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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i've been reading random threads in this forum, and *something* about SS is starting to appeal to me, maybe it's the efficiency of using only one gear ratio, maybe it's just the "dare to be different" thing (i think it's the simplicity thing though

i even have a potential project bike in mind.....

my ancient Fila Taos i gave to my sister a few years back that she never rides, it has a cracked gear in the cassette anyway, so i'd have to ditch the gear cluster

it's an ancient steel framed solid fork MTB, i'd imagine it shouldn't be too expensive to convert it to SS, i'd probably set it up as a commuter bike for work....

and if i'm understanding the pattern, i'll probably end up riding my Trek 4500 less (or end up converting that one too....)

anyone have experience converting an old dinosaur solid-frame MTB to SS?
 

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I converted an early 90's gt to SS out of necessity to ride to school and not worry about getting stolen...I now have a Zion on the way getting ready to drop with employee disc (equivalent to $2200 joe blow price) into a dedicated trial SS.

Heres my theory of how it happens:

1.You are exposed to what is called HssIV: Human singlespeed imunodefficiency Virus.
Be carefull as this is a commonly contracted among MTB'ers who share bikes with infected individuals.

2. Generally months afterwards you develop AssIDS: Acquiring Singlespeeds is Da **** syndrome. Soon you will have an extremely low Bike to gears ratio. And only one gear to defeat any obstacles in your path. This can be very taxing on your body resulting in the necessity of AlcoTherapy.
 

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There's many people still using & loving their 'dino' SS's.
I started with a late 80's rockhopper converted for commuter/townie bike a while back. I'm now using a '95ish steel hardtail, w/ rigid fork (still getting used to going back to rigid, it's been a looong while). It's set up with an old derailleur and 2 rings up front (36/48 x 16) for my commuting & lite offroad needs.
dedicated offroad SS is in the works. I've acquired some of the afflictions mentioned by guital2, although just by hanging out in this forum mainly, so I guess it'd be of a MtbrAIDSS.
MacTech said:
i've been reading random threads in this forum, and *something* about SS is starting to appeal to me, maybe it's the efficiency of using only one gear ratio, maybe it's just the "dare to be different" thing (i think it's the simplicity thing though

i even have a potential project bike in mind.....

my ancient Fila Taos i gave to my sister a few years back that she never rides, it has a cracked gear in the cassette anyway, so i'd have to ditch the gear cluster

it's an ancient steel framed solid fork MTB, i'd imagine it shouldn't be too expensive to convert it to SS, i'd probably set it up as a commuter bike for work....

and if i'm understanding the pattern, i'll probably end up riding my Trek 4500 less (or end up converting that one too....)

anyone have experience converting an old dinosaur solid-frame MTB to SS?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can someone point me in the direction of a FAQ for converting an old solid-frame MTB to fixed-gear, i'd rather check that out than ask a bunch of questions that have likely already been asked ad-infinitum, thanks

i should be getting the old dinosaur back within the next couple of days, so i can see how (badly) it's been (mis)treated by my sister, if her (lack) of car maint. skills are any indicator, it won't be pretty....

what i'll probably end up doing is leaving the Fila here at work, so i don't have to lug around my nice Trek 4500 on the roof rack that destroys my fuel mileage and aerodynamics, i'll also let one of my co-workers use the Fila, he walks to work every day, i keep telling him to get a bike, it'll be faster, but he doesn't want to spend the money, i figure he lives in town here, so he can use the bike to get to work, and i can use it to grab lunch and generally bike around after work

i know this next part will be considered sacrelige on the *MOUNTAIN* bike review forums, but this ol' dino will likely not see much, if any, off road use, so i'll be slapping a set of slicks/street tires on it to reduce rolling resistance

heck, i'm actually looking forward to riding the old dinosaur again....
 

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I just finished my build of a '91 trek 950, after a few complications, like a blown bottom bracket and stripped cranks, and a couple of wrecked singleator springs things are great..

I went on my first real ride yesterday and I did it faster and easier than on my gearie. Very strange, probably because there is less to think about and the weight. The full rigid isn't as bad as I thought,and reminded me I need skills going downhill not just point and shoot. This is good.

go for it, its great.
 

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I'm in the same boat. I recently picked up a 9-something Gary Fisher rigid from a MTBR member (hey mattman), and have many parts in transit to convert it. I'm going to see if I like it (have a feeling I will) and add/upgrade as the mood (and funds) allow. I'm going to document the process, so watch this space for the debut of a new rigid steel SS.

BTW, mine will see mostly road and fireroads/trails initially, so I'm putting on a set of these:
City/trail tire

Jim
 

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SeamusCA said:
BTW, mine will see mostly road and fireroads/trails initially, so I'm putting on a set of these:
City/trail tire

Jim
Jim, I have a singlespeed that I use mostly for road and fireroad trails, too, and if you're going fully rigid, you might want too look at some meatier tires to add a bit of cush to your ride. I use the very inexpensive Kenda K-Rad 2.3 tires which I got from AEBikes and I think they're brilliant.

Just a suggestion.
 

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SpinWheelz said:
Jim, I have a singlespeed that I use mostly for road and fireroad trails, too, and if you're going fully rigid, you might want too look at some meatier tires to add a bit of cush to your ride. I use the very inexpensive Kenda K-Rad 2.3 tires which I got from AEBikes and I think they're brilliant.

Just a suggestion.
Thanks for the tip. I'm sure this won't be my last set of tires. Just wanted something smooth-rolling, since this will be my closest thing to a road rig for now.

Jim
 

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Guital2 said:
I converted an early 90's gt to SS out of necessity to ride to school and not worry about getting stolen...I now have a Zion on the way getting ready to drop with employee disc (equivalent to $2200 joe blow price) into a dedicated trial SS.

Heres my theory of how it happens:

1.You are exposed to what is called HssIV: Human singlespeed imunodefficiency Virus.
Be carefull as this is a commonly contracted among MTB'ers who share bikes with infected individuals.

2. Generally months afterwards you develop AssIDS: Acquiring Singlespeeds is Da **** syndrome. Soon you will have an extremely low Bike to gears ratio. And only one gear to defeat any obstacles in your path. This can be very taxing on your body resulting in the necessity of AlcoTherapy.
LOL! HA. I woke up to the site of my beloved Bontrager stolen from my garage. It had gears. So I had an old Bridgestone MB-3 c. 1992 that was in the basement in need of minimal parts to get it running. I tinkered a bit, used an old XT short cage rear mech to make a SS and viola! had my very first SS. Concurrent with that project, I was ordering a new gearie to replace said stolen Bonty. The tab came to just over $2700. (sorry for the back and forth) I was out in central Oregon on a large camp/group ride thing with the Bridgestone and some of us were chatting......and out of the blue Shiggy says something to the effect "you should have used all the money on the new gearie and build up a t!ts SS." So now, 2.5 years later, the gearie flips me the middle finger everytime I take out my SS (which by the way is my 3rd one, it cost about 8 bills used parts/new parts). Moral, Shiggy was onto something.

Personal observations:
1) It is so low maintenance (I ride rigid).
2) It is hella fun.
3) I dream about perfect gear combinations.
4) I obsess about tires that are wider than my car tires, and will they fit in the chainstays.
5) I really do reach for the gearie less and less.
6) I want a road bike, turn it into a fixie/beer getter/kid hauler
7) The whole blasted SS subject interferes with work, family, and personal well being.

Very contagious virus.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, got the old dinosaur back, it was in remarkably good shape, don't think Lori ever rode it, the old Suntour X-Press triggershifters were a bit stiff and jammy, but they're coming off anyway, so no big deal

the tires were completely flat, as expected after two years of non-use, but they seem to hold air just fine, that said, i'll be replacing the tires and tubes anyway just to be on the safe side, as i have *no* idea how it was stored for the last 2 years

the smallest gear in the cassette is cracked, and the chain jumps when it's on that chainring, since this is an old, primitive gearset, can i cheap out by using some spacers and one of the cogs from the cassette and the front chainring, or should i get a new gearset, the chain looks to be in good condition, no rust or stretching, i imagine it just needs to be shortened once i yoink off the deraileurs

what's the best way to calculate the optimum gear ratio, this is going to be a stomp-around-town bike, if that matters, i was looking at the Raliegh brochure at their classic cruisers and they seem to use a 48/20 ratio (or is that 20/48?), is that a decent starter ratio?

any links or hints how i can start this project, i hope this will satisfy my "gotta build stuff" urges for a while, it's a side effect of being a computer tech, i'm always looking for projects and stuff to build, and i've tweaked my G4 Mirror Door about as far as i can go without delving into the risky world of overclocking....

(4 hard drives, 2 GB RAM, 2 DVD-R drives, internal case lighting, copper heat-pipe heat sink, 10.4 Tiger...... you get the idea)

so where's some good reference material/starting points?
 

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MacTech said:
Well, got the old dinosaur back, it was in remarkably good shape, don't think Lori ever rode it, the old Suntour X-Press triggershifters were a bit stiff and jammy, but they're coming off anyway, so no big deal

the tires were completely flat, as expected after two years of non-use, but they seem to hold air just fine, that said, i'll be replacing the tires and tubes anyway just to be on the safe side, as i have *no* idea how it was stored for the last 2 years

the smallest gear in the cassette is cracked, and the chain jumps when it's on that chainring, since this is an old, primitive gearset, can i cheap out by using some spacers and one of the cogs from the cassette and the front chainring, or should i get a new gearset, the chain looks to be in good condition, no rust or stretching, i imagine it just needs to be shortened once i yoink off the deraileurs

what's the best way to calculate the optimum gear ratio, this is going to be a stomp-around-town bike, if that matters, i was looking at the Raliegh brochure at their classic cruisers and they seem to use a 48/20 ratio (or is that 20/48?), is that a decent starter ratio?

any links or hints how i can start this project, i hope this will satisfy my "gotta build stuff" urges for a while, it's a side effect of being a computer tech, i'm always looking for projects and stuff to build, and i've tweaked my G4 Mirror Door about as far as i can go without delving into the risky world of overclocking....

(4 hard drives, 2 GB RAM, 2 DVD-R drives, internal case lighting, copper heat-pipe heat sink, 10.4 Tiger...... you get the idea)

so where's some good reference material/starting points?
First point is keep the derailleur as a chain tensioner. You have about 3% chance of running without a tensioner and even if you start without one chain wear will catch up to you.

Gear ratio? It depends on you and your legs, just try it.

Cogs and spacers will work. I found that my old freehubs were made of steel. If yours is steel don't worry about a cog digging in.

The starting point is experimentation, try it now. Line up the ring/cog add a chain (w/tensioner) and go!
 

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skery said:
I just finished my build of a '91 trek 950, after a few complications, like a blown bottom bracket and stripped cranks, and a couple of wrecked singleator springs things are great..
i've had good results on converting several older trek frames without a singulator. 34:19, 20, or 21 works depending upon how the chainring and cog fit. i'll use a spicer half link for new chains then take it out as it spreads. alot of folks dont care much for the magic ratio bs, but it is nice when you find a combo that works (for the most part) and not have to rely on a tensioner.

enjoy
 

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MacTech said:
Can someone point me in the direction of a FAQ for converting an old solid-frame MTB to fixed-gear, i'd rather check that out than ask a bunch of questions that have likely already been asked ad-infinitum, thanks....
I don't see it mentioned here, but at the top of this page is a link to the Single Speed FAQ. It's full of good info and other links for converting your seasoned steed. Good luck and post questions that the FAQ might not cover.
 

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MacTech said:
the smallest gear in the cassette is cracked, and the chain jumps when it's on that chainring, since this is an old, primitive gearset, can i cheap out by using some spacers and one of the cogs from the cassette and the front chainring, or should i get a new gearset, the chain looks to be in good condition, no rust or stretching, i imagine it just needs to be shortened once i yoink off the deraileurs
That's what I did. you can either buy/borrow spacers, or a kit like the Gusset which comes with 19 and 14mm spacers and 16 and 18T cogs. I noticed in the Nashbar catalog they have a kit too, with several thin spacers allowing you to fine-tune your chain alignment. I went with the Gusset kit for now.

what's the best way to calculate the optimum gear ratio, this is going to be a stomp-around-town bike, if that matters, i was looking at the Raliegh brochure at their classic cruisers and they seem to use a 48/20 ratio (or is that 20/48?), is that a decent starter ratio?
I'm starting off with the 'what will my wheelbase and chain allow me to run without a tensioner?' Currently at 34/18.

any links or hints how i can start this project, i hope this will satisfy my "gotta build stuff" urges for a while, it's a side effect of being a computer tech, i'm always looking for projects and stuff to build, and i've tweaked my G4 Mirror Door about as far as i can go without delving into the risky world of overclocking....

(4 hard drives, 2 GB RAM, 2 DVD-R drives, internal case lighting, copper heat-pipe heat sink, 10.4 Tiger...... you get the idea)
LOL. I'm a tech/admin type myself. There are a lot of good links (and some dead ones) in the FAQ at the top of the page.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well. here's some pics of the ol' girl, for the moment she's staying a gearie at least until i figure out the exact setup for SS, and/or the rear deraileur self-destructs, she's got vertical dropouts so i'm going to need some form of tensioner (pro'lly use the old crappy deraileur as a tensioner, as it's free....




i figure i can use the gearing setup to find the best gear ratio for me, as it is now, i'm going to just leave it in one gear and not shift it

it'll be a slow project, i intend to turn her into a fat-tired road/trail bike, right now she's sporting a set of WTB Slickasaurus tires, i just need to replace the beat up old seat, and perhaps put a set of "mustache" bars on

i just came back from a quick ride (on the 32/14 gearing, i believe) and let me tell you, the Slickasaurus tires are *amazing*, they're so much faster and smoother than the stock Kenda semi-knobbies (i ditched the stock tubes and tires as they were 2 years old and showing signs of cracking and aging), the ol' girl almost feels as fast as an entry-level road bike
 
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