Singlespeed fun

So, two Sundays ago I decided to convert the Stumptress to singlespeed.  Mostly out of boredom that day, but also because I had just found out that a scheduling conflict means that I will not be able to race in this year’s Fool’s Gold 50.  Therefore, without having to spend 50 miles climbing my tail off it became less critical for me to have some gear selection options.

It had been about 18 months since the Stumptress was last set up as a SS, and I forgot how much fun the simplicity of it all can be.  Unless I had two mountain bikes in my herd (which I don’t have anymore), I don’t think I will keep it a SS year-round…..but after several rides I’m enjoying the (literal) change of pace.

When singlespeeding, you never have to worry about whether you are in the right gear or not.  The answer is always the same: No.  Pretty much, you are never in the right gear.  But that’s OK.  It forces me to climb faster and build better baseline leg strength.  I only wish I had a power meter to accurately compare my wattage outputs on steep hills while riding SS versus geared.

Gear ratio choices become a little tricky.  For instance, I really like to run mine at 32×16 (2.00 ratio), which suits me for just about 99% of the hills I face.  That gear ratio worked for me on the original 17-mile loop at Oak Mtn State Park without ever having to walk, even on the long Red Road climb.  But riding on the Ebsco property behind Mt Laurel there are a few sections of extremely steep hills that I find myself occasionally needing to walk.  I can handle them with my 18-tooth rear cog (1.78 ratio), but like I said before, I just prefer my 16-toother since it is a little less spinny on the flats.  Perhaps a 17-tooth cog (1.88 ratio) would be my perfect setup, and something that I would probably try out if I stay SS for the rest of the year.

My conversion using a Surly Singleator tensioner, an MRP S4 bashguard, and a cheap metal chain keeper.  I haven’t gotten around to taking my small chainring off yet, but will eventually be doing that.  All told, I calculate that I am saving close to 1.5 pounds by foregoing derailleurs and shifters in favor of the SS components.

I hope to be replacing the Stumptress soon with a steel hardtail frame….aiming to go a little more old school while adding some all-day comfort that the steel provides.  Once this swap-out occurs, perhaps the Stumptress will eventually be built back up as a dedicated singlespeed.

notice the lack of shifters…..without my grip shifters installed i went ahead and put on some lock-on grips from the big frog 65 swag bag.

i think a crank upgrade may need to be in my future.

haters gonna hate, singleators gonna singleate.

cheap but effective.


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