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Old 10-25-06, 05:21 PM   #1
knucklesandwich
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winter ss project

I currently own 1 bike, a Kona Jake, which I use to commute about 13mi r/t, about 3-5 days per week. I bought the bike in late June and have put about 900 miles on it, about 80% to and from work (would be higher but I was out of the country for 3 weeks, tying the knot.)

Now..I want another bike (don't we all?), and thought that the winter months might be a good time to start accumulating parts, and building one, to learn more about bike building/mechanics, etc. So I've decided to go single speed, but my dilemma is, what type?

I'd originally planned to take an old road bike and convert to ss, to leave at my folks place at the beach (where it's dead flat terrain) since I go there often in the summer. But lately I've been wondering if maybe it'd be more fun, and would I get more use out of something built along the lines of a Redline Monocog? (whatever my decision, I plan to buy a used bike off craiglist for the frame/fork/wheels, and convert from there)

I guess my main question is- those of you with second (and more) bikes, do you think if your main rig is a road/cx style, you'd prefer your second bike to be flat bar/mtn style? As a weekend/beater bike, is going away from the drops I ride on a daily basis a bad idea, or more a matter of choice? I'm leaning towards something MTB style, that can get me to the store when necessary but can also handle terrain that'd be out of bounds for my Kona...
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Old 10-25-06, 05:49 PM   #2
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I'd say it's a matter of choice. You're not going to forget how to ride on drops. Personally, I don't care for flat bars. Even with bar extensions, they feel weird and I get numb hands after more than 20 minutes. So I went against the tide of flat bar road bikes and put drops on my MTB:



It can still handle any terrain that could before. Just now I can get lower in a headwind and I don't get numb hands on long flats.
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Old 10-25-06, 06:31 PM   #3
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I thought that road bars didn't fit a MTB stem. Obviously, you made it work....
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Old 10-25-06, 07:34 PM   #4
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All MTB stems are designed for bars that are 25.4 mm in diameter at the clamp. All MTB and cruiser bars match this. Some road bike bars are 25.4 and some are 26.0. Mostly I've noticed expensive road bikes came with 26.0 bars. I have a bottom of line Raleigh and a bottom of line Bianchi that both have 25.4 bars as original equipment. Many road handlebar models come in either size.

The one thing that is standard is the diameter of the bar where the brakes mount. That is universally different for road and MTB bars.

All my experience is on older stuff. I know nothing about the new super large diameter handlebars (mostly carbon I guess).
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Old 10-26-06, 10:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bklyn
I thought that road bars didn't fit a MTB stem. Obviously, you made it work....
I thought the same thing too but I had this old set of SR road bars and I figured I'd just see if I could get them in the stem. I did the old reverse the bolt and jam a coin trick to open the clamp as gently as possible and then just worked it in. Fits perfectly.
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Old 10-26-06, 10:46 AM   #6
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Ah, but do the shifters and brake levers fit?
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Old 10-26-06, 10:52 AM   #7
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MTB shifters and brake levers won't fit on road bars, at least the combination that I had. So I recycled another thing from my spare parts bin: old RSX 8spd brifters. And getting them to work with the 7spd cassette is the subject for another thread.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:21 AM   #8
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If you're going to convert the Jake (or any other CX frame) then you have to check the dropouts first. SS conversions on a standard hub need to have a semi-horizontal or horizontal dropout to allow for axle movement when tensioning the chain. If you have vertical drops, then you need to get something like the ENO Eccentric hub, which has an off-center from center of rotation axle bolt, allowing you to rotate the entire hub's center for optimal tension.
The issue with an ENO Eccentric is trying to line up brakes. First off, there's no way a disc will work; and lining up rim brakes will take some adjustment to make sure you aren't off-center from the machined rim surface. The ENO Eccentric is really only covnenient for fg conversions where you'll only be running a front brake.
A decent ss/fg conversion can be done on the Jake for the cost of a back wheel, freewheel/cog/lockring, and a chain tensioner (or you can leave the derailleur as your tensioner if don't want to spend more money.) Just make sure to set a proper chainline when making the conversion.
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Old 10-26-06, 11:54 AM   #9
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For winter SS I use a cruiser-style bar (swept back) and on the fixie, moustache bars. I don't miss the drop-bars for the 12 mile roundtrip commute that I do. I like changing things up so each of my bikes has a slightly different bar on them. I plan on running straight bars for my next singlespeed-conversion-beater bike because it's just going to be ridden around town.
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Old 10-26-06, 12:01 PM   #10
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You have an interesting dilemna. Since you have a very versatile bike in the jake that can handle just about any road sitiuation as well as lots of offroad, you might be better off getting a monocog. I have 4 bikes that I ride regularly; a 7 speed fully rigid mtb, a 9 speed fully suspended mtb, a crazy light and fast racing road bike, and a heavy duty single speed converted road bike. Believe it or not, I spend almost all of my miles on the two old and cheap bikes. I love beating guys on expensive bikes with my thrift store and ebay beaters.

I think the answer depends on the terrain you find yourself on most. My friend has a 26" monocog and we both absolutely love that bike for true mtb riding, but it is practically worthless as a commuter or general all around bike (unless you like commuting below 15 mph). Unless you are going to be doing a lot of offroad stuff or anticipate very heavy snow for your commute this winter, it seems like a waste of money. If you are mainly on the road, I would build up a nice ss road bike as a conversion. I really love to ride mine and am actually seeking ways to convert it to handle offroad situations as well. On the other hand, if you are often offroad, you will get a lot of joy out of the monocog. It is a wonderful bike.

The bottom line is that you already have a bike that can do absolutely anything. That Jake will keep up with club roadies if you put 23's on it. It can climb some serious offroad terrain. It can be converted to a ss for winter commuting in the muck. The versatility of the Jake is amazing and, imo, surpassed only by similar bikes with horizontal drops. So anything you do is really just a luxury bike for fun.
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Old 10-26-06, 12:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
If you're going to convert the Jake (or any other CX frame) then you have to check the dropouts first. SS conversions on a standard hub need to have a semi-horizontal or horizontal dropout to allow for axle movement when tensioning the chain. If you have vertical drops, then you need to get something like the ENO Eccentric hub, which has an off-center from center of rotation axle bolt, allowing you to rotate the entire hub's center for optimal tension.
The issue with an ENO Eccentric is trying to line up brakes. First off, there's no way a disc will work; and lining up rim brakes will take some adjustment to make sure you aren't off-center from the machined rim surface. The ENO Eccentric is really only covnenient for fg conversions where you'll only be running a front brake.
A decent ss/fg conversion can be done on the Jake for the cost of a back wheel, freewheel/cog/lockring, and a chain tensioner (or you can leave the derailleur as your tensioner if don't want to spend more money.) Just make sure to set a proper chainline when making the conversion.
I believe this (the need to be able to move your axel) is true for fixed gear but not for single speed. Any chain tensioner (inluding a fixed rear der.) can be used to take up the slack on a single speed. And frankly, single speeds work pretty well even with amazing amounts of slop in the chain. My chain has about 2.5 inches of movement both up and down right now and has been that way without mishap for over 1,000 miles. There are a few very clean versions of chain tensioners that mount to the chain stay and don't even require a der. mount.

Edit: oops, sorry. I notice now that you already mentioned the chain tensioner. Still, if the OP just wants a single speed and not a fixed gear, he has no need to buy a new hub or rear wheel. He only has to buy a cog to fit the freehub and figure out a way to space that cog for decent chainline. Lots of people use pvc pipe as cheap spacers without much trouble. So he could really do the thing for less than $10 if he used the der. for a chain tensioner. I think he can just put the cable stop into the upstream part of the rear der., then pull it tight to the desired spot along the freehub and clamp it down, then just cut it off. He could also change back to multi gears anytime he wanted with an hour or so of work and at no cost.

Last edited by Sawtooth; 10-26-06 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 10-26-06, 12:16 PM   #12
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Sounds like the idea put forth in the original post is to keep the second bike at the parents place. In that light, I don't think it really counts as a second bike. At either your place or your parents place, you will only have one bike. I'd go with your original instinct and convert an old road bike to SS.

I'f you're thinking of keeping both bikes at your place sometimes, then I think the MTB would be a good choice. Especially if you get bad weather. You could rig up the MTB as a bad weather commuter with fat tires and fenders. Personally, I like having a backup bike for commuting. One fast nice weather bike. One low geared SS with fenders and fat tires for bad weather.

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Old 10-26-06, 12:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawtooth
I believe this (the need to be able to move your axel) is true for fixed gear but not for single speed. Any chain tensioner (inluding a fixed rear der.) can be used to take up the slack on a single speed. And frankly, single speeds work pretty well even with amazing amounts of slop in the chain. My chain has about 2.5 inches of movement both up and down right now and has been that way without mishap for over 1,000 miles. There are a few very clean versions of chain tensioners that mount to the chain stay and don't even require a der. mount.

Edit: oops, sorry. I notice now that you already mentioned the chain tensioner.
The chain tension is less important on an ss conversion than a fixie, since there's no back pressure to throw the chain due to slack. However, I've heard of a couple people on SS/FG talk about a chain bouncing off the freewheel or chainring on really bad road/trail conditions, even with a tensioner on their SS bike.
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Old 10-26-06, 01:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
The chain tension is less important on an ss conversion than a fixie, since there's no back pressure to throw the chain due to slack. However, I've heard of a couple people on SS/FG talk about a chain bouncing off the freewheel or chainring on really bad road/trail conditions, even with a tensioner on their SS bike.
I see your point. Mine is on a road only bike right now.
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Old 10-26-06, 03:00 PM   #15
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thanks for all the varied and interesting replies. this is going to be more of a second bike than a bike to keep at another location, the more i think about it.
my jake is gonna get some less knobby tires eventually when the orginals wear down some, so maybe a flat bar fatter tire ride is what i'm after- something to take off road more often, cruising the neighborhood with my (Slower) wife, etc.
it's not going to be a regular commuter- just a way to get into singlespeeds and add some variety outside of my commute.
thanks again.
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