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Thread: Single Speeds

  1. #1
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    Single Speeds

    Is anyone interested in exchanging ideas/thoughts on single-speed bikes?

    I finally got around to piecing one together from "cool old stuff laying around" = Mid-'80's Crotch Rocket Mountainbike Frame/Fork, Cook Bros Racing Cranks, Dia Compe Ti Canti Brakes w/SS5 MKII Levers, Carbon Seatpost & Flite Ti Saddle (White To Match The Frame/Fork Color!?), Suntour Pro BMX Pedals, Kingsbery Hubs Laced To Sun CR16 Rims Using Wheelsmith 15-17 Spokes & Alloy Nipples w/American Classic Ti QR's, American Roller Stem, Nitto Riser Bars, Specialized Nimbus 1.4x26 Tires/Slime Tubes, Mt Zefal Fenders, Greenfied Kickstand, Regina FW Body w/One Cog, and Surly Singleator).

    It's turned out to be a spiffy "Going To The Coffe House" ride and is proving to be quite fun on "easier" double & single track trails.
    So it seems it was worth the effort.

  2. #2
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    My bike's a single speed, and that speed is flat out (I wish). It's got 24 gears though.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

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    Lagomorph Demonicus stumpjumper's Avatar
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    Heck Yeah! Mine started out the same... a spare parts project. Its an '88 Stumpjumper, DX crankset, dia-compe canti's, newer shimano hubs on specialized rims, control tech stem, syncros risers, 1.8/1.9" knobbies. I need a 175 crank. these 170's are killing me off road.
    Lord Bowler: Uh oh. You hit the sheriff
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  4. #4
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    Stumpjumper, thanks for responding. Yeah, I think you do need longer crankarms (I was fortunate to have the Cooks Brothers crankset packed away. You'll probably recall they came in rather odd sizes - 171, 176, 181 - and, luckily, I had the 176 size, which seems to work great on a single-speed / But what do I know?).

    Anyway, I'd suggest putting a "Need A Crankset" 3x5 card on the bulletin boards of local bike shops, because I bet there's lots of folks with old crank arms they'd be willing to part with for little $. Plus, doesn't "Bike Forums" have an on-line bulletin board (I'm new to all this)?

    How did you handle, (1. the single cog on your rear Shimano hub, (2. Your chain tension, and (3. What's your chainring/rear cog combo?

    Well I'm going to "single-speed" to lunch. Chat with you soon.

  5. #5
    Lagomorph Demonicus stumpjumper's Avatar
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    How did you handle, (1. the single cog on your rear Shimano hub, (2. Your chain tension, and (3. What's your chainring/rear cog combo?
    1.) its an older no-name rear with a thread-on 16-tooth bmx freewheel and spacers.

    2.) chain tession (now dont laugh...) The older Specialized frames have the standard quick release dropouts (small, round and useless for adjusting chain tension). I noticed the dropouts seem to be similar to the horizontal (forward-facing) dropouts, but had most of the "gap" filled in during the casting process. I took a dremel and removed all that excess metal, creating a horizontal dropout. I cant beleive it, but it does work. I figured if I screwed up the frame, what the heck, this was a side project made from junk parts anyway. I suspend the bike by the rear wheel before tightening the axle bolts, and voila- tension. Its still not as tight as I'd like, but it works.

    3.) not sure. I'll have to go home and count the teeth on the big ring
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  6. #6
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    Hey, "older, no-name" stuff on a single-speed is the only way to go! Plus, the drop-out modification is really spiffy, and I applaud your ingenuity (Especially the part about hanging the bike by the rear wheel to tighten the axle bolts).

    My gearing is 18X42 (I've heard that two to one is the optimum set-up, but for the kind of riding I'm doing - easy trails, city streets, alleys, dirt roads, etc - my combination seems to be fine).

    It's hard to believe, but I find I'm getting more comments/questions about the single-speed than any of my other bikes (Especially at the local coffee shop), and I've got some zooty road, mountain, and 'cross bikes!?

    You mentioned you're using a bmx freewheel w/spacers, so do you have a bmx hub or is the bmx freewheel screwed onto an older style mountain hub and the spacers are being used to get a good chain line (Does what I just wrote make any sense?)?

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    Lagomorph Demonicus stumpjumper's Avatar
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    You mentioned you're using a bmx freewheel w/spacers, so do you have a bmx hub or is the bmx freewheel screwed onto an older style mountain hub and the spacers are being used to get a good chain line
    older mtn hub, tried to move the chainline over. It took a different bb spindle as well, but after awhile, I got it right.

    Speaking of bottom brackets, have you found that your ss tends to put extra stress on the bb? I just pulled mine apart the other night and found the reason why mine's been developing extra play- the drive side bearings had been totally mauled and the retainer was in pieces. I'm not overly hard on the bike (its still in "testing and development"), so even a used bb should have lasted longer...
    Lord Bowler: Uh oh. You hit the sheriff
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  8. #8
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    I keep toying with the idea!

    I've pretty much got what I need to build one up, I just need another stem! My question for you guys is, "Is it better to have a bigger frame or a smaller one?" The reason I ask, I've got access to an old SMALL (I ride a Large)aluminum frame, I was thinking of setting up my SS with more of a BMX set-up. Also, has anyone tried the mechanical disc avalable from Atomic Laboratories? My buddy had one on his BMX cruiser and it worked well, but I'd like some more opinions!

    L8R
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  9. #9
    Mr. Cellophane RainmanP's Avatar
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    Gruppo,
    I was running my old Bianchi road bike as a fixed gear until I had to rebuild it to multi-speed a few weeks ago. I really enjoyed commuting on the fixie and plan to make an old Schwinn Voyageur touring bike my fixie. I may need to accelerate that process since I bent the fork on my commuter yesterday. The fixed gear is so quiet and smooth. I use a fixed/free flip flop hub with a 17 on the track side and a 42T chainring.

    Are you in the middle of the Texas 'handle?
    Regards,
    Raymond
    If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

  10. #10
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    I have a GT Moto. It's a mixture of BMX and a stroll bike, with platform pedals and short stem. I use this bike for training.-

  11. #11
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    Stumpjumper, thanks for the hub/spacer info. As I said, I'm using an old Kingsbery hub and a five speed freewheel body with just a single cog screwed on ( A third position cog I think) / Looks weird but works. Using a freewheel body allowed me to use cogs in different positions to attain a decent chainline (Though I must admit that I'm probably one of the few folks around with Regina & Malliard freewheel bodies and cog boards / and some Suntour & Shimano - I collected them at bike shops that were about to toss them in the dumpster). However, I'm chagrined by the fact that I didn't think to experiment with different length bottom bracket spindles like you did (Good going!). I installed a bottom bracket with a 124 mm spindle, but because it's a single speed, I could have used a much shorter one (Although the spindle I'm using is titanium, so that's cool and probably why I used it - How's that for rationalizing?).

    I'm not sure about your bottom bracket problems - mine seems to be holding up OK, but I'm a wienie. However, and I hate to admit this, years ago I installed a 73 mm bottom bracket in a 68 mm shell and messed up a bunch of stuff before I learned better, so this might be a possibility (Some of the symptoms sound similar). Also, check to see that your bottom bracket shell isn't ovalized a bit. Otherwise, you're correct that even a used one should be pretty reliable. Keep me posted...

    a2psyklnut, I like the idea of a large version bmx-style single speed (The difference between a small & large mountain bike frame is probably only about four or five inches), so I say, "Build it!", if you have a long enough seatpost and a riser stem and/or high rise bars. The beauty of this is being able to cob together a cool bike with what you've got and truly end up with a one-of-a-kind ride. I'm sorry, but I don't have any knowledge of the Atomic Lab's mechanical disk (Is it mostly a bmx specific component?).

    What I'd like to do is build a high end single speed with a coaster brake rear hub, thereby eliminating all the extraneous stuff (No other brake), and end up with a trackbike-like, ultra simple, sleek, and probably very light bike (If I could find a quality coaster brake hub). The frame might have to be custom built (Reynolds 853!) so as not to have brake braze-ons, but have a tab on the left chainstay to attach the coaster brake arm. I've got a 40's balloon tired Schwinn that's pretty spiffy, but it must weigh 50 pounds (I'm afraid to put it on my scale for fear of ruining it - The scale, not the Schwinn). Oh well, one of these days...

    RainmanP, I've always loved Bianchi's, but, alas, have never owned one (In the early '80's, I worked part-time in a shop that sold Bianchi's and lusted after a Super Leggera). Is yours "Team" celeste? A fixed gear single speed is probably the ultimate / Are you running any brakes, like maybe just the front? Did your road frame have long slotted, almost horizontal dropouts such that they allowed enough adjustment to run it as a single speed, or did you employ some other trick to take up chain slack?

    I used to put road sew-ups on my track bike and ride it around on the street occasionally, without brakes (Which probably wasn't too bright), but a few close calls finally put an end to that. Get the Voyageur converted and let us know how it turns out (Is there a story behind the commuter's bent fork?), and thanks for reminding me of fixed/free flip-flop hubs.

    I live in the Idaho "panhandle" and I must say it's a pretty nice place to be. Hey, did you know of a bike parts & accessories distributor named "Orleans Cycle Supply", that used to operate in your neck of the woods up until about four years ago? It was a neat outfit!

  12. #12
    Junior Member bostnstreet's Avatar
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    Yeah i ride a fixed gear with a flip flop hub as well.
    just started riding fixed. scary, but fun.

    why are singlespds always grouped under mtn bikes?

  13. #13
    Senior Member danr's Avatar
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    mine was also a project.

    I had some parts from another ss bike, which I sold part of. Some parts, like the wheelset and fork, I ordered through webcyclery. I got the frame on e-bay. The other parts, cantilever brakes w/ levers, cranks, chainring and guard, stem, and various other parts I had lying around.

    I am considering riding flip-flop in case my freewheel goes out on a ride. I have a Surly rear hub, so I may go for it.
    Does the perfect bike really exist?

  14. #14
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    Single Speed is not just a bike with one gear. It is an attitude about the individual on the bike. It say "I am against the norm of cycling"

    I own a Single Speed shop. My show room is full of SS Bikes. When a customer comes in my door, I love to see the look on their face. So many people are disapointed because they are expecting the traditional shop. But my joy comes from the rider who walks in and see that there are shops like mine.

    Single Speed riders are those who become "one with the bike".

    Pete Kanzler
    PHK Bicycles

    www.phkbicycles.com

    www.phkbicycles.com
    Racing BMX seperates those who think they can, and those who do? Racer's ready? Watch the lights!!

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