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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 09-23-01, 08:51 AM   #1
HardBall
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Single speed question

Anyone have experience and suggestion as to what is the "standard" chainring, sprocket ratio to use. I would imagine that it would also be a matter of terrain and personal preference but I'm looking for a starting place or range.

Also, anyone converted a 9 speed to a single? I have a frame that I love but I'm tired of having all those useless gears hanging around. Possible, practical, pitfalls? Thanks for any info or insights.
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Old 09-23-01, 09:22 AM   #2
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Experiment. Do your favourite rides without shifting, trying different ratios each time. Choose the one you like best.

As a matter of fact, that's probably the best way to do single without having to butcher your bike -- just don't shift. If you want a fixie, though, that's something else.
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Old 09-23-01, 02:22 PM   #3
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2:1 is the gear ratio most people start with. It can be tough on some of the climbs, but you get used to it and like anything else, the more you do it the stronger you get and then one day it really isn't even an issue.

9 speed can definitely be converted, just bust up a cassette and use some spacers. For the full conversion on the cheap, check this link to an earlier issue of my web site:
http://www.singlespeedoutlaw.com/iss...es.shtml#HowTo

If you have any other questions, feel free to post or email me.

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Old 09-23-01, 05:43 PM   #4
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Here's a great link http://www.sheldonbrown.com/singlespeed.html.

I ride a singlespeed specific bike so I can't help too much with conversion info but here's what i've seen. there seems to be different levels of SS addiction. It starts by removing the extra gears and shifters off your geared bike and adding a tensioner, like the surly singulator. The next step is adding a SS specific rear wheel. and then finally stepping up to a SS specific bike or frame.

My opinion is that if you want to see if you'll like SS convert your current bike as cheaply as possible or even just ride in one gear for awhile. If you already know that you like singlespeed you'll probably be better off in the long run to sell your current ride and step up to a SS specific bike.

I bought my Bianchi BaSS used with some nice upgrades for a little over half of what it sold for new.
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Old 09-23-01, 08:21 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the info!! I'm going to check out the links and will probably have even more questions. In the interim...

Quote:
...Do your favorite rides without shifting, trying different ratios each time....As a matter of fact, that's probably the best way to do single without having to butcher your bike -- just don't shift. If you want a fixie, though, that's something else.
This is what I'm doing now. Just thought it would make for a cleaner bike without all that junk hanging around.

Quote:
My opinion is that if you want to see if you'll like SS convert your current bike as cheaply as possible or even just ride in one gear for awhile. If you already know that you like singlespeed you'll probably be better off in the long run to sell your current ride and step up to a SS specific bike.
I've never seen any 'Quality' single speeds in the LBS or product brochures. Most of the singles I see are of the beach cruiser types. Do the major manufacturers produce them? Who does?
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Old 09-24-01, 03:42 PM   #6
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No don't buy a beach cruiser!! You're correct most major manufacturers don't make a singlespeed other than beach cruisers. However as the singlespeed MTB thing has gained popularity some makers are putting out these bikes.

The biggest company doing this is Bianchi. Bianchi is kind of like the Trek of Italy and they've been putting out a SS mountain bike for several years now. Kona also makes a nice SS mountain bike.
and Redline makes one which goes for about $400. There's others too, but these are the ones you'll probably have the most luck locating. Here's a good list of SS links http://www.singlespeed.cc/links.htm

I don't want to sound like I'm telling you to buy a new bike. There's nothing wrong with a converted singlespeed. It just seems to me that most riders end up going to singlespeed specific bike eventually. Just something to keep in mind.
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Old 09-24-01, 05:28 PM   #7
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Originally posted by thbirks
...It just seems to me that most riders end up going to singlespeed specific bike eventually. Just something to keep in mind.
Thanks for the info and the link, I'll check it out. I guess I'm going to show my ignorance but I'll never know if I don't ask. What is it that makes "most riders end up going to singlespeed specific bike eventually?" What is inherently better in a specific than a conversion?
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Old 09-24-01, 08:10 PM   #8
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The answer is horizontal dropouts. The only real difference with a SS specific frame is the long dropouts that allow you to move the wheel back and forth to keep proper tension on the chain. If your bike has vertical dropouts, like most modern bikes do, than you will most likely need to use a chain tensionor to keep the chain from falling off.

I haven't used these tensionors so I can't really comment on their performance, but I imagine that they add some resistance like a rear derailler and they may develop their own problems. One of the appeals of singlespeed is the clean look and simplicity of the bike so that could explain why people seem to eventually move up to the SS specific frame. Or some people that have a steel framed bike have the vertical dropouts replaced with horizontal dropouts.

Of course some people just like to buy new bikes, so maybe getting a SS bike is just an excuse to buy another bike.
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Old 09-24-01, 08:22 PM   #9
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Originally posted by thbirks
...maybe getting a SS bike is just an excuse to buy another bike.
Thanks, I have been reading about the horizontal dropouts. I can see how the vertical dropouts could be a problem.

Does one need an excuse? ;-)
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Old 09-25-01, 05:40 AM   #10
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thbirks is right, horizontal dropouts are the key. Some older frames have semi-horizontal drops and can be used. Also, this link - http://www.peak.org/~fixin/ - has a calculator to figure out which gears you can use w/ your frame without a tensioner. They also make an eccentric axle that gives you a little bit of play if you can't make the gear you want work.

I rode a conversion frame for a while. Works pretty good, but eventually you want to dump the tensioner and strip things down to their most simple state. I've currently got a Surly 1x1 and love the geometry and feel of the ride. They run about $360 for the frame and fork. If you like steel, it's the way to go. If you like aluminum, the Bianchi looks like the best thing going. Got a chance to check out Redline's 1 speed this weekend. Not to bad for $400, but a lot of the components are pretty generic and you would probably want to replace most of them.
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Old 01-18-03, 07:40 AM   #11
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Get a Spot titianium frame...yeah baby yeah!!!


riderx, how do you measure stay length?
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Old 01-18-03, 12:57 PM   #12
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Fubar, bumping a post thats 2 YEARS old?
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Old 01-18-03, 01:56 PM   #13
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Originally posted by Joe Gardner
Fubar, bumping a post thats 2 YEARS old?

Sooo? It's all good.
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Old 02-03-03, 11:22 PM   #14
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i didnt realize that until the end of the thread this was such an old post haha
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Old 02-04-03, 07:25 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by fubar5
riderx, how do you measure stay length?
Center of BB to center of the dropout. Can be a little tricky to get an accurate measurement, but if you get close you've got a starting point. I've heard people find a gear that works and then work backwards with the gear calculator posted above.
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