS frame with some spare parts.
    Why would I need more than one gear?
    @A_SingleSpeeder
    EPA = crooks!

  6. #6
    brother on a mission
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash_FLMB
    Thanks for the great information fellas. I didn't see the FAQ sheet on the right. I checked that out also. This is some great info and it seems I'll be able to do this supercheap to test out. If I like it (and I'm betting I do), I'll be looking to build up a SS frame. One question though is about using the derailler as a tensioner. I'm guessing I'll need to keep the shifter and cable attached to it to hold it in the proper position. Otherwise the chain would be way out of place...is that correct? I do have a couple of old cassettes laying around so I'll try that trick first. But I'm also heading to the bike shop today to pick up a part for my wife's bike, so it's a good time to pick up some cheap spacers too.

    I live in the NW with lots of rolling hills and mountains. I find that unless I'm on a super steep hill, I stick to the middle gear and 3 or 4 in back. I'm a grinder not a spinner. I think I'll try 32:18 gearing at first and adjust accordingly. (I'm moving to AZ in a few months and I think that's when I'll really dig SS.)

    I'm testing (or converting) SS on an Airborne Liberator. If all goes well, I'll be building up an actual SS frame with some spare parts.

    Nice frame. I almost bought one this past winter, but decided to give single speed a try first.
    You do not need to keep your shifter. I believe you can set the limit screws of your derailleur to keep it in place, though I have never done that myself.

    I think there are a couple of threads on here about single speeding in your area, and single speed friendly shops. Though it sounds like you have a shop you like.

    I used to live in Seattle, but unfortunately I was not into cycling when I lived there. Instead I had a little 250 yamaha smoker that I used to get back and forth from Queen Anne/Freemont to Federal Hill. Now that I am into cycling I would love to go back there to ride around.

    Enjoy the build.

    GF

  7. #7
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    I run 32:19 but most of my riding is extremely woodsy which makes it hard to carry speed, especially on a fully rigid bike.

  8. #8
    JRA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash_FLMB
    One question though is about using the derailler as a tensioner. I'm guessing I'll need to keep the shifter and cable attached to it to hold it in the proper position. Otherwise the chain would be way out of place...is that correct?
    Welcome to the dark side, Crash! I live in Woodinville and ride mostly SS in the Seattle area. 32x18 will be a pretty good place to start. I'm running a 34x18 right now and used to run a 36x20. You can use the limiter screws on the derailleur to keep it in the right place or you can use a small section of brake cable. I actually prefer the brake cable trick. Take the end w/ the button on it and thread it backwards through the derailleur keeping the button against the adjuster barrel. Move the derailleur over by hand until its close to a straight chainline, tighten down the cable clamp and then use the barrel adjuster to make fine adjustments. If you use the limiter screws, sometimes you have to get a longer one and I had the screws back out on me. YMMV of course.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRA
    I actually prefer the brake cable trick. Take the end w/ the button on it and thread it backwards through the derailleur keeping the button against the adjuster barrel. Move the derailleur over by hand until its close to a straight chainline, tighten down the cable clamp and then use the barrel adjuster to make fine adjustments.
    Good tip. But just to avoid confusion, isn't the cable still threaded through normally?

    Basically, you anchor it at the barrel adjuster instead of at the shifter, and clamp the cut end as you normally would.

  10. #10
    JRA
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    Quote Originally Posted by czardonic
    Good tip. But just to avoid confusion, isn't the cable still threaded through normally?

    Basically, you anchor it at the barrel adjuster instead of at the shifter, and clamp the cut end as you normally would.
    Yep ... you're right. My brain don't fire on all cylinders all the time. I think it takes frequent naps.

  11. #11
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    If I understand correctly, no wires stick out of the derailler except at the end like it normally does. The barrel adjuster can act as the point of tension? It doesn't seem like that would work but I've never tried it b/4. It seems like one would at least have to have it anchored at the last cable guide.

    Well the shop I just visited didn't have the Shimano DX so I'm gonna check a few other shops. I have a crap load of things to do this weekend and I'm not sure I'll be able to get out but hopefully I can have all the parts and the conversion done by Sunday for a quick ride.

    Thanks again for the help fellas. I'm getting excited to try something new.
    Why would I need more than one gear?
    @A_SingleSpeeder
    EPA = crooks!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash_FLMB
    If I understand correctly, no wires stick out of the derailler except at the end like it normally does. The barrel adjuster can act as the point of tension? It doesn't seem like that would work but I've never tried it b/4. It seems like one would at least have to have it anchored at the last cable guide.

    Well the shop I just visited didn't have the Shimano DX so I'm gonna check a few other shops. I have a crap load of things to do this weekend and I'm not sure I'll be able to get out but hopefully I can have all the parts and the conversion done by Sunday for a quick ride.

    Thanks again for the help fellas. I'm getting excited to try something new.
    The lump on the end of the wire snugs up to the barrel adjuster and the wire is then clamped at the normal derailleur clamp. You can then use the barrel adjuster to tweak the tension, no need to attach it to anything else.

    If you just want an old derailleur then get thee down to Recycled Cycles, no shortage of 'em down there.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash_FLMB
    If I understand correctly, no wires stick out of the derailler except at the end like it normally does. The barrel adjuster can act as the point of tension? It doesn't seem like that would work but I've never tried it b/4. It seems like one would at least have to have it anchored at the last cable guide.
    It works. Trust us. . .we're on the internet!

    If you think about it, the barrel adjuster on the RD actually is the last cable (housing) guide.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by czardonic
    It works. Trust us. . .we're on the internet!

    If you think about it, the barrel adjuster on the RD actually is the last cable (housing) guide.

    I'm not saying I don't trust you. I'm just saying I've never seen or even thought of that b/4. I'm gonna give it a try very very soon.

    Again, thanks for the help guys. It's appreciated and I'm sure I'm gonna take to it.
    Why would I need more than one gear?
    @A_SingleSpeeder
    EPA = crooks!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash_FLMB
    I'm not saying I don't trust you.
    Just kidding around here anyway.

    Good luck with the conversion and hope you enjoy the SS thing!

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