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  1. #1
    Senior Member desert_tortoise's Avatar
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    Anyone on a singlespeed?

    In the past, I have gone from riding a superlight mountain bike and being very into cross-country riding, which proceeded to road biking when I relocated to a mountain-less area, and now, I recently picked up a singlespeed road bike.

    I certainly feel like there's more effort required when riding my singlespeed. When I was a kid, I definitely didn't feel the need for gears, but boy do I now!

    Does anyone else ride singlespeed? Do you feel at all like you're getting a better physical workout? Also, is there a comparison ratio for singlespeed:road bike mileage? For example, every 5 singlespeed miles is like 8 on a road bike, etc...

    Regardless, I am happy to be back on the bike and excited to continue riding and improving my overall health.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    i love my single speed bike, and commute 4 miles one way to work on it. and when the wind blows, no gears to save me so its a workout.

    dont know about a comparison ratio, but the single speed seems the same to me unless there are hills for that i think the ratio is for every 100 feet of a 7% incline on a single speed is like 7 miles on a road bike

  3. #3
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    I ride a fixed gear which is technically a single speed and the only time I miss the gears are steep inclines and descents. No easy way out of the climb and no coasting down the hill. As for a comparison ratio between a coasting SS and a roadie, there is none. It takes the same work to go anywhere, gears just make it seem like less effort.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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  4. #4
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    I converted my Sirrus Sport to a single speed (not fixed) knobby tired creature, and rode it heavily over the past week in hilly terrain. It was a ball on the hill climbs (some quite steep) and actually made my upper body work, but on down hills and flats it almost immediately ran out of top end. I found it very difficult to get a good work out because it didn't feel like I could keep my heart rate high enough for very long. Granted, I didn't have my meter so it may just be impression, but I had a good strength work out but crappy cardio.

    It was also a ball off road, where I was playing and not sweating the work out.

  5. #5
    Senior Member desert_tortoise's Avatar
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    Thank y'all for your replies. I agree with the comment that it feels like there's not enough top end. I ride singlespeed now, especially since I have some issues feeling my feet, I don't trust myself clipless anymore...lol.

    It feels like I can't go fast enough sometimes. I'm not sure if it's the fact that Reno has a constant uphill slope no matter where you go but it feels like this is more of a workout at times.

    Again, thanks for the welcome and hello fellow singlespeeders.

  6. #6
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    One of my bikes is a fixed gear. I use it a lot around town, and as a training bike: one gets a better workout on an undulating course. There's no logical reason why this should be so, but the fact is that one doesn't work as hard in the hills if there's an opportunity to change down.

    Spinning down the hills helps keep a supple pedalling action too, but obviously is applies only to FG rather than just SS.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I put together a junker for road work exercise. Used a old huffy scout mtn bike frame, the kind that still has the big crank cage and small head tube.



    I used a 48 tooth crank ring i pulled off old Sears AllPro 3 speed, the shimano type d has 19 tooth gear coaster.



    Pedaling along at a cadence of about 70 strokes a minute the bell reads 13-13.5 mph. I have old steel 26x13/8 rims whith road tires on it. Ride 5 miles a day on it.



    its ugly and i can leave it laying anywhre with out fear of loss to theft. Built entirely out of dumpster junk, right down to the reconditioned bearings.



    I keep the Diamondback around back and use it for the back roads riding. I ride the Diamondback mtn bike 2-4 miles with the dogs for there daily exercise.
    Last edited by danlikes; 07-20-11 at 08:01 PM.

  8. #8
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    I love my singlespeed. I built it two years ago and have ridden it a lot on my 10 mile commute. The gearing is a little low (40/16), but I still run the same average speed as my geared bikes (about 15mph, I'm not that fast).

    The simplicity of just pedaling and not having to shift is a great change of pace.


  9. #9
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    I can't ride anything else (currently). Technically I've always ridden a single speed though, even if it had gearing because I rarely-- if ever- shifted. Only to the next gear, then staying there, as my fitness improved over the summer.
    I ride in the flatlands though.

    Last edited by raytobe; 07-21-11 at 08:42 PM. Reason: can't spell
    Motobecane Vent Noir Single Speed (my baby)
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  10. #10
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Just because you have a single speed doesn't mean you automatically have the RIGHT speed. You can get different rear sprockets to adjust it up or down (may need to change out the chain, too, though.)

    I rode a single-speed Worksman cruiser for a couple of years. A bit slower, more work. It was geared fairly low, lower than most fixies.

    On long rides, I find I will be riding in lower gears at the end than at the beginning, so that would be one issue trying to get the "right" gear.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  11. #11
    Junior Member Itskabibbles's Avatar
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    I'm 6'4, around 250lbs and after not riding a bike since grade school, picked up a single speed se draft lite (42/16 at the moment) about a month or so ago and i absolutely love it. I've literally been on a geared bike maybe twice, and it wasn't for anything but probably riding down to the nearest convenience store for some gummy worms or somesuch.

    For me, and probably a lot of others, I'm enjoying riding single speed because of the simplicity and the energy expenditure of the experience.
    I tool around during the day going from point a to point b, but at night, when the streets are less crowded, i venture out and really push myself. There's a route i like to travel right by my house that's about 2.8 miles that starts off around 80" and climbs up past 400". The last half mile is pretty brutal, but I love pushing through and climbing to the top of that bastard hill.

    I've also been riding a predominately flat loop around the east and west bank waterfront here in portland that spans about 2.5 miles to work on cadence and stamina.

    Tonight I rode 20.2 miles in 1:45 and had a blast doing lung busting hill climbs, bombing down long hills, and just generally pushing myself past what i thought was my ceiling last night.

    The crown jewel of the night though was getting a pretty good rolling start down a slight hill and (through some of the most furious peddling I've ever done) passing a car which was traveling around 25-30 mph.
    Last edited by Itskabibbles; 07-24-11 at 04:47 AM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member callmeclemens's Avatar
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    I roode single speed, its funny I just got my new bike and I shifted down maybe once so far. In my time as an SS rider I did do two metric centuries as well.

  13. #13
    Retired C.O. RandoneeRider's Avatar
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    I find myself looking at single speeds of late. I want something for 'round town, no aggressive seating/handlebars, simple, but exudes affordable quality. What I've seen are inexpensive, but I don't have a trained eye for recognizing fly-by-night brand names or 'CHEAP' and lacking quality components.

    What are some of the better "fixies"/single speed brand-names, and what (at least) should one spend to get something that's of good quality???

  14. #14
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    I just got back into cycling after taking a 7 year break (I'm 19 now...) and decided that I didn't want the craziest-geared high tech machinery just to mess around on, so I opted for a CHEAP single speed with drop bars. I don't think I've ever had so much fun by having to work so hard! The climbs are really challenging, but the tuck and fly from the top of the hills are so worth it. I just did full out sprint for 2.5 miles (third ride back in the saddle) and found that being heavier than average definitely has it's advantages on downhills

  15. #15
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandoneeRider View Post
    I find myself looking at single speeds of late. I want something for 'round town, no aggressive seating/handlebars, simple, but exudes affordable quality. What I've seen are inexpensive, but I don't have a trained eye for recognizing fly-by-night brand names or 'CHEAP' and lacking quality components.

    What are some of the better "fixies"/single speed brand-names, and what (at least) should one spend to get something that's of good quality???
    As a total for what its worth, my flat bar road hybrid was built on a Nashbar frame, and I am very pleased. The reason I mention it is Nashbar sells all sorts of Nekkid single speeds in different configurations, and raw frames, that are essentially identical to my hybrid. They can be had for anywhere from $250-300 depending on how you catch sales. My frame was $80, and the SS frame can be gotten for the same. For the money, they don't look bad at all. And the frame is a very snappy ride.

  16. #16
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    SS for me. actually, it's my only bike. I got a Specialized P1 years ago and sold my other 2 road bikes and a mountain bike within that month.

    it's simple, kicks my fitness into high gear, and brings a quick smile. It's still a pure pleasure to ride, even if I have to push up some hills or switchbacks.

  17. #17
    No Money and No Sense sillygolem's Avatar
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    If you want cheap, get an old 10 speed and convert it. I wrote a how-to thread on SSFG using my own conversion. An ISO-thread single speed freewheel (basically anything with more than 15t) will thread on in place of the multi-gear freewheel.

    I geared using Sixty's rule of thumb (stickied thread on SSFG) in a very hilly area, and I find I can get up most hills, and spin a bit while going down. Since the countryside around me is nothing but short, steep hills, this makes for a great training tool for sprints - Mash up hills, spin down them to keep momentum for the next hill.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
    I ride fixed because I'm mad at my parents. **** you Mom!

  18. #18
    Fat Guy Rolling dcrowell's Avatar
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    I love my single-speed (with flip-flop hub so I can run fixed)



    It's since been equipped with rack & fenders for commuting.
    Last edited by dcrowell; 07-29-11 at 08:07 AM. Reason: stupid typo!
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  19. #19
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Heck, I even race 'cross on a single.

    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  20. #20
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Heck, I even race 'cross on a single.
    Hardcore. what gearing do you use?
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  21. #21
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Hardcore. what gearing do you use?
    I had 38/18 in that pic. Relatively flat course, dry day, not much pavement section.
    For mud/hills, or less straightaways and more technical corners I'd swap that 18 out for a 20 in back.

    On my commuter/mid-distance bike I have a 44/17 combo.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  22. #22
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandoneeRider View Post
    I find myself looking at single speeds of late. I want something for 'round town, no aggressive seating/handlebars, simple, but exudes affordable quality. What I've seen are inexpensive, but I don't have a trained eye for recognizing fly-by-night brand names or 'CHEAP' and lacking quality components.

    What are some of the better "fixies"/single speed brand-names, and what (at least) should one spend to get something that's of good quality???
    If you're handy with a wrench, the Motobecane Fantom Uno is a nice starter. I saw a couple of those last week at the race. 4130 frame/fork, entry-level components that will hold up well. If anything, just replace the brakes and saddle. I'm not a fan of the Shorty 4's it stocks with, and I love the CR720 wide profile cantis (which are dirt cheap.)
    IRO makes nice wheels if you're looking for pre-built or builder components. I really like their rims and hubs. My race bike sports a pair of their house-built wheels.
    A little more spendy, but if you can still find one the Vassago Fisticuff frame/fork I race on gives you options: Track ends for single/fixed, derailleur hanger if you wanna drop gears on it, removable canti studs, disc mounts, 700c clearance for 45mm, 650b clearance for 2.1", relaxed angles for less of a twitchy "race feel" unlike many ssfg frames which are based on track geometry (steep angles).
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  23. #23
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    I had 38/18 in that pic. Relatively flat course, dry day, not much pavement section.
    For mud/hills, or less straightaways and more technical corners I'd swap that 18 out for a 20 in back.

    On my commuter/mid-distance bike I have a 44/17 combo.
    Interesting, it never occurred to me to do cross on my singlespeed. I run a 42/16 for normal purposes, and most of the time I use it fixed. Great training tool, IMO.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  24. #24
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Interesting, it never occurred to me to do cross on my singlespeed. I run a 42/16 for normal purposes, and most of the time I use it fixed. Great training tool, IMO.
    Half the guys on my team who raced last Thursday were on singlespeeds. Singlespeed is an official bracket at most events (at least around the PNW) and there's talk of some series even breaking it down into SS-Cat-X so guys like me aren't just getting dusted in a lap and a half by Cat-1/2 guys like JT Fountain (USAC Nationals) and Craig Etheridge (CMWC). I got winded just trying to get from one side of the meadow to the other so I could snap pix of those two dudes!

    I am, however, the lone Clyde reppin' Team SLK. Can't wait for the PDX Cross Crusade, since they have a Clyde division!
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Caveman's Avatar
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    I have a CF wonder bike and a nice and simple SS I recently built up. It's great for when I only have an hour or so and want to get in a quick ride. Mine has 48/18 gearing. That lets me maintain 17-18 mph on the flats and still climb some pretty decent hills, albeit slowly. They're fun to ride and I think it improves my fitness and pedaling technique. Simple is good, but I confess mine has clipless pedals and a mount for my Garmin. At first glance it looks like any geared bike. I kinda like the double takes people do when they suddenly figure out it's a SS.
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