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  1. #1
    derailleurs are overrated bigbenaugust's Avatar
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    Swift to SS conversion?

    I have a Swift and I am contemplating converting it to singlespeed. Since it has horizontal dropouts is it as simple as yanking the derailleur, putting a BMX wheel in the rear, and shortening the chain? Or even just getting the Nashbar singlespeed conversion kit and spacing the chain out to the right line, then yanking the deraillaur and shortening the chain? I know someone on here has done this before.

    Apologies if this actually belongs in the FG/SS forum.
    --Ben
    Carrboro Bike Coalition - putting the "bike" in "CARrboro" :)
    2011 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, 2009 Motobecane Fantom CX
    Previously: 2000 Trek 4500 (2000-2003), 2003 Novara Randonee (2003-2006), 2003 Giant Rainier (2003-2008), 2005 Xootr Swift (2005-2007), 2007 Nashbar 1x9 (2007-2011), 2011 Windsor Shetland (2011-2014)
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  2. #2
    All ur bike r belong Enki james_swift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbenaugust
    I have a Swift and I am contemplating converting it to singlespeed. Since it has horizontal dropouts is it as simple as yanking the derailleur, putting a BMX wheel in the rear, and shortening the chain? Or even just getting the Nashbar singlespeed conversion kit and spacing the chain out to the right line, then yanking the deraillaur and shortening the chain? I know someone on here has done this before.

    Apologies if this actually belongs in the FG/SS forum.
    A BMX wheel would be a lot more hassle, since you'd need to respace the 120mm width to at least 130mm by installing a longer axle and some axle spacers...then you'd have to figure-out the chainline by messing with chainwheel spacers and/or different bottom bracket axle widths.

    The best way to go about it is by converting your current wheel, or getting a pre-converted wheel from Peter of Design Mobility (purveyor of custom Swift configurations and parts). I'll run-down each option for you...

    1.) Quick and dirty - convert your own wheel

    Get the SS conversion kit from Nashbar and just shorten your chain, however, I'd highly recommend using a chaintug on the drive-side to keep the axle from sliding forward under torque. The On-one chaintug is perfect for this application: it fits the Swift's dropout nice and snug, is super-light, and works perfectly with the quick release skewer. Make sure you omit the 2 flat washers on each end of the axle when you re-install the wheel. This not only allows a bit more QR skewer length necessary to compensate for the added stack height of the chaintug, but also exposes the serrated spacers which provide more bite into the inside dropouts, further holding the axle in place when you tighten things down. The chaintug also makes super-fine adjustments to your chain tension possible, and once you do set it, it stays set.

    Tools required:
    -Chainwhip
    -Cassette lockring tool
    -Set of metric allen wrenches for removing the derailleur and shifter
    -Metric metal ruler or caliper
    -Chain tool

    Skills:
    -Sheldon's chainline article
    -Make note that when measuring the front chainline, to measure from the center of the seat tube to the center of the chainwheel. Just measure the diameter of the seat tube and divide by 2, then add to this the distance from the center of the chainwheel to just up to the seat tube.


    2.) Quicker and cleaner - buy a pre-converted wheel:

    Peter of Design Mobility is offering a pre-converted SS wheel that you just throw into your dropouts and go. For ~$55 (check with Peter on price), you get the same wheel, only with a solid axle and track nuts installed, in addition to a single cog of your choice with spacers. It even comes with a tire. All you need to do is chuck the derailleur and shifter. The only disadvantage is that you give-up the convenience of having a quick-release skewer. Make sure you carry a 15mm wrench with you when you ride, or install a hardy kevlar-belted tire to prevent punctures.

    Tools required:
    -15mm wrench
    -Set of metric allen wrenches for removing the derailleur and shifter
    -Chain tool

    Whichever road you take, make sure you chuck the old chain and get a new one. Old chain and new cog do not mix. Get a SRAM chain with a Powerlink. A 14T cog with the stock Kenda tire will give you 70 gear inches. If you swap-out the 52T chainring for a 54, then you'll have 73 gear inches.

    Check-out the pics of my SS conversion here and in my signature.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by james_swift; 03-05-06 at 07:47 AM.

  3. #3
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    I'm glad I saw this thread before doing anything stupid. I was planning to go out and buy a BMX wheel to replace my even quicker-and-dirtier method for single speed on my Dahon Boardwalk D6 (i.e. removing the derailleur, picking the gear with the best chainline, and shortening the chain). Who is this Peter of Design Mobility of which you speak? $55 sounds like a decent price, and I'm curious. Does he do fixed, or just SS?

  4. #4
    All ur bike r belong Enki james_swift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbcb
    I'm glad I saw this thread before doing anything stupid. I was planning to go out and buy a BMX wheel to replace my even quicker-and-dirtier method for single speed on my Dahon Boardwalk D6 (i.e. removing the derailleur, picking the gear with the best chainline, and shortening the chain). Who is this Peter of Design Mobility of which you speak? $55 sounds like a decent price, and I'm curious. Does he do fixed, or just SS?
    You may want to check the width of the rear hub of your Dahon Boardwalk first. Standard road cassette hub is 130mm, although Dahon is famous for playing with standard measurements. The wheels that Peter (the co-founder/designer of the original Swift) builds are spaced at 132.5mm to fit the Swift rear dropout, so this may not work on your Dahon. The best thing to do (if you're up to it) is get the SS spacer and cog kit from Nashbar and convert your Dahon rear wheel. Your Boardwalk probably has vertical dropouts, so in order to tension the chain, you simply use the spring-loadeded tensioner device included in the Nashbar kit (again, rpovided that the derailleur hanger on your Dahon is close to standard...I know the deraileurs on some Dahons are proprietary). Good luck.

  5. #5
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by james_swift
    You may want to check the width of the rear hub of your Dahon Boardwalk first. Standard road cassette hub is 130mm, although Dahon is famous for playing with standard measurements. The wheels that Peter (the co-founder/designer of the original Swift) builds are spaced at 132.5mm to fit the Swift rear dropout, so this may not work on your Dahon. The best thing to do (if you're up to it) is get the SS spacer and cog kit from Nashbar and convert your Dahon rear wheel. Your Boardwalk probably has vertical dropouts, so in order to tension the chain, you simply use the spring-loadeded tensioner device included in the Nashbar kit (again, rpovided that the derailleur hanger on your Dahon is close to standard...I know the deraileurs on some Dahons are proprietary). Good luck.
    The Dahon actually has [horizontal dropouts/track fork ends]. Frame spacing seems to be 125mm, though my ruler might be a bit off. Probably too tight for the wheels you mention. I notice on the Harris Cyclery website that the I.R.O. flip-flop hubs are meant for 120-130mm frame spacing, so they would fit comfortably (http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/fixed-hubs.html). Is there any reason I wouldn't be able to use one of these with a BMX rim?

    As it is right now, I've gone SS by removing the derailleur, shortening the chain and choosing a gear with a good chainline. It's not a perfect solution, but I'm already finding it more fun to ride. Aside from all those ugly unused gears hanging there, it's pretty much the same outcome as a Nashbar conversion, no?

  6. #6
    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbcb
    Is there any reason I wouldn't be able to use one of these with a BMX rim?
    Should be good as long as the rim holes match the spoke holes. Otherwise you have to create your own spoke pattern.

  7. #7
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for their help. I'll see how things work out.

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