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Thoughts On Converting Mid 90s MTB to 1x

I’ve been looking out for a 17” Saracen Kili from around 1994 but as I haven’t found one yet I’m starting to have a re think, especially about messing with old gears!

I like old school steel frames of the mid 90s (Saracen Kili, Kona Kilauea, etc) but maybe would benefit from the simplicity, reliability and vailability of a more modern 1x system.

Now in my 60s I’m looking for I suppose my version of a hybrid but gives me a little of the mid 90s style. I Just prefer (what I believe are) the classic looks and geometry of that period and a little later.

Oh, rigid forks... Project 2s or something like RC30/31.

The reality is it will be used more for light(ish) XC trails think 50/50 trail/road.

I’m happy enough with V brakes.

I’d like a gear range something like 10-34/11-34 cassette, with a 42t upfront on a 26” wheel.

Is this doable? What problems am I likely to encounter?

The one problem I foresee but having never done anything like this before may not be an issue, is clearance around the chainstay with the 42t chainwheel!?


  • s1mpless1mples Posts: 38
    Watched a few YouTube videos this afternoon and all seems a bit clearer to me though am not certain about whether or not a 42t chainring is likely to interfere, is that one of those suck it and see situations or can it generally be predicted?
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    edited April 2020
    One of those suck it and see....

    42T is pretty big for a 1x... Mostly people will be running something around a 32.

    My town hack bike is a 1997 Gary Fisher Piranha and that runs 1x gearing no problem. 34T up front and an 11-28 7 speed out back.
  • debelidebeli Posts: 582
    Ha ha... I am in a similar boat. I just searched 1x conversion.

    I do these things for friends and my (now adult) children and although they tend to be on 7 or 8 sprocket hubs, I thought I'd have a go at a fatter one, with more ratios.

    On traditional hardtail, rigid-fork MTB frames, the splay of the chain stays can cause contact. Sadly (I am not a proper bike guru) I just file away the inner edge of the end of the crank until contact is no longer an issue. A rag in the pedal thread keeps swarf out, and then a squirt of whichever squirt to clean it up.

    This is not "top drawer" stuff, and it makes my LBS proprietor wince, but it works. And track cranks are nice.

    These bikes are for road use (I am too old to handle rocks and bumps without sprung forks and my kids never went off road anyway) so the slight weakening of a component by filing parts of it away is not an issue.

    I am more interested in the ratios and chain ring sizes that folk are choosing. This is for road use, but on hilly roads with (as one might expect, even with primary-school geography) both ascents and descents.

    I like the idea of a nice spread on the cassette, with a single chain ring somewhere around the 38 mark....

    I'd be interested to hear what people are using and what is working for them.

    And if anyone is still using a rigid-fork MTB off-road with husto, I take my hat off to them.

  • mully79mully79 Posts: 284
    edited September 2020
    My training bike is an Orange P7 -1995. im running tubeless mud tyres ie Continental Barons and have a triple up front Biggest is a 44T. Rear is some awful weird 7 speed (megarange !)14 - 34T which has terrible spacing for cadence.
    I never use anything other than the 44T and the gearing is ok with the knobblies.
    I once fitted slicks but then I run out of gears on anything slightly downhill.
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