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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 10-09-07, 06:13 PM   #1
lstiffler
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help out a noob.

is it possible to convert this bike to single speed (not fixed). i know anything is possible with enough money but i need to do this on the cheap.




what is the difference between a cassette rear and a freewheel? how can i tell what i've got before taking stuff apart? i've read a few write ups on s.s. conversions and think i can handle it once i figure out what i have here.

i know it's a junk bike but it's going to be a beer runner/kid trailer hauler and i kinda like it.

thanks a lot!

-lee
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Old 10-09-07, 06:19 PM   #2
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http://sheldonbrown.com/

and/or

http://sheldonbrown.com/singlespeed.html

sorry if you've already been here, but sheldon's site was great when I was converting my bike to fixed... it's an excellent resource
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Old 10-09-07, 06:33 PM   #3
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That's not going to be possible "on the cheap".
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Old 10-09-07, 07:53 PM   #4
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Shift it to the gear you like, then remove the shift lever and tie off the cable.

I'm not (entirely) kidding. A more sophisticated effort will not be worth the time and expense, and that would let you decide if you actually like single speed, in which case you should get a better bike. A small amount of effort ought to find a better candidate for not much money.

That bike probably does have a thread-on freewheel, if that's what you're asking, but it doesn't appear to have horizontal dropouts so you'll need a chain tensioner, e.g. that rear deraileur.

Personally, while I'm a big fixed gear and single speed fan, I go for gears pulling the kid trailer.
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Old 10-09-07, 08:14 PM   #5
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If you have a cassette on there as opposed to a freewheel, then a single speed conversion kit from Performance Bike will run you $19.99. Includes spacers for a cassette freehub, three cogs, and a chain tensioner. There's your conversion.
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Old 10-09-07, 08:43 PM   #6
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ten dollar freewheel and a bb lockring used as a spacer to get you chainline closer an you will be set just go get a 3/32" freewheel and a bb lockring remove the old freewheel and thread on the bb lockring tighten it down really good then mount the 3/32" bmx freewheel this should put the freewheel in line with the outer chain ring make your chain the right length and ride it ... you might need a half link because of your drop outs those are a buck 99 or so from a shop that sells bmx parts good luck with your 20 dollar single speed
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Old 10-09-07, 09:09 PM   #7
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easiest way is to remove the derailers and shorten the chain to fit the gears you want takes about 5 mins with a chain tool...keep the chain you removed in case you decide you want a different gear.....it wont be the straightest chainline but it should be ok til you decide you want to go thru the trouble and cost of a total conversion

or what two short said but you might be able to use the adjuster screws on the derailer to stick it into one position
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Old 10-09-07, 09:19 PM   #8
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With your vertical dropouts, you'll have a hard time without a chain tensioner of some sort.
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Old 10-09-07, 09:55 PM   #9
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easiest way is to remove the derailers and shorten the chain to fit the gears you want takes about 5 mins with a chain tool...keep the chain you removed in case you decide you want a different gear.....it wont be the straightest chainline but it should be ok til you decide you want to go thru the trouble and cost of a total conversion

or what two short said but you might be able to use the adjuster screws on the derailer to stick it into one position
The chain will jump around and most likely break unless the chainline is perfect.
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Old 10-09-07, 10:23 PM   #10
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With your vertical dropouts, you'll have a hard time without a chain tensioner of some sort.
haff linque foo
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Old 10-09-07, 10:30 PM   #11
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The chain will jump around and most likely break unless the chainline is perfect.
isnt the chain already in that position even with the derailer??

i doubt the derailer is the only reason the chain doesnt jump or break on a multi speed bike

but hey you must know somethin i dont.....as long as the chain is tight is should work fine for a limited time to see if he even likes it before he goes thru the trouble of a conversion....i never intended it to be a final solution

Last edited by JunkyardWarrior; 10-09-07 at 10:33 PM. Reason: added text
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Old 10-09-07, 10:33 PM   #12
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isnt the chain already in that position even with the derailer??

i doubt the derailer is the only reason the chain doesnt jump or break on a multi speed bike

but hey you must know somethin i dont.....as long as the chain is tight is should work fine for a limited time to see if he even likes it before he goes thru the trouble of a conversion....i never intended it to be a final solution
yes it is hoss now go back and read the blue book
parktool
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Old 10-10-07, 06:56 AM   #13
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thanks for the input.

now i just need to determine if it's a cassette or a freewheel.

what about the front sprockets. do they just come apart to remove the two i won't need?
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Old 10-10-07, 11:13 AM   #14
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This is not a bike you would want to convert. Enjoy the gears.
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Old 10-10-07, 11:13 AM   #15
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thanks for the input.

now i just need to determine if it's a cassette or a freewheel.

what about the front sprockets. do they just come apart to remove the two i won't need?
This is a freewheel.
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Old 10-10-07, 07:59 PM   #16
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haff linque foo
From my experience, even with a half link, vertical dropouts will not usually provide you with enough adjustment to get the tension optimal. Unless you get lucky.
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Old 10-10-07, 09:10 PM   #17
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You can get pretty fine adjustments with changing cogs or chainwheels. In fact, switching up or down one tooth is HALF the adjustment of adding or subtracting a half-link. Vertical drop-outs... it can be done.
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Old 10-10-07, 09:22 PM   #18
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even if you /can/ it's probably not worth the effort. just leave it geared and if you want a fixed, just start surfing craigslist.
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Old 10-10-07, 10:14 PM   #19
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You can get pretty fine adjustments with changing cogs or chainwheels. In fact, switching up or down one tooth is HALF the adjustment of adding or subtracting a half-link. Vertical drop-outs... it can be done.
Yes, it can be done. My converted SS mtb has vertical drop outs, but losing or gaining a tooth wasn't giving me the increments or tension I needed. After some research and spiritual guidance, I filed my dropouts maybe a few mm, and bingo.

This method is not for the faint of heart, pregnant women, or those with hypertension. Ask your doctor if defacing your frame is right for you.
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Old 10-10-07, 11:40 PM   #20
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search google there is a magic gear combo chart that will help get you on the right track for good tension with the vert d/o
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Old 10-11-07, 05:22 AM   #21
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why in the heck are you guys so opposed to using a chain tensioner like the one in the $20 performance bike conversion kit? it works great. if it were me I'd not even for a minute think about trying to find a magic gear combo, but just take off two chain rings, remove the cassette/freewheel and replace with a cog + spacers or a bmx freewheel and put the tensioner on, be happy. i rode my first SS conversion this way for several months daily. yeah it's not silent like a no-tensioner conversion but it's one gear.

my MTB is full suspension and requires a tensioner in order to account for chain growth as the suspension compresses. it works great.

and BTW the chain line can be far from perfect and it will still work fine. as long as you are within oh 10mm or so of the right chain line using a 8sp or 9sp chain it will work fine. sure elitists and perfectionists love a perfect chain line (mine is perfect on my SS bikes) but it's not like it's going to blow up without it.

sheesh. just convert it. that bike will be 100% better without those junk derailleurs and 4 lb worth of extra parts on it required to give it gears. but you'll end up spending $50 doing it when all is said and done.
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Old 10-11-07, 06:45 AM   #22
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why in the heck are you guys so opposed to using a chain tensioner like the one in the $20 performance bike conversion kit?
Because spending ANY money to convert a bike that crappy is inevitably a waste of money.
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Old 10-11-07, 07:04 AM   #23
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why in the heck are you guys so opposed to using a chain tensioner like the one in the $20 performance bike conversion kit? it works great. if it were me I'd not even for a minute think about trying to find a magic gear combo, but just take off two chain rings, remove the cassette/freewheel and replace with a cog + spacers or a bmx freewheel and put the tensioner on, be happy. i rode my first SS conversion this way for several months daily. yeah it's not silent like a no-tensioner conversion but it's one gear.

my MTB is full suspension and requires a tensioner in order to account for chain growth as the suspension compresses. it works great.

and BTW the chain line can be far from perfect and it will still work fine. as long as you are within oh 10mm or so of the right chain line using a 8sp or 9sp chain it will work fine. sure elitists and perfectionists love a perfect chain line (mine is perfect on my SS bikes) but it's not like it's going to blow up without it.

sheesh. just convert it. that bike will be 100% better without those junk derailleurs and 4 lb worth of extra parts on it required to give it gears. but you'll end up spending $50 doing it when all is said and done.
that is what i'll be doing. thanks!
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Old 10-11-07, 07:28 AM   #24
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Good point. I thought he wanted a fixed gear, not just a single speed.
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Old 10-11-07, 07:56 AM   #25
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i'd say haul the kid around a few times with the gears on there. there is no gearing that's comfortable for both dragging a trailer and cruising around without any weight on the bike.

seems like a no brainer to me.
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