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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 03-30-04, 09:23 AM   #1
sm266
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Hey guys, I'm a lurker here, and a poster over in the mtb forum. I'm looking at getting a singlespeed to ride dirt on. Technical stuff-rocks, roots, off camber, really typical singletrack. Anyway, I'm checking out the Kona Unit and the Bianchi S.A.S.S.. Anyway, that's not my question.

My husband thinks I'm crazy, and the guys at the LBS question my leg strength. Really though, it's a matter of lungs catching up with legs. And how will I ever know if I can make the transition, if I don't try, right? I don't race, so speed doesn't really matter to me. I think they're more concerned about my not keeping up on rides. Any thoughts on this subject, or are they looking at this chick and thinking: "yeah right, whatever" because I'm a gurrl?

I've never singlespeed'ed it before, but I'm amazed with the simplicity of the machines. Rigid, steel, no gears. Really, I can't get the thought out of my mind. Anyway, I guess I could tell them to go screw themselves and order one anyway. Sorry about the rant.
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Old 03-30-04, 09:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sm266
Hey guys, I'm a lurker here, and a poster over in the mtb forum. I'm looking at getting a singlespeed to ride dirt on. Technical stuff-rocks, roots, off camber, really typical singletrack. Anyway, I'm checking out the Kona Unit and the Bianchi S.A.S.S.. Anyway, that's not my question.

My husband thinks I'm crazy, and the guys at the LBS question my leg strength. Really though, it's a matter of lungs catching up with legs. And how will I ever know if I can make the transition, if I don't try, right? I don't race, so speed doesn't really matter to me. I think they're more concerned about my not keeping up on rides. Any thoughts on this subject, or are they looking at this chick and thinking: "yeah right, whatever" because I'm a gurrl?

I've never singlespeed'ed it before, but I'm amazed with the simplicity of the machines. Rigid, steel, no gears. Really, I can't get the thought out of my mind. Anyway, I guess I could tell them to go screw themselves and order one anyway. Sorry about the rant.
I can't speak to the MTB aspects of the question, but my girlfriend and I ride singlespeed on the road and we live in Seattle with lots of hills. You just start with an easier ratio and move up as your legs get stronger ...and they will ...quickly. I see women on singlespeeds and fixies around here and I doubt they have problems 'keeping up'.

I think you'd enjoy it.

Jim
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Old 03-30-04, 09:54 AM   #3
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"I've never singlespeed'ed it before, but I'm amazed with the simplicity of the machines. Rigid, steel, no gears. Really, I can't get the thought out of my mind. Anyway, I guess I could tell them to go screw themselves and order one anyway. Sorry about the rant."

You got it figurred out. You just want us to agree with you. Ok Go girl go you can do it.
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Old 03-30-04, 09:56 AM   #4
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Looking at many singlespeed sites, If anyone while you are riding says that you are weak and can't do it, just throw up the middle finger and tell them to try. Just do it, have a blast with it, and drink the kool aid and enjoy the trails like you never have before!
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Old 03-30-04, 10:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sm266
Hey guys, I'm a lurker here, and a poster over in the mtb forum. I'm looking at getting a singlespeed to ride dirt on. Technical stuff-rocks, roots, off camber, really typical singletrack. Anyway, I'm checking out the Kona Unit and the Bianchi S.A.S.S.. Anyway, that's not my question.

My husband thinks I'm crazy, and the guys at the LBS question my leg strength. Really though, it's a matter of lungs catching up with legs. And how will I ever know if I can make the transition, if I don't try, right? I don't race, so speed doesn't really matter to me. I think they're more concerned about my not keeping up on rides. Any thoughts on this subject, or are they looking at this chick and thinking: "yeah right, whatever" because I'm a gurrl?

I've never singlespeed'ed it before, but I'm amazed with the simplicity of the machines. Rigid, steel, no gears. Really, I can't get the thought out of my mind. Anyway, I guess I could tell them to go screw themselves and order one anyway. Sorry about the rant.
My wife loves the Single speed dirt bike that I built up for her. She has 36/17 on a 110 cm crank with 175 arms and she can ride up all kinds of stuff except the really steep inclines and then she get off and walks. She is just about as fast up hill walking as somebody grinding away in granny gear on a multi. I say go ahead and build it. You won't regret it.


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Old 03-30-04, 10:04 AM   #6
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Didn't the female who won the last SSWC place in the top 10 overall?

Screw them, you can do it!

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Old 03-30-04, 10:45 AM   #7
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You'll get no takers in this forum to talk you out of it. At the risk of being oh so redundant, definitely buy/build one...98% chance you'll love it. Then, in a few months time, come back and tell us about the fixie you'll be wanting. Because you WILL be wanting one! Have a blast.
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Old 03-30-04, 12:28 PM   #8
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Do it - you will not regret it. I own a SISS, and it's more fun to ride than my full-suspension geared bike. You'll have to modify your riding style a bit, and learn to anticipate the ups and downs of the trails a bit more, but those are GOOD things. You can always change the gearing a bit to suit your leg/lung strength. I went from a 32/16 to a 32/18, and find it perfect for the trails I ride.

Good luck with your decision!
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Old 03-30-04, 06:30 PM   #9
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"Anyway, I guess I could tell them to go screw themselves and order one anyway."

That's just what you should do. Who cares what someone else thinks about your bike anyways, it's ur bike.

For an all around bike for 90% of what people use bikes for a singlespeed mountain bike is prolly about perfect-- light offroad, running to the store, or a bike trail-- they are simple and easy to maintain.

I ride my ss mtn bike in the winter in snow, and in the summer with 1 1/4 slicks.
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Old 03-30-04, 07:25 PM   #10
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"I think they're more concerned about my not keeping up on rides."

Seems to me that's a real problem. If you want to ride single speed by yourself, go for it. But if you're riding single speed and they're riding multispeed, i think you might have a heck of a time staying with em. Depends on the terrain, though, of course, and how good you are at stand-up biking.
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Old 03-30-04, 07:46 PM   #11
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Just go on stuff with them that is really technical, then they can't complain about you not keeping up!! Then, on the smooth stuff, just spin your heart out! If all else fails, ask to switch bikes with them...
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Old 03-30-04, 07:57 PM   #12
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I hope you're not still waiting. The most important part is just the desire to want one and wanting to try it. You'll love it!
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Old 03-30-04, 09:13 PM   #13
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Thanks for the encouragement guys and gals. I think I'm gonna give it a shot; what's the worse that could happen? I'll start by riding multi on the hammerfests and singlespeed it by myself. It's amazing how a few seeds can plant self doubt. I'm stoked, though. Any advice on gear ratios?
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Old 03-30-04, 10:32 PM   #14
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Any advice on gear ratios?
It goes a little somethin' like this.
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Old 03-30-04, 10:43 PM   #15
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for mountain biking, do the classic 32:16 ratio. That should be good to get you up the hills with some grunting! Have you seen sheldon browns website? www.sheldonbrown.com . Very comprehensive information about gearing.
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Old 03-31-04, 07:36 AM   #16
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sweet! thanks for the website. I'd heard that 32x16 is the magic number,but wasn't sure how magical it is.
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Old 03-31-04, 10:44 AM   #17
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dare i say thats quite ballsy ?

when i ride my mtb around (the streets) i dont even bother to change gears anymore.. and it's just about a 32c-16t, also.

while this is fine for the streets, there are alot of climbs and hills and stuff on my trails that i find it impassable with this gearing. maybe if you do firetrails than no problem

im by no means adverse to 1x1... personally i would do single speed on the streets for the training... and leave the gears on the mtb to worry about all the hops and jumps and skips and drops
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Old 03-31-04, 10:49 AM   #18
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Well, I'm a ballsy girl I don't ride fireroads. It's streets or singletrack, as I'm lucky to live in Arkansas where there are many great trails within 15 minutes. It's definitely do-able, as mtb races here have a singlespeed category. Anyway, I don't plan on racing; I just think they're cool.
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Old 03-31-04, 11:27 AM   #19
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Really, I can't get the thought out of my mind.
You should ABSOLUTELY do it, same thing happened to me. once that thought is there and has sound fertile ground you are a SSer in spirit, no make it in practice and getthe bike.

I have one for the road and one for dirt - love them both more than any other bike I have. these are the two bike I take out everywhere.

I have no problems keeping up on dirt rides - usually its the other way around. AND my SS MTB is aluminum and rigid.

you will love it.

ed
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Old 03-31-04, 12:07 PM   #20
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Yes, just do it. Seriously, i am absolutely in love with it. You never worry about derailluers or shifting, just about riding. You never have to think about what gear will be best for this hill, you just do it. You will get to the point where you WILL be passing the techno weenies on climbs. You planted the seed, now water it with a bike!
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Old 04-01-04, 07:35 AM   #21
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Thanks for the encouragement guys. I think I'm gonna take the plunge and go shopping. After all, it's my $$$. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll be back asking newbie ss questions, I'm sure.
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Old 04-01-04, 09:04 AM   #22
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Good work. Don't worry about not being able to keep up. You will get stronger because there is no way to shift to an easier gear when the going gets tough. The SAID principle, 'specific adaptation to imposed demands' or something like that. You increase the demands and your body adapts, aka getting stronger! Then, the next time you get on your geared bike you will kick some serious butt.

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Thanks for the encouragement guys. I think I'm gonna take the plunge and go shopping. After all, it's my $$$. Thanks for the encouragement. I'll be back asking newbie ss questions, I'm sure.
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