Single speed for the novice

Discussion in 'Singlespeed' started by nun, Sep 17, 2005.

  1. nun

    nun New Member

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    I've been riding an old Bianchi Volpe on some short tours, but I've seen quite a few folks on single speed bikes recently. Initially I thought "what idiots", they might look good without all the fussy stuff hanging off most bikes, but it carn't be fun to ride one gear. Anyway I did some reading and found lots of enthusiastic comments so today i went out on a training ride and did the whole 30 miles in a single gear, 36-15. I was amazed at how much fun it was. The hills got to my legs, but I made them, and I found myself enjoying the ride far more not continually shifting and feeling that I have to hammer in a big gear. The single gear was a sort of negative feedback keeping me around 18 mph on the flats.

    So my question is, what's a good single speed for a novice (not fixed just yet). I like steel, and lugs are nice, so I was looking at a Rivendel Quickbeam, but its pricey. Any thoughts on Bianchi, Gunnar, Surly or Rayleigh?
     
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  2. Tmax1

    Tmax1 New Member

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    Here's how it happenned for me:

    I bought a bike. I swapped out some parts. I bought another bike. I still had the other parts. Found a thrift store store frame. Added the parts I had. Bought a few more And walla!! I had a single speed. 44x16.

    It's a 1974 Schwinn World Traveller with Mavic Cosmos wheelset, Ultegra crank and brakes. Made in Chicago even with original headbadge. It's rattle can painted yellow.

    Sure, the Bianchi Pista (a flip-flop hub would be nice) is oh so pretty and the Surly Crosscheck is nice enough to make me want one for it's all purpose- ness.

    But I would suggest to get you started build yourself up a Frankenbike and try it out.

    To me the spirit of singlespeed is in the doityourself mode.

    Or you COULD go and spend a bunch of money on the likes of ... .

    - Jerry
     
  3. RWBCustom

    RWBCustom New Member

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    You should be able to find a Bianchi or a Raleigh for just over 600 out the door.

    I got the Raleigh "Rush Hour" a couple of weeks ago, the shop swaped out the 15 tooth free wheel for an 18 and added a few links to the chain. I've had some issues with the drive train, but have narrowed the issue down to the 18t swaped freewheel. The frame puts the power down nicely as it accelerates just great to my max RPM.

    The 18T free wheel isn't great, so am waiting for delivery of a 18 and 20T fixed from Surley to help quiet it down. Even with the 44-18 I managed to climb one of our steeper hills just last night on a social ride. Granted it wasn't too social as I had to start fast and was sucking wind like no tomorrow at the top, but I made it! the 44-20 will be a welcome relief on hilly days and the 44-18 makes Sunday rides with the pack managable averaging 18mph for a short 30. Granted if a gap appears in the pack and it gets out to 500 yards or more I can't jump it as I can't manage to maintain 25 long enough to catch them and sit in the draft to catch my breath.

    It isn't an ultra light, but doesn't weigh any more, with fenders and full tool pack, than my custom road bike does.

    Either one I think would make somone very happy, I know I am.

    Cheers
     
  4. nun

    nun New Member

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    Thanks guys, I've looked at the Bianchi and Raleigh and they just don't do it for me, I suppose they look a bit too "tracky". I want to ride in the streets and I'd like to put 28 or 32 width tyres on a bike. I like Brookes saddles so that probably pegs me as an old *art, not a slick track guy. Hell my first bike had a Sturmy Archer 3 speed hub.
     
  5. Tmax1

    Tmax1 New Member

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    I still think you should just re-purpose an older bike instead of spending big bucks for a "built- up" bike.

    Look at http://www.fixedgeargallery.com for some ideas and see how some other people have "re-purposed" and reinvigorated some bikes that others would have thought of as trash.

    +Jerry
     
  6. nun

    nun New Member

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    Jerry, Yeah I've looked at the stuff on that website a lot. Its a great site. No BS just people who like their bikes posting pictures. There are good links too.

    I went to some local shops searching for old frames and wasn't happy with what I saw. After all my searching I decided I wanted a 56 cm lugged frame with track ends. Its my birthday so I decided to treat myself and spend a few hard earned bucks on a new frame or a nice old one. I went on craigslist and ebay and found some promising stuff, one Bob Jackson single speed for $900, but it was in SF and the guy would only deal locally. Next step was to look at Bob Jackson (350 UK pounds for a lugged track frame, not bad), but the geometry is definitely track and I didn't much fancy it for riding on the road. So I looked at Gunnar and Surly again, but rejected them as no luggs. Maybe I have a lugg fetish?

    Next I emailed Circle A Frames and got some really great info. They do really nice stuff, a custom frame for $1100, but in the end I decided that the Rivendell Quickbeam was just about everything I wanted so I bit the bullet, forgot about the price and ordered one, but with a 14 and 16 cogs as the stock 18/40 gearing is a bit low even for my 44 year old legs.

    Thanks for the advice, its been fun researching all these single speeds. When I get my new bike on the road I'll post my thoughts about it.
     
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