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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-18-06, 09:28 PM   #1
popluhv
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SS mountain bikers, are you competetive?

Against all logic, I want to turn my mountain bike into a singlespeed. I'm just wondering, are those of you who race SS competetive, or do you just go for the fun of it?
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Old 12-18-06, 09:35 PM   #2
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On the right course you can be very competitive. Long climbs, flats or gravel sections: forget about it. You need to ride smoother than everyone else and have a wicked spin too.
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Old 12-18-06, 09:39 PM   #3
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If by competitive, you mean riding in the singlespeed class: yes.
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Old 12-18-06, 09:43 PM   #4
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So, I guess the answer is no.

(I'll probably end up making it a SS anyway)
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Old 12-19-06, 12:04 AM   #5
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Do it, it's worth it just for the fun of it
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Old 12-19-06, 07:40 AM   #6
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whatever happened to all the ss mountain bikers?
they stopped showing up in the forum when the fixed gear fever caugth on... no more talk about singletrack, itīs all about making fun of people that ride pistas while wearing white belts...
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Old 12-19-06, 07:50 AM   #7
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I raced SS and got 4th out of 6 in the division, which I thought was good considering my bike is NOT an XC machine (huge gussets, big fork, it's a tank, etc.) and my brakes went out on the second lap due to excessive mud. I might race again this year, but who knows right? I think I'd be competitive, I just don't care to treat it that way. Racing is fun. Riding is fun. Sometimes I have a lot of run riding fast, sometimes I have a lot of fun riding slow and hitting jumps with my friends.

Try it and see if you like it.
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Old 12-19-06, 08:10 AM   #8
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semi-related.

I just finished my first season of 'cross racing on a singlespeed crosscheck and now I'm totally hooked. I always looked at it like a race within a race to see if I could beat the other (very few) singlespeeders and how many people on geared bikes I could beat. I finished near the bottom of every race though (I could have trained way harder).

BUT, the last race I did, the Men's C winner was on a singlespeed cross bike with a 2:1 mountain gearing.

A lot of people do them on singlespeed mountain bikes.
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Old 12-19-06, 08:12 AM   #9
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No racing here but I love my singlespeed Bianchi mountain bike.
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Old 12-19-06, 08:28 AM   #10
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I don't race competatively, but when I ride local singletrack I usually find myself passing people, and never get passed. My BMX background clearly gives me an advantage over many of the other locals. The only guy in recent memory whose ever passed me on singleltrack was a seriously badass dude also riding SS. I think SS is optimal on single track with a moderate difficulty level...not to hard, not to easy. If the singletrack is really easy, with long smooth straight sections, a geared MTB will blow you away. Likewise, if there are huge, steep hills, and/or lots of highly technical obstcles, you'll get beat by gearies. On the other hand, if the hills are failry moderate and most of the singletrack consists of winding curves and short ups and downs (pretty standard around my neck of the woods), SS does not really have any disadvantages.
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Old 12-19-06, 08:29 AM   #11
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There were many courses in Tx that a SS would do just fine on, only some switchback climbing, mostly fast but technical singletrack. Pretty much anything in the piney woods or gulf coast area, those courses an SS would be very competetive on.

If you've got a good spin, I've heard good things from ss riders in 24hr adrenaline races, racing individual or team.
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Old 12-19-06, 09:55 AM   #12
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you can get into a redline monocog for less than 5 bills as a new complete bike (fully rigid). find an old trek or specialized or whatever through yer local resources (craigslist, mtbr, etc) and you can get into one for the cost of the beater and plus the conversion (addtl $100).

keep yer mtb geared, go this ^ route, and have options.
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Old 12-19-06, 10:02 AM   #13
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There are plenty of competitive single speed mountain bike racers out there, but maybe not on this board. Show up to any race and you're bound to see them. They're everywhere, and typically not making a huge fuss over what bike other folks are riding.
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Old 12-19-06, 10:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girona
whatever happened to all the ss mountain bikers?
they stopped showing up in the forum when the fixed gear fever caugth on... no more talk about singletrack, itīs all about making fun of people that ride pistas while wearing white belts...
we're still here lurking infrequently. i find my self writing half a post then deleting it. when i want to read and post about SS mtbing i am usually at mtbr.com.

but, about ss mtb racing and the competitiveness... ive done a bit of ss racing. i have done some racing on my ss mtb in a ss class, and raced my ss cross bike against geared riders. many of the other ss racers are as competitive as any normal(geared) racer, they're usually in the front of the pack. towards the middle/end of the pack you get the guys that dont take it as seriously and are doing it just for fun.

and, if you're in the philly area trophy bikes has a SS only team. we call ourselves team shiftless. over the past 2 years we have racked up some amazing results on the mtb and cross scene.
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Old 12-19-06, 10:45 AM   #15
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popluhv - if your competitive now, switching to a singlespeed will definitely not make you much less so...

it's about having the right gear and the fitness to power it through the course going fast.

i raced with legalize-it this year, and since i am not as fast as him always finished toward the back of the singlespeed class but whan i looked at my times they were very similar to those in the same class riding geared bikes.

i don't think i am any slower on my singlespeed. any disadvantages you may have can be made up on the climbs; but again that depends a little on the specific course and alot about what you bring to the table as far as fitness.

finally, mountainbiking is so much funner than riding on the boring old street! i am surprised so few people here seem to do it...
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Old 12-19-06, 11:16 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devolution
There are plenty of competitive single speed mountain bike racers out there, but maybe not on this board. Show up to any race and you're bound to see them. They're everywhere, and typically not making a huge fuss over what bike other folks are riding.
great freaking point. The best riders I know don't spend much time on the internet.
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Old 12-19-06, 11:27 AM   #17
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great freaking point. The best riders I know don't spend much time on the internet.
+1.
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Old 12-19-06, 12:59 PM   #18
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The third place racer and 8 out of the top 25 riders at this year's Mohican 100 were singlespeeders
Sure, many of those were pro or factory team riders, but they still rode 100 miles (60% sloppy mud) in the same gear.

http://www.results.ombc.net/MTB100/Results%201.htm
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Old 12-19-06, 01:14 PM   #19
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I say go for it. I converted my MTB two years ago due to a propensity for breaking rear derailleurs and I havent looked back. Started racing last year in New England and there is, on average, 10 single speed racers per event (www.efta.com).

Some of the SS riders racing EFTA are extremely competetive. one rider came in top ten overall on about a 30 mile course in Maine riding SS

I love racing SS...lower chance of mechanicals and an awesome sense of pride when you finish a hard days ride and still manage to beat some gearies
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Old 12-19-06, 01:27 PM   #20
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most of you don't have a singlespeed class? thats wierd to me.

here in the big mid atlantic summer race series there are three separate classes just for singlespeeds. beginner sport and expert.


you race the course with gearies but your timed against your fellow singlespeeders.
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Old 12-19-06, 01:40 PM   #21
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we have a SS class in New England. Ours doesnt break out into ability levels its just an Open class. I havent built up the fitness yet to really compete with most of the other SS guys.

Im not 100% sure but I think some of them may have lost the ability to get tired....So I usually check my time against geared sport riders in my age group to see where I come in.
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Old 12-19-06, 01:56 PM   #22
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What kind of pedals do you guys use for SS MTB?

The singletrack around here is usually in steep ravines with alot of technical sections and steep ups and downs. I just finished building my SS MTB commuter and I've got a 34x18 and 36x16 gear on it and once a hill gets steep enough I can't put enough power into the pedals to keep them turning over because they are flat so I can only push down. This usually ends up with me aborting the climb right before the top when I stall. I have a feeling I'd be much better off with clipless so that I can really spin and keep my power output even, but flat pedals seem like a good idea because they're so easy to jump off in case something bad happens.

What kind of pedals do the skilled SS MTB riders you see use? I just don't understand how anyone could go up hills with flat pedals.

/ignorance
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Old 12-19-06, 02:02 PM   #23
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XC riders(ss or geared) don't use paltforms much.

I've found spds cranked down work well as do atacs. Pretty quickly you'll be able to clip out without thinking even while stalled on a climb or falling over a log
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Old 12-19-06, 02:08 PM   #24
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I've taken my cross bike on the singletrack before with eggbeaters and mountain shoes (and also sidi geniuses and looks!) and I don't remember really getting into trouble because of it. I'm pretty sure I remained clipped into the bike while lying on my side once or twice but I definitely wouldn't have been able to do any of the hills otherwise.

I guess all I can do is try for myself
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Old 12-19-06, 02:12 PM   #25
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shiz - i use Time's as they seem to be the easiest most predictable spd i've used.

and as for gearing 34x18 maybe but definitely not 36x16 unless your a freakin animal.

round here the FAST fast guys push a 2:1 and i am lucky to be able to make it around most courses without pushing up at least the biggest hills on a 34X20 (good gear for hillier rides imho).

dutret - singlespeeds can excel in hilly races, you just need a good engine to power the bike.... it is races with loooong flats and straights that really hamper your chances of keeping up the single. tight windy races where you don't have much "big ring time" are good for the single.
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