Your source for Mountain Biking in the Triangle
Why ride a single speed mountain bike? No one really nows... Here are a few answers I have come across while cruising the web. Credits posted when I could tell who wrote it. Scroll down for lots of quotes...
Singlespeeding can be an experience that demands more of a person, and so a person finds that extra drive, that extra strength to do something that perhaps he didnt believe he could accomplish before. Or even relate to. Singlespeeding is quiet. Its simple. Its pure. But its way more than that -- its personal.
|You know you're a
* You can't balance your check book with a calculator but you can figure gear inches in your head. - aka brad
* ...you really don't care whether others get it or not, so you don't defend or explain it. - Sparty
* ...you show up to a race in a dress, and get mad because someone else has a nicer one on than you do. - Jersey Devil
* You realize the bike you're fantasizing about for your "next" purchase is not something you read about in Mountain Bike Action, but an entry level track bike. - Glowboy
|There is nothing to get about single speeding as there is nothing to get with freeriding, cyclocross, bmx, trials, DH, XC, road etc... - Striker||Ride what you want to ride for whatever reason you choose. If you're on a bike and you're having fun, then you're doing it right. - Spydersmom|
Its fashionable right now.
9. All those buttons, wires, derailleurs and gears its all too confusing...
8. Theres meant to be more than one? (well worn, but still a good un)
7. To mess with your head.
6. I lost the others, can I borrow some?
5. Reminds me of E.T.
4. Gave up after 10-speeds, cant count higher unless I take my shoes off.
3. Its all I could afford.
2. Punks not dead.
1. Beats being a pedestrian. - KneeHell
you don't hear the voice from within - don't
worry about it."
The urge to ride a SS comes from within your soul, it beckons you, it haunts you, it fills your sleep and it controls your days. If you don't have it - don't worry about it. Just live your life with gears and let others live theirs without.
Han Solo didn't try to become a Jedi because he didn't have the urge. But, he did just fine without it. Or, is that fiction?? - GA-SS
|I like walking up the hills? And besides, I can't climb worth a damn on my gearie either, so what good is it? - BikeHigh|
Well, there are a lot of different possible reasons. And yes, people do ride them on trails. It's not as hard as you might think. I run geared some of the time (road rides, some mountain biking), and singlespeed some of the time (commuting, more and more mountain biking). Here are my reasons:
Efficiency. A singlespeed's chain runs directly from the chainring to the rear sprocket and back. A geared bike's chain snakes around two jockey pulleys to a sprocket that is out of line (left-to-right) from the chainring by much as an inch. Even without the chainline issue the improvement is at least a couple percent, and compared to some of the more crooked chainlines you might run on a multi-geared bike, the difference can be quite a bit more than that. Believe it or not, you can feel the difference. Don't believe me? Find a bike shop that sells a few singlespeed bikes, and pull both a singlespeed and a geared bike off the rack. Now crank the pedals backwards pretty hard and let go. Notice how much longer the pedals spin on the SS bike? That's the difference in efficiency, and it's even more pronounced under load.
Maintenance. No derailleurs to adjust, no jockey pulleys to lubricate, no cables to clean. Most of the maintenance most of us do, other than tires, is on the drivetrain. With a singlespeed all you have to do is take care of your chain. That's IT.
Durability. No rear derailleur to tweak on trail obstacles, no shifters to go bad, no front derailleur to jam, no 11-tooth cogs to wear out early and force you to replace your cassette before its time.
Weight savings. To be honest, I still have the rear derailleurs on my bikes so I can run gears when I want, so I'm not seeing that much weight savings. BUT even so, when I pull off my cassette and replace it with a single cog, I'm taking away about 220 grams. That's half a pound. I can easily feel the difference when I pick up the bike. Go truly singlespeed by stripping off the derailleurs, shifters and cables, and you can end up saving 2-3 POUNDS. People spend hundreds of dollars to lose that kind of weight off their bikes, but with singlespeeding you can do it for free.
Concentration. You don't have to think about what gear you're in. You don't have to plan your downshift ahead of time when you come to a stop in traffic. It's not like shifting is THAT much of a mental burden, but you'd be surprised how many brainwave cycles singlespeeding frees up for other things. Like paying more attention to traffic. Like paying more attention to your body english, line and speed when you attack that rock garden. See my writeup below under the "Inaugural SS ride at Cutthroat PaSS" for a better description of what I mean. Singlespeeding makes you a better technical rider.
Momentum. 1. On a geared bike, when you start losing speed on a climb, you downshift, and you let off the power to do it ... which slows you down even more. On a singlespeed, you stand up and hammer. You get more momentum going up the hill (although it can be exhausing at times!). 2. Because you know climbing can get tough if you bog down too much, you pay a lot more attention to preserving your momentum, and you're less likely to sap away precious momentum with your brakes when you don't need to. 3. Because you carry more momentum going uphill into difficult technical sections, you have an easier time getting through them in the uphill direction. Why is technical terrain harder going uphill than downhill? Speed.
Pride. Let's be honest
here. It feels pretty good doing that bad
beeotch of a climb in a gear twice as tall as
you would have on a geared bike. And people that
aren't ordinarily impressed by others' riding
are sometimes impressed that you can ride a
particular trail AT ALL on a singlespeed.
Cachet. It's a fringe activity. You're a member of a pretty exclusive club if you're a singlespeeder. There's always the danger of it being a trendy fad, which means someday it won't be cool anymore, but I don't think where anywhere near there yet.
Making a statement. There are a lot of people who are fed up with planned obsolescence, Shimano's dominance of componentry, and/or the over-engineering of today's bikes. Some people like making a statement about one of those things, or about noncomformity, stickin' it to the man, or maybe something else they think singlespeeding stands for.
Boredom. Some of the people on this forum are extremely accomplished mountain bikers. They've ridden it all. Singlespeeding is a new challenge.
From Glowboy on MTBR.com
|"Do not be
Lower the gearing. 2:1 is "standard" but in the real dirt world lower is better for most people and places.
Walk. You are not that much slower pushing than gearies riding on many hills. Run for a while and push for a while. You do not need to try to ride the whole thing yet.
Coast. Rest when you can. When you are moving too fast to pedal effienctly save your energy and coast.
Attack. Do not ride like a gearie approaching climbs. speed up before you reach the base of slopes. If you ride like you can shift down for the climb you work harder.
Use "only have one gear" as an excuse for everything. Good and bad.
Not take the ride too seriously. The goal is to have fun. Do not worry about how fast you are riding or whether you could make the climb or not.
Miserable Magazine Flavored Rant (grab a beer
Although I haven't been riding singlespeeds as long as some of the diehard regulars on this board, I've been at it long enough to understand that SSing is a unique and special dicipline. "Not shifting" is not singlespeeding.
And yet the know-it-alls at some of the major national mountain bike publications think a singlespeed bike is simply a limitation when compared to a geared bike. To quote one recent mountain bike mag's editor, "... The reality remains: If you want to ride a good singlespeed, just don't shift the bike you have." (Name withheld to protect the guilty.)
Singlespeeds are real. Them that knows know they know. Them that don't know don't know they don't know.
Singlespeeding is not just a bike. It's way more than the bike. Like I said before, it's a dicipline. That's where the mag editors don't seem to get it. Ever notice that the people who think singlespeeds are dumb are the people who don't ride them?
It takes commitment to enjoy singlespeeding at its highest and most rewarding level. It takes a dedicated bike with one gear that cannot be shifted. Leaving a geared bike in one gear involves you in singlespeeding, but it doesn't commit you to anything. What's the difference between "involvement" and "commitment?" Well, think of the ham and eggs you had for breakfast this morning. The chicken was involved; the pig was committed.
Of course it takes a little time to come to love singlespeeding. Maybe the magazine boys aren't willing to make that commitment. Or maybe they've become so high and mighty in their own minds that they just want to tell the world what's right and what's not. Perhaps the care and feeding of their know-it-all egos is where their real commitment lies.
Taken from MTBR.com
pain and exhaustion..."
I get from singlespeeding overwhelm all of the other darkness in my life, pausing for brief moments of bliss the pain, the hopelessness, the incessant voices urging me to just give it all up. - Hollywood on MTBR
|Why? I just built up a 29er SS and my friends don't get it. They say things like " Is this the new retro thing? Is this what the cool people are doing?" And, I dunno, I don't feel that cool, or retro, it just seems... nice. -whoopicat on mtbr|
The Tao of Singlespeeding
The Tao of Singlespeeding
The space between sky and dirt is
like a tire.
What do you mean by "Accept
What do you mean by "Accept
pain as the human condition"?
Surrender yourself humbly; then
you can be trusted to ride any trail.
Who can wait quietly for the ride
My singlespeed is sacred.
So sometimes I am ahead and
sometimes I am behind;
Therefore the singlespeeder avoids extremes, complacency, and heavy traffic on climbs.
Is there a difference between the
granny and the big ring?
Everyone else is busy,
The follower of singlespeeding
He who does not get out of the
Hence it is said:
Adapted by Corvus Corvax from The Tao Te Ching, translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English, Random House, Inc., New York (1972), with apologies to Lao Tsu.
|"What is true, simple, and sincere is most congenial to man's nature." --Cicero|