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  1. #1
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    Singlespeed as your only bike

    So while I've been waiting for my warranty (geared) frame to arrive, I've borrowed a friends singlespeed to get around on. I'd never ridden single speed before, and I'm having a metric sh*tload of fun. I can ride 99% of the stuff I normally ride around here (dry/rocky/techy/short, sharp uphills) so am entertaining the thought of going singlespeed fulltime. The only negative I can see is not being able to ride backcountry epics all that well/comfortably.
    The bike I've been riding and would get is a Singular Swift (beautiful bike), so I can gear it up later on if I get sick of ss.
    What are the negatives of having a ss as your only bike?
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    negatives: not having as many bikes as your friends.

    i do 40+ mile road rides on my ss 29er, as well as every trail i've ever ridden geared.
    having one bike to sink money into instead of several allows you to buy really nice crap for that one bike.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny the boy
    negatives: not having as many bikes as your friends.

    i do 40+ mile road rides on my ss 29er, as well as every trail i've ever ridden geared.
    having one bike to sink money into instead of several allows you to buy really nice crap for that one bike.
    Well said.

  4. #4
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Just about any epic you can find that has been ridden, has been ridden well/comfortably on a singlespeed. Once your legs and lungs adapt to adjusting your speed with cadence, the higher effort(and therefor higher speed) climbing, pushing/running, and spinning/recovering on the flats, you'll forget there's any other way to do it. In other words, once/if you adapt to SS, it wont be uncomfortable or hurt any worse than a multispeed.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    Just about any epic you can find that has been ridden, has been ridden well/comfortably on a singlespeed. Once your legs and lungs adapt to adjusting your speed with cadence, the higher effort(and therefor higher speed) climbing, pushing/running, and spinning/recovering on the flats, you'll forget there's any other way to do it. In other words, once/if you adapt to SS, it wont be uncomfortable or hurt any worse than a multispeed.
    well said I have a buddy that will not even try ss I have no clue why
    SS Rigid =
    Quote Originally Posted by gjenkins@
    There is no distraction. You only hear the sound of your breath and the crunch of the wheels across the dirt.

  6. #6
    master blaster
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    2 out of 4 of my mtb's are ss.
    i mainly ride 2 out of those 4.
    guess which 2....the ss's.
    i have plans to convert both of my geared bikes to ss sooner or later as they are already 1x9.
    i find i can do most all of my normal riding on on my ss bikes but i have way more fun on ss.
    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding View Post
    The dude is like 120lbs, tops lol he can run any tires he wants without issues, i'm sure.

  7. #7
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    I've only got one bike now and its SS. can't see any reason to put gears back on when I am riding the same stuff I rode on my geared bikes......faster.

  8. #8
    Ken
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    1 bike, 1 brake, 1 speed

    I haven't found any negatives since I've been riding SS exclusively for nearly a year now. Of course, I live in the Florida Flatlands and don't have too many sustained climbs to worry about either.

  9. #9
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    I've got mixed terrain here from endlessly flat to very long climbs (short steep ones as well). Occassionaly I race in MTB Orienteering as well and do multi-day rides carrying around camping gear. I sold my only geared hardtail last October because I hadn't ridden it for more than half a year. So I still own 4 bikes right now.
    a very old commuter, an old-school racey 26" MTB, a new-school 26" AMTB and a 24" cruiserbmxmtbretrostylewhateverbike that makes me grin while riding. All of them singlespeed.

    I don't miss multi-speed. But I miss the frame, the geary-clicky stuff was attached to...but that's another thing.

  10. #10
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    Personally, I only ride gears (1x9) on fully loaded biking holidays that involve lots of climbing. Otherwise, a ss can do just about everything, and it's way more enjoyable than a full set of gears, imho. The riding and the exertion are different, though, just like Sean Salach stated. He has crossed the US on a fully loaded ss, by the way...

  11. #11
    aka baycat
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    While I can see using an SS as my only bike locally when it comes to trip(s) to Downieville, Whistler, Moab and Fruita I at least need 17 other gears and front suspension to make it enjoyable.

  12. #12
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    I'm trying to go SS full time but having a hard time with the recovery. After doing 30 miles and 4k - 5k of climbing, my legs are shot and I can't ride the next few days. I can do 2 or 3 day epics on my geared. Anyone riding big multi day epics on their SS?

  13. #13
    is buachail foighneach me
    Reputation: sean salach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nutballchamp
    I'm trying to go SS full time but having a hard time with the recovery. After doing 30 miles and 4k - 5k of climbing, my legs are shot and I can't ride the next few days. I can do 2 or 3 day epics on my geared. Anyone riding big multi day epics on their SS?
    Yes. Work your way up to doing that kind of distance/effort, and pace yourself when you do. If your options on a climb during a looong ride are redline it or walk, walk. If you can't ride(comfortably) for a few days after riding 30 miles with 4-5k of climbing, then that means 30 miles with 4-5k of climbing on a SS is beyond your current fitness level. Great Divide, Iditarod, La Ruta, BC Bike Race. I haven't done all of those, but they've all been done and done well on a SS.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    Yes. Work your way up to doing that kind of distance/effort, and pace yourself when you do. If your options on a climb during a looong ride are redline it or walk, walk. If you can't ride(comfortably) for a few days after riding 30 miles with 4-5k of climbing, then that means 30 miles with 4-5k of climbing on a SS is beyond your current fitness level. Great Divide, Iditarod, La Ruta, BC Bike Race. I haven't done all of those, but they've all been done and done well on a SS.
    Thanks, great tips. My cardio is fine on long SS rides, the problem is in my legs. Makes since as I'm a spinner on my geared. I've been riding my geared and SS half and half for over a year. Now that I upgraded from a full rigid to hardtail, I'll now have fun on the tech with my SS.

  15. #15
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    I was on a 50 mile ride that starts at 10,000 feet and saw a few guys killing it on ss. I approached one of them and asked how the heck are you doing this ride on a ss??

    He said the first few months on a ss are really painful but once you get pass that two or three months riding a ss full time your body will change/adjust and it's no problem.
    I chuckled to myself and thought he was off his rocker!!

    I decided to try it and he was right. I have all sorts of crazy muscles in my arms and legs that never existed before. He was right!!!

    I sold my geared bike after it sat in my garage and it had not been ridden in a year. Hard to justify keeping a $3,000 bike that only gets ridden a few times a year.





    Quote Originally Posted by nutballchamp
    I'm trying to go SS full time but having a hard time with the recovery. After doing 30 miles and 4k - 5k of climbing, my legs are shot and I can't ride the next few days. I can do 2 or 3 day epics on my geared. Anyone riding big multi day epics on their SS?

  16. #16
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    Just sold my Trek 5.5 (full Dura Ace) a couple of months ago and my current stable consists of a Surly Steamroller and a Redline MCF I'm currently building up. Although I probably wouldn't ride with friends on geared bikes on road (those that say they can keep up on road with a ss are dreaming or the riders suck), I've been on quite a few rides on my mountain bike with geared bikes with no problems.

    I don't foresee a geared bike being rolled into my garage anytime soon. Except for the wife's 1x9 I'm going to be building.

  17. #17
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    none

    I ride only trails and only a SS. The only thing that seems to wear me out is the fact that it is a full rigid bike. I am finding out though that as my skill increases and I handle the bike better and smoother the fatigue in my hands and shoulders is lessening but still painful on the long technical rides that hold a lot of rocks and log jumps.

  18. #18
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    Riding rigid ss forces u to learn to ride and become better. Otherwise you'll just get beat up each time.
    SS Rigid =
    Quote Originally Posted by gjenkins@
    There is no distraction. You only hear the sound of your breath and the crunch of the wheels across the dirt.

  19. #19
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by baycat
    While I can see using an SS as my only bike locally when it comes to trip(s) to Downieville, Whistler, Moab and Fruita I at least need 17 other gears and front suspension to make it enjoyable.
    2X. To each his own. I can't see having anything but bragging rights riding SS at Moab. BFD.

    Of course, I'm no Cat 1 Expert super athlete. Of the riders I know who ride SS, there's only one who rides a SS only - and he's a total genetic mutant animal.

    But, he also has at least 3 forks, rigid and suspension, and at least 3 freewheels, and he switches them depending on where he's riding.

    So I ask you: does that qualify as that ONE bike?
    Old enough to know better. And old enough not to care. Best age to be.

  20. #20
    Kiss my Grits!
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    Don't forget to flush

    Quote Originally Posted by nutballchamp
    I'm trying to go SS full time but having a hard time with the recovery. After doing 30 miles and 4k - 5k of climbing, my legs are shot and I can't ride the next few days. I can do 2 or 3 day epics on my geared. Anyone riding big multi day epics on their SS?
    I have three bikes and they are all SS; One is a FS, one is a hard tail, and one is a roadie.

    I get worn out on big days too, but I find that if I follow them up with an easy spinning day my recovery is faster. Probably something about flushing out the lactic acid, I dunno.
    Sometimes, with a very strenuous effort, I will fatigue.

  21. #21
    Masher
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    I have one bike and its a SS and it has its shortcomings.

    Racing, you are more likely to cramp. The extreme exertions you can avoid by sitting and spinning on a geared bike are more frequent.

    Climbing, there is some stuff you just can't get up, its just too steep and long. Also, you spend a lot of time climbing the long steep ones out of the saddle which loses your traction on the rear tire. So if you go through a creek crossing and then have a short steep with some roots, next thing you know, ziiiiiiiip. Your cranks spin free and you foot down.

    Techy terrain is a bit of the same. Some nasty rock gardens and the like you need to keep the pedals moving to keep your momentum to get over and around whatever. This is more difficult as you cant keep a high cadence at slow speeds (with any reasonable gear anyway, I ride 32x18)

    Descending/Sprint finishes/Lead outs - Obviously you are going to spin out your gear long before you legs get to their top speed. This is mostly a racing concern so it that isnt your things it doesnt really matter but, in that context, it can be frustrating.

    I also ride rigid and dont kid yourself, if the terrain is rocky/rooty/techy, it will fatigue you. Climbing out of the saddle also does this. If you stick with it, enjoy your triceps because they are going to get bigger. The grips I've come to love are bonty xxx lite wrapped in bar tape but whatever you do make sure your hands are comfortable.

    Lastly, in group rides and the like, the pacing can get annoying. You will find yourself roaring up the climbs and being slower on the descents. So it can be a lot of passing and then being passed which makes it hard to get a rythm going and can also squelch out a strength in climbing as people dont tend to make room for you to pass when they are sucking wind up a tough climb.

    All this being said, I love my SS. So much. And while I have plans for a geared race rig for next season, it will always be in my stable.

  22. #22
    bike rider
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    Here is my current stable of bikes and my only geared bike has 9 inches of travel and 9 speeds. I've been full time singlespeeding since 1997 and I Love it. I'm building a Carbon Air 9 29er and selling the DH bike so when the Niner is done I'll only have Singlespeed and one in Steel, Aluminum, Titanium and Carbon, pick your frame material.

    My Bikes Kick Ass!!!

  23. #23
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    I had okay multi day abilites on a geared bike ... as a spinner. I have committed to SS rigid though May, and I am pressing to increase my endurance and recoverability. My afterwork hot laps are about 15 miles with about 1600 ft of climbing. This week I was able to do 3 days in a row. On day 4, my legs were a bit cooked. I am increasing to 20 miles and another 500 ft of climbing this next week. By end of April, I hope to ride my 4500 foot climbing loop, and I am hoping to do a 2 day 45 mile out and 45 mile back in June

  24. #24
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    ss

    i only ride ss i have a ss road bike for training and a ss mountain bike for racing and training of corse its a 29er rigid i do epics 100 mile races and 12 hours and beat most guys with geared bikes i think a ss is an advantage not a disadvantage as long as your not in the mountains there is always a perfect gear

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    2X. To each his own. I can't see having anything but bragging rights riding SS at Moab. BFD.
    Maybe that just you and a few others. But for me, I ride SS because for some reason, it is more enjoyable for me. I'm not the fastest or as fast as I can be on a geared bike, but the point is not trying to get from point A to B as fast as you can (unless you race). Being at Moab, or any other trail, I'm out there just to ride.

    Now, with a suspension fork vs. rigid...I'm still going back and forth between the two. I'm going to try out this ODIS fork to see how I like it. May even try an On One carbon.

    FWIW, I've never ever bragged about riding SS on any trail and never claimed that I was as fast as geared bikes. Those guys that do are idiots.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut

    FWIW, I've never ever bragged about riding SS on any trail and never claimed that I was as fast as geared bikes. Those guys that do are idiots.
    Not idiots, Just Fast
    SS Rigid =
    Quote Originally Posted by gjenkins@
    There is no distraction. You only hear the sound of your breath and the crunch of the wheels across the dirt.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricot83
    Not idiots, Just Fast
    I was talking about the SS guys.

  28. #28
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    Mattkock's Ti

    Nice bikes Mattkock. What wheels and hub did u go with on your bad ass ti. I just got a lynskey ridgeline 26 er. Need wheels and hubs.....strong and lightweight...reasonable price?

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