New user here looking to get back into riding after over a decade off. First a little about me and my riding history. I used to ride a 20" BMX Freestyle bike from my early teens into my early 20's (I'm 32 now). Back then, I did do some dirt jumping and flatland but mostly rode for fitness. I live in the mountians of Virginia and would go out by myself for hours and ride the biggest, baddest, steepest hills I could find. I loved it and got off on seeing how far I could push myself. It was an addiction.
Anyhow, as time went on I partied more and more and rode less and less until I quit all together. Now it's over 10 years later, I'm a little wiser, a little fatter (well maybe more than a little), and ready to get back into shape and get back the feeling being on a bike once gave me.
At first I considered getting a longer than average 20" BMX bike. The thing is, that back in my early 20's it didn't really bother me to be seen riding around on a "kids" bike since number one, I was pretty shredded, and number two, I wasn't really that far beyond being a kid myself. These days though, I don't want to look like a somewhat overweight 30 something man that just stole little Billy's bike. Deep down though I do want to get back on a 20", but I can't get past the idea of looking "funny" on it. It purely for these reasons I'm considering a 26". BUT, I don't like geared bicycles. As a quote I recently read somewhere mentioned something about geared bikes being for old people, I agree and think gears are for wimps. Plus I can do without the extra maintenace, adjustments and overall headache that gears bring.
So far, the single speed non-20 inch mountian style bicycles I've been able to find have 29" wheels which IMO is WAY too big. Generally, these bikes are branded as commuter bikes from what I've seen. One example is the Mongoose Sabrosa SS shown here:
Granted I've never ridden a 29" bike, but I have rode a 26" mountian bike and that's almost too big for me. Not height wise (I'm 6'0"), but just preference wise. It seemed giant after riding a 20" for so long. Also, I don't understand why bikes have disc brakes now. Seems like another maintenance headache to me. Plus I think they look stupid. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'd like to find a 26" single speed mountian style bike without disc brakes. Also, I'm not really trying to spend over 400 bucks (preferably over 300). Brand and quality aren't a big deal to me right now as long as it won't fall apart the first week I have it.
How difficult and expensive is it to convert a geared mountian bike to a single speed? I might consider this route. Right off though, I would think the dropouts would be a problem wouldn't they? I don't know much about it, but with a derailleur the derailleur itself provides the chain tension right? Typically there's not a lot of room to pull the wheel back and forth to tighten the chain like a BMX bike correct? I don't know much about the whole conversion thing.
Sorry for the long post, but any info is appreciated.