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Old 11-24-09, 10:56 AM   #1
4evrplan
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What's all this SS noise about

I always thought single speed was just for BMX and kid's bikes. I could definitely see switching to 1x9, but I use like 4 gears just on the relatively flat 1/2 mile between home and work and 7 of them on the trail (I never shift the front). However, I've read more than enough about people's SS bikes to make me wonder. Is it really that good even on a fair mix of up and down? I noticed even the TransAM comes in SS flavor. Do you folks with SS bikes ever ride all mountain?
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Old 11-24-09, 11:59 AM   #2
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I tried out single-speed for a while - - was building up a hardtail from spare parts and didn't have money for gears yet. I thought it was interesting but a pain in the ass.

I ♥ moar gearz.
And moar shimz.
and more cowbell.
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Old 11-24-09, 12:11 PM   #3
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gears are for sissy's! I am heading home for thanksgiving today and will go out and ride Walnut Creek which is like my home turf you could say and has a lot of climbing. Ill let you know how it goes...most of the stuff around here is really flat like 50 feet elevation change total so it's not much of a challenge. I rode fixed gear before building my mtb though so i guess i was used to it a little bit.
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Old 11-24-09, 12:31 PM   #4
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the only time i really shift is going up a hill. i would go 1x9 first to tell if it makes a difference.
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Old 11-24-09, 12:40 PM   #5
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i haven't really tried SS. i do not think it is for me. i am sure it would cause too much stress on my knees and lower back. i have found i do much better with a higher cadence. i cannot imagine doing some hills without my gears. i guess i have a sense of entitlement. i am entitled to gears.

however, it is a great excuse to build up another bike! so i am sure i will do one in a year or two since i now have a justifiable reason for another bike.

maybe i will really enjoy it and not get joint pains. who knows. probably something i would have to ease into though.

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Old 11-24-09, 12:55 PM   #6
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I thought about doing a SS but after finding new trails with a lot more climbing I have found that a 1x8 (current bike has an 8 spd cassette) would be a lot better. I never shift out of my middle COG so losing the other two chain rings wont bother me. Just need to find a bash and chain guide and get it done.
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Old 11-24-09, 01:00 PM   #7
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Old 11-24-09, 01:07 PM   #8
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SS hurt my knees.

I'm still recovering.
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Old 11-24-09, 01:18 PM   #9
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Now that you mention it, I remember you talking about that. Hope you get better soon.
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Old 11-24-09, 02:01 PM   #10
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Anybody ever try a SS, fixed rear hub, brakeless MTB ?
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Old 11-24-09, 02:08 PM   #11
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You wouldn't want to do that. Your only brake would be rear and you'd be skidding all over the trails. Thats bad, m'kay?
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Old 11-24-09, 02:19 PM   #12
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My one SS experience showed me that I was typically pushing too low a gear on my regular bike. After that, I didn't like it. I like my gears.
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Old 11-24-09, 02:26 PM   #13
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I have liked options since my 2 speed Stingray in 1964. I have thought that 24 "choices" was overkill years ago. Now, up to 33, it has to stop somewhere. But a single speed. Maybe for a Donut run and putting a basket on the handle bars. Granny Gear and I spend a lot of time together.
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Old 11-24-09, 02:31 PM   #14
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I rode SS all summer, about 1000 miles. I've ridden it on everything from easy trails to stuff at 8000 ft of elevation to a 2 mile sufferfest @ 8% and up to 30 miles with 4000 ft of climbing. It's fun. It's a lot of fun.

Here's why I like it:

* I started riding it in April. I rode less this year than in years past. I dropped about 15 lbs and built a bunch of muscle in both upper and lower body. Now if I ride my geared bike, I'm SO much faster than I ever thought I could be.
* Now I know what true pain feels like on the bike. And that I can keep pushing through it.
* The simplicity is super fun, and the feel of the bike/ride is much different. Going downhill with no chainslap is awesome.
* The "holy crap you're riding a single speed out here?!?!" comments are awesome.

It's as hard or as easy as you want it to be. If you think you have a ton of climbing, run a bigger rear cog, if it's mostly flat, run a smaller one. You can find the best cog for your riding conditions and style. I've been happy with the 32x19 on my 29er, but thinking of trying out a 17t pretty soon.
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Old 11-24-09, 02:33 PM   #15
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Riding a SS is kinda like drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.. was unique, became hip and trendy.. but the simple fact is.. it tastes like crap and always did.
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Old 11-24-09, 02:36 PM   #16
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the trails around me are super buff single track that go up and then go down. Lots of climbing outside of the valley. My trail bike is a 3x9 and i can typically do all the climbing in the middle ring. When i commute to work, i ride a single speed. I like having a couple of bikes, and durring the winter a simple drivetrain is highly appreciated.

Well one summer day I busted a couple of spokes on my trail bike but i still wanted to go out riding. So i took my SS to the trail! I had a pretty good time actually. Most of the riding i did was out of the saddle high caddence type stuff. I found myself carrying much more momentum than i normally would on my geared bike. After fininishing a long not too steep climb, i took a break waiting for my riding partner to catch up. While she was catching her breat, i likened riding the SS on the trail to running. You can't really ever slow down on the thing, it's a much more an aerobic workout at speed and you can never fall back on an easier gear. I know neither of thsoe two things really have anything to do with running, but i just felt like i was running when riding my SS on the trail. Maybe its because the constant spinng to stay at speed. Who knows? On a SS, you pretty much know what your in for and how hard you can mash and how fast you can spin. When we started doing some other mildly steeper climbs, i had to walk the bike a few times.

That being said, i had to overhaul the hubs on my SS and rode my trail bike to work for three days htis fall. My 1/2 mile commute was about 2 minutes faster on the geared bike.

I much prefer geared bikes, but SSs can be super fun on the right trail network. Also, it's hard not to argue the beauty in simplicity.
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Old 11-24-09, 02:41 PM   #17
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Riding a SS is kinda like drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.. was unique, became hip and trendy.. but the simple fact is.. it tastes like crap and always did.
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Old 11-24-09, 03:33 PM   #18
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I rode SS all summer, about 1000 miles. I've ridden it on everything from easy trails to stuff at 8000 ft of elevation to a 2 mile sufferfest @ 8% and up to 30 miles with 4000 ft of climbing. It's fun. It's a lot of fun.

Here's why I like it:

* I started riding it in April. I rode less this year than in years past. I dropped about 15 lbs and built a bunch of muscle in both upper and lower body. Now if I ride my geared bike, I'm SO much faster than I ever thought I could be.
* Now I know what true pain feels like on the bike. And that I can keep pushing through it.

* The simplicity is super fun, and the feel of the bike/ride is much different. Going downhill with no chainslap is awesome.
* The "holy crap you're riding a single speed out here?!?!" comments are awesome.

It's as hard or as easy as you want it to be. If you think you have a ton of climbing, run a bigger rear cog, if it's mostly flat, run a smaller one. You can find the best cog for your riding conditions and style. I've been happy with the 32x19 on my 29er, but thinking of trying out a 17t pretty soon.
Plus, all the money we save on shifty bits we get to spend on sideburn grooming, which is nice.
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Old 11-24-09, 03:37 PM   #19
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I just sold my SS bike to help fund a new geared bike, and so far for me the jury is out on what I prefer. I'm still new enough to mountain biking that it doesn't matter which bike I'm on, the skills are missing regardless.

The SS was fun, though, and if funds/space allow I may build up another one down the road.
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Old 11-24-09, 04:31 PM   #20
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You wouldn't want to do that. Your only brake would be rear and you'd be skidding all over the trails. Thats bad, m'kay?
The hipster messenger crowd do it................
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Old 11-24-09, 04:51 PM   #21
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The hipster messenger crowd do it................
on the street is one thing. On the trails is another.

Go fixed with a front brake in the woods.
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Old 11-24-09, 04:58 PM   #22
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SS biekz rox d00d.
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Old 11-24-09, 06:53 PM   #23
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on the street is one thing. On the trails is another.

Go fixed with a front brake in the woods.
So that makes me wonder, when MTB'ers talk about SS, are they fixies or not ?
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Old 11-24-09, 07:35 PM   #24
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So that makes me wonder, when MTB'ers talk about SS, are they fixies or not ?
No.

I have a SS playbike. It's fun for the novelty value, but I wouldn't want to make it my main ride. I take it on flat trails when I feel like it, but sometimes find myself wishing I had a geared bike anyway. Mainly I use it for DJ and stuff, where I don't need the gears and know I'm going to fall a bunch and don't want to mess up a rear derailleur.
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Old 11-24-09, 08:39 PM   #25
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sold my geared full xt s-works and bought a ss 29er.
don't miss the gears one bit.
as a matter of fact, a guy i rode with today was having shifting problems because of the mud getting caught in the rear derailleur.
me and my buddy running ss just kept on sailin'.
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