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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 10-02-08, 10:43 PM   #1
Szn54
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New Bike: Single Speed or Cyclocross?

I want to get another bike that I can (1) use as a commuter around town and 2) use on trails with crushed limestone (like Katy trail). I would like to get a single speed/fixie, steel frame, (possibly Kona PW) but I don't know if I am strong enough to ride it on trails like the Katy and would I be "better off" with a cyclocross bike, i.e., gears.

I ride a Scott CR1 Pro on the road, but I want to expand my riding to include some offroad trails plus I want to bike more in town to run errands, etc. I ride my Scott quite a bit, around 100 miles a week, so am fairly strong I think but if the trails are very hilly I'll probably be in trouble.

Another issue is tires if I get a ss. The tires I'll need to ride trails like Katy (crushed limestone) will not work as well on the road for commuting (be slower) and vice versa.

I really think I would like a ss but am afraid it won't work well for me on the trails and I'll have to listen to my husband say I told you so... (he thinks I should get a cyclocross). I don't want to spend a lot of $$ so obviously a ss would be better for the budget but only if it works for both uses (trails/commuter).

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 10-03-08, 12:10 AM   #2
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I say get a cross bike, but set it up as a 1x9 or a 1x10. The cross tires will work just fine on the road and you might even be able to switch wheelsets with your road bike if the spacing and cassettes match up.
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Old 10-03-08, 01:19 AM   #3
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fwiw, i ride a bianchi san jose which is a ss/fg cross bike. stock gearing is 42x17 but i threw on a 16t on the fixed side for the road. i ride around town and commute on it in flat los angeles. but i doubt i will do any offroad on it even if i flip it to the 17t freewheel. honestly, after doing some mtbing with a singlespeed, i think the difference between trails and road is too great for a singlespeed. i've got a dedicated mtb for when i want to go offroading, though lately i'm having too much fun riding fixed on the road.
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Old 10-03-08, 01:19 AM   #4
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both=single cross

http://bp3.blogger.com/_XtiD4vDYmjw/...encrossrig.jpg
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Old 10-03-08, 01:21 AM   #5
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1x8, 9 or 10 cross bikes are super fun and easy to set up and maintain. I have an old Trek that I've set up as a utility bike during the week, with rack and panniers and a CETMA front rack on the way. On weekends, I can take off the racks and I've got a decent cross bike on my hands. I ride on Hutchinson Piranha 700x34c tires designed for hardpack, so the rolling resistance is acceptable on the road, though obviously not as fast as a good set of road tires. I don't know how these tires are going to handle in the mud come wintertime. Then I might have to find something a little knobbier and grippier that won't be as good on the road, but will be better on muddy trails.
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Old 10-03-08, 02:45 AM   #6
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yeah, why cant you get a single speed cross bike like the san jose, IRO rob roy, surly crosscheck or that new bikesdirect fantom cross uno?
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Old 10-03-08, 03:14 AM   #7
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CX

Cyclocross for commuting
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Old 10-03-08, 04:44 AM   #8
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The Katy trail is a rail trail which is basically flat. Get a SS or FG cyclocross bike, find a happy gear and enjoy.

Fatter tires (28s - 38s) are all you need to keep you happy on crushed limestone and will be fine for commuting. A standard commuter tire or a semi-slick (shallow tread in the center, small knobs on the shoulders) will do dual duty nicely.
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Old 10-03-08, 09:09 AM   #9
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Single speed + Cross bike + budget minded = PhantomCross Uno.
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Old 10-03-08, 10:49 AM   #10
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I kind of wish that BD had put horizontal dropouts and a derailleur hanger on the Uno frame. Then it would be ultimately versatile: fixed, SS, 1x9.
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Old 10-03-08, 11:25 AM   #11
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Get a cross bike. Or get both if you can afford it. FG is fun when riding in the city and it has to be relatively flat.
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Old 10-03-08, 11:50 AM   #12
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part 2

I really appreciate the feedback and suggestions, thanks. I'm leaning towards getting a cross ss/fx for in town commuting and just to ride on road for fun and something different from my Scott.

I didn't mention in my earlier post but I also have a KHS Urban X (2007 model) which has fenders, rack, 26in. wheels and an alloy frame. I love the look of the bike but it is a tank to ride. I can ride 1/3rd the distance as I do on my road bike but feel twice as exhausted. But, I have the bike and it would work on the crushed limestone type trails so am wondering what I can do to lighten the bike for trail riding without spending a lot of $$ (saving the $$ for the ss/fx).

While I'm confessing about other bikes I have, I also have a Giant road bike circa mid-90's with Shimano ultegra, carbon fork, that I use on my trainer that I could convert to ss/fx but don't think I will since I can pick one up new for under $500.

Regarding reducing weight of KHS Urban X, the first thing I'm going to do is replace the seat post and saddle (Brooks wanne be but isn't), plus take off the rack and possibly the fenders. Seems like a bad idea to ride on crushed limestone with fenders - with all the pinging. Any suggestions for reducing the weight of the bike or other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

I appreciate your help, thanks.
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Old 10-03-08, 11:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Szn54 View Post
I want to get another bike that I can (1) use as a commuter around town and 2) use on trails with crushed limestone (like Katy trail). I would like to get a single speed/fixie, steel frame, (possibly Kona PW) but I don't know if I am strong enough to ride it on trails like the Katy and would I be "better off" with a cyclocross bike, i.e., gears.

I ride a Scott CR1 Pro on the road, but I want to expand my riding to include some offroad trails plus I want to bike more in town to run errands, etc. I ride my Scott quite a bit, around 100 miles a week, so am fairly strong I think but if the trails are very hilly I'll probably be in trouble.

Another issue is tires if I get a ss. The tires I'll need to ride trails like Katy (crushed limestone) will not work as well on the road for commuting (be slower) and vice versa.

I really think I would like a ss but am afraid it won't work well for me on the trails and I'll have to listen to my husband say I told you so... (he thinks I should get a cyclocross). I don't want to spend a lot of $$ so obviously a ss would be better for the budget but only if it works for both uses (trails/commuter).

Any advice would be appreciated.
Get a singlespeed cyclocross bike. You could do the Katy Trail on one with 700 x 31 tires easy. What part of the trail are you near? I remember when actual trains were on it.
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Old 10-03-08, 11:56 AM   #14
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I'll be riding the Katy trail in Missouri, although I don't live in Missouri, I'm not too far and plan to go there periodically to ride it, visit wineries, etc. My husband and I were in Missouri for the Tour of Mo last month and got interested in doing it then.

So you think it wouldn't be a problem to do it with ss?
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Old 10-03-08, 12:17 PM   #15
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I used to live in Fulton, near Mokane(which is east of Jefferson City). Visited Herman and the Winestrasse many, many times. Trail is packed down, better than a dirt road. Get some 700 x 31c or wider slick tires with kevlar; pump up to 80-90 psi.

I have mine geared at 42 x 16 singlespeed; you may want to experiment with 42 x 17 or 18, depending upon how fast you want to go or how much stuff you'll be carrying on the bike. I ride my San Jose on dirt roads all the time and with narrower tires but most of my riding is on the road so I just put up with the bumpy ride.


Be sure to visit Bias Vineyards in Berger(actually outside of Berger and on the other side of the river from the Katy Trail). Also Adam Puchta just West of Herman is another good one. Augusta is on the Katy Trail and has a couple of wineries in town, also some bed and breakfasts. Pretty little town.

The state roads that run along the Missouri are very nice to ride; either by bike or car. While the Katy Trail is nice and flat, the roads go from the floodplains and up into the hills, then back to the floodplain. Lots of little towns with antique shops( I think my wife and I have stopped at every one of them).

Oh, and West of Herman and right on the Katy Trail are some killer bluffs where hawks, buzzards and the occasional Bald Eagle love to soar around. Great for Rappelling.
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Old 10-04-08, 07:58 PM   #16
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I used to live in Fulton, near Mokane(which is east of Jefferson City). Visited Herman and the Winestrasse many, many times. Trail is packed down, better than a dirt road. Get some 700 x 31c or wider slick tires with kevlar; pump up to 80-90 psi.

I have mine geared at 42 x 16 singlespeed; you may want to experiment with 42 x 17 or 18, depending upon how fast you want to go or how much stuff you'll be carrying on the bike. I ride my San Jose on dirt roads all the time and with narrower tires but most of my riding is on the road so I just put up with the bumpy ride.


Be sure to visit Bias Vineyards in Berger(actually outside of Berger and on the other side of the river from the Katy Trail). Also Adam Puchta just West of Herman is another good one. Augusta is on the Katy Trail and has a couple of wineries in town, also some bed and breakfasts. Pretty little town.

The state roads that run along the Missouri are very nice to ride; either by bike or car. While the Katy Trail is nice and flat, the roads go from the floodplains and up into the hills, then back to the floodplain. Lots of little towns with antique shops( I think my wife and I have stopped at every one of them).

Oh, and West of Herman and right on the Katy Trail are some killer bluffs where hawks, buzzards and the occasional Bald Eagle love to soar around. Great for Rappelling.
Thanks for the info about the area and bike. How do you think my KHS Urban X would do on the trail? Here's a link to it: http://www.khsbicycles.com/06_urban_x_07.htm
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Old 10-05-08, 11:29 AM   #17
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I biked through MO on the TransAmerica trail and every time I think of that state my back twinges in pain because I spent a lot of time climbing out of the saddle to get over hill after hill after hill. I understand the Katy trail is flat, but once you get off it's all Ozarks and the roads are really steep. So I'd recommend getting a 1xN cyclocross bike with a massive low gear.
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