single speed

by Shanefutcher   February 20, 2014  

Hi im thinking of changing my commute bike to a single speed.i like foffa bike at wiggle.anyone else have experience of riding bull horn bars? And have any single speed recommendations

11 user comments

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For commuting, SS is the way to go.

If you're looking for real simplicity and low maintenance, I'd recommend a belt drive. I've got the Revolution Belter '13 (from Edinburgh Bicycle). No chain cleaning, no lubing and frightfully quiet...

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

jmaccelari's picture

posted by jmaccelari [171 posts]
20th February 2014 - 12:43

5 Likes

Single Speed - Good.

Foffa - Debateable.

posted by farrell [1579 posts]
20th February 2014 - 13:15

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You are not getting anything from bull horns apart from being trendy, flat bars and bar ends do the exact same thing. Belt drive while clean and novel is pricey when something goes wrong and expensive to initially purchase, even more expensive if it gets nicked. If you want a cheapy single speed the EBC courier is on sale for £260 at the minute, it comes with a flip flop hub and a fixed sprocket as well should you feel the need to man up and ride it properly. Just be aware that it's a 44x16 as standard which some riders find to be a bit tall for anything but gently rolling terrain.

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
20th February 2014 - 13:30

4 Likes

I'm going to comment on this:
Belt drive IS more expensive, but there is more to life than expense. It is much more convenient and cleaner (I don't have to worry about gunky chain oil messing my legs, pants or hands while riding and cleaning, for example). Chains need constant cleaning, tensioning (due to wear) and maintenance (snapping, etc.). A belt drive just works. I have done over 4 000kms on my current belt with zero maintenance - not even tensioning, and it still looks and feels brand new!

Replacement belts are more expensive than traditional chains (I managed to source one for around £50), but if you reckon that a chain lasts maybe 2 000 to 4 000kms (depending on how much you maintain it), the longer term cost is less. Also the chainrings and cogs do not wear out.

A belt is also easy to replace. Slip out the frame insert and slap the new one in. No chain breakers and links to have to work (and possibly get wrong).

The downsides are:
- if you snap a belt (hasn't happened to me yet), you can't fix it. I carry
a spare;
- parts are not as easy to obtain and are more expensive. So new cogs for
changing gearing, spare belts, etc. typically need to be sourced from
overseas.

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

jmaccelari's picture

posted by jmaccelari [171 posts]
20th February 2014 - 13:48

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I left my fixed locked up out side the local tri-shop. I was literally in there 5 minutes. When I came back out some one had taken a stanley knife to the bar tape all the way round the drops and no doubt was about to start on the tyres if it were not for the fact they had seen two PCSO's coming down the road. If it had been a belt drive they would have just slashed the belt leaving me well and truly stuffed. It's all well and good to get smug about having a belt drive bike but a lot of people who are forced to commute by bike simply don't find them to be a realistic purchase for a cheap commuter. They also stand out too much and will attract vandalism. Saying "I have done x miles blah blah blah" neatly ignores the fact that a commuter needs to be cheap to run over a period of a few years, not averaged out over ten years. A chains a fiver, you might get through two a year so chain drive wins. If you want to make a lifestyle statement through choice of bike then knock your self out and get a goofy bike that needs expensive parts and has a frame design that will no doubt be a problem further down the road, just don't imply people are wrong for recommending a cheap functional hack over what is essentially an aspirational product for those with deep pockets.

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
20th February 2014 - 14:17

5 Likes

Bullhorns - I would say go for it, provided:

1. You like the look of them (definitely important to like the look of your steed)
2. You are comfortable with the feel of them (suggest you go and sit on a bike that has them on)
3. The brakes are positioned near where you will usually put your hands (if you are going to have to move your hands and scrabble around to find the brakes in an emergency they will not be ideal).

I rode bullhorns just for fun while commuting for many years. I had my brakes mounted so that they were on the horns (rather than stuck right by the stem), so it was effectively like I was riding on the hoods of a regular drop bar (except for the fact that the bars were seriously low because the frame was small and I had a mega-long seat post to compensate - I guess it was a bit like riding a lo-pro)

I haven't done so in 3-4 years, because I bought and built a load of new bikes, so have not ridden that bike in a while. Every now and again I think about switching the bullhorns to one of the other bikes, but never quite got round to it.

Singlespeed: go for it.

posted by Tjuice [124 posts]
20th February 2014 - 15:05

4 Likes

Have you looked at Merlin cycles they do a lovely little one with a flip flop hub called "single malt" this comes with bull horns but the brake levers (are small fashionista style things) mounted near the centre, not where you need them.

If your good with your hands I suggest fitting time trial type levers to the ends and either cover cables with bar tape or drill the bars to hide (internally) the cables back to just b4 the stem.

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [604 posts]
20th February 2014 - 16:55

3 Likes

EBC revolution track flip flop ss/fixie, love it love it love
been riding it two years all year through never serviced never needed a single repair & cleaned the chain once (ok that one is just neglect of the highest order i know & i'm ashamed!) come off two on ice & it just goes & goes & goes

just get one

posted by bfslxo [128 posts]
21st February 2014 - 14:31

6 Likes

Thanks im just ordering one.im fitting some look pedals and conti's gp4000s tyres and away i go.what is your usual speed on it? I usually go about 23mph on usual road bike,will commute take much longer

posted by Shanefutcher [121 posts]
21st February 2014 - 15:29

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Geez, MKultra - I wouldn't like to meet you on your bike if this is the attitude you have off it*.

There was no mention of cheap, so I merely mentioned the option of belt.

You obviously have an attitude problem, launching into some quasi-religious vitriol against belt drive.

The fact is that for commuting, belt drive is an option. Fact. No matter how you feel about it. There are advantages and disadvantages - as I tried to convey.

Now take a deep breath and carry on with your life.

(*Hint: maybe that's why someone slashed your bike...)

Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

jmaccelari's picture

posted by jmaccelari [171 posts]
21st February 2014 - 18:20

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Shanefutcher wrote:
Thanks im just ordering one.im fitting some look pedals and conti's gp4000s tyres and away i go.what is your usual speed on it? I usually go about 23mph on usual road bike,will commute take much longer

Personally I would use spuds. If you are going fixed they'll be much easier stamping into rather than trying to flick your pedal round. What is the ratio? Bearing in mind the terrain you'll probably be covering with being in North Wales. My commute (30 mile round trip) is pretty lumpy and I'm running a 48:16. Becomes challenging when there's a head wind as you just have to suck it up. Once you get used to the single or fixed gear your commute shouldn't be much different.

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posted by giff77 [1068 posts]
21st February 2014 - 19:51

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