old bikemonger sticker

Single Speed World Champs 2023. Why?

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In typical single speed style this year’s world championship has been announced. So, dig the old single speed out of your shed, lower your standards and expectations, and start planning a road trip to Spain.

Prime Info

  • Location: Arnes, Catalunya, Spain (here)
  • When: October 7-8 
  • What: The non-UCI sanctioned, unofficial, nobody cares world championships of single speed mountain bike racing
  • What else: Beer, food, nice people
  • Registration: 65 EUROS
  • Friday: Registration, fun ride, beerz
  • Saturday: Race, Big Spainish Meal, Evening Fiesta
  • Sunday: Hangover Breakfast, Fun Ride.
  • Link: HOME | Single Speed Worlds (sswc23.com)

What Is Single Speed Racing?

It’s a XC style race, with a run to your bike Le Mans start, and then over the mountains on a bike with a single speed freewheeling gear. Often you will find distractions around the course involving beer, catapults, swimming holes, picnics, local moonshine, and more. It’s best to prepare for a long day out. It’s the dirty end of the racing scale. But do stick “World Championship Level Mountain Bike Racer” on your CV. HR people love it and assume you are a super efficient turbo overachiever.

single speed drive

There are two basic rules of Single Speed racing at world champ level. Make sure you only have one gear on your bike. And if you don’t want a tattoo, don’t ****ing win. Simple isn’t it – apparently not. I have seen people turn up with gears and say “I have only changed gear eight times”, and then the winner refused that tattoo! “I’m not having a ******* tattoo!”… “Then you are not the winner, where’s the guy who came next?”.  The first winner eventually took the tattoo on his lower cheeks.

It’s probably not true.

After the race it is the tradition to hold a contest of some sort to decide who will host next year’s single speed race. These have involved Karaoke, fire, pedalo boats, drinking contests, pinball and other auxiliary sports. In the picture below you can see, but fortunately not hear, why SSWC did not go to the UK in 2022.


They tell us Arnes in Spain is “a charming town deep in the south of Catalunya that’s off the beaten path. ‘Nuff bars, trails, and restaurants for a weekend.  Camping available of course, and hotels too.”

“Arnes is about 2 hours from Barcelona.  There is no direct train there, BUT, you can drive, train + bus, or train + bike.  Or just bike.”

Just a smidge beyond France.


Why would you race around on a mountain bike with only one gear? The three F’s is why.

  • Fun: It is lots and lots of fun. You can’t put the power on during a descent as you have spun out your only gear, so you tend not to brake, which makes for some great racing. You also get to chat to people while resting and walking the climbs. For many the race is a rolling party.
  • Fitness: You are going to get fit either out of the saddle wrankling that bike up the hills or pushing it up.
  • ‘fficency. With only one gear and no drivetrain drag it is really ‘fficent. Your single speed bike is light as an old steel feather and you can unpack all your weighty mech smashing worries too.
Strategic mid-race single speed chill out.
Author Profile Picture
Charlie Hobbs

Merch & Marketing Manager at Singletrack

Grumpy, happy, hairy, overweight and awesome. I started riding offroad in 1978, and never stopped. I was once Charlie The Bikemonger, I invented orienBEERing, the Clunker Classic, and the Dorset Gravel Dash. I own the Bum Butter brand and I'm a co-owner of Dirt Dash Events. I also work at Singletrack, I have the self-appointed job title of "Overlord of the leftovers" and look after the merch shop, and marketing. Other interests include skateboards, surfboards, motorbikes, and cooking (I invented the Beefer Reefer).

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Viewing 21 posts - 1 through 21 (of 21 total)
  • Single Speed World Champs 2023. Why?
  • nicko74
    Full Member

    It sounds epic; sadly I’m too much of a wuss to do it, but will continue to dream that one day I might win the coveted tattoo…

    Free Member

    Like the article 🙂

    Free Member

    Single speed will never die

    Full Member

    So pleased to hear that the SSWCs are still going. Great stuff 🙂

    Full Member

    Had a ball at the SSUK last year up at Llandegla, if SSWC is anything like that then it’ll be a fantastic time for all involved.

    Full Member

    Almost makes me want to go but Llandegla was far enough!!! (Is Spain less hilly than last year’s SSUK course?!)

    Full Member

    Hmm. 20 hours drive + the ferry to France. Wonder what happens if you go to Santander? I note the SS champs spain is the weekend after. Could be a good gig…

    Full Member

    I still don’t think my liver has recovered from SSWC in Berlin 2004!

    Full Member

    Why can’t I ‘like’ the article



    Full Member

    If you want to like the article, go to this thread on the forum and ‘like’ the op post.

    Free Member

    Wonder what happens if you go to Santander?

    On the ferry? You go bankrupt.

    Full Member

    Think we’ve done 3x Worlds, 3x Euros, 1x Italian champs and a smattering of UKs. Still don’t remember Chipps paying for the tattoo 🙂

    Full Member

    Can’t believe I forgot to list “SSWC 2011 Ireland – 4th place” on my CV 🙂




    Full Member

    Was that 2011? Jesus.

    Full Member

    who wants to ride there with me?

    Full Member

    Was that 2011? Jesus.

    , scarily yes!

    Free Member

    That almost sounds worth keeping my chameleon for and actually getting fit enough to ride the length of myself.

    Free Member

    If I single speed my ebike can I still enter?

    Full Member

    hmm…looks up dates and looks in diary…


    Full Member

    I’ve randomly got half of MNPR arriving on my doorstep on the 8th, so I’m not sure I can make it. Argh!

    Full Member

    I was 23rd in the world, sswc 2000+1
    I think it was because I didn’t drink too much on the sat night before the race

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