Singlespeed Myths and Legends?
My Strava name is Singlespeed Stevo and I have been singlespeeding (MTBing) for over 10 years (since 1999). I have had my 18 KOMs (all singlespeed, all off-road) for most of last summer and yet am still waiting for a Singlespeed revolution to happen.
SingleSpeed bikes can go anywhere. I recently rode the 100 mile South Downs Way in under 10 hours. I have ridden my singlespeed on all of the 7Staines Trails and all of the Welsh Forestry Commision Trails. I have ridden the 80Km Port du Soleil, from Les Gets, with the help of chair-lifts like every other rider. You will run out of gears going downhill, but with singlespeeding you will never have enough gears to worry about to running out of.
Why have others not discovered the simple pure pleasures of singlespeeding? I want to help to de-bunk some myths surrounding singlespeeding.
Why Singlespeed? It must be hard?
I get this comment a lot, but I try to explain to glazed eyes, that it is down to a medium ratio gear selection. 32:16T for 26 inch and 32:18T for 29ers. However I have found if there are hills, then put a larger cog ( +1T or 2T) on the back. I often ride 32:19T (or 34:20T) or lower on the South Downs Way to spin and save the energy in my legs.
Is it not slower?
Well no? I always said to my friends that I would get a geared mountain bike when I could not keep up. Singlespeeding is all about flow and carrying speed. Picking good riding lines and braking less allows you to flow around corners. Braking less at the bottom section of the hill allows you to get most of the way up the next hill.
If it is too steep then there is no shame in walking. walking and pushing is the same speed as someone riding in the lowest "granny" gear.
Winter is here or coming...
It is winter and there are a lot of people that ride singlespeed in the winter. This saves a lot money on those multi-gear drive-trains and pivot-bearings. A lot of riders go singlespeed for the winter for this very reason. Also a rigid singlespeed can be a lot of fun around the local woods with some mates. Borrow a friends singlespeed and have decent ride to learn the differences.
Still need some convincing?
Silence - there is no chainslap and belt-drives are even quieter.
Power - the chain wraps around more of the back sprocket, so there is less chance of slippage.
Core stability - singlespeeding has a different riding style and a lot of it involves out of the saddle pedaling. This uses more upper body muscle groups and strengthens the back and abdominal muscles.
Souplease - Singlespeeding can help you get closer to souplesse, (french) meaning power and style blended together to look effortless.
There are a lot of articles out there on singlespeeding, but ulimately you have to secretly try it for yourself. Singlespeeds can be that second bike for winter training, going for rides with mates in a muddy forest or like me, singlespeeding can take you anywhere.