Singlespeed question

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  • Singlespeed question
  • rascal


    New member first post so bear with me…

    I've been riding full-sussers for years, but with winter about to descend on us I don't really want to be replacing an expensive drivetrain and bearings etc on my Commencal Meta in the spring, so am toying with giving a singlespeed a go.

    Always liked the idea of the simplicity of one, but wondered how one gear is good for climbing/flat/descending. I ride mostly in the East Mids (relatively flat) but with trips up to Peaks, Cannock, the usual trail centres etc now and again.

    In your experience, is the transition an easy one to make?

    If I do go down the SS route, I want to do it cheaply – noticed quite a few old frames going in the classifieds – is this the best route? It's just a bike to see me through until the winter gloop has gone…unless I get bitten by it of course 😉

    Loads of questions but interested to know what the converts think….



    Very easy, loads of ss kits around, the DMR one is fairly good value. Start off at 32t front and 18t rear then drop the back to a 16t as you get fitter then even go to a 15t.


    I bought an SS bike intending to put gears on when I could afford it. 6 years on now (6 years and 5 months to be more precise), it's still singlespeed and always will be. Just run 32:16 and get on with it – there's very little I can clean on a geared bike that defeats me on the SS these days, although I'll be honest it wasn;t like that to begin with! It's a great challenge though and it teaches you about thinkgs like when not to brake and how to conserve momentum

    Premier Icon oxym0r0n

    Sounds obvious, but try riding your geared bike in one gear for a while on your usual trails before forking out for a bike – that's what I did. It takes a different style of riding – attacking out of the saddle much more on the climbs and trying to flow more on the downs to keep your speed up.

    Good luck!

    I barely ride my geared full sus now 🙁

    Premier Icon shortcut

    I had a bit of a love hate relationship with it at first. funnily enough i had a Dialled Bikes Love Hate.

    When you start going up is harder, if steep and going slightly down is also harder because you are spinning out and for about 25% of the time you are in the right gear. As you become better you are able to get up more stuff. If you are reasonably fit welsh trail centres should be fine.

    Premier Icon racemonkey

    Did a similar thing about 5 years ago and converted an Old Speccy Hardrock with a DMR tensioner and never looked back.

    Ran it 32:16 from the beginning and I can manage everything around Bristol on it and have ridden it around Afan (Penhydd IIRC) without walking some of the steeper ups.

    Bought myself a complete ss last winter with ebb and shortly will be putting the hardrock up for sale.

    It's a great winter bike and the only thing that ever needs cleaning is you!!

    I'm going to hijack this one a bit…
    What does a relatively clueless person need to convert a geared hardtail to SS? What is the format with the rear cassette arrangement.
    Are there specific cranks?


    A tensioner (or old deraileur)
    A cog
    Some spacers
    Some shorter crank bolts or a bash guard or saw your existing bolts or washers to space.

    Bits are available from on one, dmr etc.

    Premier Icon miketually

    Don't ride a SS during the winter to save your other bike, ride one to make you strong like a mighty ox*.

    *nicked from Ed O


    Ive been on geared FS for a few years now and love it but recently realised I have enough spares to build a SS. So that's what I will be doing this afternoon. Hopefully the first ride will be on Thursday night around Follow the Dog.

    I am hoping the SS will get me stronger on the climbs and also help with my fitness because it will be either push or hammer on many sections.

    BTW I'm coming from a Pitch with a double and bash to a 130mm forked HT running 32:16. God only knows if that ratio will be ok for my legs and lungs.

    Premier Icon Del

    say it quietly but 'singlespeeding is easier than you think'. fun too. just like riding a bike. try for guides and bits. he's a good lad.


    Cheers everyone

    All useful to know.

    Andy M – let me know how you get on with the build? What frame are you building onto?

    Any more gratefully received! 😛


    Its a DMR Switchback. The frame is a few years old now but its got very similar geometry to a Kinesis Decade Virsa and might even get a paint job like one after the winter is up and I enjoy SS.

    Look out for a new(ish) bike thread tomorrow.

    Premier Icon MadBillMcMad


    I bought a DMR tensioner and cog/spacer set. That's all you need.
    On the chainset I simply removed the inner & outer chainrings leaving a 32 ring. The rear comes with a 16 as standard.

    I have only done about 6 rides on it so far and yes I do struggle on the ups but generally its been great. Wish I had done it years ago. Got my first night ride on it this week.


    One of the great advantages of riding single speed is that the chain is always in line – with a derailleur, inefficiency comes from having too much cross-over – so you will be suprised at what you can do on a singlespeed compared with a geared bike.

    Plus, you are no longer having to make decisions about what gear you are in and if the shift down will be smooth enough on the climb.

    Why not start by using the singlespeed for those local, not so steep, runs, bringing the full susser out only for those big climbs in the Peaks, or accept that you may, sometimes, have to get off and push.

    Sheldon Brown recommends going for a fixed, but I wouldn't advise it on a mountainbike!

    Premier Icon stevenmenmuir

    Pick the toughest hill near you and head straight for it.. Get the hardest one out of the way and you'll find all others a piece of the proverbial. If its pretty flat where you live just go straight for 32:16 you may find you want to go higher if its fairly flat.


    rascal- Ive got a load of bits that'll get you singlespeeding, chain tensioners etc… drop me an email (in profile) and I'll lob it in the post for you. If you're in the midlands area you can always give me shout and I'll build it up for you, sort chain lines n stuff if you need. Nomal rates i.e. cake or biscuits apply.



    SS is ace, I did pretty much what others have. Had a geared hardtail and a full suss but wanted a low maintenance winter bike so the hardtail went singlespeed. Might not go back in spring I'm enjoying it so much.

    SS is the way to go. Good for winter and for fitness. Sprint to keep up with others, or huff and puff up the hills. All good fun. Gear ratios dont really matter. I ride with Jonb and we each have different ratios for the same ride. We pretty much keep up with each other on the flat or on the up and to be honest, we both still outride other club members who ride geared bikes because you have to really go for it on the climbs. Spinning on the flat to keep up with the geared bikers has much comedy value too. Get a full kit with everything you need from charliethebikemonger – and check out the videos on his site too to see how to put it all together.

    Premier Icon allankelly

    Funny nobody has mentioned my favourite thing – the silence. There's no chain-slap, no gear grinding, no slackening off to help the gears change. You just beast it and it works. The ride out on a SS event is really nice, there's nearly no mechanica noise at all. SSWC Aviemore in 2007 ride out through Rothiemurcus Estate was beautiful – and silent.

    I also like that I use my upper body way more with SS. I really noticed my shoulder strength improve when I started SS all the time, reason being you're up & over the front in climbs standing all the way and pulling through your shoulders and down your back. I don't much enjoy climbing on a geared bike but I love climbing SS, it feels so efficient.

    Passing geared & suspensioned bikes on the way up Glentress is always a morale booster =)

    Cheers, al.


    Thanks to everyone for shouting up…even you "thekingisdead" – nice.
    Obviously as well as you all singing the praises of SS, there will be loads more saying its bobbins, but I think you've all convinced me to give it a whirl.
    Taz – cheers for the offer – I'll be in touch when I have the frame/fork to stick everything on.
    If anyone knows of a decent from (with fork too maybe?), let me know.

    Premier Icon allankelly

    You can't go wrong with an On-One Inbred.



    Or you can do something like this…….



    There's a couple of other threads, 'show us your singlespeeds' and 'show us your converted singlespeeds', I think, and they're good for having a shufti at what a variety there are, especially the converted ones. My old Handjob is on there: that was a ‘suck it and see' effort, around six years ago, when I got a job close to home and had two similar hardtails, a steel and a Ti. Two years ago a dedicated SS frame was obtained and all the bits swapped over, and some new bits obtained, and my 853 SS is probably my favourite of my four bikes. It's light, manouverable, and virtually silent, apart from the tyre noise. Some don't get it, but it's a real fun way to get out on a bike with no worries about mis-shifts, wearing out components and all that stuff.


    The converted SS thread is mine I started it just to see the different setups people were running. I built mine up last night and all went well. No pics yet maybe tomorrow as I need to fiddle with the front brake.

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