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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 10-25-12, 09:17 AM   #1
Netdewt
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Convert old MTB to SS for winter?

So I've had a Specialized Rockhopper sitting in my garage for a while now, not doing much of anything. Would converting it to singlespeed be a good idea for riding in winter?

What parts would you suggest?
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Old 10-25-12, 09:42 AM   #2
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I ride SS in the winter and like it, just make sure to pick the right gearing. If you have a cassette you can use a DMR spacer kit and prob get a good chainline with your existing crank. If not a ss freewheel will work, not sure about getting a good chainline though.

I use the spacer on a cassette method, I am able to get a 2x2 config with the same chain 36x16 and 34x18. 36x16 is a decent all around gear.
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Old 10-25-12, 09:50 AM   #3
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I think it's a great idea.



I'm not an expert on Rockhoppers, but if it has vertical dropouts, that would make a fixed-gear/single-speed conversion trickier.
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Old 10-25-12, 09:56 AM   #4
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I think it's a great idea.



I'm not an expert on Rockhoppers, but if it has vertical dropouts, that would make a fixed-gear/single-speed conversion trickier.
Is that fixed or ss?
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Old 10-25-12, 09:56 AM   #5
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Fixed.
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Old 10-25-12, 11:00 AM   #6
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Nothing wrong with that, they make spacer/tensioner kits that work really well and have all that you need to do it. There may be some trial and error finding the right gear but you can find SS cogs really cheap.
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Old 10-25-12, 11:21 AM   #7
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It's a 1996, and has vertical dropouts, grip shifting, 3 chainrings, 8 speed rear cassette. The chain is old. I skimmed this article so I have an idea of how to find the right gears without using a tensioner:
http://www.63xc.com/toddp/halflink.htm

But if that doesn't work, the 4-Jeri tension looks good for cheap. I don't want to bother with fixed on a vertical dropout frame.

Are studded tires pretty much a necessity? Can I stud my old tires myself?
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Old 10-25-12, 11:23 AM   #8
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I would recommend it highly. To avoid re-dishing issues on a low-quality wheel and to do it "properly", I went ahead and built a new wheel using a Surly 135mm hub and utility-grade rim. You can get them in disc/non disc, freewheel/fixed, etc. whatever combination you want. I was lucky in that my old mountain bike frame had horizontal dropouts.

http://surlybikes.com/parts/hubs
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Old 10-25-12, 12:10 PM   #9
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I built up a Drum brake Hubset, and used an 'All weather sports' Snow-Cat rims.
Nokian Mount and Ground W tires..

this was early 90's late 70' stumpjumper frame
It still has the 7 by 3 drive-train..

the West is not Flat, like Fargo.
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Old 10-25-12, 05:31 PM   #10
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If your bike has vertical dropouts then you will need a chain tensioner, a spacer kit, and few singlespeed cogs. Cheapest good quality tensioners are made by Gusset and DMR. I've used Gusset Bachelor and it's been bulletproof. It's a good idea to remove the 8-9 speed casseete and replace that with a singlespeed cog and few spacers, cassetes aren't really made for SS use because they have little ramps machined for shifting, SS cogs are different. One of my SS conversions is actually a two speed manual shift...38/36 chainrings up front and 16/18 rear cogs, great for winter riding.
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Old 10-26-12, 08:29 AM   #11
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So what should I do first? Tear down the bike and see if any cogs/chainrings I have will work without a tensioner?

How many gear inches should I aim for?
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Old 10-27-12, 09:19 PM   #12
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Can anyone say whether the Surly or Paul (more expensive) chain tensioners are better for winter use?
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Old 10-28-12, 10:16 AM   #13
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I am running (36x16) 61.5 and (34x18) 51.6 gear inches this winter (I have a 2x2 setup) I ran 66.8 (44x18)last year and didn't have any problems. Although my riding was always on the road without a lot of snow...we had a lighter winter.

My 2x2 allows me to use the same length chain so I don't have to lose the sweet spot for my disc brakes.

Paul is probably going to be better quality but I prefer the single wheel on the surly.
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Old 10-29-12, 11:00 AM   #14
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I initially tried 62" (26.1" x 38/16), but that was too much work for the speed I could go on those tires. 58" (26.1" x 38/17) was much better, and I didn't wish for anything higher until I switched back to regular tires.
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Old 10-29-12, 07:28 PM   #15
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Can anyone say whether the Surly or Paul (more expensive) chain tensioners are better for winter use?
Check out nashbar, amazon for single speed kits. Usually about $30, comes with tensioner, several cogs and spacers. Paul is expensive, surly is okay, can't say if they are worth it or not. I used a cheap tensioner and never had an issue.
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Old 12-02-12, 06:15 PM   #16
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Still noodling on this.

I bought a recommended wheelbuilding book, and plan to learn. Is an eccentric hub worthwhile @ $185? Or better to just stick with an tesioner on this sort of setup?
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Old 12-02-12, 06:30 PM   #17
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$185 is kind of spendy just to avoid using a chain tensioner -- eccentric hubs are more necessary when you're trying to convert a vertical-dropout bike to fixed-gear. I'd just run a chain tensioner, or use your old derailleur as one.
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