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So Do People Tour with a Single Speed?

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So Do People Tour with a Single Speed?

Old 04-11-17, 10:03 AM
  #1  
NoControl 
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So Do People Tour with a Single Speed?

I'm speaking modern singles - not fixies. I know that folks have been touring with single speeds and coaster brakes for a century at least. I'm looking for comments from people who actually do it now, and why they feel that they do not need multi-geared bikes.

Your thoughts?
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Old 04-11-17, 10:09 AM
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People race the Tour Divide on single speed.

Slip Angle: Why Singlespeed?
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Old 04-11-17, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
People race the Tour Divide on single speed.

Slip Angle: Why Singlespeed?
Thanks for the link, Tyrion. Say hi to Emilia Clark for me.
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Old 04-11-17, 10:20 AM
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NoControl, There have been a few. Perhaps the rider who rode a trans FL had the most successful tour, SS wise.

Threads are sometimes hard to find on specific subjects, but I also remember someone interested in using their FG bike and suggestions were made to install a brake.

Brad
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Old 04-11-17, 10:30 AM
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I'm definitely NOT into the idea of a fixie. My legs are getting stronger, but I'm too old for that silliness now.
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Old 04-11-17, 10:35 AM
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Our own @mdilthey aka Max the Cyclist is single speed convert.
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Old 04-11-17, 10:48 AM
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I haven't read this, but it sounds like: https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...doc_id=339&v=3
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Old 04-11-17, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Thanks for the link, Tyrion. Say hi to Emilia Clark for me.
That's Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, First of her name, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First men, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Queen of Mereen to you.

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Old 04-11-17, 11:01 AM
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FWIW I've toured on both and singlespeed is harder on the legs over long distances than fixed gear. I ran brakes but from what I've seen that's common. Touring on a fixed gear without brakes is usually done on track bikes and is kinda a separate thing than regular touring.

Anway, I liked it because it was an easy/cheap way to get a very light bike and forced me to pare down to a minimal load. I was regularly riding fixed on the road and realized that if I didn't need a geared drivetrain for my road riding I didn't need one for touring. I like the style of riding, it's simple - you just pedal and go.
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Old 04-11-17, 11:05 AM
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Two tours under my belt on a singlespeed. More to come this summer. I love it.

There's a simplicity to it that goes beyond the lack of maintenance (although, that is a big perk). It forces you to coast when you're going downhill, relaxing your legs and your attitude. It forces you to push yourself on hills, making the "worst" part of riding into a fun and exciting challenge. And, it lets you focus more on the ride and less on the bike. Pedal, occasionally brake, nothing else.

I love it. I may go back to gears again, but not on all my bikes - I have a feeling there will always be a singlespeed in my stable.
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Old 04-11-17, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
Two tours under my belt on a singlespeed. More to come this summer. I love it.

There's a simplicity to it that goes beyond the lack of maintenance (although, that is a big perk). It forces you to coast when you're going downhill, relaxing your legs and your attitude. It forces you to push yourself on hills, making the "worst" part of riding into a fun and exciting challenge. And, it lets you focus more on the ride and less on the bike. Pedal, occasionally brake, nothing else.

I love it. I may go back to gears again, but not on all my bikes - I have a feeling there will always be a singlespeed in my stable.
I don't think hills are the worst part of riding, with proper gearing. In fact, hills make the view more interesting, and are perhaps one of the best parts of riding. The worst part is traffic, and nothing changes that except the route. Weather comes in a close second. On a single speed bike, I would be walking far more often than preferred.
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Old 04-11-17, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I don't think hills are the worst part of riding, with proper gearing. In fact, hills make the view more interesting, and are perhaps one of the best parts of riding. The worst part is traffic, and nothing changes that except the route. Weather comes in a close second. On a single speed bike, I would be walking far more often than preferred.
I agree, hence the quotes. But by far, the biggest question anyone asks about singlespeed is how I can possibly cope with those evil, evil hills.
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Old 04-11-17, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I love it. I may go back to gears again, but not on all my bikes - I have a feeling there will always be a singlespeed in my stable.
Might I ask what gear you run and how much you carry? Do you have a pic of that rig somewhere?
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Old 04-11-17, 11:52 AM
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I've always said, 'if it rolls, someone will find a way to tour on it.'
My first multi-day tour was on an old single speed. Just be prepared to walk a bit more.
There was a fellow forum member that toured on a penny-farthing a few years ago.
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Old 04-11-17, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I agree, hence the quotes. But by far, the biggest question anyone asks about singlespeed is how I can possibly cope with those evil, evil hills.
So, how do you cope?
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Old 04-11-17, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
So, how do you cope?
Beat me to it.

Yeah, Max, how DO you cope with the evil inclines? Stand on the pedals and grunt it out?
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Old 04-11-17, 01:45 PM
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I've done some overnights recently on my Wabi Lightning SE. In a few months I plan to do a quick ride across the USA on it - probably trying to average 100 miles a day, VERY lightly loaded (but still self-supported.)

I've done several multi-month tours in the past on a four-pannier setup on an old Cannondale T400. Last year my wife and I did the Great Divide on Salsa Fargos, and when my front rack broke I had to give her some of the stuff for a few days, and then we mailed a bunch of it back home. I was shocked at how much more pleasant it was riding with less of a load, which gave me the idea of doing a tour with the load cut down drastically.

My Wabi has a 48x16 freewheel on one side, and a 48x19 freewheel on the other side. I've never had to walk the bike while riding the 48x19, even in Kentucky on some grades of 10% or so, so I don't anticipate any major problems, although if I do have to walk the bike from time to time it won't kill me.

I love riding a singlespeed, and at this point the Wabi is my go-to bike for everything except seriously rough dirt and gravel. It's hard to explain why it's so much fun; you almost have to try it to understand.
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Old 04-11-17, 02:18 PM
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this makes me think of that scene in The Holy Grail when the monks go walking by chanting in Latin and hitting themselves in the forehead with a wooden board at the end of each verse.....

so yes, folks do it but its really not my thing and I don't really get it ;-)
especially given my age and the "low torque, high rev" sort of knees that I've always had. Beefier folks probably do better.

but hey, its all "bike" so its cool.
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Old 04-11-17, 02:40 PM
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Did coast to coast earlier this year on an SS Vassago Fisticuff, roughly following the southern tier route west to east. Only walked one hill on the whole trip...

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Old 04-11-17, 04:30 PM
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I tour exclusively on singlespeed, fully loaded. Left the geared racing background behind in 2000. Never looked back.

Road Gear Ratio: 42x16 on 700 x 32.
Mnt. 32 x 18 on 26" with 2.5" tires.
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Old 04-11-17, 05:26 PM
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I wouldn't go SS. Actually I never rode one newer than ?1962. Except for a few cheap Asian bikes no better. ha. But OTOH I just happen to be collecting parts to upgrade a 1973 SA 3 spd tour size bike with new 650B wheels and drum brakes. I'm even starting to like the 1 piece crank and rubber pedals. The low 50 GI gear at least is good for getting the bike up to speed. I may just take it to Vietnam the next time. For sure it will fit the plane ride better.

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Old 04-11-17, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by bigbenaugust View Post
Might I ask what gear you run and how much you carry? Do you have a pic of that rig somewhere?
Climbing is not so bad. I run cyclocross gearing on my skinny-tire bike, and pretty low gearing on my mountain bike.

Here's the Pugsley. Gearing in this photo is dinglespeed (two side-by-side singlespeed ratios), 31x18 and 24x25. But, nowadays I run 32x18 alone as a true singlespeed.

Here it is with full touring gear for a month in Iceland, with a bit extra than what I'd bring on a solo trip (I carried things like a 4-season 2P tent, and extra tubes/tires so that Kelley could enjoy a slightly lighter bike).



My cross bike, which I plan to do some touring on this summer, is 42x19. I just made a bunch of changes to this bike, including flat handlebars, but it's more or less the same. This isn't full touring gear.

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Old 04-11-17, 06:54 PM
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Guess I can't complain that my 39x16 SS is overgeared then.
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Old 04-11-17, 08:28 PM
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This is in the window of our son's van. He raced CX on a SS. He did well, but did much better when he changed to a geared bike.


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Old 04-11-17, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
I'm speaking modern singles - not fixies. I know that folks have been touring with single speeds and coaster brakes for a century at least. I'm looking for comments from people who actually do it now, and why they feel that they do not need multi-geared bikes.

Your thoughts?
From my observations it's usually for the hipster factor, or because the person running SS wants the simplicity of it.
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