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I post too much.
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here’s a thread about anything and everything you need to know about making your urban/dj/park ride singlespeed.

Why go singlespeed? The sheer simplicity of it is why. You bike will be lighter, look cleaner, will be easier to maintain, you'll never drop a chain, and your bike will be quieter too! I hear it also helps for power transfer to the wheel as the chain has to pass through less pulleys which means less resistance. So the question should actually be, why NOT?

Ways to convert

There are many ways to convert your bicycle to a singlespeed machine.

Spacer kits

Spacer kits are available in a variety of brand, prices, and qualities, from a huge amount of distributors. They take the place your cassette does on your current hub, so you do not have a to rebuild a wheel. They fit any shimano compatible freehub body, which means you can convert pretty much any hub you like with such a kit.

Most kits should set you back $10 to $30 USD. Some come with many spacers to allow chainline alignement, while others only provide two spacers for only two possible chainlines. Most if not all singlespeed spacer kits come with their own cog, but you can switch to any size cog you want. Some come with a tensionner, and some do not. stay away from spring loaded tensionners, especially for dj/urban/park use as they tend to get sloppy and do not have the strength solid tensionners do.

Here is what a spacer kit looks like:


A similar way of converting would be to use aluminum cassette spacers(which can be found for very cheap at any LBS) and use them just like you would use the kit, this allows for a much easier chainline alignment. Just buy the correct size cog and you'll all set!

Singlespeed hubs


A more expensive option, but it does come with advantages. Singlespeed hubs allow you to build a dishless wheel, which means that on both side the spoke length is the same, allowing a more even tension which in turn makes for a stronger wheel. Singlespeed hubs come in a variety of prices and qualities, but right now, the deal of the century is the nashbar singlespeed hub which is available here: https://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm...=&pagename=Shop by Subcat: Freehubs/Rear Hubs

Halo, formula, atomlab are other companies that offer singlespeed hubs just to name a few.


What about tensionners, do I need them?

On a frame with vertical dropouts, yes, you do, there is no way around that, even with a half-link chain. On most horizontal drop-outs frames, you can get away without running one by running the correct chain length. If you do need a tensionner, look into a DMR STS or a Rennen, those are by far your best options.



Some people find that their rear axle has a tendency to slip in the dropouts under torque, whether from braking or from pedaling. This can be remedied by using a chain-tug, which keeps the wheel in place and attaches to the drop-outs like so.


What's a half-link chain? Do I need one?

It's a chain completely made out of half-links. Here is an example.


Although not necessary at all, it is nice to have one as they allow you to dial your chain length by half-link increments. This is an advantage on a DJ bike as it helps getting the wheel as far in the dropout as possible, which helps general flickability of the bike.

When I convert should I get a singlespeed specific chain?

I would highly advise to cough up the extra money for a singlespeed chain, as they are generally wider and stronger and less prone to chain strech and flex. KMC has some solid offerings for $15 or less that are very reliable.

What are drop-outs? Which do I want, horizontal or vertical?

Drop out are the part of the bike that you slide your wheel into, you have two on your fork, and two on your frame.

For singlespeeding use, only the rear drop-outs important. There are two types of drop-outs on modern bikes these days, the vertical drop-out:


and the horizontal drop-out:


Preferably, you should have a frame that has horizontal drop-outs as they allow you to slide the wheel back to achieve proper tensionning of the chain, but vertical drop-outs are just fine, you'll most likely need a tensionner for them though.

What ratio to use?
This is a question with no definite answer, it all depends on where and what you ride, what wheelsize you're running and so many other variables. A good rule of thumb though would be the gear inch formula.

(Number of teeth on the chainring / number of teeth on the cog) * wheel size(in inches)

This will give you a great estimate of your gear inch ratio. 55 seems to be great for almost anyone, but you may need to go a bit smaller(lower) in very hilly areas, or a bit taller(higher) for more flat areas or DJ's where you need a lot of speed. Again, this is a work of trial and error and personal preference, but I recommend starting with 55 and moving up or down according to your riding style.

You can also calculate everything you might need with Sheldon Brown's gear calculator.
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/ but I personally prefer the gear inch formula method.

Many ratios end up with the same gear inch, so it is possible to achieve proper gearing with many chainring and cog combos.

For street, most people prefer a "micro-drive" setup where the chainring and the rear cog are very small. For example my personal ratio is 26/12, which IMO could be consired micro-drive. Some people also run 25/12 or even 25/9(seen in BMX mostly, as it is too tall a ratio for their bigger wheel cousins). The advantage to a micro drive setup is less weight and better clearance under the bike(useful mostly for park riding or hopping over obstacles). There is one con though: since the force of your pedaling is spread over less teeth, it tends to wear out a drivetrain quicker. But for the weight saved I think this is a non-issue.
 

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h-town hucker
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(# of chainring teeth divided by # of cog teeth) * (wheel diameter) =55. 55 is basically the "ideal" gearing or something like that.
 

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destructionismyobjective
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Not tryin to be a dick but you can run vert dropouts without a tensioner. Ive been doin it a little while now.
 

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bitterrider said:
Not tryin to be a dick but you can run vert dropouts without a tensioner. Ive been doin it a little while now.
You can, I found the "magic ratio" on my bike but it took a lot of different combos to find and eventually the chain stretch caused me to put a tensioner back on it.

Not to say it is impossible on all applications.

Snaky, good post, I think this question gets repeated once a week.
 

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Thank you. This ontop of your bunnyhop thread is making this forum a better place. I dont know about you, but I was getting a little aggravated when I log on to MTBR and all I see is a huge list of threads with every-other one being "I cant bunnyhop" Singlespeed?" "24 or 26?". There's a new one like it everyday. I know we were all (including me) asking those questions at one point but now its all you see, with so many new users.
Snaky, you should talk to the mod and see if you can get this thread and the bunnyhop one put somewhere. I'm not sure if they should be stickys, because I think you're planning on more, and that would be a big list of stickys at the top. I dunno though. But these threads are too good to be lost.

And BTW, I'm working on a "Want a New Bike/ Frame? Here's what you need to Know" With it, Im not trying to eliminate all "Bike vs Bike" threads, maybe just help out and inform the buyer first.
You should see it up in a while.
 

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I post too much.
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Discussion Starter #11
cummings said:
Thank you. This ontop of your bunnyhop thread is making this forum a better place. I dont know about you, but I was getting a little aggravated when I log on to MTBR and all I see is a huge list of threads with every-other one being "I cant bunnyhop" Singlespeed?" "24 or 26?". There's a new one like it everyday. I know we were all (including me) asking those questions at one point but now its all you see, with so many new users.
Snaky, you should talk to the mod and see if you can get this thread and the bunnyhop one put somewhere. I'm not sure if they should be stickys, because I think you're planning on more, and that would be a big list of stickys at the top. I dunno though. But these threads are too good to be lost.

And BTW, I'm working on a "Want a New Bike/ Frame? Here's what you need to Know" With it, Im not trying to eliminate all "Bike vs Bike" threads, maybe just help out and inform the buyer first.
You should see it up in a while.
I thank YOU for appreciating the effort I make to help people out in every way possible. I'm by no means the greatest rider(most of your can probably straight up own me on street rides or dirt jumps), nor am I the most knowledgable person on this board(I think this one should go out to XSL_Will, way to go dude, you rock!)

But when I was a newb, that is information I would've loved to have, and I figure I could help people get interested in the best sport in the universe by trying to help them out better understanding it.

If anyone at all wants to start making tutorials, FAQ's or whatever, consider taking a bit of time out of your day to do a small write-up or a bit of video editing, it's fun, and it can be very useful to others.

I guess I give some steez points to NemPro owners as well.


Edit: This one could be a sticky, and we could make another thread called something like "video how to's for common tricks". And embed a video or two per trick, we should get contributions from every member who has some footage of a particular trick that they really have dialed. *pages Cru Jones, WCH, j-dogg etc.*
 

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mtbr remember
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awwwww yeeah! Snaky's on point! get up on it like that!
Nice work man, very helpful, and with the pictures as well to keep people reading... sticktify it!


maybe you could throw in something about running a ghost ring on vert. drops as well, as long as it clears your chainstays....
 

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I post too much.
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Discussion Starter #15
BikeSATORI said:
awwwww yeeah! Snaky's on point! get up on it like that!
Nice work man, very helpful, and with the pictures as well to keep people reading... sticktify it!


maybe you could throw in something about running a ghost ring on vert. drops as well, as long as it clears your chainstays....
If you could provide me with a picture I'll do just that.


And dirtyharry, between that and chemistry homework, the choice was not hard to make. It took me all of 10 minutes to type this all up anyway.
 

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I wish I had...
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We need to sticky this. Also good idea about the movie where everyone can send in footage of a trick...
 

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Discussion Starter #17
iron1 said:
We need to sticky this. Also good idea about the movie where everyone can send in footage of a trick...
More like a thread, with embedded video a bit like the cool video thread that is stickied, but with tutorials in it instead.

Say one member is really good at 180's, then he can get a camera, tape it from a few different angles, edit it, and voila! One more video to add to the bunch. The same trick coming from different people can be good too as not everyone does things the same way.
 

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mtbr remember
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snaky69 said:
If you could provide me with a picture I'll do just that.


And dirtyharry, between that and chemistry homework, the choice was not hard to make. It took me all of 10 minutes to type this all up anyway.

this isn't the greatest one, but here's a quick example of a ghost ring on Phil Sundbaum's bike... (interesting because his mob has horizontal dropouts, but he must just be doing it to still get the shortest chainstay position with a normal chain and the gear ratio he prefers...)

(there are more and better/detailed pictures of this if you search the SS forum here...)

and here's a funky homemade chain tensioner made out of an old derailleur, tensioned by the hex bolt on the hanger stop (pretty crafty):
 
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