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Project: Single Speed 26er

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Project: Single Speed 26er

Old 05-20-21, 10:15 AM
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Eric F
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Project: Single Speed 26er

This is the newest MTB I own . It was my main race/train bike up until the point that I broke my collar bone, and subsequently switched to being a roadie. Other than being used to roll around the neighborhood with my kids when they were young, it's been ignored for over 20 years. I had thoughts of updating the drivetrain to something more modern (was 7-speed), but recently decided to go a different direction with it - single speed. I'm not willing to invest more than a few hundred dollars to make the changes I want. With full drivetrain, it weighed 24 lbs. I'm expecting to get to about 22 in its final form.

First step - strip off the unnecessary parts (shifter, derailleurs, extra gears...)


Parts needed:
Chainring (this one is missing teeth and pretty trashed)
Chainring bolts
Chain
Chain tensioner
Stem (shorter)
Handlebar (wider)
Grips
Tires (probably 2.1, but might go a bit wider, depending on what I can find available)
Tubes (or tubeless conversion)

Last edited by Eric F; 05-20-21 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 05-21-21, 04:47 PM
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Parts on the way, so far...
Tires - Panaracer Fire XC Pro 26x2.1 (will be tubeless)
Stem - FSA OS-190 100mm +/- 6deg
Handlebar - FSA XC-190 20mm rise
Chainring - Focus 32T 94BCD (black)

Next to buy...
Rim Tape - Stans
Valve Stems - Stans or WTB
Sealant - Orange Seal Endurance
Grips - Bontrager Race Lite (white)
Chain - KMC 8.3
Chain Tensioner (if needed)

Gearing will be 32x19, at least to start with. With the 26" wheels, this gets me a slightly lower gear than the commonly-used 34x20 on 29ers. I'm hoping things work out not to need a chain tensioner, but I'm guessing it will probably be required.
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Old 05-22-21, 02:21 PM
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Nice!

I have lots of compatibility concerns for you...
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Old 05-22-21, 04:45 PM
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Iím looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Thank you for sharing.

If I steal ideas just be flattered.
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Old 05-24-21, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Nice!

I have lots of compatibility concerns for you...
Go for it. I feel like my bicycle mechanical knowledge is pretty good (at least the old stuff before Di2 and disc brakes), but I certainly could be overlooking some issues. I would appreciate a heads-up on issues before they bring me to a halt.

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Old 05-24-21, 05:21 PM
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Parts showed up today...Bars, stem, chain, rim tape, sealant, and valves.

Still on the fence about chainring bolt color - red or black. Chainring will be black.
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Old 05-24-21, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Go for it. I feel like my bicycle mechanical knowledge is pretty good (at least the old stuff before Di2 and disc brakes), but I certainly could be overlooking some issues. I would appreciate a heads-up on issues before they bring me to a halt.
I donít see your rear hub and tensioning approach yet. You donít want to just loop it over a cassette cog, they are made to derail on purpose

Stanís stopped making their tubeless conversion kit. The Stanís tape will only cover the spoke holes, not help with seating the bead. You can likely get it to work with two wraps of gorilla, but itís hokey. Look out for seeping at the rim joint especially if theyíre not welded

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Old 05-24-21, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I don’t see your rear hub and tensioning approach yet. You don’t want to just loop it over a cassette cog, they are made to derail on purpose

Stan’s stopped making their tubeless conversion kit. The Stan’s tape will only cover the spoke holes, not help with seating the bead. You can likely get it to work with two wraps of gorilla, but it’s hokey. Look out for seeping at the rim joint especially if they’re not welded
My current intent is to run a 19T cassette cog (pulled from an 8-speed cassette). With a good chain line it shouldn't be trying to derail. If It works out to be a magic tension combination with a 32T chainring, I will be very happy. If it doesn't, I'll run a tensioner (currently looking at the Gusset Bachelor)

Thank you for the info about tubeless conversion I hope I works out, but If I need to run tubes, so be it. I did it for many years before with this bike. It's not the end of the world to do it again. We shall see how it goes.

I also thank you for challenging my plans. It helps me make sure I have my bases covered.

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Old 05-25-21, 12:07 AM
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Progress - Bars and stem installed along with changes in headset cap, spacers, and stem cap from my box of parts...


I think I need to disassemble the brake levers and give the black parts a new coat of black paint.

New brake cables and housing have also been added to the list of parts to buy. The old stuff is a bit sticky.

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Old 05-25-21, 12:08 AM
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The Surly single speed cog is good. At thirty bucks it better be... I know budget is a factor here, I think there are Amazon copies. It's a full tooth cog with no sharp teeth or shift ramps, it's 2mm wide at the teeth for derailleur chain, not for BMX chain
https://surlybikes.com/parts/cassette_cog
https://surlybikes.com/parts/spacer_kit $40 :-/
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Old 05-25-21, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
The Surly single speed cog is good. At thirty bucks it better be... I know budget is a factor here, I think there are Amazon copies. It's a full tooth cog with no sharp teeth or shift ramps, it's 2mm wide at the teeth for derailleur chain, not for BMX chain
https://surlybikes.com/parts/cassette_cog
https://surlybikes.com/parts/spacer_kit $40 :-/
Thank you. If I need to make a change, I'll keep it in mind. I've also been looking at the Wolf Tooth cogs as a possibility.
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Old 05-25-21, 08:32 AM
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Look at compressionless housings for the brake cables. One pack should have enough length to do both brakes.
I recently found these and probably won't use the traditional ones again for a build where full housings are required.
I used Jagwire but there are other brands.
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Old 05-28-21, 09:45 AM
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A little progress...

Chain fits tight with a 19T cog. A little stretch and wear and it should be pretty good without needing a tensioner. I disassembled the brake levers, and will be giving the bodies a new coat of paint. I had enough brake housing in my tool box to cut new pieces for this build, but I still need to pick up some cables. Brakes still need to be disassembled and cleaned, and the tires installed. Fingers crossed that I can make these old rims work in a tubeless setup.
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Old 05-30-21, 10:45 PM
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Success!! Tire setup went easier than expected. Cleaned the rims with degreaser and alcohol. One layer of electrical tape followed by one layer of Stan's tape. Tires went on with the help of a lever, but easily enough. I was pleasantly surprised that the tires seated and pumped up just fine with a regular floor pump, even before adding sealant. I pulled the valve cores, added sealant, re-inflated the tires, and rolled the sealant around. 2 days later, everything is doing just fine.

My final parts have been delivered. I'm looking forward to my first ride.
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Old 05-31-21, 09:49 PM
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Final assembly complete...




Frame: Trek 9900 (1999 "two face" paint)
Fork: Manitou Ti-SX
Wheels: Shimano XT/Mavic X517
Tires: Panaracer Fire XC Pro 26x2.1 (tubeless)
Stem: FSA OS-190
Handlebar: FSA XC-190
Grips: Bontrager Race Lite
Brakes: Avid Arch Rival 4.0
Levers: Shimano XT
Cranks: Specialized
Bottom Bracket: Shimano UN-71
Chainring: Origin8 32T
Cog: Shimano Hyperglide 19T
Chain: KMC 8.93
Pedals: Time Atac
Seatpost: True Temper Alpha Q
Seat: Specialized Toupe

Final weight: 21.5 lbs.

Hoping to get it in the dirt soon.

Last edited by Eric F; 05-31-21 at 10:15 PM.
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Old 05-31-21, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Final assembly complete...




Final weight: 21.5 lbs.

Hoping to get it in the dirt soon.
Thank you for sharing.
Is that fork air or coil spring?

And you didnít need one of those jockey wheel tension things. Good for you.
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Old 05-31-21, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
Thank you for sharing.
Is that fork air or coil spring?

And you didnít need one of those jockey wheel tension things. Good for you.
Coil spring. If I recall, air springs were just stating to be a thing when this bike was my main machine.

I'm very happy to have found a "magic" gear combination.
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Old 06-01-21, 08:12 AM
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Legit!
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Old 06-01-21, 09:54 AM
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Nice I recently did similar to my old Stumpjumper M2. Before I was even able to ride it a friend of mine bought it from me.
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Old 06-02-21, 11:49 AM
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First ride - all good! I'm very pleased with how everything worked out. 32x19 gearing is good, and now that I know it works, I will be upgrading the cassette cog to something non-ramped.
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Old 06-02-21, 03:52 PM
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What's the deal with the VW decal? Was it a team sponsor at the time? VW had that one Golf that they sold with a Trek MTB but it surely wasn't carbon
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Old 06-02-21, 07:49 PM
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Looks good!

What does a non-ramped cassette cog do?
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Old 06-03-21, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
Coil spring. If I recall, air springs were just stating to be a thing when this bike was my main machine.

I'm very happy to have found a "magic" gear combination.
I think that fork uses MCUs (sort of like a spongey elastomer). It may use an MCU/coil combo.
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Old 06-03-21, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
Looks good!

What does a non-ramped cassette cog do?
The key is what it doesnít do: shift.

Cogs on a cassette are designed to allow the chain to move from one cog to another. Ramps help the chain climb up to the next cog.

Single Speed cogs are designed to prevent the chain from leaving the cog. The teeth are often a little taller, and there is no need for ramps as there is no shifting to assist.
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Old 06-03-21, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
What's the deal with the VW decal? Was it a team sponsor at the time? VW had that one Golf that they sold with a Trek MTB but it surely wasn't carbon
VW was a sponsor of the pro team at the same time they did the Trek promotion bike with the Golf. My frame is the pro team version of the OCLV frame.
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