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  1. #1
    Senior Member geoduck's Avatar
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    Old MTB to single speed: how hard/how much?

    Hello all,

    I've got an early 90s Trek frame that I'd like to get back into action as my 'round towner. The frame itself is solid, but the components are shot, including the rear-end drivetrain (cogs, der, and chain) and the rear wheel itself (two broken spokes). Also, the rear der hanger is tweaked.

    Since I'd be replacing the rear end anyway, I wonder if I can cheap out and just go to single speed. The issues/requirements as I see them:

    - Replace rear wheel/cluster with rear wheel/freewheel. What about the spacing to match the width of the rear triangle, is this a problem?

    - How to achieve good chainline with the front? This has a deore triple on it now; can I just put a new ring on the middle slot? Also, should I figure this out before I purchase the rear wheel? I'm thinking there may be a way to tweak the location of the freewheel along the hub to accomodate the location of the chainring, but maybe I'm wrong.

    - What is a workable range of gear combos for singlespeed?

    - Of course, this bike does not have horizontal dropouts. Is this a big problem?

    Before starting on this project, I need to know how much $ I can get this done for. This is definately my 'B' bike, so I want to go as cheap as possible. The big-ticket item that I see is the rear wheel/freewheel.

    I'd like to go LBS on this one, but would buy online if I could figure out exactly what I need.

    Any input or guidance from the forum denizens is much appreciated!

    _'duck

  2. #2
    legalize bikes
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    without horizontal drops your price is going to go up a lot. you can either get an elliptical hub (lotsa money), have horiz drops put on (less money), or get a SS chain tensioner (least money). personally i think tensioners are very tacky, and nearly defeat the entire point of building a SS. i think your best bet is to find a LBS that will weld some horiz drops cheaply, or find another frame. old specialized MTBs have short horiz. drops, they work great, and look great.

  3. #3
    Senior Member shecky's Avatar
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    It may work well without any modifications. Especially if you try using a half link, which would be the cheapest by far.

  4. #4
    legalize bikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by shecky
    It may work well without any modifications. Especially if you try using a half link, which would be the cheapest by far.
    i taken this road before, and didnt work like i wanted it to. it may work for others, but when i tried it i thought i had the tension perfect, but when i went MTBing it would skip a tooth on the climbs. after that i ditched the idea of trying to work with vertical dropouts for the reason above plus more... if you do get the tension perfect by playing with gear combos and/or a half link, you're stuck with that combo! i like to have the freedom to change ratios.

  5. #5
    Senior Member geoduck's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Legalize_it: Yeah, I figured that not having horizontal drops might be a problem. I'm not really into having them changed (just not worth it, IMO), and I don't care how it looks; after all, this is my wintertime beater, not my primary ride. A tensioner may be the way to go.

    Shecky: what is a half link?

    Thanks,

    _'duck

  6. #6
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Half-link: Chains normally comprise alternating inside (skinny) and outside (wide) sections. Each section is precisely 1/2 inch long. This system restricts chain lengths to integer numbers of inches, i.e., an even number of sections, such as 116. A half-link, skinny at one end and fat at the other, allows one to build a chain that is an odd number of sections long, e.g. 115.

    You may be able to salvage/straighten your current rear derailleur and hanger to permit its cage to serve as a "zero budget" chain tensioner.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

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