Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 41 total)
  • Does anyone ride single speed in the actual mountains?
  • legometeorology
    Free Member

    I’ve been riding single speed for years and in Leeds/Yorkshie this has always worked pretty well (most hills near me are short and sharp or long and steady).

    However, there’s a very good chance I’ll be moving to the Swis Alps in the next year or two and I’m wondering if I could still pull off single speeding there… So who else rides a single speed in a proper mountain area? How do you find it? Do you just gear really low and rely on gravity for the descents? Has anyone tried it and given up?

    The only relevent article I could find is this:
    https://meatengines.com/f/is-north-shore-rigid-single-speeding-for-you-for-ryan

    For those that don’t get single speeding: yes, I know I’m always in the wrong gear, I know that I’m either pushing up the hills or spinning on the downs and sometimes both, etc. etc.

    A couple of my single speeds to lighten up the thread

    And here’s the kind of ss I dream of having in the mountains
    https://theradavist.com/dillen-from-baphomet-bicycles-left-hand-path-singlespeed-29er/

    shermer75
    Free Member

    Some lovely looking bikes there! Is that your tools in the bottle cage?

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    I’ve been to the Lake district a couple of times on mine, including SSUK, and survived.

    But the alps would be another matter, you could be riding uphill for hours at a time. Having said that, dinglespeed with something like a 40″ (30-20) climbing gear and 32-18 for the way back down could be fun.

    legometeorology
    Free Member

    Thanks @shermer75

    Although I should say, I hope you realised the bottom (nicest) one isn’t mind. And yep that’s my tool bottle

    I was thinking dinglespeed could work @thisisnotaspoon precisely as the climbs are so long, so I wouldn’t mind doing one big climb and changing at the top (the stooge above was actually running a tool free dinglespeed, but I’d hate to go back to a tensioner having been pure single speed for some time now)

    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    See Marcus…

    Ahhhh Hot Mama!

    That green ss machine is rad to power turned up to 11

    Dinglespeed certainly might sort you out well

    Glwt mountains

    mrchrist
    Full Member

    I found going downhill was the biggest problem in the mountains. Just spin out and can’t hit any good speed.

    Was fine round the suburbs of t’leeds.

    legometeorology
    Free Member

    @mrchrist yep, that is my worry. It really depends on how steep the downs are. I’ll be hardtail or rigid, so high speed downhills won’t be necessary, but slightly inclined flowy single track would be infuriating in anything less than a 32/18 or something (that’s what I run now, and even that’s a bit spinny on a lot of stuff)

    The North Shore rigid single speed guide was suggesting a ratio of 28/22!

    Moe
    Full Member

    I bottled it and sold mine before moving to North Portugal but sometimes wish I had brought it with me at least because the Ecovias along the Lima, Minho and the coast are nice flat rides if not overly exciting.

    TiRed
    Full Member

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retro-direct

    can you pedal backwards?

    rOcKeTdOg
    Full Member

    Dingle speed is all very well but, well it’s 2 speed. You need to keep it one and pure surely. If you’re going to have gears why not have twelve 🤷‍♂️

    thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    @mrchrist yep, that is my worry. It really depends on how steep the downs are. I’ll be hardtail or rigid, so high speed downhills won’t be necessary, but slightly inclined flowy single track would be infuriating in anything less than a 32/18 or something (that’s what I run now, and even that’s a bit spinny on a lot of stuff)

    The North Shore rigid single speed guide was suggesting a ratio of 28/22!

    I never found any ratios under geared off-road. Beyond a few pedals strokes at ~52″ it always seems like you’re generally better off focusing on pumping and maintaining speed anyway. Even on road I found a low gear only actually hurt on the flattest of flats. Even a slight uphill slope gave something to push against, and downhill was always just tuck and coast.

    Dingle speed is all very well but, well it’s 2 speed. You need to keep it one and pure surely. If you’re going to have gears why not have twelve 🤷‍♂️

    I can see the appeal of a tool-less ratio change if your day out is 4 hours up a mountain, beer stop and ride down again. Wouldn’t want to change more than once mind you.

    legometeorology
    Free Member

    I found myself changing ratios on the tool-less set up perhaps once an hour on some rides, as it only took 10 seconds and didn’t disrupt anything if I waited till a gate or something. If anything the problem was it was too easy to change so it was always tempting to change more often to the point when it’d have gotten a bit absurd

    A long climb, tools out change ratio, long descent could well work though. Or may be just getting used to a 28/20 or something would be fine

    RoterStern
    Free Member

    I regularly ride singlespeed in the mountains in this part of Germany wich are around 900-1300mtrs and take about 20-40 minutes to climb to the top of each one. I have taken my singlespeed to the Alps and found the steepness and the length of the climbs 1-2 hours just didn’t feel particularly conducive to a singlespeed set up. Ended up doing a lot of pushing which I hate having to do.

    shermer75
    Free Member

    can you pedal backwards?

    I think I’ve seen that bicycle in the flesh!

    TheBrick
    Free Member

    Lovely bikes, can’t beat SS for looks. I wouldn’t personally but give it a go, nothing to loose, you can always slap good old reliable 9 or 10 speed with a wide range if you find ss is no good.

    hardtailonly
    Full Member

    I’m a keen SSer, but have rarely ventured SS beyond Leeds (where, in my view, it works really well)

    I’ve done Ilkley Moor SS. Managed to get up Keighley Road 3x on a 32/22 ratio.

    And I did Whiteless Pike in the Lakes on a bodged SS (smashed my mech the day before), but most of that is a carry anyway.

    SS is always a compromise. It’s less evident around somewhere like Leeds where a 32/18 gearing is OK for most stuff, but for places where the climbs are steeper and/or more prolonged, it just doesn’t really make sense (to me … as a SS convert) as the extremes (too high a gear to climb / too low a gear to descend) become your entire ride, so you’re compromised all the time!

    I really enjoy SS, but if I was contemplating living in the Alps, I wouldn’t have a SS as my only bike.

    LD
    Free Member

    Absolutely not, but thread reminds me of a ride with Bothy Bikes crew in Aviemore where we climbed the Carn Ban Mor path and descended Coire Gorm a’Chrom Alltain. Two of the chaps were on rigid SS fixies! They rode about as much as I did.

    el_boufador
    Full Member

    Saw a bloke riding up skiddaw climb on a SS once (don’t know if he did all of it! He passed us at the gate after it’s levelled out a bit)
    Hardtail SS, huge forks, with what looked like a bmx crank with small chain wheel and about a 1:1 ratio maybe

    el_boufador
    Full Member

    Why not take the SSes and then if it doesn’t work, plonk some gears on it.
    Quick easy change if the frame is externally routed.

    reeksy
    Full Member

    I think it depends on how mental you are.
    Local mate was the Australian single speed champion (3rd in the world’s a few years ago) and I went on one of his regular laps with him once. It involves several difficult dozer/fireroad climbs which I couldn’t clear on a 11speed, followed by an almighty 400m climb that includes some insane pinches (again I’m pushing) that I’ve never seen anyone manage to ride up before or since. He admitted at the end it was only his third time to clear the whole route.
    And he was still pretty quick on the way back down the fast way.

    Spin
    Free Member

    It will depend on your attitude. If you accept the limitations of single speed in the big mountains they won’t seem so much like limitations and you’ll enjoy it. If not it’ll start to annoy you and you’ll grow to hate it.

    mick_r
    Full Member

    Rolf at Veloschopfli Zurcher in Frutigen is a singlespeeder.

    I’ve tried in a steep bit of Austria and it nearly killed me. But then again, different holiday in a different bit of steep Austria my son burst a mech on a MTN side (I had bolt in wheel and ss dropouts so he got my mech and I went ss). Much to the guide’s surprise it was fine and we carried on the planned full day ride.

    I’ve recently considered a Schlumpf MTN drive. That would give a standard 52″ direct drive then a 21″ for winching up steep stuff. Slightly worried about how big the chain loads would be as all the reduction is at the front…..

    andrewh
    Free Member

    I race 24hrs singlespeed.
    I live at the end of the Tweed Valley, to me being from Lincolnshire this feels like mountains.
    I have a singlespeed road bike which is absolutely fine, couple of climbs where it’s a struggle but it’s OK, although I can’t go fast enough to slipstream tractors. 42/18
    I have a singlespeed mountain bike, which I race. It is doable round here but just not enjoyable most of the time so I have a geared hardtail for training on (it’s also longer travel with bigger tyres and brakes) and it’s a lot more fun

    5plusn8
    Free Member

    This is a willie waving thread right?
    I can’t ride my SS to the shops.

    faustus
    Free Member

    Alexandera Houchin rides actual mountains as well as crushing continents/Tour Divide on a SS:

    Alexandera Houchin’s Record 2022 Colorado Trail Race Finish

    GeForceJunky
    Full Member

    I ride SS in the Alps … On my DH bike … Using the chairlifts. That counts right?

    shermer75
    Free Member

    Alexandera Houchin rides actual mountains as well as crushing continents/Tour Divide on a SS:

    I just read that, what an absolute legend!

    shermer75
    Free Member

    I’ve recently considered a Schlumpf MTN drive. That would give a standard 52″ direct drive then a 21″ for winching up steep stuff

    I actually like having two gears. I used to have that set up using 2x chain rings at the front, 1x sprocket at the back with a tensioner, and no shifters- just reach down and shift the chain over with your finger on a flat bit as you peddle along. In fact you can even shift down with your heel! It’s a compromise, obvs, not quite the simplicity, freedom and pleasing asthetics of a singlespeed but it’s also less faffy baggage than a fully geared set up

    reeksy
    Full Member

    shift the chain over with your finger on a flat bit as you peddle along.

    Defiantly more than one thing wrong here!

    the00
    Free Member

    I was an evangelical singlespeeder when I lived in Leeds. Everything about it was perfect there. Great for the short sharp hills, great for the mud, great for using every day commute and an afterwork nightride.

    When I moved it was pretty good around Cannock. But in the SW I only managed one ride/walk in the Quantock Hills. I quickly knew it was not the right bike for me there.

    Now I live part time in Switzerland, and I certainly wouldn’t dream of a singlespeed for anything but the pumptrack.

    Bez
    Full Member

    Dingle speed is all very well but, well it’s 2 speed. You need to keep it one and pure surely. If you’re going to have gears why not have twelve 🤷‍♂️

    When you’re actually riding a dinglespeed it’s just a singlespeed, with all the good things about a singlespeed. A 12-speed means a shifter, cable, derailleur, indexing, narrow chains and smaller tolerances, imperfect chainlines…

    I ran a dinglespeed for a while with one gear for the tarmac to get to the trails and another for once I got there. Worked great, took probably less than 60 seconds to change with a Tuggnut and track ends once I’d chosen the gears carefully. I could see it being a good solution for alpine rides.

    akkwlsk
    Free Member

    Dinglespeed, but with 2 cogs and 2 chainrings, where number of teeth sum up to the same amount, i.e. 32/20 and 22/30. Then you don’t have to worry about chain length. Friend of mine did this to his Singular Rooster, it worked pretty well.

    Simple single speed in the proper mountains, unless you plan on staying on the gravel roads in the valley – I can’t imagine riding like this in a long term.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    I tried tringlespeed with 28, 32, 36 tooth crankset and 22, 18, 14 sprockets (horizontal dropouts with tug nuts). It almost worked but unfortunately there wasn’t quite enough clearance for the 28 tooth granny ring. It’s a square taper BB though so in theory all I need to do is get a BB with a longer spindle but I haven’t got round to that yet.

    As a dinglespeed it’s great for getting to the trails in the big gear and then doing the trails in the small gear. The 28/22 option was just there in case I found myself doing any massive climbs.

    Bez
    Full Member

    Dinglespeed, but with 2 cogs and 2 chainrings, where number of teeth sum up to the same amount

    Yeah, that’s what I did. Two rings, and two sprockets carefully spaced on a standard freehub to give correct chain line in each ring. The only compromise compared to a singlespeed is the weight of one ring and one sprocket, which is inconsequential.

    Changing gear was just a case of undoing the QR, popping the chain onto the other pairing, adjusting the tug by a couple of turns to account for the slight change, and fastening the QR again.

    I guess if you had a chainstay-mounted disc calliper it would be a little more sensitive to the adjustment of the tug, but you’ve got some leeway, and it wasn’t an issue with a seatstay-mounted calliper.

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    Forgot to mention, I also replaced the 8mm nuts on the chain-pulls with wingnuts (with a little bit of loctite to make the threads a bit sticky) so I could do tool free changes. With the ratios I was using there was just a little bit too much difference in the chain tension between the two ratios to not adjust the chain-tugs slightly.

    Seems to be working OK so far.

    qwerty
    Free Member

    If your in the true Swiss Alps then I think you need to concede and buy an enduro bike gnarpoon, which will be the right tool for the job.

    legometeorology
    Free Member

    I was an evangelical singlespeeder when I lived in Leeds. Everything about it was perfect there. Great for the short sharp hills, great for the mud, great for using every day commute and an afterwork nightride.

    When I moved it was pretty good around Cannock. But in the SW I only managed one ride/walk in the Quantock Hills. I quickly knew it was not the right bike for me there.

    Now I live part time in Switzerland, and I certainly wouldn’t dream of a singlespeed for anything but the pumptrack.

    Oh oh, that’s me, I’m going part time is Lausanne from Nov this year. For now, I’m just planning on taking my Soma Wolverine 1×10, and changing tyres depending upon how much gravel I find. Longer term though I’ll def want an mtb there too

    legometeorology
    Free Member

    Alexandera Houchin rides actual mountains as well as crushing continents/Tour Divide on a SS:

    There’s also that guy that won the Scottish 550 thing on a single speed Stooge

    legometeorology
    Free Member

    If your in the true Swiss Alps then I think you need to concede and buy an enduro bike gnarpoon, which will be the right tool for the job.

    Yep, I imagine so. Knowing me, most of my riding will be in the Jura, as the Alps proper are over Lake Geneva and I almost always sack off driving if I can ride nice local trails, and perhaps the Jura will be SS’able

    Still 1000m plus climbs though…

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