How tough is it to single speed?
Not as tough as you probably think. Anyone moderately fit has enough to start and enjoy.
A lot of the adjustment is mental. It’s OK to walk and enjoy the view. It’s OK to spin out and enjoy rolling along. And it’s good fun to let rip and steam into climbs to see if you can get up them.Posted 4 years agoRoter SternMember
You soon get used to the fact you can’t change into an easier gear. And you soon realize you can absolutely mash the pedals without the worry of a gear slipping. Hardest on the lower back and the upper arms IME. They really get sore after a tough day climbing on the SS.Posted 4 years agogears_suckMember
If you want one which will serve both disciplines, you will probably find one is compromised as choosing one gear for road and off road will result in one or the other being either to easy or to hard.Posted 4 years ago
Unless of course you can spin like a top, mash like a Russian power lifter, or both.JunkyardMember
Just how fit do you need to be to enjoy a single speed?
You need to be mental not fit 😉
As they say it depends on the gearing and the hills
It is a play off between being able to get up the hills and not spinning out at a low speed [ especially on the road] 32 :16 the standard SS MTB gearing spins out at circa 20 mph for example.
I am not sure if it gets you fitter per se but it does get you stronger and more powerful as it is hard work labouring a high[er] gear up a hill.Posted 4 years ago
It is IME harder than geared over similar terrain for obvious reasonskennypSubscriber
I commute on a singlespeed and love it. As long as you don’t have too many steep hills around it is easier than you think. You adapt very quickly.
It is also great to go on bike forums and start going on about “the purity of singlespeeding” and stuff like that as there are some folk who get quite wound up by it, and that’s as much fun as the actual singlespeeding! 😀Posted 4 years agonickcSubscriber
depends how stubborn you are really.
hills, even the really steep ones, are pretty much about the balance rather than the grunt (if you can get up in the middle ring regardless of which gear at the back, you CAN SS it) and with a bit of determination you can get up most things. The flip side is slower on the flats and on the downs.
I tend to do SS by myself in the autumn/winter, when a) conditions mean that speed is not an issue, b) you’re not constantly spinning like a loon trying to keep up with your geared mates, c) its maintenance free-(ish) winter MTB and d) you’ll be fit for when spring rolls around, and you’re re-geared.
It’s fun, a different challenge, can make you think about MTB in a whole new way, and people that don’t know ‘owt will be impressed. Girls knickers literally fall off at the mention of it (true story)Posted 4 years agoshortcutSubscriber
It depends on a number of factors.
Who you ride with.
What your buddies ride.
How fast your buddies ride.
Whether your riding buddies like you.
Whether you are leading or not.
How hilly it is.
What gear you have.
Whether there are lots of flat bits that you can tear down with gears.
Whether you are in the mood.
How strong you are.
How quick your legs can spin.
How long you are riding for.
Riding single speed in the local woods for an hour or two is great.
Long rides with mates who are quick and like to see you suffer are less fun.
So it is hard and yet easy. Sometimes it is cool sometimes you look and feel like an idiot with the wrong bike.
There.Posted 4 years agomartymacSubscriber
i commute on a ss, i weigh 21.5 stone (used to weigh 23 stone)Posted 4 years ago
gearing is key ie selecting the correct ratio.
with hills there is a choice between hammering it or walking, but the bike is lighter in ss mode and you can safely mash the pedals.
i use 32:16 on 26″ wheels, a comfortable cruise at about 12mph, you would need to spin pretty fast to hit 20 with that ratio imo.
my ss has probably been my most ridden bike this year, but i wouldnt choose one as my only bike.belugabobMember
32 :16 the standard SS MTB gearing spins out at circa 20 mph for example.
You need to check your speedo – my absolute limit, using 32:18, is 23.5 mph (and I’ve really tried to go faster)Posted 4 years ago
I would have expected 32:16 to get you up towards 30mph – if you can make your legs spin like Fred Flintstone 😉GiantJauntMember
I would recommend it. It’s great having something lightweight that requires minimum fuss and maintenance. I built one for commuting and doing local xc type trails and have ended up riding it most of the time. I’ve gone for an easy gearing (32:20 I think it is, so I can get up the steep hills round here) and I still get all the chicks. Just don’t let me see you with one on my patch.Posted 4 years agoDufferMember
I would have expected 32:16 to get you up towards 30mph – if you can make your legs spin like Fred Flintstone
On 40″ wheels, perhaps… Try this calculator. 120rpm on 26″ wheels with a 32:16 ratio gives you 18.6mph.
To the OP – Singlespeeding is the single most difficult thing the human body can accomplish; if you have the honor of seeing a SSer out on the trail, you can die a happy man. Ever wondered why there’s no SS rider in the Tour De France? They’re not good enough! Remember, anyone can be fit, but you’ve gotta be hard to be hard.
(it’s actually really easy, just don’t tell anyone – lets keep up the air of mystique)Posted 4 years agoepicycloSubscriber
If an antique like me can do the Bealach Mhor on a singlespeed, anyone can ride one.
It’s 2 or 3 weeks adapting muscle memory and learning technique.
By the time the beard has grown in you’ll have mastered it.
And if you’re a lady, sorry about the beard comment, but your bum will definitely look good…. 🙂Posted 4 years agoDufferMember
On a more serious note, singlespeeding is no more difficult than any other kind of riding. It does, however, necessitate a change in mindset.
By riding singlespeed, you are conceding that you’ll never be the fastest anywhere, so you may as well just enjoy the ride. If you have to push, it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re enjoying yourself.Posted 4 years ago
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