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Now I understand the appeal of single-speed

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Now I understand the appeal of single-speed

Old 01-19-07, 07:53 AM
  #1  
swwhite
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Now I understand the appeal of single-speed

I was at the end of my morning trip to work, where I have to go up a short but very steep hill. I usually drop the chain down to the smallest chain-ring in front to make that short climb. I did that today as usual, but the smallest chain-ring was so encrusted with snow that the chain wouldn't seat on it and just popped right over it. So I had to walk the last block to work to get under some lights and put the chain back on.

I have been thinking lately about the best winter bike. I have been thinking of Rohloff hub, aluminum frame, serious studded tires, HID lights, in other words, a bike so expensive I would hate to take it out in the winter.
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Old 01-19-07, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by swwhite
I was at the end of my morning trip to work, where I have to go up a short but very steep hill. I usually drop the chain down to the smallest chain-ring in front to make that short climb. I did that today as usual, but the smallest chain-ring was so encrusted with snow that the chain wouldn't seat on it and just popped right over it. So I had to walk the last block to work to get under some lights and put the chain back on.

I have been thinking lately about the best winter bike. I have been thinking of Rohloff hub, aluminum frame, serious studded tires, HID lights, in other words, a bike so expensive I would hate to take it out in the winter.
Simplicity is good! I loved my internal gear hub this morning, as I rode in a nice snow storm but kept chugging away on my Nokians. My worries were too much snow/ice in the fenders and my rim brakes icing up.
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Old 01-19-07, 09:12 AM
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Try riding all the way to work in one gear w/o shifting. Good way to test whether or not you'd like SS.
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Old 01-19-07, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
Try riding all the way to work in one gear w/o shifting. Good way to test whether or not you'd like SS.
Actually, I did try that once, and didn't like it. I did discover, however, that one needs fewer gears that one might think. I probably could get by on a three-speed.
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Old 01-19-07, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by swwhite
I have been thinking lately about the best winter bike. I have been thinking of Rohloff hub, aluminum frame, serious studded tires, HID lights, in other words, a bike so expensive I would hate to take it out in the winter.
Um, you just described my bike, except for the Rohloff hub. If you can live with 3 speeds, said bike will cost you less than $1000 including HID. Mine cost about $600 [$400 + $200 for studded tires], but I got it used.
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Old 01-19-07, 09:23 AM
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a single front chainring with dual bashguards works very well and wouldn't cost all that much.
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Old 01-19-07, 09:55 AM
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I don't think it has to be dreadfully expensive. Substitute Shimano or SRAM 3 speed for Rolhoff, recycled old steel frame, and cheaper lights. Probably don't want to skimp on the quality of the studded tires, though. Maybe just one studded tire up front. I'd go with a coaster brake in the 3 speed hub.

Edit: For bad weather riding, I like a low geared single speed. I'm not going to ride fast in these conditions, anyway. If you only ride it in crappy weather, I don't think the lack of higher gears will bother you.

Second edit: Actually the lever actuated drum brake hubs appeal to me more than the coaster brakes.

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Old 01-19-07, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by tlupfer
a single front chainring with dual bashguards works very well and wouldn't cost all that much.
or make a much cheaper/simpler/lighter front chain keeper for a single ring steup from an old front derailleur. just use the set screws to get it where you want it.

also works better when you can't find bashguards for road cranks
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Old 01-19-07, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by max-a-mill
or make a much cheaper/simpler/lighter front chain keeper for a single ring steup from an old front derailleur. just use the set screws to get it where you want it.

also works better when you can't find bashguards for road cranks
I've put 2,000 road commuting miles on my 1x8 setup, without a front derailleur or guide of any kind - I have yet to drop a chain. I suppose if I was riding rougher stuff, I might have a problem, but regular potholes, train tracks, etc. don't seem to bother it.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
Try riding all the way to work in one gear w/o shifting. Good way to test whether or not you'd like SS.
I've been doing this a lot lately. I've nailed the ratio on my road bike, but can't seem to get settled on the cross bike.

I was pretty close to pulling the trigger on a rohloff build, but then I suddenly got more comfortable with drops and don't want to get on my flatbar bikes at all anymore. I'm not really happy with the mounting options of the rohloff so I've now started thinking fixed. I guess it's time to sell a bike or two.
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Old 01-19-07, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by trackandtrials
I've put 2,000 road commuting miles on my 1x8 setup, without a front derailleur or guide of any kind - I have yet to drop a chain. I suppose if I was riding rougher stuff, I might have a problem, but regular potholes, train tracks, etc. don't seem to bother it.
hmmm, because my girlfriend finally dropped her chain enough (2x a week on average?) to force me to put one on her bike... strictly road/commute type stuff too.

and no i am not saying you don't ride as hard as my girlfriend...

if you ever DO develop chain droppin problems that front d is a cheap way to solve them. if not, no reason to do anything but ride on!
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Old 01-19-07, 03:06 PM
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I have a 1x8 MTB (which I only ride on the road). I only ever had one chain drop event. That was while losing traction going uphill on snow. I don't think it was the lack of front deraileur that caused it because I've had the same thing happen on a bike which did have a front deraileur.

I cant really see what good a front derailure does in this regard. It doesn't actually set very close to the chain. There is alot of gap on both sides.

Anyway, for "around town" riding, I think the 1x8 is perfect. In fact, I don't think I would need a double on a MTB unless I lived in the mountains.
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Old 01-19-07, 03:12 PM
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FYI, there are a number of threads in the SS/FG forum about winter bikes. I myself built up an old Trek 660 as a fixed wet-weather commuter. But then I don't have hills or snow to worry about.
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Old 01-19-07, 03:27 PM
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I ride a SS cross bike for commuting as well as most everything else (I also have a SS mtb and fixed-gear beater/bar-bike). gearing is 42 x 18 on the crosser. works well for my hilly commute. cruising speed on the flats is a comfortable 15-17mph. SS is easy once your legs are strong enough to tolerate the mashing that is required on some uphills. I guess my only gripe with fixed/SS is that I can't go fast enough down hill...all I can do is coast downhill OR on the fixed try to keep the cadence managable.
As for more gears, the only multi-geared bike I have is an old Raleigh Pursuit I set up as a two-speed at the suggestion of a friend...front derailer with two chainrings and a SS rear. I gave it two gears to make pulling a kid-trailer less damaging on the knees
cheers.
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Old 01-19-07, 03:42 PM
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You can have your cake and eat it, too. I got this bike new for $450 (now $375 at my LBS) added Nokians ($82), trekking bars ($10), and a good light ($180) to this, and do the same maintenance as my "summer" bike. The good light will work for night trail riding,too.
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Old 01-19-07, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by prof
As for more gears, the only multi-geared bike I have is an old Raleigh Pursuit I set up as a two-speed at the suggestion of a friend...front derailer with two chainrings and a SS rear. I gave it two gears to make pulling a kid-trailer less damaging on the knees
My Raleigh Pursuit is a SS conversion. I swapped the drop bars for moustache bars and upgraded the brakes to modern dual pivot ones. That bike is the most fun to ride of all the bikes I own.
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Old 01-19-07, 04:07 PM
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Yep, I like the Raleigh. Not bad for gas-pipe construction. I found mine stock/mint at a garage sale for $25.00. I left the classic super narrow drop bars with foam grips, but modified just about everything else. I like the old style sizing...62cm seat tube (i'm nearly 6'5") with 56 or 58cm top tube...tall and short at the same time.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:26 PM
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I recently converted my old commuter mtn bike to a SS... I love it. I just converted my flat bar road bike to a SS too.. and I might sell my "new" cannondale so I can buy a road bike and convert it to a 1x8,9 or 10.

by the way.. i have plenty of hills on my commute and plenty of false flats.

my method: I tried just using one gear with a multi speed bike... didn't last and didn't like it. so, i took the plunge and paid for a single speed chain, tensioner and conversion kit. slapped it on and fell in love. now when i ride my multispeed Cannondale( F600 set up as a 1x9 for commuting with 700C rims/tires), it feels slow and I don't really change gears anymore. go figure...

anyways... good luck with your situation.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:27 PM
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now you gotta go 'fixed'... then you'll truly understand

train safe-
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Old 01-22-07, 07:54 PM
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I'm still under docs orders to keep heart rate below 138 bpm due to heart attack and quad bypass in April. I have been keeping my MTB in a single gear since. An easy gear mind you. 138bpm is not that high. Don't take much to get in to 140's+. There are a couple of hills I've had to gear down for but can ususally find a long way home that zig zags up them not attcking straight uphill. the Thames River runs through London, Ontario and the climb out of the river valley is a bit steep (for SW. Ontario standards).
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Old 01-22-07, 08:46 PM
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No crime in walking the bike...rather it's a good motivator to keep the drivetrain clean and well maintained.
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Old 01-22-07, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by swwhite
Actually, I did try that once, and didn't like it. I did discover, however, that one needs fewer gears that one might think. I probably could get by on a three-speed.
I just got a $40 3-speed off Craigslist, and may be overly excited since it's new, but I am loving it. I bought it for winter/wet/rain commuting, but like riding it on short trips around my neighborhood too. You may want to look into getting a used one; if you hate it you can probably resell it for about the same price you paid for it.
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