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Single Speeders?(11 posts)

Single Speeders?blue bayou
May 22, 2001 2:11 PM
What's the scoop with single speed set-ups? What are the benefits of training on one? Is setting one up very difficult?
re: Single Speeders?mon t
May 22, 2001 2:18 PM
forget ss. anything that sounds better and better the more drunk you get is really not all that great of an idea....
May 22, 2001 2:21 PM
I just got a LeMond "Zurich" & am going to singlespeed it ! I'll use a 40 tooth dh ring up front & probably 14 tooth in back.....Lot's of hills in East Tennessee..I heard 46-16 is good too! I need a 46 tooth 104mm/4-bolt ring !.......
Benefits are :--lighter bike--more power from shorter cahin & no serpintine pulley's from derailer---fun & very fast....
It makes you just rip in that gear only,no shifting or anything & i prefer it over lot's of gears...
If i was racing or big group ride i would just run 8 speed 12-32 mtn rear cassette with 53 up front for full slaying & downtube or bar-end shifter{light & cheap}...... I sspeed mtn for quite a while & like it alot we'll see on the road!!
hey, east TN matrix...Haiku d'état
May 22, 2001 2:35 PM
you ever ride clingman's dome?
hey, east TN matrix...Matrix
May 22, 2001 9:48 PM
not yet, but my bud did last Sunday ! said he was in 39-23 gear & it was hard !
I'll be doing 40-14 so i should be suffering even more?? ooh yeah!
It's fun...Greg Taylor
May 22, 2001 2:31 PM
...and gives you an excuse for another bike.

If what you mean by "single speed" is a "fixed gear", then the main training benefits are that you develop more leg speed and a smoother cadence, if the bike is geared short. Also no coasting...and you have to pedal like a maniac downhill.

They are not hard to set up. The Third Hand has a Suzue track hubset for about $50. It isn't really high quality, but it gets the job done. It is a two-sided hub that allows you to run a fixed cog on one side and a BMX-style freewheel on the other. You just pull the wheel off and flop it over to change from fixed-gear to a single-speed.

The only thing left is to figure what kind of gear combo to run, and this isn't hard either. I run about 75 gear-inches, which is a good compromise -- 46 teeth up front, 16 out back.
Tremendous fun.Alex R
May 22, 2001 2:35 PM
There is a singlespeed forum on where you will find all the help you need in building one for yourself. Keep in mind that they are all singlespeed mountain bikers, but the mechanics of converting road and mtb are the same.

My personal experience has been very good. My fixed gear cross bike is the most loved bike in the stable.

Finally, a piece of advice. A mistake made by almost everyone who builds their first ss is to gear too high. Forego the he-man instinct and go for a gear you can spin comfortably, rather than mash at high speed. This is especially true if you are building a fixed gear to perfect your spin.


I like it ...Humma Hah
May 22, 2001 3:58 PM
... the guru on the subject is Sheldon Brown (, and look for Harris Cyclery). He'll tell you all the tricks and, if you can't find the goodies, sell 'em to you.

Basic strategies range from essentially taking a geared bike and disabling the derailleur, to screwing the corncob off an older freewheel rear wheel and replacing it with a singlespeed freewheel, to buying a purpose-built singlespeed (prices for fixed-gear bikes from Bianchi start at around $700, and singlespeed is a simple adaptation, putting a freewheel on the rear wheel).

Most of us have scrounged an older frame with the preferred horizontal dropouts (to allow chain tension adjustment), and started from there, but various tensioning arrangements are available.

Me, I just ride an old coasterbrake cruiser.

The benefits: the riding style forces you to pedal harder on hills and faster on the flats. This expands your powerband -- builds both muscle and speed. This gives you some options when using a geared bike, and unleashes some capabilities you may never have known you had.

The secret charm: if you're attracted to cycling because it is harder than driving a car, and a great challenge, consider that gearies are doing a hard thing a slightly easier way. Singlespeeders and fixies do the hard thing the hard way. For me, it scratches the cycling itch just a little deeper.
didn't realize you had a coaster brakeHaiku d'état
May 23, 2001 7:58 AM
you also have that fixed with v-brakes, right?
Rarely use the Bendix any more, but ...Humma Hah
May 23, 2001 3:25 PM
... its one of the few original parts on the bike, and cruisers should have coasterbrakes.

The system qualifies as Frankenbrakes. The rear is a set of cheap Topo V-brakes mounted on a Big Cheese cantilever/V brake adapter, sort of the brake stiffener from Heck. The whole rig weighs several pounds, but it works great, and I no longer have to repack the coasterbrake after a long downhill.

The front brake is a side-pull caliper of old-school design, mounted on a steel adapter plate that screws into the fender mount hole on the forks (which were never equipped for brakes). CyclArt just refinished a set of Corvette forks (which have caliper brake bosses), and that's on the way, so the front brakes will be a little stiffer. The calipers are not as strong as the V's, but overall the system does haul the speed down briskly, even on steep hills.
re: Single Speeders?Stampertje
May 23, 2001 6:58 AM
I set my old road bike up with a fixed-free flip flop hub. The area where I live is mostly flat, but there are some rolling hills. I find riding the fixed gear far more intense than a fully geared bike - it makes you aware of everything: bumps and corners you'd normally coast through, your climbing momentum, cadence. I'm slowly getting used to riding in groupss. Downhill I usually get dropped (I can't spin much higher than 150-160rpm, and that not for very long), but there's an immense satisfaction in powering up a hill faster than all your geared buddies. Basically, it is a lot of fun.

I ride 42x16, which I decided based on a cruising speed of 30-34kmh and a cadence of 90-115. I use it to train my spinning. Oh, and to bridge the gap until I buy my new road bike... (experience with RIH bikes, any of you Dutch lurkers?)