Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Random Singlespeed Sighting

Nice little San Jose at the last cross race I was at. This was in the pits! Nice pit bike!

Friday, November 23, 2007

SS on the ST

The Black Diamond trail set is one of the best around in western Washington, and a great place for singlespeeds. My quest for bike nirvanna has evolved a pretty unique ride. The simplicity mantra has replaced my clipless pedals with platforms lately. One shoe for all bike riding situations as well as one gear! This bike sees singletrack, jumps/stunts and bmx with my kids. It covers them well enough and I don't even have to change shoes!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Phil Wood Hub and ACS Claws Freewheel

Phil! I'll be putting the fabled Phil hub through some serious abuse starting yesterday! The pacific northwest weather is some of the harshest around for moving parts, like bottom brackets, headsets, suspension and hubs. I ride religously through it all, day and night, so Phil I hope you've brought it, because you are going to need it. Phil replaces an XT hub that my local bike mechanic deemed, "the worst he's ever seen, and totally not rebuildable". Well he stuffed it back together and I got another year out of it.
After coughing up the dough for the Wood, I had to go lightly on the freewheel, so I got an ACS Claws and will see how that goes. After one day at the SeaTac Flow Park and the Buckley Skate Park the combination seems smooth and has no problems. Let's hope so! I like the sound of the ACS Claws, (it has the bmx sound!) but the feel is a bit sloppy, which is about the equivalent to the XT hub. I've been spoiled lately with the DT240 that is on my cross bike, which I've been riding a lot lately. Tonight brings the classic trail ride and with a bit of rain lately the gloves will come off for Phil.
Let's say a bit about the Phil hub, because it is worth some praise. It is nicely built, a work of polished chrome art. The bolt on mechanism is stiff, tight and fits snug as a bug in a rug. The skewer system it replaces didn't have that same solidness. Pete at the Black Diamond Bike Shop said it built up very easily, yes that's right my wheel is Peterbilt!
P.S. I'll have a progress report on the Rollenlager, Singlator, Surly Cog, Forte Tensioner and Surly Ring shortly.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Third Try is Charm with Rollenlager

Mr. Mole confirms that the Rollenlager is a nice fit to my Jake the Snake cross bike and we're looking forward to some mud, bumps and barriers. I'll report back on it and the Surly cog at the end of cross season. The Rollenlager install didn't go as planned or without glitches. I found out that the der. hanger spacing is not 100% the same across the board. The Rollenlager really only works if you have spacing that matches theirs. They said they rarely have problems, but my SuperGo Access, and my Redline Skookum have different spacing. That was a bit of a let down, after holding the hardware in my hands and drooling over it's precision craftsmanship and sealed bearings. The support at Rennen was lightning fast, George Costa sent me an after hours email, and was fast with suggestions and follow-up info. I'm expecting this will be the best tensioner of the three I run, but it's dissappointing not to be able to get it to work on my other bikes. Say-Law-Vee.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Rennen Rollenlager

If you have spent much time on many of the basic singlespeed tensioners out there, the Surly Singlator and the ones like it, you have become aware that they leave something to be desired. I've heard the Soulcraft one is nice, but I decided to hork up $50 for this Rennen Rollenlager. I haven't installed it yet, but I will and when I've put it to some abuse, I'll report back. My "Piramid" LBS generic brand tensioner got beat nearly to death last night taking my Redline Skookum down Tiger Mountain. Tiger is pretty chundry, and I broke a spoke as well trying to stay with my full susser friends. Anyway the Rollenlager came just in time. I bought it at Black Diamond Backcountry, which is my favorite bike shop, those guys rule in a very serious way.
Oh, yeah, this thing from Rennen is burly, I mean burly, yet surprisingly light. It comes with a half link, which I've never seen come with a tensioner and is a really thoughtful thing to include. You won't use it every time, but sometimes it will save your bacon, and a trip to the bike shop. Nice job Rennen for the half-link.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Juan Grande Puts Up a Single-Double

This is a nice single-double put up by Big John of Thursday Night fame. I'll put the specs up on the SingleSpeed Nation photo section when I get them from Johnny P-R.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

10mm Lock-Washers and a Half Link

It seems that there is rarely a singlespeed conversion that goes without a hitch...for me anyway. I am not a bike mechanic, or a person that knows everything about bikes, however I have picked up a few tricks along the way that may or may not be helpful to you out there in the blogesphere. I just turned my cross bike into a singlespeed. It is a Kona Jake the Snake, and was previously run as a nine speed. So, the conversion went like this: cheapo spacer kit and tensioner from LBS, nice Surly 18t cog, Sram P1 chain, half-link (my spacing was too long for even the tensioner to fix, so I had to resort to this little gizmo), 10mm lock washers. The two glitches on this conversion were (1) my spacing with 42/18 was either too short to fit the chain on, or too long for the tensioner to work correctly. (!) The half link comes in here and saved the day. The second (2) glitch was that the singlespeed chain was too wide to fit between my front ring and the bash guard that was on it from my 9 speed setup. When I took the bash off there was a gap in the chain ring bolts. The bike shop guys were out of the shorter bolt sets, and sent me home with washers that ended up being too small. I picked up some 10mm lock washers from Home Depot that did the trick though. It's done and on my first spin the drive train was working well and very snappy, nothing accelerates like a light weight singlespeed with a nice hub in back! Anyway, the first spin also produced bad news...the headset is toast...King?...$130...ouch...we'll see if I cough up the dough for King-Bling or cut a corner to save the check book.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


T-Money has joined SSN with an old school GT and a bunch of spare parts. All I know is he's been leading the ride lately and there is nothing but a lack of air behind.

Surly Dogs & Cogs

I just got my paws on a 18t Surly cog for my cross bike. I picked this one because it's real wide and steel. It's going on a DT Swiss 240 hub with shimano freehub body. I was concerned about a thinner cog damaging my super sweet 240. I haven't had problems in that area before but some people do warn about it and again I'm being careful because it's a nice hub. I'll report back with a no holds barred review after I've put some sweat and mud to it.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Singlespeed Gear Ratios

This chart was sent to me by John Bravard from Portland, Oregon, where the bike lanes are plentiful and the rain is wet.
Here is some explanation from the gear-head himself. This is in reference to the numbers in the middle of the chart.
Johnny B. says, "It's 'gear inches' - which is a standardized measurement that basically determines how far the bike will travel with one revolution of the pedals.
The "46.4 inch" gear means that one turn of the pedals will move the bike the same distance as a wheel with a 46.4 inch diameter. The concept is that by introducing gears/gear ratios we effectively change the wheel diameter. I'm not sure why this is the standard instead of using the actual distance covered with one pedal revolution - which would be this number multiplied by pi.
Higher "gear inches" means that the bike will go further with each pedal revolution and that you will pedal slower at a given gear than if you were pedaling a lower "gear inch" combination. For example, if you were riding a 45 inch gear at 90 revolutions per minute, you would be traveling at approximately 12 mph. If you were riding a 90 inch gear at 90 revolutions per minute, you would be traveling at approximately 24 mph."
Well, there you have it. Thanks John!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Birth of a Nation

Singlespeed Nation is born! This blog will feature cool stuff relating to riding bikes with one gear. Singlespeeding is, of course, not new, the first bike we all rode was a singlespeed, later we may have tried bmx, then we complicated things with gears and now we are back to the way nature intended, and everything has been put back right with the universe. The yin is with the yang, your karma bus drove past the football team and picked up the cheerleaders, Jesus lives again and it is all good. Check back later. -Adam