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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 06-13-07, 02:17 PM   #1
mconlonx 
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Multi-speed single-speed???

OK, so I scored a frame and misc parts off ebay intending to build up a commuter off a CDale T400. Figured that with most of the parts off the auction and pieces I had kicking around, I could cobble something together. It was missing the shifter bosses off the downtube, so OK, let's turn it into a single speed. But I'm a cheap yankee bastard and was not about to go out to buy stuff like a cassette conversion kit or a freewheel, a chain tensioner, or any of that nonsense. This is how it came together:

T400.jpg

Still rough in this shot. I ended up replacing the front 26 wheel with a 700. And adding front brakes. And wrapping the bar. But that's about it. Here's a closeup of the rear:

T400 shifter.jpg

Like I said, I wanted a single-speed, but couldn't see shelling out the $20-30 for a singulator type of thing when I had a perfectly good chain tensioner built right into the derailleur that came with the auction.

You'd have to be pretty much a contortionist to be able to shift the thing safely on the fly. Other solutions that occurred to me included getting a longer set screw for the outboard adjustment screw and placing the der where I wanted it, or jamming the cable stop doohickey on the shifter end all the way to the der adjustment screw... except, of course, the der that came with it had the adjuster screw broken off. Or drilling a thumbscrew so it would work like a guitar string adjuster, with a locknut.

All of this a long way of getting to the point: is a bike set up like this a single speed? If not, what makes it not--all the gears at the rear? The derailleur? And if this isn't, then what about something like that white industries setup with the dual chain ring and dual freewheel setup?

Yeah, silly bike, absurd thrifty solution to a non-problem. But certainly a cheap way to get into riding a single speed. And being able to change ratios without a freewheel swap was a great way to find out what I like without resorting to multiple freewheels or chainrings.
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Old 06-13-07, 02:25 PM   #2
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i did that for a while too. trust me, it's not anything like riding a singlespeed drivetrain. put that back together or get a real singlespeed/fixed hub.
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Old 06-13-07, 02:29 PM   #3
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If you're only going to have one brake on a SS (terrible idea really) it should be the front brake. The majority of your stopping power comes from the front brake.
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Old 06-13-07, 02:34 PM   #4
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What are you trying to accomplish?

You get the noise and drag of a deraileur without the ability to shift... the worst of both worlds?
Put a shifter on it, or do a real conversion.
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Old 06-13-07, 02:59 PM   #5
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Man I thought this was about sturmey archer 3 speed hubs.

Close thread now.
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Old 06-13-07, 03:32 PM   #6
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What kind of drop outs does it have?

Play with the chain length to see if you can find a combo that'll work without the derailer. Looks and works a lot cleaner.
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Old 06-13-07, 04:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JeffS
You get the noise and drag of a deraileur without the ability to shift... the worst of both worlds?
Put a shifter on it, or do a real conversion.
+1

LOL - a multispeed without a shifter becomes a "singlespeed"?? ROFLMAO

Seriously, the biggest appeal of the singlespeed/fixed crowd is the pure quiet and efficiency of the drivetrain. Not saying you should spend too much money on the conversion, but reading through Sheldon Brown's conversion article should at least help you realize WHY you want to convert in the first place. Most importantly, you don't need a chain tensioner if you have horizontal drop-outs anyway, just a lot of patience.
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Old 06-13-07, 05:32 PM   #8
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Uh, let's see...

Just wondering what constitutes a single speed. OK, so this isn't it.

What about something like that Rivendell with two chainrings? What about that white bros setup with the dual dual thing? And, OMG, pray for those fixies when they lose their secret single speed derailleur-haters club card by showing up with their fixed 2sp hub.

Hee hee.

I've ridden single and fix, and would say that this setup rides more like a singlespeed than a bike that shifts. If you read a bit, you'll find that this was just an intermediate step--the bike ended up with a front brake as well. Accomplish? Get a bike on the road with pieces and parts I have on hand on a weekend when I couldn't get to a hardware shop, let alone bike shop. There wasn't a lot of noise due to the derailleur. Would the drag of an aftermarket tensioner be any less?

Next time I'll post in Alt Bike for something like this--sorry about the wasted bandwidth.
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Old 06-13-07, 05:53 PM   #9
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if there is more than one gear available on the bike its not really a singlespeed, by definition. even if you have to shift by stopping and moving the chain over with your hand.

You don't have to apologize for asking questions, but I'll have to agree that there's not a lot of advantage to setting up a bike like this. people build singlespeeds for weight and simplicity. cassettes are heavy, and a derailler is one more thing to maintain that can break. avoid using a chain-tensioner at all if you can, your drivetrain will be smoother and more efficient.
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Old 06-13-07, 06:30 PM   #10
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**** all yall, any bike you can't shift on the fly is a singlespeed. My flipflop hub doesn't make my bike "multi geared" any more than carrying extra cogs and rings in a saddle bag makes a track bike "multi geared". And theres nothing wrong with a guy having a little fun. Jesus.
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Old 06-13-07, 06:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mander
**** all yall, any bike you can't shift on the fly is a singlespeed. My flipflop hub doesn't make my bike "multi geared" any more than carrying extra cogs and rings in a saddle bag makes a track bike "multi geared". And theres nothing wrong with a guy having a little fun. Jesus.
Seriously...It's a SS, just hoopty.

But you should look into a front brake.
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Old 06-13-07, 08:27 PM   #12
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get an SS/fixie hub and one of those dually freewheels.
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Old 06-13-07, 09:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by irideacenturion
Seriously...It's a SS, just hoopty.

But you should look into a front brake.
Agreed. My house mates have a few bikes set up the same way, 3 chainrings, cassette, and rear der. as a tensioner, no shifters. But two brakes. Its ghetto and we aren't winning any street cred points with the kids, but they make great beater/bar bikes. Shifter breaks, make it a SS. Its how most people we know get into SS bikes when the frame has vertical drop outs.

Craig
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