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30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Who better than to ask about building up a Single Speed from scratch than a bunch of Single Speeders?

I have just returned from the 4th Campmor H2H Series Mtn bike race (held in Newburgh, NY at the most incredibly SS friendly Stewart State Forest) and was extremely impressed with the SSers at that race flying up the hills! I now feel the stong desire to add a SS to my repetoire.

Buying a factory bike - already spec'ed out and built up in some factory in Taiwan - just doesn't appeal to me. I want to build a SS from *scratch*.

I will start with a Single Speed frame (manufacturer TBA). It will have Horizontal Drop Outs. Things like seat, bars, and pedals I consider highly personal, and I won't ask your opinion about that. But here's what I need HELP with:

Wheels? Is there such thing as a Single-speed specific Wheelset available?

Chain? (must be SS specific, right?)

Bottom Bracket?

If you had carte-blanche to build your fantasy Single Speed, what would it be?

All suggestions greatly appreciated. Including suggestions about frames.

Laura T
Hope, NJ

65 Posts
I just built mine:

Kelly frame (recently out of business). Many others build nice frames: Sycip, IF, Black Sheep, etc and probably a frame builder in your area. I'd consider a custom steel or Ti frame, complete with custom paint. Bianchi has cool frames, but are common. Also check out the Soma 415 frames, they're cool and priced right. A friend of mine just got a Brodie one-ball, which is pretty money. I've thought about a custom litespeed- that would be pretty swanky...

I have horiz drop outs and recommend it. Some like to go with EBB so you can more easily run discs, (I run V brakes). There's also the option of building up your favorite old steel hardtail with a White Ind ENO hub. Another option is sliding dropouts, which allow discs, and QR hubs.

I have handbuilt DT swiss SS wheels and think they're killer. King also makes nice ones, but they're noisy (some like it). With horiz drop outs you'll need a SS bolt-on rear hub so it doesn't slip. I prefer cassette style hubs over freewheel since they're easier to change the gear.

I race, so insist on a SID world cup fork with remote lock out. This is key for SS since so much climbing is done out of the saddle, and having a completely rigid fork is SO nice! I've tried the various anti-bob fork technologies, but nothing beats a complete lock out, and having the handle-bar mounted lever is key.

Almost any cranks will do, Truvativ stylo SS are nice. Some think 180mm arms are a must for SS, I disagree, and have no probs with 175. If you go with stock cranks, you'll need either shorter chainring bolts to attach only one ring, or go with a bash-guard. I have FSA Carbon Pro Team Issue cranks. Same 113 BB as mtb. Many suggest 2:1 ratio, but I do well with an easier gear (tons of mountains in Tahoe!), and run a 32:18 most of the time, and a 32:20 for epic 100+ mile races.

Some folks just use old chains, I prefer new SRAM 8-spd chains. They're cheap, light and have quick-links. Stay away from the huge BMX chains or SS chains, you just don't need 'em.

I built up my rusty old steel hardtail, rode that for 2 years, then treated myself to the Kelly, and like them both. The key is to just do it- you'll love it.

velocipede technician
8,877 Posts
phil wood pissoff or a fillet brazed retrotec,phil hubs and bb, double butted wheelsmith spokes cut down for a shorter butting,brass nipples,mavic rims,wipperman singlespeed chain. theres my 2 cents:thumbsup:

58 Posts
Fantasy right, getting Doug Brady to build me a retro Manitou frame with horizontal rear drop outs and rigid forks. Bullseye hubs, BB and crank.

trail rat
7,825 Posts
I would use a different accessory color instead of red, probably a silver or dark grey, but THIS is the most elegant SS I have ever seen. Makes me feel all tingly inside like the purdy lil' redhead Nikki did when we were in the 10th grade. :D

30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That sure is a sweet SS - the BlackSheep. Love the red wheels. I wouldn't want to ride that bike - it's too pristine! I'd hang it up in my living room.

More questions: Frame Material choice. Steel? Aluminum? (Sorry, can't afford Ti). There seems to be a preference for Steel here, unless I'm wrong. I can get an Aluminum Fetish Cycles Fixation SS frame (w/ Horizontal Drop outs) for under $200. Yes? No?

I only own one other mtn bike - a 2005 Specialized S-works. So I don't have an old 'beater' mtn bike to convert over to Single Speed.

Will definitely go for a front fork w/ remote lockout. I agree totally on this, CKS. Nothing like watching a bunch of guys try to ride fast up an old fire-road and their front forks are sucking up and down like pogo sticks. I'll take a lock out!

Thanks for all the ideas! Keep them coming!

Duckin' Fonuts.
297 Posts
Carl Strong Ti mini-monster cross 26" SS with Paul cantis, the new WTB dirt drops, basic parts. Surly hubs are my favorite with a WI Eno. Old stock Race Face Cranks with Square bb. I'd run some light 2.3 and 2.5 tires on Salsa Rims.

1,001 Posts
Dream Bike

($2000)Spot Brand frame, steel, horizontals, no bosses, sky blue with black decals. Matching fork, no bosses

($0500)Mavic Crossmax wheels

($0150)SDG I-Beam seatpost with Belair ST saddle

($0100)Ti flat bars, real wide, OS clamp

($0100)Ti stem, nice and short, 4-bolt clamp

($0400)Raceface Atlas cranks/BB

($0050)1x1x2 drivetrain; side by side 34x16 and 32x18

($0300)Avid Juicy brakes

($0100)CK headset

($0040)lock-on grips

($0100)CB Mallet pedals

($0075)Continental Diesel tyres

($0040)SRAM PC-1

All things considered, that's not even that pricey of a build (considering that it's the best of the best IMO for my style of riding). I may reconsider the Spot frame since the move, but I can't think of any framebuilders who do it better. Maybe instead of buying more guitars I'll just make this bike....:rolleyes:

288 Posts
My dream SS build would have:
Phil Wood SS hubs (Surly on a budget)
White Industries Eno freewheel
And a KMC Z610 chain

Rims are whatever you like as is the crank with the BB to match. I do like using a SS chainring and Surly's stainless steel rings look nice.

My Pugsley looks mostly like this even though I bought it complete on Ebay. I just need to upgrade the freewheel and I'm done.


Mashers Only!!
578 Posts
Moots Mooto-X with slider dropouts(SS only). Frame to my specs.
Moots stem
Moots seat post
Moots (28") bars.... Dont ask you can't get one!
Moots seat post clamp/with Ti bolt
King Ti Watter bottle cage/with Alu. bolts
Chris King head set. Pink with the Ti crown race and Alu. stem cap bolt.
Wheels were built by me. Pink King ISO front/Pink King SS disc rear . Black Sapim CX-Ray spokes. Pink alu. nipples. Salsa Delgado rims. Specialized turbo tubes.Maxxis Ignitor tires.
Ti bolt on front and rear skewers
Magura Marta SL brakes/with Ti bolts
WTB foam grips
Pace carbon fork
White Industries ENO cranks
FSA crank bolts
Phil wood bottom bracket
Shimano 959 pedals
Boon front chain ring (32t)
Boon rear cog (20t)
Wipperman Ti chain
Selle Itallia Ti SLR

That should about do it!!


Hu..... That sounds kinda like.....:D :D

1,410 Posts
Viscious Bikes Ti frame - custom paint
Fox F80XTT fork
Race Face Deus crankset
Mavic 717 rims
Wheelsmith 14 G spokes
Phil Wood disk hubs
Brakes - Magura Marta SL disk
King headset
Easton carbon bars and seatpost
Thompson stem
ODI Ruffian grips
SLK saddle
Maxxis ADVantage rubber
Whipperman stainless chain
Surly steel chainring
Surly tensioner
Time ATAC XS Carbon pedals
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