Singlespeeding – talk to me
Thinking about changing my commuting hardtail to singlespeed. It’s not convenient to give the bike a full wash after getting home each night and the winter grime is playing havoc with the drivetrain etc so I’m thinking about singlespeed for simplicity.
Are these converter kits any use or is it better to go with a proper singlespeed hub? I would like to option to stick a cassette back on in the future if I needed it hence why the converter kit looks useful.
It’s going on a Specialized Hardrock so I assume a tensioner is also a must?
I’ve got a Truvativ Isoflow crank and I was just planning on removing the inner and outer rings and running it on the middle ring.
Anything else to consider?Posted 9 years agobarneySubscriber
No, if you leave the cassette on flex in the system leaves the potential for the shortened chain to ride up the cassette and lock, or down and fall off..
That kit sounds fine, boardinbob. If you’re *really* lucky, you’ll get away without a tensioner as your chain, chosen ratios and chainstay length will give you the perfect gear without one, but it’s pretty unlikely. So yes, you’ll need a tensioner.
If you’re just commuting on road, however, you’ll pretty quickly spin out using (say) a 16t and your middle ring. Personally I’d leave your big ring on and use that instead of your middle. Not sure what the kits come with, but you’ll potentially also need some short chainring bolts to run with just one chainring.
Good luck!Posted 9 years agovdubber67Member
The kits you’ve picked out are ok. One trouble can be if the spacers don’t let you get the right chainline (there’s only two options with two spacers)
Chain tension can be a problem (slipping etc) if you can’t get the tension right – sometimes you need to get a half link.
You may struggle to keep your chain on a normal front ring, as I think they’re designed to allow for shifting.Posted 9 years agoRudeBoyMember
The mud/filth/grime etc is exactly why I have a SS for the ‘less dry’ months (most of the year, then). Sooo much less hassle. Brush the thick off, hose it down, bit of lube- good to go.
I run a standard frame/hub with loads of old cassette spacers, a 16t Shimano DX cog, 7spd Taya chain and a Surly Singleator. 32t front ring, with an FSA bashguard. Works fine.Posted 9 years agorogerredhatMember
When I ran my old MTB as a road SS commuter, I used 44×16 (using 1.3″ tyres: Conti Sport Contacts). This was fine for the flat and worked well for getting me up a mile long, 12% climb when I took the bike out on the road. So, unless you’re a weedy whippet, 44 or 42×16 up a 100m climb will be easy: out of the saddle and attack!
It’s thoughtful to wash your bike every night, but is it really necessary on a commuter? I commute on my winter road bike and, even with infrequent washing, still get two winters out of a drivetrain and rims.Posted 9 years agoskiMember
You can probably ss it for the cost of a rear cassette (tensioner,spacers, rear cog, if you don’t have a spare) and then all you will need to worry about is a chain once in a while.
Cheap, no fuss commuting option.
Saying that, after a while you will be looking out for a decent set of slicks and some mud guards 😉Posted 9 years agosmorgieMember
I’ve done exactly this to a Hardrock.
I don’t remember if it is the original 8-9 speed 32 ring as it now has LX Hollowtech 2 cranks but the chain is still a 9 speed one.
I use 32:16 for offroad an it’s great. 32 ring in the middle position and the doofer almost as far across as it goes. I replaced the outer ring with a bash ring but it doesn’t try to shift inwards with the normal ramped ring.
On a 19″ frame mine is almost exact 1/2 a link out on the chain so if you can find a 1/2 link for the 9 speed chain (or change the chain and ring)you may get away without the tensioner…..but I use one. However the tensioner is only good for one link remember, I messed with my chain once (messing with the ratios) and added a link – nasty crushing noises under tension was the result.
On the flat or road you will want a bigger ratio as discussed above.
For some reason it seems to make the frame seem feel stiffer though? Maybe thats just my imagination.
NB- If you just try it with the cassette is probably will not work out well, I bent the a cog on mine doing just that (admittedly without the tensioner and a very tight chain.) And 15 stone of me jumping on it 🙂Posted 9 years ago
Almost typing this from outside the pearly gates 🙁
Sprinting past a bus this morning and the chain suddenly fell off, feet shot off the pedals and the bools and dagger battered off the top tube! I was level with the front wheels of the bus when it happened but i just managed to stop my self going under them. I put the chain back on and took it east for the rest of the ride and it was fine.
a) My heel hitting the chain and lifting it off the front ring?
b) Lateral movement as I was sprinting helped the chain jump off the front ring?
c) There’s not enough tension in the chain and I need to remove another link?Posted 9 years ago
I think the other doofer that they sell is better- pushes the chain up, so the chain wraps round more of the cog. No spring either so shouldn’t struggle under pressure.
You’d need to shorten the chain, and it may be worth getting a half link to get the chain even shorter if it suits..Posted 9 years ago
uuggghhh my eyes, big plastic dinner plate! Bin it!
Regarding half-link chains, you could just buy a normal chain and use a single KMC half link?
The other doofer, having no spring, is not a better option. The difference in wrapping angle is often TINY and without a spring it cannot take up any slack that may occur during frame and chain flex. More likely, in this case, your frame twisted and took the chain off the gears. I’ve found my crank area twists massively when I stomp to overtake. BB, you’re a similar size to myself, fairly bike-hard IIRC?Posted 9 years agoswooshMember
i’d say it’s the chainline and the fact you’ve kept with the same front ring. if you are able to break up a cassette or two, get the little plastic spacers out of that, then use them to push the cog to the outside of the hub, that way it wil be in a better position for the front ring. the chainline will mean that the chain wont be rubbing against the ramps and pins as much and therefore less likely to jump off.Posted 9 years ago
I dont know how the spoke protector could cause the chain to fall off?
Its called chain suicide, often occurs when the chain feels its playing with an uncool rear wheel 🙂 (it cant, I was just saying they’re ugly and do sod all to protect spokes unless your tinkering along at shopping-bike speeds)Posted 9 years agoDaveb575Subscriber
I’d go with chain tension. I tried a similar set up with the same tensioner on a GT. The chain tension looked similar to your picture and I had problems with the chain jumping under load. I tried taking it a link out but that left it too tight. In desperation (Sunday night with no access to a half-link) I tried an old chain with a small amount of stretch in it. This proved just enough to run it without a tensioner and I have run it like this for a couple of months with no issues.Posted 9 years ago
Tried shortening the chain last night. Made it too short. Brand new chain f*cked.
Still had the old chain so I tried that but it’ll either be slightly too long so there’s not enough tension in the chain, or too short so the ends of the chain wont meet, even without the tensioner. There’s no middle ground.
I assume I need one of these half links? Are these SRAM chain compatible?Posted 9 years agoMr AgreeableSubscriber
An 8 speed chain is fine. And you haven’t ruined your existing one, just put the links you took out back in.
If your chain is dropping off I would try altering your chain line. From the pic above it looks like you’ve left the big ring on the outside of the chainring spider. Try moving it into the place where your middle ring goes. You’ll need some shorter chainring bolts or some spacers – try Charlie the Bike Monger as suggested above.Posted 9 years ago
From the pic above it looks like you’ve left the big ring on the outside of the chainring spider. Try moving it into the place where your middle ring goes
Don’t think that will work as the chain ring would foul the chainstays. Besides, that shouldn’t make any difference to the length of the chain and the chain line is perfectly straight with the way i’ve set it up at the moment.
To get enough tension in the chain, I’m having to push the tensioner right down and tighten up the bolt that attaches the tensioner to the mech hanger. So it’s not really the spring in the tensioner that’s forcing the chain down, it’s the fact that I’ve tightened it in position. The chain definitely needs shortened so I’ll head off to a bike shop at lunchtime.Posted 9 years agoMr AgreeableSubscriber
I don’t think it’s the tension in your chain that’s causing you problems. The chain on my singlespeed is so slack that you can freewheel the cranks backwards, but it never drops off. I don’t think there’s much point in getting a half link either because as soon as your chain wears a bit it’ll go slack again.
If you’re sure that your chainline is OK, then maybe your brivetrain’s a bit worn. Using un-ramped chainrings also helps, although I’ve quite happily used Deore ones in the past too.Posted 9 years agobarneySubscriber
My 2p – when I first built up a SS, I used a regilar mtb chain, and under heavy load it would jump under power initially, as the sprocket was designed for a BMX chain. Could this be the problem? If you take it easy for a while things should bed in and it’ll get better.
Why is a too-short chain “dead”? Could you not just put the remaining links on again? I always do, and I’ve not had any problems.Posted 9 years ago2tyredMember
An ss chain helps, but from the sounds of it, chainline might be the cause.
My Kona commuter is ss-converted, as is my spesh rockhopper.
The commuter’s done with a bunch of spacers culled from old cassettes, original 48T ring, ss-specific chain and a Surly singulator. Had a few weeks where it was giving me all kinds of problems, the chain flying off two or three times on my 10 mile commute. Tried making the tensioner push up by zip-tying it to the chainstay and played around with the spacers to fix the chainline to no great effect. It got better when I changed the angle on the tensioner and made it push down again, but it still happened from time to time. Then I noticed the chainring was bent!
The hardtail’s luckier – found a magic ratio and use a KMC Koolchain, over a year later and the tension’s still good.Posted 9 years ago
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