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light weight single speed commuter?

Are modern single speed bikes as light as geared bikes?

My commute is 16miles each way, 1100ft elevation gain, 3days/week 85miles/week, average 15-16mph. I have 80s touring bike converted to SS (42x16, 70GI) with 25c Marathon+ on Halo Aerorage wheels. Got 6,000miles on it over 3 years of various commute distance. Though I like my bike, the frame is '83 bog-standard heavy steel (none of those fancy Reynolds 501 etc.). It's getting characteristically rusty!

For the current distance, I can't do two consecutive days as I'm not fit enough to recover quick enough (it's fricken hilly). But I want to. I wonder if lighter frame can help me a bit whilst I build up my fitness.

I want to keep my commuter as SS purely for the simplicity, reliability and low maintenance. I wonder if more modern aluminium frame would be significantly much lighter than the old steel. I've heard of Charge Plug, Specialised Langster, and track frames like Fuji. Not interested in Mango, 6KU, Muddy Fox rubbish.

Will it make any difference getting a mid-range SS bike frame?

Posts

  • I'm kinda interested in the replies to your question (use a single speed myself and also looking to make it easier but not get rid of the SS for same reasons).

    Just curious but how long have you been able to do the commute 3 times a week?
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

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  • I think a langster or equivalent will be a noticable upgrade, are you near any shops that stock it for a test ride?
  • Not many single speed options out there anymore that aren't heavy, steel framed town bikes.
    Specialized haven't made the Langster for a couple of years. The Dolan FXE frame would be worth looking at as it has drillings for brakes.

    I'd be tempted to grab a cheap second hand Allez or CAAD 8 frame and convert it to single speed.
  • Thanks everyone.

    I started the current commute from the New Year so still early days. I used to commute 14.5miles each way pretty much everyday, ranging 80-120miles/week. Elevation gain was around 700ft so it was defintiely manageable. Steep short hills are the killer on my current commute.

    Langster, Plug, Vitus, Pinnacle all seem to weight around 10-11kg (according to their model specs). Need to weigh my current bike for comparison but I don't have a luggage / bike scale.

    Looking out for a cheap freehub geared bike and convert it to SS is also an idea but a second option compared to getting a complete SS bike. Plus I like the ease of horizontal fork on a track frame.

    Search continues...
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    A modern single speed bike should be lighter than a geared bike, really.

    But most of them are based on track bikes and there isn't much reason to make track bikes light.

    Then, because people tend to 'mash' the pedals slowly on a single speed more often, the frame is more likely to fail from the stress - certainly I've killed a couple of single speed frames over the years, in relatively quick timescales, so they are/should be built a bit more sturdy on that basis.

    Honestly, you don't need to be afraid of gears, I've been commuting in all weathers on geared bikes for several years and the upkeep is not that bad - main thing is having a chain checker and a spare chain so that you can replace it promptly, this will help keep the cogs and chainrings from wearing prematurely and so avoid expense there.

    Friction shifters on old school bikes can also survive on hardly any maintenance for a long time - if the gears aren't indexed then the shifting is much more forgiving, and with downtube shifters there is hardly any length of cable outer to get gunked up.

    Certainly I don't think a bike that is a kilo or two lighter is going to make the difference for you being able to commute five days a week, but easier gearing might.

    Of course, you could stick with single speed and give yourself an easier gear for now.
  • Track bike frames an be light. I ha e a boeris that with fairly heavy kit is 9kg. That with a steel fork 1" threaded headset and steel frame.

    For the op get a frame made from renoylds 853 or similar combos tubing with mudguard mounts and maybe rack mounts. Get it made for an integrated headset and use a full carbon fork. Use mack hubs and get them laced to deepish rims.

    I think you could have with the right finishing kit an 8kg bike or lighter.
    www.thecycleclinic.co.uk
  • crossedcrossed Posts: 236
    A Trek Crockett? The pre-2020 model with the sliding dropouts?
  • Carefully balancing my bike on a normal weighing scale, it came up to 11.3kg.

    I don't think a new SS weighing around 10kg won't make my commute any easier....
  • Carefully balancing my bike on a normal weighing scale, it came up to 11.3kg.

    I don't think a new SS weighing around 10kg won't make my commute any easier....

    No, I don't think so either (unfortunately). The only things that's going to make it easier is gearing or you getting fitter.

    That was why I asked about how long you'd been doing the commute - your bodies ability to adapt is pretty awesome so it might be a case of being patient.

    So I'd suggest get lots of sleep, eat well and give it time.
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

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  • I ride a Genesis Day One .. and it's definitely a hefty beast .. at least 12Kg with full mudguards, lights and toolkit
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

    strava profile
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    A slightly lighter bike won't make a jot of difference. Look at the total weight - you plus the bike plus luggage/tools/lights etc. Taking a kg off - it's probably 1% or less ?

    Lighter tyres will make a difference - my Marathons are a censored to get rolling - so invest in something like GP4000s and that will help.

    Look at what you are carrying with you - can you leave kit in work ?

    Look at your position - can you be more aero ? Pushing big flappy jackets through the wind destroys you. Can you get lower ? Narrower ? Tighter kit ?

    Not sure why you can only do 3 days a week cycling - just take it a bit easier - you don't have to kill yourself every day - maybe consciously take it easier on the way home each day - it's better to do that and get some more miles in rather than destroy yourself over 3 days. You'll soon have the fitness.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    crossed said:

    A Trek Crockett? The pre-2020 model with the sliding dropouts?

    I'm not familiar with this particular model but the Trek sliding dropouts have a point of weakness that leads to failure sooner or later - don't buy one without warranty coverage.

    This was my Trek 2nd District which I bought second hand.


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