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Single-Speed Mountain Bikes

By leximack - Posted on 25 June 2007

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Hi all,

Has anyone had experience with Single speed mountain Bikes.
I am think of adding one to my 2 mountian bikes i have already.
I mainly want to use it as a backup bike in case my commuter fails and also a backup and the occasional lap or 2 at 8/12/24 hr events.
I am particularly interested in this bike
prices are about $1500-$1700 au and seems pretty good value, front suspension with lockout, hydro brakes, parts seem to be mid range and this is cool as this will not be my main bike. Weighs about 12kgs

I have heard that single speed also builds a bit of strength as obviosuly there is no slacking off up hills by dropping down gears.

There are a few cheaper model single speeds (ie $700-$1000) mark but these seem a little too cheap, v brakes, no front shock etc, this would be good for a commuter only but dont think i could handle no front suspension for long, they are heavy also.

I dont want to convert my current spare mountain bike as i use it for pulling around the kiddie trailer and a mate uses it for endurance events.

Not looking to get one straight away but within the next 6 months maybe.

You may ask, Why single speed? i say Why not, its different and looks like fun, also less maintenance!

Any info i need to know?




Single speed bikes are great fun I recently got back into mountain biking and chose a single speed to get started on.

There not so hard to ride I recently did the dirtworks on mine which was only my seventh outing on a mountain bike in 12 plus years and managed the 100k in 6.16 hours.

The Jamis is a nice bike and a good choice whish I had seen them when I was looking around at single speeds.

I'm not convinced that SS builds strength that usefully transfers to a geared bike, but what it does do is teach you about conservation of momentum - hang off the brakes a little more, get out of the saddle a bit on the little pinch, etc, anything to keep your speed up.

Don't discount a rigid bike, especially if it's your second bike - it will then teach you to be a lot smoother.

Most will probably come with a 2:1 gear ratio (normally 32:16) but I'd recommend 32:18 for most tracks around Sydney.

If you're at one of the WWS rounds Dirt Works have a KHS 29er SS as a demo bike make sure you take it for a spin.


I had a flirt with single speeds a while ago,

I converted an old circa 1993 chro-mo diamond back to a rigid sigle speed, just took off the old 7 speed integrated drivetrain and cantelever brakes, put on some v-brakes that had come off a newer bike replaced by discs, and got a new front chainring and a sigle speed converter for the rear. I bought a chain tensioner but it didn't fit the thin dropout, I then worked out that with a new tight chain, I could run 34/16 or 32/18 just fine without an aditional tensioner. I did the dirtworks on it with some 2.35 tyres for a bit of bounce, it weighed about 11.5kg. I did miss the suspension forks though, especially on those corrugated roads. This year I did it on my Dualie Kona and went round 15 mins slower, admittedly I didn't do much training this year.

I think that part of the essence of single speed is a bit of DIY, not pandering to the latest and greatest.

On the fitness side, I used to commute from Manly to Nt Syd up and down spit hill with 34/16 gearing. I found that when I got on my duallie to do a lap of the dam, I felt the need to change gear a lot less.

Anyway, the single speed has a few more hand me down parts and is now and 8 speed, mainly for the comfort of the passeger in my kiddie seat, and increased speed going down spit hill.

I say get an old frame off ebay and cobble one together, much more fun.

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