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  1. #1
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    Toying with the idea...

    Hello and let me introduce myself to the forum, I am Matthew (new to this forum, not to forums in general or to cycling). Okay, with that out of the way here is my idea:

    Convert my semi-nice geared hardtail to a semi-nice single speed hardtail. Sounds easy enough, no? I recently bought a used Santa Cruz Superlight and absolutely love it, so I want to pirate the nice drive-train parts from my hardtail and put them on the SC, while reusing some of the SC's components on my hardtail SS build.

    -1998 Nishiki Cascade frame, with the paint stripped and hand polished in the dead of winter 2005/2006. It is nothing special, but it was my first halfway decent mountain bike and I bought it brand new with paper-rout money when I was 14... For a cheap 7005 aluminum frame it is fairly stiff and light (1780 grams for my 18").

    -2003 RockShox SID XC fork. It has been a joy to own/use (doesn't flex too bad with my weight) and I would say I more than got my $100 worth out of this used beast. The fork will meet the frame with a Chris King headset.

    -Components will consist of an old Answer stem; Easton Monkeylite CT2 bars; Easton EC70 post, or Thomson post depending on my mood; SDG BelAir ti railed seat; Avid Speed Dial 7 levers and Single Digit 7 v-brakes.

    -Bontrager Race Lite wheels with an unknown tire choice as of yet will do the rolling

    -The drive-train will feature a RaceFace Turbine LP crankset with the 34t ring (possibly upgraded to a SS specific chainring) and an unknown rear conversion kits and tensioner.

    I guess that will basically round out the build. The finer points, such as the rear conversion kit, rear cog tooth count and what tensioner I use are all open to discussion. Well, everything is open to discussion. I guess I should say that in the areas of single speed conversion kits, chain tensioners and things of that nature I am looking for input and suggestions. I am leaning towards a 34t front as that is what I have available, and more than likely an 18t rear cog for the trails. I don't plan to do a great deal of climbing on this rig, just fun rides by the river and along bike paths with my dad to help him get into a little better shape. The Santa Cruz will become my dedicated trail rig, with the SS Nishiki becoming a bike for me to tool around town, hit the simple trails and even do some shopping on (I don't own a 4 wheeled vehicle that runs, and it's easier to shop on a bicycle than a my motorcycle).

    Cliffs:

    What SS conversion parts do you recommend for a standard rear spacing hardtail? What tensioner would work well with a standard shaped hardtail frame?

  2. #2
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    personally, I like the surly singulator but that's just me. since I didnt really know what ratio I wanted before I just got a couple different sized cogs ranging from 13-18 to try out the possibilities paired up with a 36 chain ring.
    "If women don't find handsome , they should at least find you handy."-Red Green

  3. #3
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    If I might ask, did you find a gear ratio that you liked the best?

    I come from a BMX background, so I am all too familiar with swapping cogs and chainwheels (chainrings in the case for this project) for specific tracks and conditions. I figured a 2:1 (front:rear) is a good start for a 26" single speed with 175mm cranks, but since I am quite fluid at a high pedalling cadence I think I might like the 18t more than a 17t (which would be 2:1 with my 34t front). I'm sure I'll swap rings and cogs at least a dozen times before I settle for one, but that is part of the fun.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tornadom
    If I might ask, did you find a gear ratio that you liked the best?

    I come from a BMX background, so I am all too familiar with swapping cogs and chainwheels (chainrings in the case for this project) for specific tracks and conditions. I figured a 2:1 (front:rear) is a good start for a 26" single speed with 175mm cranks, but since I am quite fluid at a high pedalling cadence I think I might like the 18t more than a 17t (which would be 2:1 with my 34t front). I'm sure I'll swap rings and cogs at least a dozen times before I settle for one, but that is part of the fun.

    I started out with a 36: 16 ratio then realized that it was a bit tough off road so I went to 36:18 a thought it was too spinny on road so now im at 36:17=perfect. the chainring is wearing fast so i bought a cheap 35 tooth ring and im soon going to have to figure out a good ratio for that ring
    "If women don't find handsome , they should at least find you handy."-Red Green

  5. #5
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    +1 on the Surly Singulator. I installed one the other day and it rocks especially if you're going to swap the gearing around. I'm running a 32-20 setup 'cause there's not a whole lot of flat stuff here but if I want to cruise in town I can easily put on a 18t cog.
    Sounds like you've got some good parts to work with.
    Have fun and post pics.
    Robb
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    Canondale Synapse w/DuraAce goodness

  6. #6
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    The Singulator looks like a nice setup and given its design I could always zip-tie it to the chain stay should I have issues with it not keeping adequate tension.

    As for the other parts on the bike: thank you, they are pretty nice. I have two nice bikes now (not including my BMX bikes) and I want one of them to be a SS. This affords me the luxury of mixing and matching parts from one bike to the next so I have two royally awesome (to me) bikes. Truth be told, I love tinkering with parts anyhow and look forward to the two projects.

    Maybe someday I'll ditch my SID for a 29er rigid fork and have a 29er/26er bike. Maybe not. I guess I should just do one project at a time. LOL

  7. #7
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    Interesting story. Sounds familiar.

    In 2007 I bought one of the brand new Santa cruz Superlights and lavished lots of money and care on it. Its a great bike and I loved riding it. Like you I decided to convert my old hardtail to a single speed for a bit of fun to tool around, hit simple trails, etc.

    To cut a long story short my superlight sits gathering dust now and is very occasionally used just to remember what it was like to ride and my singlespeed has now become my main blinged out go to bike for everything. Great as the superlight is the singlespeed is just so much more fun.

    The moral of the story is watch out singlespeeding can be addictive!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tricone
    The moral of the story is watch out singlespeeding can be addictive!
    I always tell people, if I can only own one bike it will be a BMX bike. I absolutely love the simplicity, light weight and fun-ness of a BMX. In a lot of ways, a SS converted MTB would be like a big BMX bike that rolls over things smoother in thanks to its 26" rolling-stock. While I'd like to think I am an exception to the "you will fall in love with your SS and ignore your geared bike" rule, I can already see myself doing just that. I am obsessing over the SS conversion: gear ratios, tensioners, should I cut the cable guides off or not, do I also ditch the SID for a rigid fork, do I want to have custom spacers machined once I perfect my chianline... the list goes on; and yet not much thought has been put into the swapping of parts to the Santa Cruz or the acquisition of new top-quality parts for it.

  9. #9
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    I started the tear down portion of my project. All I have left to remove is the crank and I don't have the tools to remove it, so it looks like next week for that part of it. The bike looks great with so few parts on it!

    Here is the build so far:

    Frame - the frame is my good old 7005 butted aluminum frame, sanded down and polished by hand... oh, the patience I used to have.

    Fork - I'm going to run my SID for now

    Headset - Chris King

    Stem - Answer 120mm, 0 degree

    Handlebars - Easton Monkey Lite CT2

    Grips - ESI chunky grips, black or blue (need to order)

    Seat Post - Easton EC70

    Seat post clamp - factory clamp from a 2003 Santa Cruz Superlight

    Seat - SDG S2000 Ti

    Brakes - Avid Single Digit 7, red brakes cables (will be switched to blue)

    Brake Levers - Avid Speed Dial 7

    Wheelset - Bontrager Race Lite w/DT Swiss hubs

    Tires - IRC Mythos XC 26x2.10

    Tubes - Price Point generic tubes

    Crankset - RaceFace Evolve XC, 175mm with 34t ring (might be something other than an Evolve XC, see picture)

    Rear cog and spacers - Unknown, need to order

    Tensioner - Unknown, need to order

    Chain - Unknown, need to go to LBS

    Mmm, so clean and simple (I need to get that Deus crank removed)


    Missing a few parts still


    Clean, spacious bars. Time to ditch the red cables for some blue cables.


    Hey, you can sort of see my Datsun in this picture


    This is the crank to be installed. I will eventually swap out the pinned and ramped chainring for a real SS chainring. 5x110bcd isn't hard to find rings for.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tornadom
    I started the tear down portion of my project. All I have left to remove is the crank and I don't have the tools to remove it, so it looks like next week for that part of it. The bike looks great with so few parts on it!

    Here is the build so far:

    Frame - the frame is my good old 7005 butted aluminum frame, sanded down and polished by hand... oh, the patience I used to have.

    Fork - I'm going to run my SID for now

    Headset - Chris King

    Stem - Answer 120mm, 0 degree

    Handlebars - Easton Monkey Lite CT2

    Grips - ESI chunky grips, black or blue (need to order)

    Seat Post - Easton EC70

    Seat post clamp - factory clamp from a 2003 Santa Cruz Superlight

    Seat - SDG S2000 Ti

    Brakes - Avid Single Digit 7, red brakes cables (will be switched to blue)

    Brake Levers - Avid Speed Dial 7

    Wheelset - Bontrager Race Lite w/DT Swiss hubs

    Tires - IRC Mythos XC 26x2.10

    Tubes - Price Point generic tubes

    Crankset - RaceFace Evolve XC, 175mm with 34t ring (might be something other than an Evolve XC, see picture)

    Rear cog and spacers - Unknown, need to order

    Tensioner - Unknown, need to order

    Chain - Unknown, need to go to LBS

    Mmm, so clean and simple (I need to get that Deus crank removed)


    Missing a few parts still


    Clean, spacious bars. Time to ditch the red cables for some blue cables.


    Hey, you can sort of see my Datsun in this picture


    This is the crank to be installed. I will eventually swap out the pinned and ramped chainring for a real SS chainring. 5x110bcd isn't hard to find rings for.
    id say , when you go and look for a new chain ring, get a surly 5 bolt 110 bcd ring. you here alot of people badmouthing them because they taco the ring but all of those ive seen tacoed were 4 bolt rings. its stupid how 4 bolt cranks are now leading the pack in terms of crank arms.
    "If women don't find handsome , they should at least find you handy."-Red Green

  11. #11
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    I've only had experience with a few Surly products, but those experiences have all been good. I'll likely start out with the RF ring just to get an idea if I want to alter the tooth count up front, then I'll shop around for a nice ring.

  12. #12
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    seeing that you're in California, i'd probably go with something a little easier as far as gearing goes. Maybe a 34-19

    Unless you live in one of 3 flatish areas in CA

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuck_chorris
    id say , when you go and look for a new chain ring, get a surly 5 bolt 110 bcd ring. you here alot of people badmouthing them because they taco the ring but all of those ive seen tacoed were 4 bolt rings. its stupid how 4 bolt cranks are now leading the pack in terms of crank arms.
    well 5 bolts are only neccesary if you run those rings lol

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding
    Unless you live in one of 3 flatish areas in CA
    I live smack in the middle of the flattest area of the state, but I will be mindful of such advice when I hit the steeps.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tornadom
    I live smack in the middle of the flattest area of the state, but I will be mindful of such advice when I hit the steeps.
    yea, it looks pretty flat by the looks of your avatar, but it's almost safe to assume it's hilly anywhere around this state lol

  16. #16
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    Truth be told, other than the riding I do for exercise locally (i.e. take off out of the garage and pedal on the road, canal bank and local bike paths), all of the places I go to ride are hilly. I have a mountain bike, not a valley bike. haha

    I shall look into several cogs in various degrees of resistance.

  17. #17
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    Update:

    I ordered the Gearclamp setup and a cheap 18t steel cog to get me started. My LBS has a good stock of chains and single speed tensioners on hand to finish off the drivetrain.

  18. #18
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    Nice polish job on the frame! Looks good. I am sure you are going to have a blast. If you end up getting addicted to SS you can always sell/part out the Santa Cruz and buy even nicer parts or a Ti SS frame!!!! Just think of the Santa Cruz as a savings account for now!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1SPD
    Nice polish job on the frame! Looks good.
    Thank you. I remember the day I bought that bike (September 1997), it was gloss black with polished components. As many riders know, blacks scratches way too easily and I was tired of looking at the old scratched up frame, so I decided to spend way more time than is healthy polishing the frame. It has been relatively easy to maintain the polished frame though (going on 4 years now), just a little mothers polish an applicator pad and a clean cloth to wipe it off with.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1SPD
    If you end up getting addicted to SS you can always sell/part out the Santa Cruz and buy even nicer parts or a Ti SS frame!!!! Just think of the Santa Cruz as a savings account for now!
    It's funny you should mention the Santa Cruz as an investment, because I originally saw the flyer for the bike in a local shop and thought to myself how great of a deal it seemed to be and how I should get it before anyone else did. LOL, after I saw it and rode it I knew I was going to buy it, not really knowing what would happen to it after I got it. I am about to strip its finish off and either have it painted or powder coated. I'd love to have a full polished Superlight, but there is no way I am putting in that much effort ever again.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tornadom
    Thank you. I remember the day I bought that bike (September 1997), it was gloss black with polished components. As many riders know, blacks scratches way too easily and I was tired of looking at the old scratched up frame, so I decided to spend way more time than is healthy polishing the frame. It has been relatively easy to maintain the polished frame though (going on 4 years now), just a little mothers polish an applicator pad and a clean cloth to wipe it off with.



    It's funny you should mention the Santa Cruz as an investment, because I originally saw the flyer for the bike in a local shop and thought to myself how great of a deal it seemed to be and how I should get it before anyone else did. LOL, after I saw it and rode it I knew I was going to buy it, not really knowing what would happen to it after I got it. I am about to strip its finish off and either have it painted or powder coated. I'd love to have a full polished Superlight, but there is no way I am putting in that much effort ever again.
    It really shouldnt take more than a few hours to do. I think it took me 1-2 hours to do my old hardtail.
    here's my process:
    paint stripper
    paint stripper
    clean and dry
    wet sand with approx. 400 grit
    wet sand with 800 grit
    wet sand with 1500 grit
    polish the easy to reach areas with a sewn cloth buffing wheel mounted on a right angle grinder and some rouge. WD-40 on the wheel helps alot.
    polish with your favorite metal polish by hand.
    Also, you can take it to a place that does metal polishing. Lots of times they have a centrifugal tumbler that'll get it really nice, and also get into all the tight spots.

  21. #21
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    That was basically the same process I did:

    chemical paint remover

    chemical pain remover again

    wash/dry, re-evaluate

    wet sand with 200 (I had a few semi deep scratches to smooth out)

    400 grit

    800 grit

    then I made the mistake of doing 1000 grit

    1500 grit

    and overboard with some 2000 grit

    After that, the actual polish was done by hand. I don't have access to power tools.

  22. #22
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    She is rideable now.








  23. #23
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    That's one very sharp looking adult-sized BMX you have there.
    I ..... need ..... DIRT!!!!!

    ... and cookies. :D

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewTO
    That's one very sharp looking adult-sized BMX you have there.
    I still love my 20" BMX bikes too, but this one certainly has a nice BMX feel to it.

  25. #25
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    I got the chance to toss the bike up on a scale today. I'm not a huge weight weenie, but I do like to know the specs on my stuff.

    The complete bike with its new 18t steel cog (far heavier than the 16t ti cog it replaced), 8spd chain, DMR chain tensioner, bottle cage and hokie platform pedals until I can get a second set of clipless...

    22.18 pounds/10,060 grams

  26. #26
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    +1 for the 510. Just curious do you use the 510 shoes?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogwild
    +1 for the 510. Just curious do you use the 510 shoes?
    510 shoes?
    Too many bicycles to list...

  28. #28
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    It was raining today, but I wanted to go for a ride...

    So I went.


    Too many bicycles to list...

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