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Rigid Single Speed - Bad idea for intro to mountain biking?

Old 05-10-13, 09:05 AM
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Rigid Single Speed - Bad idea for intro to mountain biking?

I've been riding and working on road bikes for years now and recently moved to an area that has great mountain biking. I'm not in a situation where I can purchase a decent mountain bike at the moment but I have been toying with the idea of finding an older/cheap rigid mountain bike on CL and single speeding it. The reason for single speeding would be to remove any worn/low end components. Would this be a terrible introduction to the sport for me?
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Old 05-10-13, 11:11 AM
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Not really, but know that you would be riding a TOOL that will make the ride spartan.

It will not be comfortable. It will not be fast. It will not be easy.

It WILL force you to identify the smoothest lines possible. It WILL force you to carry your momentum as much as possible. It WILL force you to read the trail as far ahead as possible, so you know when to pick up your cadence for short, punchy climbs. It WILL make you a well-rounded mtn bike rider.

Once you step up to a geared, suspended bike, you will feel like you are cheating.
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Old 05-10-13, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by papa wheelie View Post
In short, it will make you a well-rounded rigid hardtail rider.
FTFy.
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Old 05-10-13, 11:26 AM
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Getting onto the single track is a blast. The sport kinda started that way. What Papa W said is true. Dminor's fix is accurate. SS rigid on single track will teach you some skills. When you do step up to gears and maybe a suspension fork you will be sporting a big grin!
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Old 05-10-13, 12:54 PM
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Fully rigid is a bit punishing. You should be able to find something descent with front suspension for cheap. $150-$200 gets a lot of mountain bike on craigslist in my area. If you are selective, you can find something really nice that has minimal wear on the components. A lot of guys bought nice bikes in the 90's, only to find that it's hard work, and gave it up hardly riding their bike. Now that it's been sitting around, unused and in the way, they are looking to sell them.
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Old 05-10-13, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by likebike23 View Post
Fully rigid is a bit punishing. You should be able to find something descent with front suspension for cheap. $150-$200 gets a lot of mountain bike on craigslist in my area. If you are selective, you can find something really nice that has minimal wear on the components. A lot of guys bought nice bikes in the 90's, only to find that it's hard work, and gave it up hardly riding their bike. Now that it's been sitting around, unused and in the way, they are looking to sell them.
i'm wary of purchasing something with any sort of suspension system yet since i can't tell something good from something crap in terms of quality or condition.
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Old 05-10-13, 05:55 PM
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I've gone from hardtail 26's to full suspension 26 to hardtail 29ers to my freshly built full rigid single speed 29er Surly Karate Monkey. Now granted where I ride there are groomed trails and I'll eventually put some fat tires on it to soften the ride, I'm confident it's going to be a blast. I do say that though having a few years of mountain biking experience. I think you'll like it. Worst case, you put a suspension fork on it. No big deal. Grab a bike and ride the snot out of it and have fun.
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Old 05-10-13, 08:06 PM
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What do you mean by cheap? These are new.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...54_-1___202341

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/g29ss.htm

Maybe there are cheaper bikes on your local CL like a used redline monocog or something similar someone built and is moving up from. Rigid SS is a fun way to spend the day and work on the skills posted above. If you like it you can always try the other flavors, hardtail or FS.
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Old 05-11-13, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by aquateen View Post
I've been riding and working on road bikes for years now and recently moved to an area that has great mountain biking. I'm not in a situation where I can purchase a decent mountain bike at the moment but I have been toying with the idea of finding an older/cheap rigid mountain bike on CL and single speeding it. The reason for single speeding would be to remove any worn/low end components. Would this be a terrible introduction to the sport for me?
Go for it. You'll have a blast.
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Old 05-11-13, 01:53 PM
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It probably wouldn't be my first choice as a first mountain bike. Especially with you already knowing how to work on bikes, so it would be easier for you to work on a geared bike that might need a tune-up. How you plan on using it and what kind of trails you plan on riding comes into play though...
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Old 05-13-13, 09:24 AM
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I found a Roadmaster for $20 on CL. I am fully aware that these bikes are trash but I'm basically just paying for the frame and wheels. I figure I'll replace the cables/housing, brakes, and get a single speed kit. Hopefully I can manage with the crank that's on it currently.
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Old 05-13-13, 09:43 AM
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I caught up with a woman on a 90's ish rigid on the trails Sunday morning. She is getting her legs back into biking shape. She rides trails in Yellowstone every few years. KUDOs to this lady, Yellowstone on a Rigid! schnikes!
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Old 05-13-13, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by aquateen View Post
I found a Roadmaster for $20 on CL. I am fully aware that these bikes are trash but I'm basically just paying for the frame and wheels. I figure I'll replace the cables/housing, brakes, and get a single speed kit. Hopefully I can manage with the crank that's on it currently.
Just my personal opinion, but if I were in your position I'd save time and effort by saving up a little bit of cash and buying an entry-level geared mountain bike for a few hundred dollars. It will be better. Maybe something like this:

http://www.eriksbikeshop.com/2012-ta...c10903/product

Or something from bikesdirect, perhaps.

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Old 05-13-13, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by aquateen View Post
I found a Roadmaster for $20 on CL. I am fully aware that these bikes are trash but I'm basically just paying for the frame and wheels. I figure I'll replace the cables/housing, brakes, and get a single speed kit. Hopefully I can manage with the crank that's on it currently.
You might find you have trouble using the existing crank, due to chainline issues. A typical singlespeed conversion requires a new bottom bracket and crankset in order to work well -- if the chainline is less than perfect, you'll find yourself dropping the chain all the time. Singlespeed conversions are trickier than you might suppose if you have not done one before.
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Old 05-13-13, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by corvuscorvax View Post
Singlespeed conversions are trickier than you might suppose . . . .
Errrrr . . . huh?
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Old 05-13-13, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dminor View Post
Errrrr . . . huh?
I didn't say they were rocket science. But you can't just throw a SS wheel on the back and use it with whatever BB and triple crankset you have on the bike. Getting the chainline right can be tricky for somebody who is not used to doing the measurements.
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Old 05-13-13, 03:20 PM
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I wouldn't invest a dime in a roadmaster bike, there will be too many issues to do it right. First of all, there's a good chance it has an ashtubula crank, so you would need a American to euro bottom bracket converter to have any chainline adjustability. Second, it probably has a freewheel on the back, so you would have to respace/redish the wheel and use a BMX freewheel. Third, the frame probably has no derailleur hanger, so any tensioner would also need a claw. I'm not saying it can't be done, it's just that a "single speed kit" is probably meant to be used on a cassette wheel and a derailleur hanger equipped bike. If I really had to have the Roadmaster, and it had to be a single speed, I would just do a ghetto conversion and be done with it.
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Old 05-13-13, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by corvuscorvax View Post
Getting the chainline right can be tricky for somebody who is not used to doing the measurements.
No it isn't. All you need is a good eye and the ability to sight down a chain from the rear of the bike. We're not talking about pulley alignment on a 6-71 blower here.
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Old 05-13-13, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by dminor View Post
No it isn't. All you need is a good eye and the ability to sight down a chain from the rear of the bike. We're not talking about pulley alignment on a 6-71 blower here.
OK. As you wish.
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Old 05-14-13, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by likebike23 View Post
I wouldn't invest a dime in a roadmaster bike, there will be too many issues to do it right. First of all, there's a good chance it has an ashtubula crank, so you would need a American to euro bottom bracket converter to have any chainline adjustability. Second, it probably has a freewheel on the back, so you would have to respace/redish the wheel and use a BMX freewheel. Third, the frame probably has no derailleur hanger, so any tensioner would also need a claw. I'm not saying it can't be done, it's just that a "single speed kit" is probably meant to be used on a cassette wheel and a derailleur hanger equipped bike. If I really had to have the Roadmaster, and it had to be a single speed, I would just do a ghetto conversion and be done with it.

i was under the assumption that freewheel conversions were possible without redishing a wheel but maybe people were mistaking them for freehubs.
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Old 05-14-13, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by aquateen View Post
i was under the assumption that freewheel conversions were possible without redishing a wheel but maybe people were mistaking them for freehubs.
Maybe they were talking about doing a ghetto conversion. That's where you leave all the parts in place except the derailleurs/shifters. You would simply shorten the chain and run it from the middle chainring to the cog in back that would give the best chainline. Do you have the link to the info you read? It's hard to say what they were talking about without reading it myself. The bottom line is, you can do just about anything to a bike you want. Is it going to work well? That's the question.
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Old 05-14-13, 06:42 AM
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good point. i think i might just cut my losses with this one and maybe try to sell it back on CL
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Old 05-14-13, 11:20 AM
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It's funny... I started mountain biking in the mid 1980's - all we had were fully rigid bikes. The big difference between road and mountain bikes were the relaxed geometry and wider, knobby tires. I can honestly say, starting out that way caused me to be become very skillful picking lines, riding gently and lightly out of the saddle.

I now ride a full suspension bike and am glad I learned first the hard way. Now not certain if I could hang with a singlespeed on trail but I use one on the road and it taught me a nice smooth steady stroke/cadence.

Most of the hard core folks here are now on rigid singlespeeds (it comes full circle back to the 80's) having been there done that... but I can also say I love riding my fully and what it does on the trail... try it first and see how it works out for you...
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