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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been wanting to get a new bike with less travel for a while now to make rides in the Headlands, Tamarancho and China Camp feel new again, and hopefully to pick off a bit of dirt on the commute from SF to Marin for work in the summer. I was contemplating a fully rigid rig for a while but am now pretty set on a hard tail with a few inches of travel in the front. (my other bike is a newish Blur and I still plan to ride it really regularly)

I had never really contemplated going SS until the other day when I rode a friends SS Ventana for a few minutes in the headlands. It was literally a 10 minute ride from the beach back to the parking lot but it was really fun, I'm just not sure if I'm fit enough to really get much use out of a SS. The price point on a SS is really enticing though and I love how clean they look. I'm just wondering if I'm SS ready.

Any related thoughts/experiences from the Norcal board? I was going to post in the SS forum but thought I'd start in familiar territory.....
 

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aka baycat
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Single speed bikes are tons of fun. Ridden mine in Tahoe, Annadel, Skeggs, China Camp, Tamarancho, Ft. Ord and other places.

Marin Headlands, China Camp and Tamarancho are ideally suited to a single speed. A bit more climbing in the Headlands, but most of the grades are easy enough to clean (except for Coastal and Miwok ouch!).

You can get a fully kitted SS with a rigid fork for quite cheap. What is your budget? Check out the single speed forum tons of threads to browse. You can go inexpensive and rigid with a Motobecane (paging Slide) and upgrade as you see fit. And if you get hooked build up a blinged out steel SS. You get a fork with lockout, you can experience the best of both worlds. Rigid (sort of) and a few inches of travel.

Maybe Plim will sell you his Haro Mary ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey dude, thanks for the reply. I'm just staring to explore the SS forum. Some of those bikes are sick! I was hoping to stay around $1,200ish to start but know if I want to good front shock the price might go up.

I think I'm going to start looking around this week. A little walking never hurt anyone....
 

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aka baycat
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I was walking a lot and still am (with less frequency of course). Become a much stronger rider.

I think a 29er single speed is a great bike, if you are thinking about that possibility because a lot of the full speced single speeds are 29ers.

$1,200 is a good amount to get a nicely equipped bike. Soon you will be in the world of Paragon Sliders, EBBs and 8 speed chains!
 

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at $1200, those are some serious dough for a top notch SS.

Fitness wise, you did be surprise. Actually SS is much easier to climb than most bikes because they have very little drag.

However, this applies only to small bike parks like waterdog, Skeggs, Fremont Older, St. Joseph hills.

I wouldn't recommend it for places like Kennedy or backside of railroad grade in Marin where there are big mountains.

If you ride SS for a few months and start to clean some tougher climbs without stopping, you will be amazingly strong when you jump back on your blur and attack those same hills. Basically I found that the biggest benefit to riding a SS is that it teach you to ride a harder gear up the hills instead of spinning on the granny gear.
 

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$1200 bucks for your first SS. Wow you really drank the cool aid. I don't think I would spend that kind of scratch right away but if you have it and want to part with it that is up to you. Why don't you get an early to mid 90's cromoly bike off craigslist or at a local garage sale and convert it to see if you like it (Specialized, Kona, Marin etc). You can pick up a complete Redline monocog for less that $500.00 with a rigid fork. Take a look at Bianchi, Surly, On One, Kona, GT, Motobecane, Ibex they all have budget bikes. For $1200 you should be able to get a sweet bike. Look for somone dumping a Soulcraft or Sycip.
Also, all of China Camp is single speedable and most of the trails in Marin are not as steep as the Peninsula and the Southbay. You should be good to go once you get the gearing figured out. Don't worry about your fitness, you will realize that you just ride what's in front of you until you can ride no more. Oh yeah, and breathe, that's important.
Cheers
R
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, Kool Aid!

I'm just starting to look at SS prices today, I was planning on building a geared hard tail. If I can do it for cheaper than $1,200 I def will. Sounds like I have a lot of research to do.
 

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just another bleepin SSer
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SS would be great for the dirt you talk about.

But, a SS would likely not make a good commute bike. Or at least, it would be hard to get the gearing right for commute and dirt use. A MTB SS usually runs about 32x16-18 (32x18-20 for 29er), where one geared for road use runs more like 42x18. That is a big difference. If you gear for dirt, you will hate the commute on flat roads. If you gear for roads, you will have a hell of a time on even an easy climb.
 

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Uncle
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I'd split the difference and build up a 1x9. It's not as efficient as an SS, but you can still get a great gear range without running 3 rings in the front. I'm running a generic 29er steel frame with a 32t front and 11x34 in the rear. I do have to stand up on some grades, but it climbs really well, goes pretty good on the descents and straightaways, never drops or sucks the chain. With the BBG bashguard, it's only a bit more coin & still pretty damn light too. Feel free to PM for build questions.
 

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Trip the Bike Fantastic
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588 Posts
Go for it. I just converted my old bike and am having a ball. After a couple of weeks I've ridden in all the places you mention, and it really spices up the same old trails. I think Tamarancho on SS is my favorite. The fussfree drivetrain is ideal for winter slop, too. I have a brand new Blur and I can't get off the singlespeed. That's gotta say something.
 

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organically fed
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105millimetersofpleasure said:
I'd split the difference and build up a 1x9. With the BBG bashguard, it's only a bit more coin & still pretty damn light too.
This was the first thing I did to my bike, prior to going SS, and I really enjoyed it. It gives you a nice place to mount a bell in place of that vestigial left shifter. Props to BBG bashguards as well. Mine is the "superlight" because I never thought I'd actually bash it, but I have and it's held up well.
 

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aka dan51
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Speaking from my own experience, singlespeeds suck. Yeah I said it. Let the flaming begin.

It was a fun trendy thing for a few months, but eventually my knee started hurting, and it just didn't suite my riding style. My knee still hurts. I then went to a 1X9 and had much more fun. But eventually the whole hardtail thing worn thin. I started to think that a softtail would be the ultimate SS.

If you're gonna do it, the 29er route is the way to go.
 

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Nature Rider, Not MTBer
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dan51 said:
Speaking from my own experience, singlespeeds suck. Yeah I said it. Let the flaming begin.

It was a fun trendy thing for a few months, but eventually my knee started hurting, and it just didn't suite my riding style. My knee still hurts. I then went to a 1X9 and had much more fun. But eventually the whole hardtail thing worn thin. I started to think that a softtail would be the ultimate SS.

If you're gonna do it, the 29er route is the way to go.
I'm with Dan. Singlespeeds suck. That's why I'll be selling my Haro Mary SS whenever I get off my ass and get around to it. (Although I'm toying with the idea of turning it into a 1x9, easily done with this bike.)
 

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singletrack bound
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To each his own....

I guess....

began riding SS in 04 and it's just about all I ride now. I really enjoy the challenge of keeping my cadence up and attacking the climbs.

F.Y.I I have a SS Chameleon complete and ready to ride waiting for a new owner if your interested!

PM for info.
Tone.:cool:
 

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Crazy man

Cycledelic said:
Go for it. I just converted my old bike and am having a ball. After a couple of weeks I've ridden in all the places you mention, and it really spices up the same old trails. I think Tamarancho on SS is my favorite. The fussfree drivetrain is ideal for winter slop, too. I have a brand new Blur and I can't get off the singlespeed. That's gotta say something.
Something like "You crazy". I have a bunch of bikes SS and geared and they all have their niceties but the one I like to have fun on is the fully SC with 27 gears and 5.5 inches of rock gobbling travel. I do ride all of mine in the same places but my old body really likes suspension. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Cam
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One more here who has a full squish Blur & converted my hardtail SyCip to SS last year. My suggestion is to keep the bikes as different as possible...don't go 1x9...keep it single and simple...that'll make for a distinctive difference between your two bikes. I'll vouch for having variety.

Once I got the Blur I stopped riding my SyCip. Then I converted it & now I can't stop riding SS! Get a frame geometry that'll rip tight singletrack...that's when SS'ing is best! It's pure mountain biking and will hone your skills. Tamarancho is a blast! China Camp is a bit easier but is good place for a maiden voyage of your new SS. I want to ride it at Boggs soon.

Also, I highly suggest if you're going to convert a frame with standard drop-outs to build a rear wheel with a White Industries Eccentric hub. Don't use spring pulleys to tension the chain! W.I. hubs are beautiful and work like magic! Well worth the cost. As the saying goes...Buy nice or buy twice.

As to the knee issues. Just be selective where you choose to ride the SS. Some trails around here (the peninsula in particular) are grinders...even with gears.

Cheers...
 

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(slight return)
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Go for it. I'd even suggest going rigid if you really want to add some challenge to the headlands/tamarancho/cc. Takes a little while but eventually those trails all become doable and even more fun on a rigid ss. Carbon bars and large volume tubeless tires can take a little of the edge off. A lot of the skills you learn from riding a rigid ss transfer to riding a geared fs.

If not rigid though, I think a great bike for Marin would be a Santa Cruz Chameleon. Look for an older one without the eccentric bb.

-slide
 

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(Ali)
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782 Posts
Jush get a Raleigh XXIX. $750 retail... Comes with disk brakes. Don't care for disks? Then a Redline Monocog for $480. :)

As others have said, anybody can SS and it gets easier with every ride. Kennedy is quite ridable too. :p

Ali
 
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