Home Forums Rides Single Speed Mafia


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    A couple of years ago I was inspired by Joel Lee, Nathan Poultan, Jason Murdoch, John Howison, as they spun their single speed bikes around CX courses and for hours during winter gravel grinders.

    It looked tough. And not a lot of fun. Grinding away when it was soft and slow…spinning out and getting dropped when things got fast. But there was just something “pure” about it all. Just a frame, a chain and some wheels.

    Inspired, I cut the gear cables off of my KONA Jake the Snake, removed the derailleurs and outer chain ring and bought a $29 spacer-pulley set (below) from KSC to ride through the winter and see what it was all about.



    I have since swapped out to a Shimano Alfine Tensioner so I can easily swap out the rear cog without adjusting the chain length.

    Hopefully, if you want to try converting, you will have a semi-horizontal drop-out on your old frame and don’t have to worry about any of these extra bits. Just pull the wheel back to tighten the chain.


    Why do it?

    Well. It’s too difficult to explain. How “free” it feels. Not only the spinning and lack of tension in the system, but how there is “no choice”. I don’t ride with computers….I have no shifters…. soon…there is nothing….but you and the bike. Stripped down to your cadence and pressure on the pedal.

    There are many others committed to SS, including Trevor Beattie, who I rolled up next to at the start line of Steaming Nostril, confidently pointing to my 46-18 ratio. He points to his 52-17. Ah geeez. Not only did Trevor stop to help Pippy who had crashed at the beginning of the race, but Trev beat me by 15 minutes. Pure. Engine.

    Kevin Gibson bit into SS last year with a dedicated Disc-Single Speed from State. He even podium’d last weekend on Single Speed.

    Thiago and Rob Daniels are building up a Single Speed this week to this growing Single Speed Mafia. Mark is contemplating converting an old bike into an SS.

    And so, I post this forum discussion to encourage you to ask question about how you too can convert your old steel beater bike into a SS. Because it is not possible to explain why you should do it, only let you experience it for yourself.

    Join us.



    Could not agree more Alain!

    Love my SS MTB:

    Love my SS commuter/gravel grinder:
    but better with fenders and a rack:

    Don’t be afraid to join the fun.

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