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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone here riding SS in and around Portland? (well that's kind of a dumb question i've seen lots riding around)
Was wondering what kind of gear ratio to run. I've been using only one gear on my old bridgestone mtb for the past month or so and i'm ready to switch it all out now. Also wondering what kind of rear hub to use (i like to stay away from shimano if possible). And are chain tensioners really needed for around town use?
 

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Go 3 speed!

I've got an old Stumpjumper that is converted to SS for townie use with a milk crate attached to the rack. Great as general commuter/grocery runner. I run it kind of low gearing though (38X16). I keep meaning to put a 42 ring on it, but I'm fundamentally lazy.

On my old Cannondale hardtail, I recently removed the rear cassette and shifter, but kept the front three rings with derailleur and shifter for a 3-speed conversion. I think it rocks! I've got a medium gear for general use (32X15) and a big gear for once I'm up to cruising speed (42X15). I haven't really needed the granny, but it's there for the occasional steep hill.

On both bikes I use the original rear derailleur for chain tension. Definitely need it on the three speed, but I couldn't find the "magic" gear combo to take enough slack out of the chain on the Stumpjumper. I used a Surly Singleator for a couple of years on the Stumpy and it worked fine, but I had to keep an eye on it as it would get loose and then the spring finally crapped out on me. I'm not into aesthetics nor weight watching, so the derailleur works fine for me.

As far as the hub, no need to go get a new hub and build up another wheel, your Shimano compatible free hub will work, you'll just need some spacers. I used some old cassettes and drilled out the rivets to get at the spacers (not all cassettes are built this way). Then you'll need to line up the chain. I used a BMX cog and chainring with a wider chain on the Stumpy, but kept the narrow chain with the ramped rings on the Cannondale.
 

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mtndawg said:
Anyone here riding SS in and around Portland? (well that's kind of a dumb question i've seen lots riding around)
Was wondering what kind of gear ratio to run. I've been using only one gear on my old bridgestone mtb for the past month or so and i'm ready to switch it all out now. Also wondering what kind of rear hub to use (i like to stay away from shimano if possible). And are chain tensioners really needed for around town use?
You will need a chain tensioner to convert any bike with vertical dropouts, unless the chosen ratio just "happens" to be the exact right length. There is a VERY small chance of that, and then when you decide to try another ratio, you'll be out of luck, so just get a chain tensioner, old (esp. road)derailleurs can be pressed into service (the older the better, since they had stronger return springs).
As far as hubs, anything will do, but do get a SS specific cog to save aggravation. The teeth are taller than cogs robbed from a cassette (I tried that, nýah......).
If you want to use an existing gearie wheel, you can use cassette spacers (robbed from dead cassettes in the recycle bin at your local bike shop, ask nicely to paw through and get two old cassettes, grind off the joining pins and break 'em down for the parts) stacked appropriately to achieve a good chainline. This method works well for me and several others I know here. The physics are that the SS specific hubs yield a stronger wheel (better triangulation), but I have been using offset hubs for 20 years off-road with very few problems, so I just went inexpensive at first. I may eventually get a SS hub, as I'm getting pretty firmly hooked on it after 3 months of it now. (I have ridden ny FS gearie once since I built the SS.)
Since I'm in Eugene, I can only assume that you'll find similar inclines there as far as appropriate gearing is concerned. Most of us here use ratios varying from 1.6:1 - (32/20) to 1.7:1 - (34/20). Someone gaspingly commented Wednesday night that the rides were getting faster. (He was one of the minority riders with a multi-geared bike.) I hadn't noticed since I've been there steadily for the last two months, and he's been busy elsewhere, but he used to kick my butt regularly. Feels great to tell someone 15 years younger to try to keep up!

Holiday Cheer to all
 

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Forgot in my earlier post to ask if you were going to be townie or off-road (i.e. Forest Park and other). My gearing recommendations were for true off-road use. In town I agree with the person recommending 3-speed. My SS just can't get the speed I like on the flats, there just aren't many flatland rides in the Oregon woods. It wouldn't be MTBÃ*ng if it were flat now, would it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
bmx cog?

Yeah it's just for around the town for now. So i should use a bmx cog rather than a geared cassette cog to prevent chain slipping or something like that?

I came across single speed gearing when i was riding the great divide trail and my r.der. hanger got bent and the derailluer got sucked into my wheel and bent out of shape. so i had to break the chain and use the middle gears and that seemed to work. I guess i got lucky on the fit i didn't have any sag in the chain. Held up enough to get me to the next town.

Thanks again
 

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mtndawg said:
Yeah it's just for around the town for now. So i should use a bmx cog rather than a geared cassette cog to prevent chain slipping or something like that?...
Yes, use a BMX/singlespeed-specific cog. The ramps and tooth profiles of cogs intended for geared use encourage the chain to unship. BMX/SS-specific cogs hold the chain much better.

--Sparty
 
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