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Conversion to Singlespeed(28 posts)

Conversion to SinglespeedJon
Oct 17, 2001 8:35 AM
I've got an old Raleigh touring bike (my first road bike purchased 9 yrs. ago for $60.00!), which
I'm thinking of converting to a singlespeed. Question is, what is optimum gearing? I'm
thinking 42 x 21 or 19. Another question, is the singlespeed better for developing aerobic power
or just foot speed or both? I understand from Fred Matheny's account that Lon Haldeman rides
a 40 x 15 singlespeed exclusively in the mountains. Can you believe that? What an animal.
re: Conversion to SinglespeedJack S
Oct 17, 2001 8:39 AM
you mean FIXED GEAR, right? Otherwise, just ride without shifting gears. To convert to fixed, frame must have horizontal dropouts.
Not strictly true...muncher
Oct 17, 2001 9:07 AM
If you are lucky and have the parts to fiddle around, you should be able to find a gear combo that will allow you to fit single on your non-horizontal drop-outs - with the aid of a chain tensioner, if needs be. The latter has the advantages of allowing you to have 2 rings up front (useful for the hills if you are only having single sided rear) or to change rear gear size.

Certainly is easier with horizontal, but you can do it without if you need to.

fixed gear with a chain tensioner???jj
Oct 17, 2001 10:18 AM
I don't think so.
Any why not - there are plenty our there - I have one. nmOh Really?
Oct 17, 2001 10:24 AM
Good for you. And why not exactly?muncher
Oct 17, 2001 10:27 AM
Or did you not read the post - single speed - nobody said fixed did they?
Good for you. And why not exactly?vanzutas
Oct 17, 2001 1:01 PM
Well since the person said that Jack S was wrong when Jack S clearly stated that if you are talking about a Fixed Gear you can not use a chain tensioner. Jack is right you cant use a tensioner on a fixed gear but you can use it on a single speed they are two different types of bikes. Fixed gear you cant shift and there is no freewheel. a singlespeed can't be shifted and it has a freewheel.

If I can find the link...muncher
Oct 18, 2001 12:23 AM
There is a fixie tensioner - it clamps on the stay chain side, and has 2 jockey wheels that slide up and down, and you lock them in place at the tension you want. Thus it's not a spring loaded self adjuster that you may be thinking of (for singles) - it's a semi-permanant device that takes up the slack and then keeps the chain tight so you can change the rear gear etc. There is a guy who commutes with me that uses one and they seem to work fine.

I have seen some nice ones on a fixie site somewhere, but I can't find the link at the mo - if I can, I'll post it up.
Here's onemuncher
Oct 19, 2001 4:52 AM
For a non-fixie single - go to "melvin".

Still trying to find one for fixie - it's there somewhere..
you don't get it...cruncher
Oct 19, 2001 4:57 AM
Nobody's talking about a NON-fixed single.
No - YOU - don't get it - it's VERY simple...muncher
Oct 19, 2001 5:04 AM
1) The original post didn't specify. I am being HELPFUL, giving some USEFUL INFORMATION and LINKS for people who MIGHT BE INTERESTED.

2) There ARE TENSIONERS for fixies, or at least there are in the UK and I can't belive there aren't in the 'States - I just can't remember where I saw one on the web.

3) If it really bugs you that some folks like to contribute to the GENERAL DISCUSSION board - then don't read it.

still wrong!jj
Oct 19, 2001 5:29 AM
the original poster asked about power and foot speed, so clearly he was talking about a fixed. A freewheel bike ain't gonna do jack. Otherwise why bother to convert when you can just not shift and have the same thing? Get a clue, limey.
Must be very unconfortable for you...muncher
Oct 19, 2001 5:32 AM
riding while sitting on your brains the whole time.
still wrong!MJ
Oct 19, 2001 5:47 AM
if the original poster was talking about a fixed then it seems Muncher's efforts would be very much appreciated as he appears to be providing info. on a fixed - indeed - it seems he does have a clue and that you didn't read things properly

personal put downs are nice - particularly ones like 'limey' - what are you in the 18th century 'yank'? (ooh so offensive...) at least come up with something original like 'tea-sipper' or 'biscuit-eater' or you could remind Muncher of teh Revolutionary War - that'd be a good one - or you could remind Muncher how the US bailed the UK out in WW2 - Austen Powers teeth jokes? - sure you bet - after all the old ones are the best ones, and no, they've never been heard before by anyone in the UK funny guy
Not with you?muncher
Oct 19, 2001 6:12 AM
Re the last line of your post - you can shift a singlespeed (freewheel) if you have a tensioner. You can a fixie too, if you have a fixed tensioner - you just have to adjust the tensioner manually to take up/down the slack if it's too great for the drop outs/you have non-horizontal DOs? (nm)muncher
Oct 22, 2001 1:12 AM
You are gonna need a much bigger gear try 42x16 or 15.MB1
Oct 17, 2001 8:40 AM
Unless you ride in big hills only. We ride fixed because it is fun. Don't confuse SS with fixed but either way it is likely to improve your fitness and spin.
I ride 42x14. it is a bit high.. (nm)vanzutas
Oct 17, 2001 8:55 AM
Here you go....muncher
Oct 17, 2001 8:55 AM

Look at the gear chart here - other uesful info too.

They are good fun - enjoy!

A Fixie Is Fun...Greg Taylor
Oct 17, 2001 8:58 AM
...and you get advantages in both power and spin. You have to honk it up hills, and spin like a madman going down.

As far as picking a gearset, you should be thinking in gear-inches. That is, the distance that the bike travels in one revolution of the pedals. Toot around on your normal bike, not shifting much, determine what your favorite combo is, and then figure out how many gear-inches that you are pulling. Armed with that knowledge, you may purchase your gearset.

Most folks seem to hover about 75 gear-inches as a good compromise. Decent speed on the flats, not to bad on the hills, reasonable spinning down. For me, that works out to a 46 X 16 combo.

Sheldon Brown's website has a good section on building a fixie and/or single speed, as well as a handy gear-inch calculator, for the math phobes.
Oct 17, 2001 9:08 AM
I'm building up a Fixie and I'm leaning towards 44:17. I live in a 'hilly' area. I am also considering putting an 18 or 19 on the other side of a flip flop hub (freewheel) for hilly centuries.

And I agree, Sheldon Brown is a good place to start.
The calculation is a bit off.vanzutas
Oct 17, 2001 12:56 PM
When calculating gear inches pi (3.14) has been left out of the equation for some reason. so gear inches in fixed gear terms is about one third as far as the bike actually travels. So Gear inches is the diameter of the wheel and tire multiplied by the number of teeth on the front divided by the number of teeth on the back.
Now You Understand Why I Was An English Major...(nm)Greg Taylor
Oct 18, 2001 4:53 AM
ibis Scorcher...MrCelloBoy
Oct 17, 2001 10:01 AM
I rode it with 41mm tires and a 53/21 (74 gear inches) over hil and dale around Sonoma County for a year.
I sold it and wish I hadn't.
Looking at a Bianchi Pista now!
I run aTerry Spin
Oct 17, 2001 11:16 AM
42/16 on a flat/gentle undulation commute (a fair bit of stop start racing cars at lights etc) and find that gear just right. If I was just training, I would probably go to a 44/16.
I run aJon
Oct 17, 2001 11:27 AM
Thanks. That gives me a good guideline. I meant fixed gear, btw.
And the old beater has horizontal dropouts.
I run a 42x15 and its a bit too bigSteve Davis
Oct 17, 2001 4:52 PM
I think I'm going to change to a 42x16 as my average speed lately has been about 17 to 18 mph which means that my cadence is a bit lower than where I'd like to be training (I'd like to spin more).

I'm very new to riding a fixed gear as I just built it up a month or so ago. I'm in SE Mass and we've got a lot of rolling hills and while my spin is fast on the downhills, I feel I'm grinding a bit too much. Any suggestion or tips for me to consider?
I'm running 38x20, and I need it all...cory
Oct 17, 2001 5:01 PM
Lots of hills in Reno, and I'm twice as old as most of the SS riders I see...but I wish for a 34 more often than I do for a 42.