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How do you know when you're ready for single speed?

2685 Views 41 Replies 36 Participants Last post by  perrygeo
I've been on a 1x9 for a year now, and don't think I would ever go back to 3x9 I had. I like the idea of a single speed because it seems lower maintenance. This week my bike is out of commission while I wait for parts. A single speed seems great, no shock to pump, no gears to adjust or brake, just make sure the tires have air and go.

I'm worried though about fitness. My riding style is kind of slow and plodding, barreling my way over things. I suppose single speeding will force me to get faster.

Have you found single speeding can be for anyone or is there a general fitness level you need before you do it. My rides are mainly short, steep hills or longer, gentler grades. I think a fit rider could do either on a single speed.

Thanks for any advice, I guess I am afraid to take that plunge. Everyone says the first few rides I will hate life, but like anything, I'll adjust and it will be great.
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When you think "Hey that looks like fun", you are ready.
Yep, you're ready. In my experience, most people who take the plunge don't think that they are up for it, and expect it to be a real challenge. It does hurt, but it has this funny addictive thing to it too, that just can't be described. You'll feel it soon enough though.

BTW, I don't know what you mean about "no shock". Mine works just fine :)
If you like simplicity, if you like silence in the woods, if you hate your derailleur banging around on downhills, if you want to enjoy old trails again, if you visit this forum often, if you ask yourself am I ready, then I think you are ready. Proceed.
I been 1speeding for years and I'm still fat, slow & lazy.
If you're asking about it, ie: considering it, you're ready.


that kids ready...

you, on the other hand.... you'll definitely want to increase your fitness some more, maybe focus on some hill climbs on your 1x9, build up your legs to a point where you're absolutely ready to make the switch. 2x20 intervals at your lactate threshold should help. probably should hire a coach too. /green font.
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Get touched by the singlespeed fairy.
Ride Not Shift

When you are ready to ride and not shift, gears are over rated, singlespeeds are super fun, simple and reliable, try it, most likely you'll love it!!!
Can't go into asking if you're ready. SSing is commitment. You have to have the mindset that you are the flexible element in the bike/rider object. That you will make it work. There will be times that it sucks. But you have to be beyond that to begin with. If you are very sensitive to your good days and bad days... if you having an "off" day really throws off your experience on a ride, then maybe you aren't ready. If you can go out and love riding every time just for the sake of riding, maybe you are.
In any case no one here is gonna be able to figure that out for you.
Sparticus said:
If you're asking about it, ie: considering it, you're ready.

+1 There is nothing you need to do to get ready for SS; just get on the bike and ride. Will you puke out? Yes, we all do. Will you have to get off and push? Yes, we all do. Will your lungs reach out and grab you around the throat? Yes, it happens to all of us. If there is one statement that's common to all singlespeeders its, "I know I can do that, if I try a harder" and you keep thinking about until you do it and move on to your next goal.
hey ,try this,go out find a gear and don't shift. If it's more fun that way.....
henrymiller said:
Get touched by the singlespeed fairy.
That's what happened to me. But he touched me all weird like, and I cried.
just do it. when i first started riding 3x8 and having a hard time, i thought to myself "im NEVER gonna do single speed!" and only after a month of riding and a few loops under my belt, i made the switch and im loving it.
You started on a SS, as the post with the kid shows.

Going to a SS isn't something you have to train for or graduate to.

It's like going home.
The places where standing and mashing on a singlespeed can't take you are not a fun climb, even with gears.

When you ditched your granny ring, your minimum effort went up to 150% of what it had been in the change from 22 teeth to 32.

If you're already running 1x9, ditch your 11-32 cassette for a 9 speed Shimano 105 or Ultegra block running 12-23. The switch from a granny of 32 to a granny of 23 is a similar increment in difficulty, you've adapted once before with no appreciable hassle, so do it again.

Once you're comfy with that then go SS The drop from 24 teeth out the back to 16 is the same effort increment again.

The big payoff with going for a proper SS as opposed to simply not shifting is the reduction in drag and increase in efficiency you get from no jockey wheels and a straight chainline. Despite what the hairy beer swillers would like everyone in gearie land to believe, SS is actually easier than most folks expect.
on a trail maintenance day last week, we were building this rock wall to keep people from cutting the corners (and pissing off the land owners). Most people were grabbing medium sized to small rocks, while my buddy Kurt and i were picking up the biggest rocks we could carry. It wasn't long before people started commenting on the size of our rocks. They assume we were getting the big rocks because "we're macho, and we ride singlespeeds". I reply with "No, I'm lazy and i want to get this wall over with as soon as possible, and walking back and forth carrying 100 small rocks doesn't exactly sound appealing when i can walk half as much and get the same size wall built". It dawned to me at that very moment that i singlespeed for that exact same reason.

I'm ****ing lazy.

If that's your mindset, you will love singlespeeding. Even if it isn't, i don't think I've ever met a person who hated it after they gave it an honest effort.

And i agree with the above post, riding a geared bike in the SS gear range is not an accurate depiction of a true SS.
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ISuckAtRiding said:
It wasn't long before people started commenting on the size of our rocks.
:eekster: :eek: :eekster:

glahnb said:
How do you know when you're ready for single speed?
If you're thinking about it, you're ready. And chances are, someone you know has one you could borrow to try. Go for it!
Just go for it, you wont switch back to gears after
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