Single speed maintenance

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  • Single speed maintenance
  • edoverheels

    I ride every day even if much of the time it is just an hour or so with the dog and I am starting to have a sense of humour failure with the weather. Always having to clean and maintain everything has lost any appeal. Have been toying with a single speed for a while and enjoy the idea of the simplicity and have enough bits just to need a frame and some brakes.
    However am I right in thinking that the drivetrain will still need just as much cleaning as a geared bike and the supposed winter friendliness of a SS is just the longevity of the drivetrain?
    Mud on the chain etc, seems to me, to normally come from build up around the BB and chainstays (see pictures from last week) This is worsened by wheelspin and this is harder to avoid on a SS. Ride in the mud and your chain will still be just as muddy on a SS. It is not just about the money but a new frame and brakes will buy a few drivetrain consumables and for me, perhaps more importantly, another bike means more pressure on an already full garage.
    Will a SS really be much practical benefit?
    WP_000984 by eddie.jenkinson, on Flickr
    WP_000985 by eddie.jenkinson, on Flickr

    Premier Icon mattjg

    SS is fun but hard, if you’re only doing it for ‘practical reasons’ you’ll probably hate it.

    ron jeremy

    Buy/bodge singlespeed, get addicted and thighs of a riding god, learn how to control wheel spin, sell other bikes thus freeing space in garage, then get ss fat bike and glide over mud, relax and enjoy an ale, job done…

    Did I forget anything, oh yes cultivate a quality beard

    There’s less stuff to clean on a singlespeed, 1 rear cog to maintain over 9 and a mech.

    BUT you still need to look after it.


    Quite like the idea of SS and for the last week I have been riding as such to assess practicality which is fine. Thrash up, potter along the top and freewheel down which actually suits dog walking.
    Would not be able to sell other bikes because they are all ‘needed’ – In fact how dare you even suggest it, that is against the rules.


    Definitely spend much less time cleaning a very muddy SS than a less muddy geared bike cause I don’t have to worry about those nasty derailleurs and cassette. Find it more important to have a sparkly chain on the SS cause a dirty chain slows me down. It’s the disc brakes I find a pain. Always seem to be hiding a bit of grit or clay. Singlespeed is much more fun in the mud!


    I’m considering doing this on my commuter. No mud involved but sitting outside all day through the weather over the past year has really taken it’s toll on everything moving. Thinking single speed may give me a little less grief


    You still have to clean the darn thing no matter what.

    I’m a bit anal in that I clean my bikes fully and when time allows I strip/lube ( when time doesn’t I go to a local LBS ) but you see I use a jet wash most of the time, it’s the only way to clear the muck. Then once jetted I just re lube everything.

    SS is great fun but its no substitute for a lack of cleanliness .. 😆


    Everything else can still break.

    Gears don’t stop working due to mud but everything else clogs up/ It looks like you’d be better off getting some thin mud tyres to give you more clearance.

    You can replace the whole drive chain for the price of a cassette.

    Rob Hilton

    Starting SS is hard work and hard to see the point for a few weeks – starting whilst riding through serious mud is unlikely to endear you to it 🙂 Mud tyres a good suggestion.

    I got so **** off with the Leicestershire swamp last year that I bought a BMX – as it’s not abated yet I’m getting dangerously close to using it :mrgreen:

    Premier Icon dti

    My singlespeed gets cleaned about twice a year – strong chain, two cogs mechanical disc brakes. no problem.

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    The appeal for winter use is fewer, cheaper components to worry about looking after….

    I think I mentioned in another thread earlier in the week, I simply hose off the chain and slather on the cheapest shittiest oil because it will be soaked and grimey within minutes come the next ride… So why waste your life cleaning a bike?

    I did take my geared HT out in the mud a few weeks ago, cleaning up the drivetrain properly after that took much longer…

    TBH it simply that I’m lazy and don’t want to expend any real effort cleaning up after a muddy ride.

    Yes it is a relatively speaking a harder, slower bike to ride overall, but the a couple of hours spent riding the same trails on my SS definitely exercises my body more than the geared bikes would…
    Teaches you a couple of thing too which transfer nicely to the other bikes IMO,

    Premier Icon jameso

    However am I right in thinking that the drivetrain will still need just as much cleaning as a geared bike and the supposed winter friendliness of a SS is just the longevity of the drivetrain?

    Nah, I just let mine run dry then re-lube it. Finish Line Teflon lube usually or a small bottle of oil in the rucsac. Washing the bike has been a dunk in the canal lock on the way home as often as a proper bucket + sponge job ) Better for it than a jetwash anyway! SS chains and a steel cog last ages. Get through chainrings at a fair rate but they can get pretty out of shape before they need replacing.
    Good winter tyres and a drivetrain that you don’t care about, plus no suspension means you have no need to worry about the wear that a few wet rides can do to most bikes.

    Premier Icon garage-dweller

    Drivetrain maintenance definitely easier and cheaper on bits at the expense of loss of a gear range which can be a bind if you have longer fire road or road sections or big flat bits.

    I liked ss but my ss bike didnt have a disc mount so used to choose the geared one in preference for the brakes.

    Premier Icon el_boufador

    I ride my SS then chuck it in the cellar. occasionally give it a hose and/or a lube. That’s it. Way less maintenance than a geared bike.

    Premier Icon epicyclo

    SS maintenance:

    Look down, can you see chain?

    If yes, go.

    If no, hose mud off, then go.

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    Spends most of its life like this.
    When it builds up, quick (non hi-pressure) hose down, lube chain & away you go.

    IMAG0002 by pten2106, on Flickr


    I commute off road with hub gears all year round. The chain gets a wipe over with a rag occasionally and more gearbox oil added. The last chain and sprocket lasted 4 years. The bike is rigid so apart from an annual oil change for the hub and changing pads it’s pretty close to maintenance free.


    Certainly LESS maintenance. However, my chain stretches and the EBB needs to be altered every month or so, and I find I am going through BBs slightly quicker. As for brakes, there is no difference to other bikes.

    Premier Icon scaredypants

    I’m fanatical about mine – without fail, every couple of months I run the chain through a chainbath* with water in it and then dribble on more engine oil after it dries out

    Every couple of years I take the shields off the hub bearings and repack with marine grease

    Without fail ! All that effort is worth it in the long run

    *(some chainbaths don’t like ss chains as they like the chain to “give” a bit)

    Premier Icon Cheezpleez

    I’m in the wipe the chain and lube it camp. Every so often when I have time and can be bothered I give it a proper clean. Last drivetrain lasted about 4 years.

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