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Single speed MTB convert or swap

Pete BeerPete Beer Posts: 604
edited August 2007 in Road general
I've got a Marin Muirwoods which I've not used since I discovered the joy of fixed. I was thinking of getting a singlespeed MTB and selling the Marin. Would that be sensible or how easy would it be to convert?
As I would have to cycle to any muddiness is there a compromise gear that would allow off road riding and riding to said muddiness on the road or would I get teed off with the low gear on the road and find it too high for off roading. I tend to ride muddy tracks.


  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here

    buy a single speed kit, a chain tensioner and then remove the rings at the front you dont want. fit the ss kit shorten the chain and set the tensioner.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • steverilesteverile Posts: 514
    Conversion is pretty straight forward as above. Yes, you'll be spinning like a loon on the road, but try it you might not find it a problem. I'd spend £30 before I spent £200 though and find out.
  • When I converted my old MTB I tried a single speed conversion on a casstte and wasn't too impressed so I bought a flip flop hub. This was great because I could fit two different freewheels, one for roads and easy trails and another for the more technical stuff.

    I tried sprung tensioners and found them all to be hopeless. The Mk1 DMR kept on stripping threads, the MK2 didn't strip threads but didn't hold tension very well. The Surly was hopeless. An unbranded one I tried was a Surly copy and very similar in performance, but cost a third the price of the Surly. Finally I took a leaf from the dirt jumpers book and fitted a Sora short cage road mech with the cage almost horizontal. Not only did it hold tension perfectly, it had enough give to take up the slack between a 20T freewheel and a 16T freewheel. Combined with the 40T ring this gave me the traditional single speed MTB 52" gear and a roadable 65".
    "Swearing, it turns out, is big and clever" - Jarvis Cocker
  • Pete BeerPete Beer Posts: 604
    Thanks for the tip. What is your drop out widths and what hub did you use?
  • My dropouts were 135mm. The hub came from ebay, it was sold as On-one but there was no branding on it so it may not have been. Even if it was On-one they don't list such a thing now.

    IMHO their "dedication" to single speed only lasted as long as they thought they could make a fast buck out of it by selling stuff at inflated prices. As soon as the mainstream cottoned on to SS they diversified. Not that I've got a problem with that, hell we all want to make some money. Don't know why they maintain the brand though, might as well just rebrand it as Planet-X.
    "Swearing, it turns out, is big and clever" - Jarvis Cocker
  • steverilesteverile Posts: 514
    On-One still do plenty of SS stuff. On-One/Panet-X have an amazing range of stuff considering the brains is one bloke in a shed and another bloke in a warehouse ...backed up by the logistical machine of a few more blokes in a warehouse.

    There's a couple of options at 135mm for an MTB width drop-out. I've use some DMR Revolver wheels, if you don't want the cheap and nasty conversion. Goldtech is a swankier option.
  • s.frisbys.frisby Posts: 48
    fixed MTB

    Just a note, a derailer makes an excellent chain tensioner.

    For my conversion I used an old screw on hub from a scrapped MTB, redished the wheel and then added the fixed or singlespeed sprocket.

    I'm running 16/34 and huge tyres. It really confuses the locals.
    As one door closes, another slams in your face.
  • NickMNickM Posts: 17
    s.frisby wrote:
    fixed MTB

    Just a note, a derailer makes an excellent chain tensioner.
    Aaargh! Not for fixed it doesn't. As soon as you try to brake with the pedals you will destroy the derailleur, jam the chain and (probably) die a horrible death.

    Pete, if you are in need of two (freewheel) gears and will be using a chain tensioner, why not just fit two sprockets to a cassette hub and use a rear mech with a friction thumbshifter? The derailleur is always at either its high or its low limit, so indexing is superfluous, and the setup does the job while retaining a certain minimalist elegance, I think...
    So you voted, and now you've got a government. I just hope you like it.
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 23,216
    charlie the bike monger (?!) on ebay sells a whole kit for about 40 squids of everything you ll need like chain tenioner, cogs, spacers, blanker bolts for the chain rings etc etc

    and he s a nice guy too (i think) - put him into google
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • gladdicegladdice Posts: 59
    got to say charlie is a good guy,

    bought a SS chain from him and as i was going for a larger front chain ring i didnt know if it would be long enough. he just added almost another whole chain in spares for free. quick delivery and good service - thats the way to go.

    Is the hippo for scuba?
  • I prefer this from DMR. Like I've said before all the sprung ones are censored . This might mean manual adjustment, but how often do you ajust your chain tension with horizontal dropouts or track ends?

    Having said that however it never seems to take long for the sprocket in these sorts of setups to dig into the freehub and than it goes all sloppy. Surly do a sprocket with a wider base that is supposed to reduce this type of wear. Don't bother with their singleator tensioner though.
    "Swearing, it turns out, is big and clever" - Jarvis Cocker
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