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  1. #1
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    Mar 2008
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    Single speeding on the cheap

    I think these two things are the same thing, but I've never had a SS MTB before. When I was living in Crested Butte I had a friend who weighed a solid 75 pounds more than me who would smoke me on his single speed. Ever since, I've been a bit curious about getting one of my own. Coincidentally, I'm replacing a drive train on a geared bike this week for about as much as one of these super basic SS complete bikes. Anyway...

    Kicking around the idea of getting a CHEAP single speed for the rather dull trails around my current abode. I read a bit about the NashBar SS which is full rigid, shitty mechanical disk brakes, but $419(). Older frame models got decent reviews on MTBR. There is also this bike from Bikes Direct for only $349. Also rigid with Tektro mechanical brakes.

    I'm not sure I hate myself enough to go rigid. I'd rather have 100-120 of cush up front, but I guess I'm young enough to take the beating (as well as old enough to consider a SS). And could eventually upgrade the fork.

    What say you mags? Any experience with these bikes? Any recommendations on SS frames that are CHEAP but fun?

  2. #2
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    Mar 2014
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    Moveable cranks and horizontal dropouts are nice, but you can turn any hardtail into a ss. They have spring tensioners that will keep your chain tight enough. I would shop for a used hardtail with a shock and decent brakes and convert to ss

  3. #3
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    I had a redline monocog as a second loaner bike for a while. Super fun and on the cheap

  4. #4
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    Sep 2005
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    If you are used to nice bikes, don't go too cheap. I spent a couple summers just single-speeding. Always have one in the quiver, although this year I'm selling mine and might not replace till next spring. See how money goes. Kona units are good value if you can find one used. Its fun and addicting. If I only have a short window for a ride I grab the SS. Great work out I find for short hits. Also more of an upper-body and core work-out vs. spinning up a hill.
    Good luck and have fun!

  5. #5
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    Single speeding on the cheap

    jetski prolly has it right. Don't go too cheap, that jackhammer ride that cheap bikes have is a downer. Go used.
    Last edited by plugboots; 02-25-2017 at 02:02 PM.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Glasgow, UK
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    I bought a cheap, rigid SS in 2007 and cracked the frame within a couple of months. The warrantied one lasted a little longer but eventually failed too, that one actually snapped in half and I had to carry it out for a few miles in 2 pieces. The warranty from that one is now the designated townie and all is well.

    The shitty thing about the cheapo bikes is that all the parts are shitty too; wheels, brakes, cranks, headsets, etc. Your money is better spent buying used, last summer I scored the lady a used SS with halfway-decent parts for less than $500.

    I've been riding a hardtail with regular dropouts and a $10 little chain tensioner for the last few years to get my single speed on and it works great.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Vernon BC
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    Just toss a conversion on your current bike .... 50 beans from CRC... and see how you like it.
    Getting the proper gear ratio for your fitness / riding style will probably be biggest concern.... try and keep your current bike in the same gear for the duration of the ride, that will help you figure out your ratios and if SS is for you.


    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/c...t/rp-prod10009


    I second the suggestion to avoid rigid and to buy used.
    "Its not the arrow, its the Indian" - M.Pinto

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by springsproject View Post
    Your money is better spent buying used, last summer I scored the lady a used SS with halfway-decent parts for less than $500.

    Nice segway... Tried to half ass-sell this thing last year. Most folks aren't really into hardtail single speeds. Below is the Facebook description from when I tried to get rid of it. I will try to get rid of it again this spring

    Name:  big unit.jpg
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    FOR SALE! Kona Big Unit. Medium. Elixer 7 Brakes, SLX crankset/bb, Stan's tubeless wheelset. Set up single speed but can be converted to gears.
    This bike has been well loved, hated, worshiped, ignored, put away wet, lovingly maintained, beat on, caressed, raced, carried, stored inside, left in the rain, treated like a member of the family, and shunned like your Uncle who's name you don't speak.
    This bike has taken its current owner to every corner of the singletrack network of Jasper and many other ribbons of narrow dirt.
    Although set up with one gear, you tecnically have three...Stand, sit and push.
    In its prime this was a 2500 dollar bike with no gears. So needless to say...its a pretty sweet bike
    Last edited by jetski; 02-25-2017 at 03:25 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    I'll sell you a surly 1x1 - rigid, mechanical brakes, currently commuter setup (sweep back bars, fenders, etc) - plus a second set of wheels - large marge rims w/gazza 3.0 tires and any other ss gear I have laying around for $400. You pay shipping

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmcrawfo View Post
    Just toss a conversion on your current bike .... 50 beans from CRC... and see how you like it.
    Getting the proper gear ratio for your fitness / riding style will probably be biggest concern.... try and keep your current bike in the same gear for the duration of the ride, that will help you figure out your ratios and if SS is for you.


    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/c...t/rp-prod10009


    I second the suggestion to avoid rigid and to buy used.
    My current bike is an aging stump jumper fsr 29er, which is full on over kill for my current trails. Part of the reason I'm thinking SS hardtail is because it would add a level of challenge that's lacking and just be different.

  11. #11
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    Mar 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetski View Post
    Nice segway... Tried to half ass-sell this thing last year. Most folks aren't really into hardtail single speeds. Below is the Facebook description from when I tried to get rid of it. I will try to get rid of it again this spring

    Name:  big unit.jpg
Views: 704
Size:  122.8 KB

    FOR SALE! Kona Big Unit. Medium. Elixer 7 Brakes, SLX crankset/bb, Stan's tubeless wheelset. Set up single speed but can be converted to gears.
    This bike has been well loved, hated, worshiped, ignored, put away wet, lovingly maintained, beat on, caressed, raced, carried, stored inside, left in the rain, treated like a member of the family, and shunned like your Uncle who's name you don't speak.
    This bike has taken its current owner to every corner of the singletrack network of Jasper and many other ribbons of narrow dirt.
    Although set up with one gear, you tecnically have three...Stand, sit and push.
    In its prime this was a 2500 dollar bike with no gears. So needless to say...its a pretty sweet bike
    Looks like a fun ride!

  12. #12
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    Oct 2007
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    The greatest N. New Mexico resort in Colorado
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    Just do yourself a favor and go steel. There's some great Al HT's out there, but none that are worth having on the cheap. Tons of SS bikes on ebay, but Redline Monocog and Kona Unit, IMO, are the best for the buck. Plenty of used ones floating around now that the hip new thing to have is fat/plus/electric dirtbike. I know you want to go cheap, but if you have $6-700 you can get a really sweet rig that won't need a ton of upgrades later.

  13. #13
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    Sep 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZomblibulaX View Post
    Just do yourself a favor and go steel. There's some great Al HT's out there, but none that are worth having on the cheap. Tons of SS bikes on ebay, but Redline Monocog and Kona Unit, IMO, are the best for the buck. Plenty of used ones floating around now that the hip new thing to have is fat/plus/electric dirtbike. I know you want to go cheap, but if you have $6-700 you can get a really sweet rig that won't need a ton of upgrades later.
    Agreed. But not all AL is built the same. My Scandium big unit rode nicer than a lot of other aluminum frames. Units for the win.

  14. #14
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    Sep 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendigo View Post
    I'll sell you a surly 1x1 - rigid, mechanical brakes, currently commuter setup (sweep back bars, fenders, etc) - plus a second set of wheels - large marge rims w/gazza 3.0 tires and any other ss gear I have laying around for $400. You pay shipping
    Size? If large or XL I'd scoop this up from you!

  15. #15
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    Nov 2007
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    Šguila
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    Yo Ed, these are sold out now but I've had one for years.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/dawes/bullseye.htm

    Rigid steel 29er singlespeed w disc brakes. I bought it to see if the 29" wheel size was a good fit for me (5'8"). Ignore the dentists, you can get a fun bike for little $. It's my commuter and bar bike, but I take it on trails every now and then and it impressed me how well it does. I'd ride it more often, but it makes me feel like a moron for paying significantly more for a nice full suspension 29er.

    At this point, I have a threadbare 2.35 Racing Ralph up front (balloon bikeish concept but still solid side knobs), the original Nano on the rear (skids can't even wear this thing out), Ergon GP1 cork grips (like your old ones! The originals wore out) and Crank Bro platforms. All-in, less than $400 and I ride it nearly every day on my very short commute. I can throw it on the bike rack and not sweat scratches and don't have to keep an eye out the brewery window to make sure it's there.

    My fat bike is from bikesdirect too. If you can do basic wrenching and find a rigid frame, can't beat the price. I wouldn't trust their full suspension designs but even those don't look too bad anymore.

    Also, the Surly 1x1 looks cool. Or if you're a dentistry lawyer now, get this
    http://www.wrenchscience.com/mountai...HHCRoCy0Xw_wcB

  16. #16
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    Apr 2012
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    Bump. I am looking for a single speed bike for general bar transport, hooligan shit, and occasional mixed use trail riding. Have had my eye on a Surly Lowside for the task, but can't actually find one anywhere.

    What do people like for this?

    Wanting:
    Single Speed
    Probably 27.5" wheels
    Disc brakes
    Fun more than performance.
    Rigid is ok, but front suspension also works
    Around $1k to 1,200 max.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    livin the dream
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    5,143
    Fairdale Taj?

    Maybe look at what BMX brands sell in 27.5?



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  18. #18
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    Apr 2012
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    That looks cool! Iím 6í1 so the one size is maybe not ideal there

  19. #19
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    Mar 2008
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    northern BC
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    I have a 36yr old marin bar bike, i leave it in one gear and it didn't cost anything
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  20. #20
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    Jan 2008
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    All the highschool kids in my town have big wheeled bmx bikes they hooligan around on. Wheelies for days.

  21. #21
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    Apr 2012
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    Single speeding on the cheap

    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    I have a 36yr old marin bar bike, i leave it in one gear and it didn't cost anything
    Yeah, my old bar bike is unfortunately not with me anymore, and old MTBs are ridiculously overpriced right now, so I donít want to spend $600 on an old stumpy.

    Quote Originally Posted by geomorph View Post
    All the highschool kids in my town have big wheeled bmx bikes they hooligan around on. Wheelies for days.
    Iím shying away from those because I would like to do some trail riding on it as well and most of the one Iíve ridden havenít pedaled all that well. But they are cool and fun so never say never I guess!

  22. #22
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    Aug 2002
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    PA
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    I'd look for an older Raleigh XXIX or Kona Unit for this purpose personally. Usually aren't ridiculously overprice that I've seen, often 2-300.

    Wheelie bikes could be decent for the parts other than singletrack, but depends how serious S/T, riding something like could be fun in of itself.

  23. #23
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    Apr 2012
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    Well as luck would have it, a Taj popped up on CL for a great deal, so I swooped it up. Will definitely solve the bar bike part of it, and Iíll still have some cash for a hard tail or gravel bike if I end up needing one.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  24. #24
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    Dec 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by milestogo View Post
    I had a redline monocog as a second loaner bike for a while. Super fun and on the cheap
    This is my bike for the mellow but punchy state park trails a block from my house. Only have a rear brake and some not-so-knobby tires to make it a little bit more interesting... legit cant stop on some of the 50ft long steeper section of trails but it forces you to really pay attention when cornering (think same thing as skiing groomers on dull edges). It doubles as my brewery bike and as the babyseat bike when we take junior for a ride around the neighborhood. I also CRUSH my buddies at those local trails because im constantly out of my seat pedaling to keep speed on the punchy stuff and they are just wallowing in the 170mm travel of their bikes. Only complaint is that i have a quick release wheel on the back and that doesnt work well with horizontal dropouts so i had to mcguiver bolt it on with some locking washers and bolts cut to fit.

  25. #25
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    This Surly Lowside just popped up on a FB page I'm on:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/5732...ok_story_share
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

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