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Discussion Starter #1
I dusted off the old hardtail this weekend and got it back in running order. I have been thinking about converting this bike to a SS since buying my FS. The problem is that I get very little opportunity to ride and when I do I will mostly use the FS.

The hardtail is a decent bike with 9 year old DX shifters and XT derailuer, that have seen better days and are hard to keep adjusted and cause frustrating mis-shifts. I would like to convert this bike to a SS to make it a dependable backup to the new one. I would also like to start using it for commuting to work.

I live 4 miles from the train station that then drops me off right by the office. It is a flat route that travels through residential neighborhoods. My question is; How is SSing on the road vs the trail? I can see the idea behind a SS on the trail in the challenge of riding up, down and tech sections with one gear, but how is it spinning along the road starting and stopping at intersections and such?
 

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Well...

I ride a fixed gear roadie commuter, and that's great, but that's not what you asked.

I've commuted a bunch on a hardtail mtb SS. If you've got the right gear, it's pretty good; especially if you're only riding 4 miles. You're going to lock it up at the station? Try a 44:16 to start with, and some thin tires, like 1.9s. Worn out knobbies work pretty well. Then pump 'em up to 60psi. Try it. You'll probably think it's the coolest thing since beer.

Oh, and ditch the heavy susp fork (assuming...) for a cheapo LBS rigid. It way more fun when practicing bmx off curbs and stuff.
 

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couple things

shastaou812 said:
My question is; How is SSing on the road vs the trail? I can see the idea behind a SS on the trail in the challenge of riding up, down and tech sections with one gear, but how is it spinning along the road starting and stopping at intersections and such?
you can read this recent thread for more input:

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=38293

IMO, 4 flat miles could get boring doing spin/coast/spin/repeat. I'd build up a fixed-gear rear wheel and give that a go. Way more fun (and not hard on flat streets).

HW

PS -where are you in Dallas? Route? Used to live there.
 

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I'm stuck on SS lately

waiting to finish the Ibis. I should get all the parts this week.

The 3 miles across town to the train station is pretty hateful on 36:19 with 2.4/2.25dh tires and a susp fork. It takes 50% longer than normal.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well I am not sure if I am up for a fixie yet plus this bike will also be used as a trailer puller to drag the rug rat along the concrete trails. I did put on a set of 1.9 city tires (came on my stumpjumper; idiot) and it does feel good and fast.

I live in North Garland and will be commuting from arapaho/galaxie to the train station at forrest/jupiter. They have bike lockers available at the train station that I can lock the bike in for < $5 / month.

The big problem is timing with helping getting the kids ready for school then the ride plus wait time, train ride, and walk to office verses the drive time. Then there is the issue of needing lights, bags/pannier, and warm riding stuff.
 

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shastaou812 said:
I dusted off the old hardtail this weekend and got it back in running order. I have been thinking about converting this bike to a SS since buying my FS. The problem is that I get very little opportunity to ride and when I do I will mostly use the FS.

The hardtail is a decent bike with 9 year old DX shifters and XT derailuer, that have seen better days and are hard to keep adjusted and cause frustrating mis-shifts. I would like to convert this bike to a SS to make it a dependable backup to the new one. I would also like to start using it for commuting to work.

I live 4 miles from the train station that then drops me off right by the office. It is a flat route that travels through residential neighborhoods. My question is; How is SSing on the road vs the trail? I can see the idea behind a SS on the trail in the challenge of riding up, down and tech sections with one gear, but how is it spinning along the road starting and stopping at intersections and such?
Sounds like an ideal commute for a singlespeed. I've done ~30 mile round trip commuting on my singlespeed. My route is trails, roads, hills, etc. Just a bit too hilly for my taste.

8 mile rt on the road should allow you to run a fairly tall gear. The suggested 44x16 gearing would be a good start. I run 42x16 on my fixed gear road bike and that suffices around here, even with the big climbs.

Try it out. You can always put the gears back on, but that probably won't be necessary...

baker
 

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That sounds like a perfect opportunity for an SS commute. I have an even flatter commute (Houston, TX) 6 miles each way on my old steel Kona that I converted to 44:16. I threw all of my spare parts on the frame that was just collecting dust.

The only caveat is that neither Houston or Dallas is the most bike-friendly town, so make yourself visable and be aware.

It's always fun to race your coworkers leaving work that are fighting traffic :)

-richard
 

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SS for my commute if fine

My 15 mile route to work is pretty flat. Takes me on roads, marsh land trails, etc. I run a 44:18. Had a 36:16 but I was spinning too much on the flats. Works well on my own, but it's a little tough when pulling the burley trailer...
 

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commute

shastaou812 said:
Well I am not sure if I am up for a fixie yet plus this bike will also be used as a trailer puller to drag the rug rat along the concrete trails. I did put on a set of 1.9 city tires (came on my stumpjumper; idiot) and it does feel good and fast.
ok, but how cool would it be for the kid to see dad in a track skid to slow him down ;) Looking back, I have no idea whay I ran gears all over DFW, including the Plano bike paths.

shastaou812 said:
I live in North Garland and will be commuting from arapaho/galaxie to the train station at forrest/jupiter. They have bike lockers available at the train station that I can lock the bike in for < $5 / month.

The big problem is timing with helping getting the kids ready for school then the ride plus wait time, train ride, and walk to office verses the drive time. Then there is the issue of needing lights, bags/pannier, and warm riding stuff.
I used to ride from Legacy/75 in Plano to Richardson on ~30 degree mornings, and once after an ice storm, so it's all doable. I really layered up and had a blast, and got lots of strange looks from motorists. DFW roads are some of the most biker-unfriendly that I've ever seen, however. They just don't think you should be on the road. At all.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well I think the bigger decsion is weather or not to commute or not. If I can get started doing it and it works out it will be great. The decsion to go SS or not will work itself out as time on the bike will tell. I think I would like as flexible gearing as possible so I can easily swap gears for trail use as well.

DFW roads are some of the most biker-unfriendly that I've ever seen, however. They just don't think you should be on the road. At all.
You are sure right about that. This is why I have not even thought about any road biking around here. Hopefully the route through the residental streets will be friendlier but I still have to cross three or four big traffic streets.

It's always fun to race your coworkers leaving work that are fighting traffic
It will be very interesting to see if this commute will save any time as the train is very fast but the variance of wait time plus a short walk add time. I think though once they finish the high five construction project the freeway might be faster. I don't drive a very enviro friendly car (90 YJ Wrangler with carb) and feel kinda bad about it plus gas prices are making train fare look pretty cheap.

Thanks for all your input!
 

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re: SS commuting

shastaou812 said:
I dusted off the old hardtail this weekend and got it back in running order. I have been thinking about converting this bike to a SS since buying my FS. The problem is that I get very little opportunity to ride and when I do I will mostly use the FS.

The hardtail is a decent bike with 9 year old DX shifters and XT derailuer, that have seen better days and are hard to keep adjusted and cause frustrating mis-shifts. I would like to convert this bike to a SS to make it a dependable backup to the new one. I would also like to start using it for commuting to work.

I live 4 miles from the train station that then drops me off right by the office. It is a flat route that travels through residential neighborhoods. My question is; How is SSing on the road vs the trail? I can see the idea behind a SS on the trail in the challenge of riding up, down and tech sections with one gear, but how is it spinning along the road starting and stopping at intersections and such?
i've made my commute on everything from road bikes, to cross bikes, to SS mtb's. it's ALL alright if you have the right outlook, though you do spin out like mad on the flats with offroad SS gearing, of course. but my old hardtail (MB-1) has evolved into my usual commuter. since it is ridden in all conditions with a minimum of maintenance i figured why not take off those pesky gears and simplify things. :p my commute is mostly flat, but with a bit of a climb (5-6%) on the way home. i just experimented and found a ratio that gave good tension (40x14) and a happy spin. 1/2 worn out knobbies are working just fine for now, and the whole project has cost me virtually nil.

i'd say - go for it!
 

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or use a big & mid ring....

not quite a single speed (double yer pleasure), but that's what I'm using for a commuting/townie/fun bike, with the understanding that the SS gods may yet toss a bolt of lightning on me on my ride home sometime.
I left the rear derailleur on as a tensioner and am using a 48/36 up front and a 16t shilmano cog w/ conversion kit in the back. I'm using an old dx thumbie to shift the front der, but one could go sans and just shift w/ your fingers or toes down to the mid ring...
I have recently gone rigid with a 2.35 Kenda up front (gotta have some cushion) and a 2.1 python air lite in the rear (rolls fast w/ high volume for some squish). I just couldn't hang with the 1.5 slick, either pinch flats or too harsh a ride.
I just put on a rack w/ a fender to make it more grocery run friendly, but use a messenger type bag 99% of the time.

I only have a 1.5 mile commute to work, but to make it more fun I go thru some fields and a hotel construction zone, depending upon the mud conditions. Not much sweat in the morning, but it takes me a while to cool off when I get home, since it's about 95 degrees w/ 70%+ humidity right now down here in south Louisiana... pretty much the same up there in Dallas, I'm sure... It's not very bike friendly here in Lafayette either, which is another reason I cut through some non road zones.

Fast Eddy said:
I ride a fixed gear roadie commuter, and that's great, but that's not what you asked.

I've commuted a bunch on a hardtail mtb SS. If you've got the right gear, it's pretty good; especially if you're only riding 4 miles. You're going to lock it up at the station? Try a 44:16 to start with, and some thin tires, like 1.9s. Worn out knobbies work pretty well. Then pump 'em up to 60psi. Try it. You'll probably think it's the coolest thing since beer.

Oh, and ditch the heavy susp fork (assuming...) for a cheapo LBS rigid. It way more fun when practicing bmx off curbs and stuff.
 

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I love ss for urban riding!

Urban riding for me is all about jumnping curbs and quick stops and starts and finding stairs to ride and other fun things to ride on. Almost any bike will do but a low geared single speed seems the most fun. On my bike I'd use the 40 by 18 that I use for roads.
 

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I commute on a SS through Richardson and it works great. If I ride my bike to work from Plano Rd/Campbell Rd to Forest Lane/Greenville it takes 40 to 45min. Driving takes 20 to 25min. I'll be using the train alot more since my company is buying annual DART passes. Including the bike, train, and walk I can get there as fast as driving. I use a 44/16 gear ratio which is ideal for me (26" wheels). If you wanted a quick gear change you could have a big ring and middle ring on the crank and just adjust the chain length and tension for trails.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
If I ride my bike to work from Plano Rd/Campbell Rd to Forest Lane/Greenville it takes 40 to 45min. Driving takes 20 to 25min.
How many miles is that commute? MPH avg? Do you ride down the powerline concrete trail or just the streets?
I'll be using the train alot more since my company is buying annual DART passes.
Man I sure wish my company would pay for the pass. I am going to see if they will pay for it or at least part if I give up my parking space.
If you wanted a quick gear change you could have a big ring and middle ring on the crank and just adjust the chain length and tension for trails.
A two speed sounds fine to me. Forgive me though as being a very newbie to SS, if chaniline is such an important factor in SS then wouldn't having two chairings cause chainline issues? Also, I am probably going to have to use a tensioner, so would i still need to adjust the chain length if running two chainrings?
 

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I think it's about 10 miles. I stick with streets because the concrete paths are dangerous enough crossing alleys and streets all the time. Add in the dog walkers and kids playing next to it for some real excitment. Most of my route is on smaller back streets that don't have much traffic but I do have to get on Greenville for a half mile or so.

On chainline, I would worry about it more for trail riding so line your middle ring up perfectly with the rear cog. The big ring won't be off far enough to matter for riding on the road. I doubt a tensioner will pull enough slack out of the chain for moving from a big to middle ring but you can try it. If you use a derailleur as a tensioner it will do the job. To set up your crankset, just remove the granny. You may want to use a non- ramped chainring in place of your middle ring but I've had good luck using regular ramped rings.
 

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shastaou812 said:
How many miles is that commute? MPH avg? Do you ride down the powerline concrete trail or just the streets?

Man I sure wish my company would pay for the pass. I am going to see if they will pay for it or at least part if I give up my parking space.

A two speed sounds fine to me. Forgive me though as being a very newbie to SS, if chaniline is such an important factor in SS then wouldn't having two chairings cause chainline issues? Also, I am probably going to have to use a tensioner, so would i still need to adjust the chain length if running two chainrings?

The only SS tensioner (I'm aware of) that allows for 2 chainrings is Paul's Melvin (cost is about $60). If you've got a rear der on there now, just use that. I've been doing cuz it's cheap and I already had one (=
You can shorten the chain compared to running gears, I don't recall how many links I took out, but I got it so the derailleur arm is almost parallel (w/o too much friction) with the chainstay on the big ring. That leaves the derailleur hanging just about straight down in the mid ring (48/36 x 16).
 

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Road only SS MTB 4 me

While I don't commute, most of my riding is done on paved roads and since I don't have a road bike I use a SS MTB with semi slicks. It's tons faster than my pig (K2 evo). It is geared at 42/16 and of late I have been using it on 21 mile C and/or B paced group rides. It was geared at 50/16 when I first bought it (used) and I'm sure it could be used in an A paced ride at that ratio. It's fun hangin with other fat, old guys like myself while they are on $2000 tri bikes and I'm on my MTB SS with platforms. I get dropped at 22 MPH. Too fast RPM for me. I may gear it back up if I get stronger.


I'm constantly going back and forth about getting a road bike. Maybe next year.
 

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Kona Sutra?

Kona is making a commuter bike that you can change from a single speed to a geared bike via the sliding dropout from the unit or the other way around. So if you don't like the single speed commute you can change it back to gears. A win win situation. It will be a steel bike drop bars. Sounds like this is what you are after.
 

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also Rohloff

The Rohloff chain tensioner is a 2-pulley design similar to the Paul Melvin that can take up enough slack to allow you to switch chainrings. 1-pulley tensioners won't work for this purpose.
 
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