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  1. #1
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    Singlespeed Mythbusters

    Probably a lot of this covered in the excellent, albeit dated, Singlespeed FAQ but let's bust some myths!

    Myth: Singlespeed makes you faster.
    Facts: Absolutely true. In just 4 months of nearly dedicated singlespeed riding my personal times on my local trails have plummeted. No real change to my riding other than doing more singlespeed than geared riding. And we're not just talking a few seconds here and there, we're talking about setting PRs that have stood for 18+ months on almost every climb I can find.

    Myth: Singlespeeders are all angry young men.
    Facts: Partially true. Singlespeeders can also be angry old men. And angry women.

    Myth: Singlespeeds are low maintenance
    Facts: False! I spend more time dialing in chainline, chain tension, and cog size than I spend working on my entire geared FS bike!

    Add yours.

  2. #2
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    *happy woman singlespeeder waves hello*



    (But I do love beer, jorts, and pain.)

  3. #3
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    Well, singlespeeds are very low maintenance. I just jump on and ride. When the bike was new, I spent some time dialing things in, but after that, I don't have to touch it much (check tires and chain and that's about it).

  4. #4
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    Not sure if singlespeed made me faster. I think climbing speed between my SS and FS are about the same but a lot of times I'll just grind in a higher gear on my FS 'cause that's what SS made me accustomed to. They both weighed the same at 28 pounds too. I'm not really interested in climbing anyways. My SS was pretty damn low maintenance. I only checked air in my fork and tires then went out to ride. I only cleaned and lubed the chain when it got noisy.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hokuto No Ben View Post
    Not sure if singlespeed made me faster. I think climbing speed between my SS and FS are about the same but a lot of times I'll just grind in a higher gear on my FS 'cause that's what SS made me accustomed to.
    So, what your saying is; riding single speed made you faster on other bikes, right?

  6. #6
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    The first myth is partially true - I'm faster on a single speed, but put me on a geared bike and I go slower because I can sit and spin. Why suffer if you don't have to? The second doesn't make any sense - most of the single speeders I see are older dudes and we are having too much fun to be angry. And the third myth is true - I don't spend any time adjusting the chainline since I built the bike, rarely need to tighten the chain tension, and settled on my choice of gearing years ago. Not having derailleurs or rear suspension saves a lot of maintenance time.

    Here's another myth to ponder:
    Single speeds are hard on the knees.

    My answer is: No they aren't. Standing to pedal is a lot easier on your knees than sitting and most of the time that's how you climb hills with a single speed.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    Here's another myth to ponder:
    Single speeds are hard on the knees.

    My answer is: No they aren't. Standing to pedal is a lot easier on your knees than sitting and most of the time that's how you climb hills with a single speed.
    +1
    I'm 55 and I stopped having knee problems when I started riding ss exclusively. My overall fitness improved too--using your whole body more in the climb makes a big difference.

  8. #8
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    Myth: climbing totally sucks on single-speed because you can't shift down
    Reality: if you can't shift down, you stand up, which works surprisingly well

    I went single-speed on a slopestyle bike since I mostly just push up the hill between runs anyway. But of course I still have to get from the car to the jumps, and that includes some hills, and to my great surprise, I find that I prefer standing up to climb, because it's faster.

    I'm going 1x6 on my other bikes - one is done, the other is in progress. 1x1 has been educational, and I'm keeping it that way on my slopestyle bike, but the cog I want for ascents, though it is much smaller than I thought, is still not the cog that I want for descents.

  9. #9
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    I have to agree with the statement about knees. Last year I went through this phase where I was trying to sit and pedal up climbs as much as I could trying to maintain momentum. I theorized that this would make me stronger. All I got was achy knees for the several months I carried out this experiment.
    As soon as I bailed on this method and went back to cranking up stuff standing POOF!
    No more achy knees.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Probably a lot of this covered in the excellent, albeit dated, Singlespeed FAQ but let's bust some myths!

    Myth: Singlespeed makes you faster.
    Facts: Absolutely true. In just 4 months of nearly dedicated singlespeed riding my personal times on my local trails have plummeted. No real change to my riding other than doing more singlespeed than geared riding. And we're not just talking a few seconds here and there, we're talking about setting PRs that have stood for 18+ months on almost every climb I can find...
    I have to disagree on that. SS didn't make you faster. Your lack of self-discipline on a geared bike made you slower.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by praharin View Post
    So, what your saying is; riding single speed made you faster on other bikes, right?
    I don't know. Grinding in a higher gear doesn't always mean you're moving forward at a faster pace. I'm just saying SS put me in a habit of pedaling my bicycle a specific way which may not always be efficient but I do it 'cause it feels better than sitting.

    However, since this is a circlejerk type of thread then yes. It made me fast. Super fast.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hokuto No Ben View Post
    I don't know. Grinding in a higher gear doesn't always mean you're moving forward at a faster pace. I'm just saying SS put me in a habit of pedaling my bicycle a specific way which may not always be efficient but I do it 'cause it feels better than sitting.
    I think we're on the same page, but it's of my opinion you get faster at riding the bike you spend the most of your time on. Whether it's FS, HT, SS, rigid, fat, etc., there are way too many different riding characteristics for "cross training" to be effective. I ride my FS totally different than my SS. Neither has helped me become faster/better at the other.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by stremf View Post
    I think we're on the same page, but it's of my opinion you get faster at riding the bike you spend the most of your time on. Whether it's FS, HT, SS, rigid, fat, etc., there are way too many different riding characteristics for "cross training" to be effective. I ride my FS totally different than my SS. Neither has helped me become faster/better at the other.
    We totally are on the same page. I think certain skills cross over to help different styles though. I think this could be similar to driving a car on a racetrack. The way I see it you have an optimal line for cornering fast. Sometimes the way you tackle it would be different depending on the cars size, weight, tires, drive wheels, power, etc. To me it's the same going between rigid, hardtail, and FS. However, kind of weird to some people but I'll be riding a hardtail a little like an FS just slower. Still fun when FS riders would get surprised at how fast one can go on a hardtail SS. Kinda wish I still had an SS hardtail now.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Myth: Singlespeeders are all angry young men.
    Facts: Partially true. Singlespeeders can also be angry old men. And angry women.
    I think the anger arises when geared riders dive in front of you as you enter singletrack only to not be able to smoothly ride singetrack
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    Faster on other bikes? I dunno, I just bought my first gearie in five years. Can't ride the thing worth a darn, can't climb well, etc.

    The whole muscle memory thing is very real, and sit-n-spin is NOT something I do well any more.

    So I guess you could say that for the moment, SS made me slower on other bikes

  16. #16
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    Don't sit and spin then. I read somewhere on here that sitting and spinning gives you erectile dysfunction so stand and mash for your junks health.

  17. #17
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    The title of this thread should be changed to "Myth Reinforcers".

    I've never seen a thread ooze with so much conjecture. Actually, I have, it was the other thread on the same subject.

    Entertaining reading

  18. #18
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    Myth: Riding SS makes you look like a bad arse..

    Truth: Riding SS makes you look like someone who just loves to ride...and ride...no matter what you look like...

  19. #19
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    Myth: Singlespeed makes you faster.
    Facts: Plausible. While other people's experience may differ I found riding SS built up strength and also spin. Does it make me faster? Dunno, as I do tend to shift to a lighter gear when I have the option.

    Myth: Singlespeeders are all angry young men.
    Facts: False. It's like saying all singlespeeders are smug middle aged urban professionals. Gees...

    Myth: Singlespeeds are low maintenance
    Facts: Partially true. LowER maintenance perhaps. There's less to go wrong, less to catch on trail debris and less parts are required to build one. They still need air, lube and adjustments, though less adjustments than a geared bike.

    The above is not conjecture, it is hard fact godammit because I said so!

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  20. #20
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    "Say It Enough Times And They'll Believe It"
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  21. #21
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    As a recent SS rider, I will say I look at the trail a bit differently, and do climb differently. I am still a hack w/ regard to technique, but I think SS is "different enough" to keep me interested in biking.

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    Mashing a big gear is a myth

    The first myth is that big gears are the answer. I sometimes see people pushing huge gears on SS. Guilty of this myself but I am trying to reform. Sure 36/18 feels great but much of the time we are faster when we run smaller gears. I see guys like Wadsworth pushing lite gears and totally crushing the course because they can spin. Basically single speed is about range and you need to gear to spin and mash in equal measure. When in doubt you will be faster in smaller gears even though often bigger gears feel better.

    The second myth is rigid. Yes I love rigid but I will admit that on many courses rigid is not as fast as a good suspension fork. That said I ride for fun and enjoy the direct feeling of the rigid bike.

    The final myth is that single speed is faster. Often this is not the case but once again, I ride for enjoyment and prefer single speed over geared bikes.

    Going fast is often not my number one goal.

  23. #23
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    I geared up to 34/20 for a flattish 6hr the other weekend and its so nice to be back on my normal 32/21.

  24. #24
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    Myth: your knees will hurt if you ride SS.

    Facts: your knees will hurt on any bike that isn't setup properly or is the wrong frame size.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
    I geared up to 34/20 for a flattish 6hr the other weekend and its so nice to be back on my normal 32/21.
    Out of curiosity, how long does it take you to change the rings ?

    A lot of ppl claim SS has less maintenance but I think there is more work and cost in the experimentation to find the correct ratio and changing it for specific rides as you did ?

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by stremf View Post
    I have to disagree on that. SS didn't make you faster. Your lack of self-discipline on a geared bike made you slower.
    +1

    On a geared bike you find what you think is your limit. On a SS you find what your limit actually is.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by c8stom View Post
    Out of curiosity, how long does it take you to change the rings ?

    A lot of ppl claim SS has less maintenance but I think there is more work and cost in the experimentation to find the correct ratio and changing it for specific rides as you did ?
    I think most of us are set it and forget it once you decide on a ratio appropriate to your usual terrain. Without an RD, it's pretty easy to drop the rear wheel and swap cogs. Setting the tension with an EBB (on my bike at least) just takes torqueing one bolt.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by c8stom View Post
    Out of curiosity, how long does it take you to change the rings ?

    A lot of ppl claim SS has less maintenance but I think there is more work and cost in the experimentation to find the correct ratio and changing it for specific rides as you did ?
    Nope....pick a gear and stick with it....regardless of the ride.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeaBass_ View Post
    I think most of us are set it and forget it once you decide on a ratio appropriate to your usual terrain. Without an RD, it's pretty easy to drop the rear wheel and swap cogs. Setting the tension with an EBB (on my bike at least) just takes torqueing one bolt.
    +1 - I swap a to a more toothy cog a few times a year; otherwise it is set it and forget it. EBB is also a lot less hassle; running sliders on my current build.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by c8stom View Post
    Out of curiosity, how long does it take you to change the rings ?

    A lot of ppl claim SS has less maintenance but I think there is more work and cost in the experimentation to find the correct ratio and changing it for specific rides as you did ?
    10-15 minutes or so.
    I leave it on 32/21 normally, but I knew this course was going to be much flatter.
    I experimented with 32/18 but felt there was too much constant load on my legs for such a long race.
    34/20 is about the same as 32/19 but I didn't have a 19t sprocket.

    It was only in the last hour a lower ratio would have been nicer.
    Only 57m of climbing per 10km according to Strava.

    For the normal XC race tracks around here, 32/21 is my ratio of choice and I'll still be walking some bits.

  31. #31
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    I say horses for courses. Granted, my rigid SS is actually a cross bike, currently with flat bars. On one local trail (Bay Area > China Camp > frontside) I set PRs all over it. On some others (China Camp backside for example) I wouldn't even bother trotting that bike out. I've always had a SS in the quiver, but it's getting less and less use as I get older and especially since I upgraded my main ride to a much nicer FS.

  32. #32
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    If you're spending more time dialing in chain line on your SS than working on your full sis - your phucking doing it wrong.

  33. #33
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    Changed gearing once on SS in 5+ years, and it's cause I went to a 29er.

    and what other maintenance? occasional hose + lube. that's about it.

    bottom bracket is squeaking terribly now though. i ought to fix that. maybe this winter.

  34. #34
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    I'm fast on my rigid ss but can't touch my pr's I set and keep breaking with my specialized epic wc.

    I understand what folks are saying when they feel more connected to the trail, but I bet if u could count the amount of time the bike was bounced off the trail Vs a fs it wouldn't be "connected" lol.

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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by man.cave View Post
    I'm fast on my rigid ss but can't touch my pr's I set and keep breaking with my specialized epic wc.

    I understand what folks are saying when they feel more connected to the trail, but I bet if u could count the amount of time the bike was bounced off the trail Vs a fs it wouldn't be "connected" lol.

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    don't think anyone's arguing a top-of-the-line FS is better at descending than a rigid SS.

    just that riding SS uphill makes you faster overall, regardless of what bike you put under you next.

  36. #36
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    I climb just as fast on epic as my ss. I stand up and pump just the same

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  37. #37
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    precisely. using single speed methods to be faster overall.

    not that you wouldn't otherwise because ultimately it's just an advanced biking method, but it's a great forced-learning-tool for most when there's no other options.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomit View Post
    precisely. using single speed methods to be faster overall.

    not that you wouldn't otherwise because ultimately it's just an advanced biking method, but it's a great forced-learning-tool for most when there's no other options.
    True.

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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by febikes View Post
    When in doubt you will be faster in smaller gears
    not always. some of the endurance races i've won i was geared a fair bit taller than my competition. on the flats and gradual climbs i was much faster, and on the really steep ascents they could stay on the bike, but i was running up the climbs faster than they could pedal. one 60 mile race i won had almost 11,000 of climbing. i ran 32-18 on my 29er, no one else had taller than 32-20. bigger gear can be so much faster in so many situations.

    the ONLY ss'er to ever win the vt 50 overall (20 years) on a ss was pushing 36-16 on a 26er. 9000 feet of climbing in that one. monster. i won the ss class there in 02' pushing 36-18, second place guy was 34-18t, so.......

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    not always. some of the endurance races i've won i was geared a fair bit taller than my competition. on the flats and gradual climbs i was much faster, and on the really steep ascents they could stay on the bike, but i was running up the climbs faster than they could pedal. one 60 mile race i won had almost 11,000 of climbing. i ran 32-18 on my 29er, no one else had taller than 32-20. bigger gear can be so much faster in so many situations.

    the ONLY ss'er to ever win the vt 50 overall (20 years) on a ss was pushing 36-16 on a 26er. 9000 feet of climbing in that one. monster. i won the ss class there in 02' pushing 36-18, second place guy was 34-18t, so.......
    Then in other cases, a single tooth harder on the rear cog is the difference between finishing and not. I went 1t harder for my race yesterday since on my pre-ride my normal gear was really easy. Race day though, it was 20* warmer and humid. I couldn't keep my core temp down on the climbs and was working too hard between the climbs to get it to come down then as well. Blew through 50oz of water in half the time I planned and would have had to quit if a mechanical hadn't forced me out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    Then in other cases, a single tooth harder on the rear cog is the difference between finishing and not. I went 1t harder for my race yesterday since on my pre-ride my normal gear was really easy. Race day though, it was 20* warmer and humid. I couldn't keep my core temp down on the climbs and was working too hard between the climbs to get it to come down then as well. Blew through 50oz of water in half the time I planned and would have had to quit if a mechanical hadn't forced me out.
    everyone's different. larger gear for me means lower heart rate. more forced off the bike means more leg stretching and recovery to then remount on top of the climb and hammer away from there. refreshed. it's as much or more mental than physical, imo.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    everyone's different. larger gear for me means lower heart rate. more forced off the bike means more leg stretching and recovery to then remount on top of the climb and hammer away from there. refreshed. it's as much or more mental than physical, imo.
    Yep, everyone is different. I was hoping for a lower heart rate with the bigger gear as well, and to get me out of that odd spot where you're working too hard to climb seated, but not hard enough to stand on a few of the climbs. Unfortunately, due to the heat I couldn't get my heart rate to come down anywhere. I ended up in Zone 5+ for 25 minutes before I cracked. Didn't help either that my mechanical issues cropped up right then as well.

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    ya heat can be real tough no matter what or how yer riding. some days just don't work out.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinGT View Post
    Myth: Singlespeeders are all angry young men.
    Facts: Partially true. Singlespeeders can also be angry old men. And angry women.
    Does this also include angry cross-dressers? I was just looking out for Caitlyn.
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

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    I kind of like fiddling with my bike but you don't have to.

    I have two sets of wheels with two different gears that I can hot-swap. Net of everything I can swap em out almost as quick as I can on a geared bike because you don't have to thrash around with the rear dr, as seabass says.

    But, it took a while to get the right mix of rings and cogs that would work within the adjustment parameters I have available to me. Then I got some shorter cranks and had to re-do the whole thing. Got all that sorted and then decided for this one place I ride, I wanted to go down two teeth in the front, and then just never got around to changing it back. Spare set of wheels is currently gathering dust.

    I guess there's an element of laziness involved but the reality is, you're never in the right gear anyway, so eventually you just pick one and roll with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TampaDave View Post
    I kind of like fiddling with my bike but you don't have to.

    I have two sets of wheels with two different gears that I can hot-swap. Net of everything I can swap em out almost as quick as I can on a geared bike because you don't have to thrash around with the rear dr, as seabass says.

    But, it took a while to get the right mix of rings and cogs that would work within the adjustment parameters I have available to me. Then I got some shorter cranks and had to re-do the whole thing. Got all that sorted and then decided for this one place I ride, I wanted to go down two teeth in the front, and then just never got around to changing it back. Spare set of wheels is currently gathering dust.

    I guess there's an element of laziness involved but the reality is, you're never in the right gear anyway, so eventually you just pick one and roll with it.
    yer not a ss'er.

    yer always in the right gear so long as you run a proper one and get strong enough to roll it over. one that is reasonably quick on the flats and makes you stand on most climbs.

    32-18 on 29er is the benchmark. 52" gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog View Post
    yer not a ss'er.

    Yer always in the right gear so long as you run a proper one and get strong enough to roll it over. One that is reasonably quick on the flats and makes you stand on most climbs.

    32-18 on 29er is the benchmark. 52" gear.
    TRUTH! Why even have a separate rear wheel? Just stack 2 surly cogs out back and have a dinglespeed.

  48. #48
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    MYTH: Dinglespeeds and flip-flop hubs are not SS.

    FACT: If you have to physically dismount your bike and remove or loosen a wheel to change gears, you are on a singlespeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmmorath View Post
    myth: Dinglespeeds and flip-flop hubs are not ss.

    Fact: If you have to physically dismount your bike and remove or loosen a wheel to change gears, you are on a singlespeed.
    this x 100^^^^^^^^^^^

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmmorath View Post
    FACT: If you have to physically dismount your bike and remove or loosen a wheel to change gears, you are on a singlespeed.
    and you are also a knob.
    Last edited by c8stom; 07-07-2015 at 05:56 PM.

  51. #51
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    SS are less maintenance: It depends on who's riding them. If I'm riding the bike, I'm always breaking something. At least on a SS there are less items to break.

  52. #52
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    How does Buster stand on all this?

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