Singlespeed…what difference will it make?

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  • Singlespeed…what difference will it make?
  • Premier Icon benji
    Subscriber

    Are we talking freewheel or fixed?

    fazzini
    Member

    benji – whats the difference? – excuse my ignorance please. Is fixed the same as a bike designed for the track?

    khani
    Member

    You’ll develop a taste for Thwackerlys old knobrot ale..

    fazzini
    Member

    ^^^^ 😉 I’m sure that will go loverly with a ploughmans!!!

    Premier Icon benji
    Subscriber

    Fixed is the same as used on track (velodrome), i.e. the sprocket is fixed to the hub and not able to rotate, therefore you are always pedalling whilst the bike is in motion. Sounds horrible but it’s a nice way to travel.

    fazzini
    Member

    I currently commute 8 miles a day, 5 days a week. This is the only cycling I currently get in due to work, family etc.

    Would converting my bike to singlespeed make a vast difference; and if so, other than less mechanical bits to go wrong/replace/maintain, what would the benefits be?

    plus one
    Member

    You instantly become a magnet for the opposite sex 😉

    forzafkawi
    Member

    I’ve SS’d for several years both on and off road. I would say that for an 8 mile commute it will make very little difference at all other than, as you say, mechanical simplicity.

    Fixed wheel cycling does carry some benefits such as supposedly smoothing out your pedalling stroke but unless you’re training for racing that would also be debatable.

    IMHO the best place to SS is off-road where the single gear encourages you to keep momentum going especially up short climbs, so overall you will tend to ride a bit faster. You may well find this on the road to a certain extent but in my experience less so.

    One thing you can try before bothering to convert your bike is to just select one gear and stick with that for the whole ride in both directions. Purists will argue that this is not the same but it will give you an idea if you are going to able to get on with riding SS and also the gear ratio that you are likely to need for the sort of terrain and riding you do.

    One thing I would say is that generally you will be able to ride a bigger gear than you might think. When people start to SS they usually think that the gear that they need is the one that will get them up the hills. What you will find however is that the main limiting factor is spinning out on the descents and even slight downhills. You will also be surprised that you will be able to climb hills in a bigger gear than maybe you will select when you have several to choose from.

    Give it a go and see how you get on.

    Tom B
    Member

    You’ll have a lower top speed and it’ll be harder to ride up hills.

    Junkyard
    Member

    which makes your beard grow and women swoon

    fazzini
    Member

    So, in short…

    Beard, booze and women…. 😉

    Cheers forzafkawi

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    Depends on the route. I commuted on a SS in Cardiff which is nice and flat. Perfect bike for the job. When I moved to Bristol I put some gears on as its too hilly. A low enough gear that works on the hills was a bit slow everywhere else.

    The SS ratio for on road is higher than for off-road so if you only ride to work and back you are fine, if you do use it off road too you will either spin out on the road or walk in the woods imho

    Premier Icon oldnpastit
    Subscriber

    That’s about the same as my commute. In terms of fitness, unless you work somewhere very hilly like north Wales or San Francisco, I’m afraid it will make no noticeable difference. You might be very slightly slower getting to work. Even fixed won’t make you strong like a bear over that distance.

    There’s less money to spend on keeping it going over the winter when the salt and grit tends to damage fancy gears and chains.

    If you’re very self-disciplined, could you take a longer route to work?

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
    Subscriber

    SS is a no-brainer on the commute IMO, but for the mechanical reliability / simplicity / cost – there wouldn’t be much in the way of performance benefit on an 8 mile commute. Fixed is also worth trying – a nice way to travel as Benji says.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    SS is perfect for the commute. Pick a gear that makes you work for some of the route and cruise along the rest (or all of it) with your brain in neutral, just what you need before/after work. Get some flat-proof tyres and ‘guards and life’s easy.

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