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Single Speed advice

corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390
edited July 2015 in Commuting chat
Morning All

I'm having a great year of commuting since April, despite having had all winter off again. I have been trying to think of ways to encourage myself to stay out of the car through the winter and one of them is to get a bike which will require less maintenance and cost than my full-carbon summer bike.

I commute 13-14 miles into Cambridge so it's pan-flat. I'm contemplating a single speed for the winter and wondered if anyone had any wisdom or ideas for what i should consider. I'm keen on retaining drop handlebars but open to advice outwith that. Budget is probably £250 - £450 although could go a little higher for a bargain.

Can anyone help out with some advice or suggestions? Or am i just going to make life even harder for myself? I may choose to shorten the commute through the winter (I drive-bike-work-bike-drive anyway).
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Posts

  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 25,689
    makes sense... on a flat commute I use 2 sprockets top and could live with one. For winter gear conservatively, you might find a stiff headwind and your 48 x 16 might become uncomfortable to push
  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    13-14 flat miles is absolutely fine for single speed. And obviously you meant fixed gear.

    If you're riding through winter then don't get anything that's seen the track - you want clearances for mudguards etc.

    Something like this (I think the paddy wagon clearances are decent)
    https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/271820/

    Or newer and more pricey
    http://www.rutlandcycling.com/296287/products/genesis-2015-day-one-disc-urban-road-bike.aspx
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,602 Lives Here
    That Kona looks good.

    I can recommend the frame - ride it myself.

    The main problem with off-the-peg konas are the terrible wheels & hubs, but they've been replaced on that one.

    Perfect.

    Would say thought that an SS means you can't change gear to suit the wind. You'll be a bit spinny/not putting in much effort for a tailwind, and a bit grindy/loadsa effort for a headwind.
  • corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390
    Yeah, the wind is my only concern. It can get a bit blowy out in the Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire countryside (not many hills to get in the way).

    That Kona looks lovely. I'm 6'2" and on a 58 cm Felt road frame. I suspect the Kona might be a little small?
  • telesv650telesv650 Posts: 59
    Great idea.

    You'll get a good 2nd hand for that money. The specialized are good and have mudguard mounts.

    I'd go for a 48/16 or 48/17 for a flat run. It depends of your strength, style of riding and the amount of load you are carrying. I use 48/18 on hilly wiltshire roads.

    Drops are fine, again I use them.
  • bendertherobotbendertherobot Posts: 11,673
    There's a nice looking Genesis Day One Disc on ebay
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
    https://twitter.com/roubaixcc
    Facebook? No. Just say no.
  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    That Kona would be too small I imagine.

    Bob Jackson?
    https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/270812/
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390
    That Kona would be too small I imagine.

    Bob Jackson?
    https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/270812/

    Ahh, now that's purrty. I know nothing about the maker, but 'tis a looker.

    If i get something new (or at least from a retailer who'll give me a n invoice etc) i can probably swing it through the C2W scheme at work, so might keep my eye out for something in a sale somewhere.


    Massive thanks for the input thus far. I'm assuming that flip:flop means i could ride fixed or freewheel dependiong on how i position the rear wheel??
  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    That Kona would be too small I imagine.

    Bob Jackson?
    https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/270812/

    Ahh, now that's purrty. I know nothing about the maker, but 'tis a looker.

    If i get something new (or at least from a retailer who'll give me a n invoice etc) i can probably swing it through the C2W scheme at work, so might keep my eye out for something in a sale somewhere.


    Massive thanks for the input thus far. I'm assuming that flip:flop means i could ride fixed or freewheel dependiong on how i position the rear wheel??

    Yep, flip flop = fixed one side, free the other
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    :D
    Looks like MrSweary has snapped up the Kona
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
    CAAD12 Disc
    Condor Tempo
  • MrSwearyMrSweary Posts: 1,699
    Ha ha. Not yet.

    Have been looking for a cheap runaround seeing as the wife won't let me have a Mason Definition or anything else expensive and as we may have a small one coming to live with us very soon and this seemed to fit the bill.

    If I get it I may even use it for a bit of winter commuting as I love toiling up hills and hate my knees.
    Kinesis Racelite 4s disc
    Kona Paddy Wagon
    Canyon Roadlite Al 7.0 - reborn as single speed!
    Felt Z85 - mangled by taxi.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,361
    Not a drop bar, but for £275 with hydraulic brakes...
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/verenti-transmission-cb22-singlespeed-2015/

    Or ~385 for a heavier, drop bar with mechanical disc brakes...
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/verenti-isolation-cx12-singlespeed-2015/
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • bendertherobotbendertherobot Posts: 11,673
    That Verenti looks great. And don't worry about flat bars. I put one of my fastest commutes in today on one.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
    https://twitter.com/roubaixcc
    Facebook? No. Just say no.
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    Swap the flat bar for a set of bullhorns then you can keep the existing brake levers. Bullhorns are great.
  • dyrlacdyrlac Posts: 739
    Swap the flat bar for a set of bullhorns then you can keep the existing brake levers. Bullhorns are great.

    This plus 1000. Bullhorn, fixed, discs (with pursuit levers like my trusty Plug) is my next-but-two bike (after my RAAM bikes (team not solo, I'm not a total nutter)).
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    As a SS in NL (Amsterdam mostly) I think the idea of SS in that commute is a bit silly. With a headwind it'll be grim and with a tailwind you'll be spinning like a loon. And that's the thing about flat land like around Cambridge - there's nothing to stop the wind. After 2 years of SS riding (bog standard Paddy Wagon with bull horns - great bike) I also don't get the nonsense about maintenance. I still need to clean and live the chain and I need to adjust for wear. Besides that, fixing a flat is even more of a bind. Honestly, it's a interesting idea for N+1 but flawed
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Not a drop bar, but for £275 with hydraulic brakes...
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/verenti-transmission-cb22-singlespeed-2015/

    That is ludicrously cheap, are those hydro brakes trustworthy?
    And it comes with an anti-gravity chain too!
    As a SS in NL (Amsterdam mostly) I think the idea of SS in that commute is a bit silly. With a headwind it'll be grim and with a tailwind you'll be spinning like a loon. And that's the thing about flat land like around Cambridge - there's nothing to stop the wind. After 2 years of SS riding (bog standard Paddy Wagon with bull horns - great bike) I also don't get the nonsense about maintenance. I still need to clean and live the chain and I need to adjust for wear. Besides that, fixing a flat is even more of a bind. Honestly, it's a interesting idea for N+1 but flawed

    I cleaned my fixie chain once last winter and it covered 2.5k miles of gritted, wet and dirty London roads. You could use a spoon to scoop off the filth but it kept on turning.

    London does certainly benefit from wind shelter and wind is yet to cause any real issues with my gearing but then I somewhat sadistically relish headwinds.
  • MrSwearyMrSweary Posts: 1,699
    And it comes with an anti-gravity chain too!

    I noticed that too. Pretty handy bit of tech there.
    Kinesis Racelite 4s disc
    Kona Paddy Wagon
    Canyon Roadlite Al 7.0 - reborn as single speed!
    Felt Z85 - mangled by taxi.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I'd be surprised if I cleaned the chain on my Volagi much more frequently when I was Highland commuting. I think far too much is made of the maintenance benefits of SS. If you want an all-year low maintenance bike get Di2 and hydro discs and enjoy riding all the time.

    Even if you have to do the tiniest bit of maintenance once in a blue moon, you'll be glad of it as you grind your way home on a Friday afternoon into a Fenland headwind that had nothing in its path all the way from Siberia.

    I'm not anti-SS - it's my daily ride - but I'm also realistic about where and when they make sense
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • dyrlacdyrlac Posts: 739
    I'd be surprised if I cleaned the chain on my Volagi much more frequently when I was Highland commuting. I think far too much is made of the maintenance benefits of SS. If you want an all-year low maintenance bike get Di2 and hydro discs and enjoy riding all the time.

    Even if you have to do the tiniest bit of maintenance once in a blue moon, you'll be glad of it as you grind your way home on a Friday afternoon into a Fenland headwind that had nothing in its path all the way from Siberia.

    I'm not anti-SS - it's my daily ride - but I'm also realistic about where and when they make sense

    My daily ride too, but to be fair, I recognise that FG is more of an aesthetic choice than a practical one, offering both built in excuses ("alas, undergeared for this sprint") and smugness ("smoked the lot of you/roadies should be ashamed of themselves getting a tow from me"). Oh, and souplesse. Never forget the souplesse.
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    Fixed gear = no worries about chains that slip or jump or fall off and is smooth and almost silent. Always reliable and very cheap to run.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Fixed gear = no worries about chains that slip or jump or fall off and is smooth and almost silent. Always reliable and very cheap to run.

    Thousands and thousands of miles on derailleurs - no slips, no chains coming off, no adjustments, smooth, almost silent and, above all, fast. Always reliable and almost as cheap to run. The perceived advantages of SS/FG are a myth. And I speak as a SS rider of two years daily commuting on one (unless you want to tell me it takes more than two years for the benefits to show up)
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    Not a drop bar, but for £275 with hydraulic brakes...
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/verenti-transmission-cb22-singlespeed-2015/

    That is ludicrously cheap, are those hydro brakes trustworthy?
    And it comes with an anti-gravity chain too!

    Burger me, that is cheap.

    Sort of tempted by a really cheap single speed having just had a saddle and post that cost about the same as this bike pinched in town.
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Fixed gear = no worries about chains that slip or jump or fall off and is smooth and almost silent. Always reliable and very cheap to run.

    Thousands and thousands of miles on derailleurs - no slips, no chains coming off, no adjustments, smooth, almost silent and, above all, fast. Always reliable and almost as cheap to run. The perceived advantages of SS/FG are a myth. And I speak as a SS rider of two years daily commuting on one (unless you want to tell me it takes more than two years for the benefits to show up)

    But I bet you cleaned them though :lol:
    This is the halfway point last Winter, no maintenance was done another for 3 more months.
    Image

    Treated the geared bike to a similar level of maintenance one winter and had to replace the groupset.
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    cost me £70 to replace drivetrain on my geared bike. drivetrain on my fixed is £20.

    have commuted on fixed and geared for years, fixed is best in my experience.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Fixed gear = no worries about chains that slip or jump or fall off and is smooth and almost silent. Always reliable and very cheap to run.

    Thousands and thousands of miles on derailleurs - no slips, no chains coming off, no adjustments, smooth, almost silent and, above all, fast. Always reliable and almost as cheap to run. The perceived advantages of SS/FG are a myth. And I speak as a SS rider of two years daily commuting on one (unless you want to tell me it takes more than two years for the benefits to show up)

    But I bet you cleaned them though :lol:
    This is the halfway point last Winter, no maintenance was done another for 3 more months.
    Image

    Treated the geared bike to a similar level of maintenance one winter and had to replace the groupset.

    Hardly cleaned it - but since I'd arrive home 10 minutes earlier on a 15-mile each way commute, I'd have plenty of time spare if I needed to squirt it with a hose. Never had to replace a groupset on a road bike - rarely a £30 cassette. A non-issue I tell you. Anything like a downhill and you're spinning like an idiot. I've taken on roadies on my SS and I'm destroyed once the pace builds - I simply can't maintain the cadence.

    All I can assume is that the SS/FG crew are spending too long wet blade shaving and waxing their moustaches.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Well you are in the Highlands! around here doing 200 miles a week all winter and fixed isn't an issue.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    Well you are in the Highlands! around here doing 200 miles a week all winter and fixed isn't an issue.

    My point is very simple though: unless you are entirely mechanically incompetent, the work needed to run a bike with gears is inconsequential. SS/FG solves a problem that doesn't exist and it's slower. London may minimise the downsides of SS (as does Amsterdam) but the OP is looking to commute in open country in winter. Other than trendiness, novelty and N+1 (a 70's Chopper would also meet those criteria as would a unicycle), there's no reason to go SS unless, of course, you see leaving for work earlier and getting home later as an advantage.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,361
    Not a drop bar, but for £275 with hydraulic brakes...
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/verenti-transmission-cb22-singlespeed-2015/

    Is there something fundamentally broken on this bike? Now reduced the price to ~£247!11!1! :shock:

    Not sure I can resist that price, had my better half's Saracen Zena2 stolen when I locked it up to do some shopping 11 days ago, been commuting on my Felt since but my confidence on drop bar bikes is not what is was since my RTA in Dec 2013. Plus this has hydraulic brakes, my RTA all came about because the rim brakes on my Tricross failed to stop me.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    Well you are in the Highlands! around here doing 200 miles a week all winter and fixed isn't an issue.

    My point is very simple though: unless you are entirely mechanically incompetent, the work needed to run a bike with gears is inconsequential. SS/FG solves a problem that doesn't exist and it's slower. London may minimise the downsides of SS (as does Amsterdam) but the OP is looking to commute in open country in winter. Other than trendiness, novelty and N+1 (a 70's Chopper would also meet those criteria as would a unicycle), there's no reason to go SS unless, of course, you see leaving for work earlier and getting home later as an advantage.

    You're just being silly now. You don't take into the account the enjoyment from riding fixed, it's rather marmite but the OP won't know till he's tried it. I may also be odd in actually enjoying my ride to work and choose to leave earlier! but fixed or geared makes no difference in time across London but perhaps it is not as enjoyable on open-roads, only the OP can know this.

    Again, it really is zero maintenance, I have no interest whatsoever in hosing my bikes down post commute, that's time lost.
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