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Old 11-28-04, 07:44 AM   #1
michaelwlf3
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Singlespeed?

Hi, guys, I am new here although almost every time I enter some bike part search into google it refers me to a thread in this forum. So this is my first post but not my first visit.

I was wondering what some of you 50+ people think about singlespeeds. I converted a regular bike to SS last summer and didn't encounter a hill I couldn't ride up, although I know there are some around here. That particualr bike didn't last long - it was too small and I couldn't get the parts to make it fit economically. Eventually I bought an old GT Pantera frame with horizontal dropouts to make a SS out of but when I got it home I built it up as a geared bike with spare parts I have lying around so I could ride it while I was getting the single speed stuff together. It's GREAT. It's a little taller than a mountain bike would be and it makes a great bike for greenways when you have to ride on gravel. It's comfortable enough to take on long distance road rides when I feel like risking my life with North Carolina drivers, too.

Now I am really in a quandry. DO I want to keep this bike as a geared bike or continue with my SS plans? Most of my riding will be commuting, light touring, and knocking around town.

I am particularly interested in what you heart patients think about singlespeeds. Since I am a heart patient, my wife didn't think I should do the single speed thing, but like I told her: "Look, dear, climbing is hard no matter what gear I am in. If it gets that tough I'll walk."

What say you?
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Old 11-28-04, 08:38 AM   #2
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I grew up on a single speed as a kid. It was great to get rid of the SS. I like gears - they were a great improvement over single speed. If I want SS, I will just find an appropriate gear and leave the bike in that gearing.

I know there must be a lot more to SS than I suppose, but it just doesn't appeal to me. As far as "heart patient" I think it makes no difference. you can push as hard on gears as on a SS, if you want.

Fixed would be something else - I like free wheeling. Again, I am likely missing out on something important here.
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Old 11-28-04, 08:46 AM   #3
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The single speeds we had as kids weren't quite as nice as the ones around now, but one thing for sure is I never got off the fat tire thing!

But I understand your point - there's not a hell of a lot to be said for singlespeeding, unless you are just really pissed off at your shifters and drivetrain combination. It's metaphysical, I think. Now fixed gear is something else, and there are people who take those things off road. THAT's fringe.

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Old 11-28-04, 02:52 PM   #4
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I would assume that most of us in the over 50 forum started off on single speeds. Last month while my wife and I were in Europe, we saw a lot of bicycling going on, as transportation, especially in Germany and Holland. It seemed like most of those were single speed. Not much steep terrain in the cities we visited.

We went to visit the Kröller-Muller museum near Arnheim, which is in a Dutch Nature Park. An option there is to park your car at the entrance and then ride into the park (and to the museum) on one of the fleet of well maintained single speed bikes that they provide. Then you don't have to pay the vehicle entry fee, AND you get some exercise. Those bikes were a lot of fun.

Where I live, in Berkeley, California, there is quite a bit of hilly terrain. Maybe if I were younger I could pedal up these steep hills on a single speed, but I really appreciate being able to shift down when I come to a steep hill now.

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Old 11-28-04, 05:45 PM   #5
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I recently put one together, mostly out of curiosity and partly because I had most of the parts on hand. Riding it has been a blast - very different strategies when you're out riding, the wind comes up, a hill presents itself and all you have is one gear.

I think everyone should have one.

Easy and inexpensive - I bought the Surly Singulator, a 42 Ultegra ring, a set of spacers, a 16T BMX cog and a SRAM track chain - Less than $100.
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Old 11-28-04, 06:01 PM   #6
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I am solidly with Denver Fox on this one. I love gears, even on flat land, where they are great for acceleration or for adjusting to wind conditions. (Have you ever crept for 25 miles / 40 km against a headwind, in a 45-inch gear? I have, on the coast highway going north out of Santa Cruz CA.) I also tend to be pretty sensitive to my crank RPM and appreciate being able to optimize it across a wide range of ground speeds.

The more underpowered the vehicle, the more gears it needs, and we cyclists are pretty underpowered compared to most other vehicles on the road.
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Old 11-29-04, 04:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Trogon
I recently put one together, mostly out of curiosity and partly because I had most of the parts on hand. Riding it has been a blast - very different strategies when you're out riding, the wind comes up, a hill presents itself and all you have is one gear.

I think everyone should have one.

Easy and inexpensive - I bought the Surly Singulator, a 42 Ultegra ring, a set of spacers, a 16T BMX cog and a SRAM track chain - Less than $100.
How much trouble did you have tuning your chain line?

I tried the Singleator/spacer route the last time and concluded that the spacer kit I got was inferior. The setup I was planning for this frame was a full blown singlespeed setup with dedicated hubs and all. The great thing about a conversion, though, is that you have way more gearing options.
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Old 11-29-04, 10:53 AM   #8
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Without a doubt get a singlespeed.

I re-did an old Italian frame as a singlespeed and it's now my favorite bike.

Smooth, very quiet, and really simple. 40x16 is not a bad gear that lets me get up any hill. One just has to adjust one's body and brain rather than one's gearing.

You'll love it and it will make you a stronger rider.
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Old 11-29-04, 11:33 AM   #9
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I re-did an old Italian frame as a singlespeed and it's now my favorite bike.
You'll love it and it will make you a stronger rider.
I have an old Chiorda with chrome lugs and have come across a fixed gear rear wheel I'll be putting together over the winter, so next spring I'll be "experiencing the experience". Single speed sounds more appealing to me than fixed, but...
Part of the single speed/fixed gear appeal is the clean look of the bike without gears and cables hanging all over. The other attraction is the "return to simplicity' aspect.
I don't expect to be riding it all the time - I don't really enjoy the days commuting into a strong headwind, a fixed gear/single speed for commuting would probably make me want to take the bus on those windy days!
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Old 11-29-04, 12:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eureka
Without a doubt get a singlespeed.

I re-did an old Italian frame as a singlespeed and it's now my favorite bike.

Smooth, very quiet, and really simple. 40x16 is not a bad gear that lets me get up any hill. One just has to adjust one's body and brain rather than one's gearing.

You'll love it and it will make you a stronger rider.
That's true: from the SS riding I have done it's more of a mental adjustment than a physical one, although there is some of that, too.
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Old 11-29-04, 04:01 PM   #11
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I'm a heart patient (no big deal, just atrial fib), turn 60 in January, and I built up a singlespeed four or five years ago. I don't ride it as much as I'd like--I don't ride anything as much as I'd like--but it's a lot of fun, and I know it's made me stronger. I live in the Sierra, and I can climb hills in the SS now that I could barely climb in my 26-26 granny gear on my other bike a couple of years ago. Over the same course, my normal rides, it's not appreciably slower than my Atlantis. I can't figure that out, but it's not unusual for people to say that.
I put fenders on it for winter and keep it at work (in Reno, in a flat valley). I can ride at lunch, and maintenance is just hosing it off and lubing the chain. I also use it in Yosemite Valley during an annual family trip and take it to the Bay Area sometimes when I visit relatives there. It's always fun, and provides an answer to "But you already HAVE a lot of bikes":
"Yeah, but I don't have one of THESE!"
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Old 11-30-04, 09:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwlf3
How much trouble did you have tuning your chain line?

I tried the Singleator/spacer route the last time and concluded that the spacer kit I got was inferior. The setup I was planning for this frame was a full blown singlespeed setup with dedicated hubs and all. The great thing about a conversion, though, is that you have way more gearing options.
First ride - noisy as heck. Went back home, loosened the retaining bolt on the Singulator wheel, moved some of the spacers around (mine is a Wheels Manufacturing kit) and put it all back together. Silent and no problem since then.

I too thought about a full-on conversion, but didn't feel like messing around with chain length and the vertical dropouts. But, I had all the pieces and parts so - here we have it.
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Old 12-02-04, 10:27 AM   #13
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You SS and fixie guys are bent on setting cycling technology back 100 years.

Seriously, I CAN understand the attraction and the simplicity and purity, just as I fully appreciate both chamber music and a big symphony. The only thing that disgusts me are people who saw the derailleur hanger tabs off of their dropouts.
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Old 12-02-04, 01:38 PM   #14
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You SS and fixie guys are bent on setting cycling technology back 100 years.

Seriously, I CAN understand the attraction and the simplicity and purity, just as I fully appreciate both chamber music and a big symphony. The only thing that disgusts me are people who saw the derailleur hanger tabs off of their dropouts.
AAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!

Perish the thought!

I have seen a used frame, though, with the derailleur hanger broken off, though, and it's only for safety's sake you'd want to dress it up a bit...
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Old 12-02-04, 02:04 PM   #15
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I'm not 50 quite yet but after reading the text content and intellect in this forum I feel I should be here. I'm nearing 40 and I love my single speed I converted from an old Schwinn Super Le Tour. I used to race my dirt single speed before I decided that I may be getting to old and finding not enough time to train as I would have needed to to stay competitive (not to mention it starting taking longer to get back up after crashing). So I turned to the road for my single speed crave. I cannot knock geared bikes as I believe that cycling is cycling and it is to ride that is important but if I were to choose between the two I would go with single speed (at least as long as my knees would let me). I find that even with one gear you can get many great training regiments. Using wind and hills, I can obtain my interval sessions and the flats to just spin and recover. The clean looks and simplicity is great.
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Old 12-02-04, 05:58 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trogon
First ride - noisy as heck. Went back home, loosened the retaining bolt on the Singulator wheel, moved some of the spacers around (mine is a Wheels Manufacturing kit) and put it all back together. Silent and no problem since then.

I too thought about a full-on conversion, but didn't feel like messing around with chain length and the vertical dropouts. But, I had all the pieces and parts so - here we have it.
No need for the vertical dropout dillemma, either. You could go for the White Industries ENO hub with the eccentric axle if you are willing to pay the freight, but if what you are riding now works don't fix it.

After reading some of the replies here I decided to convert an old Trek road frame I have to SS and keep the bike I just built as a geared bike. It's a kind of a bass ackwards way to go about things but life is like that.

I already have a Singleator and I just found a Suntour freewheel hub with the right spacing and drilling I want. That way I won't have to deal with spacers and all I need is a freewheel and I'm good to go. It looks like ALL the fixies and singlespeeders here are riding road frames, so I'll join them.
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Old 12-02-04, 06:02 PM   #17
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I'm not 50 quite yet but after reading the text content and intellect in this forum I feel I should be here. I'm nearing 40 and I love my single speed I converted from an old Schwinn Super Le Tour. I used to race my dirt single speed before I decided that I may be getting to old and finding not enough time to train as I would have needed to to stay competitive (not to mention it starting taking longer to get back up after crashing). So I turned to the road for my single speed crave. I cannot knock geared bikes as I believe that cycling is cycling and it is to ride that is important but if I were to choose between the two I would go with single speed (at least as long as my knees would let me). I find that even with one gear you can get many great training regiments. Using wind and hills, I can obtain my interval sessions and the flats to just spin and recover. The clean looks and simplicity is great.
Ah, yes, I remember when I was almost 40. It seems like it was only 12 years ago...

Why, I could climb a telephone pole if I could stay on it, ride a century in four hours, rode offroad with no suspension at all, and my training rides were all uphill - both ways - and I was thankful.

I play guitar, too.
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Old 12-03-04, 05:43 AM   #18
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Ah, yes, I remember when I was almost 40. It seems like it was only 12 years ago...

Why, I could climb a telephone pole if I could stay on it, ride a century in four hours, rode offroad with no suspension at all, and my training rides were all uphill - both ways - and I was thankful.

I play guitar, too.
And I remeber when I was 40, it seems like just yesterday I'm thinking you caught on to my Segovia signature. Are you a classical guitarist as well?
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Old 12-03-04, 12:34 PM   #19
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And I remeber when I was 40, it seems like just yesterday I'm thinking you caught on to my Segovia signature. Are you a classical guitarist as well?
Well, I guess you could say I was once: I studied the classical for about 5 years, but the money was in playing steel strings, so I got out of touch with it.

Segovia was head and shoulders above everybody, wasn't he? I can't even think of anybody to compare with him, although I do like John Williams and the Romero Brothers a lot.
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Old 12-03-04, 12:55 PM   #20
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Well, I guess you could say I was once: I studied the classical for about 5 years, but the money was in playing steel strings, so I got out of touch with it.

Segovia was head and shoulders above everybody, wasn't he? I can't even think of anybody to compare with him, although I do like John Williams and the Romero Brothers a lot.
I agree with you. He didn't get the name "Maestro" for nothing, eh? However, I must say that his playing wasn't always the cleanest in tone, know what I mean? John Williams is simply a machine. I don't think there is any piece that he can't play extremely well. I heard from the classical guitar forum I go to that someone was able to see him in concert and was able to get backstage. They said that Williams simply played a couple of short run scales and was warmed up enough for the show . . . amazing. Pepe Romero I feel is falling in Segovias shoes as Maestro. His name is coming up so much more now than before. Juliam Bream and Manuel Barrueco is another of my favorites and there are so many new young guitarist coming up such as Ana Vidovic from Russia and Xafei Yang from China. Both women and very talented . . . cute too!
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Old 12-03-04, 01:19 PM   #21
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I had some Julian Bream on CD, but his playing just left me cold.

I used to get a magazine in which Sharon Isbin was a contributing editor, but oddly, I have never heard her. I have talked to people who really like her playing, though.

I have an Angel Romero CD around somewhere that my wife has played to death: I had a chance to see them all play at a college once and missed it.
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Old 12-03-04, 02:37 PM   #22
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I had some Julian Bream on CD, but his playing just left me cold.

I used to get a magazine in which Sharon Isbin was a contributing editor, but oddly, I have never heard her. I have talked to people who really like her playing, though.

I have an Angel Romero CD around somewhere that my wife has played to death: I had a chance to see them all play at a college once and missed it.
I first thought about that from Bream too. It was when I heard his lute works is when I started appreciating his style of playing. I think he uses his lute technique on his classical recordings too. I am a big fan or rennaisance music. My reportiore is loaded with it. Sharon Isbin is a very good guitarist. I believe it is Acoustic Guitar where she had a classical column (not sure). I would be kicking myself in the a$$ if I missed a concert like that. They are becoming more and more rare, not to mention expensive. I think we got off track of the cycling part of this forum, eh?
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Old 12-05-04, 06:12 PM   #23
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I'm thinking of finding a garage sale beater bike and cleaning it up for riding around town. I was thinking of looking for that single gear adapter for the back, that replaces the rear derailleur, and maybe leaving the front derailleur and chainrings on. Either that or just use the middle ring as a single speed. Find a cheap rack to bolt on the back, and bolt a milk crate to it to hold things. This would let me ride around town on errands and let the car sit in the driveway.
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Old 12-07-04, 02:31 PM   #24
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I never understood why anyone would convert a bike from geared to ss other than loosing a little weight. Leave it geared and when you want ss, just don't shift but leave yourself the option of shifting if you want/need to.
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Old 12-07-04, 08:18 PM   #25
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I never understood why anyone would convert a bike from geared to ss other than loosing a little weight. Leave it geared and when you want ss, just don't shift but leave yourself the option of shifting if you want/need to.
Losing weight is something.
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