Most mountain bikes have multi-gear options, which is beneficial for efficient speed. If you want to gain maximum speed with minimal effort, then multi-geared bikes are the best option.
However, sometimes, we do not just need speed and efficiency. Maybe you want to do some dirt jumping, exercise, and aerial stunts. You do not require speed efficiency, or maybe your old multi-geared bike is taking too much space in the garage, so you want to give it a new life and make it worthwhile.
Convertable Mountain Bikes
Single-speed mountain bikes are more efficient on smooth roads. Eliminating the front and rear derailleur, cassette (sprockets), 9-sp chain, shifters make riding simpler. Therefore, you do not have to worry about which gear to use while riding.
Moreover, the lightweight drivetrains and fewer mechanical parts make it much more straightforward and reliable than multispeed. You do not need to mess with the rear derailleur; it sometimes makes riding too much frustrating.
Here, I will elaborate step by step method and tools to convert your complete suspension mountain bikes to a single speed bike:
What Do You Need to Convert to Single-Speed?
- Single-speed rear cog
- Cog Spacer
- Single-speed chain or eights chain
- Chain tensioner
- Locking and chain whip
- Chain removal tool
- Allen wrenches of various sizes
Steps to Convert to Single Speed Mountain Bike:
- Remove Unnecessary Components
- Uninstall Reusably
- Align the Cog and Spacer
- Join the Chain
- Attach the Chain Tensioner
Remove Unnecessary Components First; you have to remove all unnecessary items from mountain bikes like front and back derailleurs, shifters on the handle, shift cables. You will need a screwdriver and Allen wrenches of various sizes to remove all these parts. Most bike kits have all these Allen wrenches.
Use the chain removal tool to remove the chain. You will have to keep the chain in a safe place to reuse it.
The sprocket cassette is detached from the wheel hub, and the rear wheel is removed from the frame. Use chain whip, wrench, and locking tool to remove the cassette. Hold the cassette by chain whip steady, use locking, and twist to remove the cassette.
Align the Cog and Spacer
After removing the cassette, it is time to put the cog spacer in the rear wheel to ensure the SS cog will be straight with the front chainrings. Put the rear cog on the top of the cog spacer.
If your chainring has multiple drivetrains, then it is time to remove different drivetrains (chainrings) from both sides of the pedals. It will reduce the weight of mountain bikes by an excess amount. From removing chainrings, you first have to remove whole drivetrains from both sides by bolt screw.
Now uninstall extra chainrings from the drivetrain by using a screwdriver. Keep the most prominent chainring only, which is on the top. After removing the small chainring, reinstall the drivetrains.
Join the Chain
Now the last step is to figure the required length of the chain. Put the chain in the rear cog and chainring and assume how much chain you have to cut by placing one end at another possible end after cutting it down.
Cut down the extra chain and join both ends using the chain removal tool. The chain may be slightly loose, so now you have to install a chain tensioner in the place of the derailleur. Complete suspension mountain bikes always need a gear tensioner. However, you get the perfect combo of both ends because the chain loses with rear shocks compressed.
Attach the Chain Tensioner
Chain tensioners are of various types; some push chains up, and some push chains down. Pushes up chain tension also works well because they make more teeth of the rear cog engage with a chain to make fewer chances of slipping down. Pushdown tensioners also work fine and look more decent and reliable.
Low-Cost Converting (Reuse Cassette)
You can skip installing the rear cog, cog spacer and use a sprocket cassette instead. You can save money, but this will not provide the comfort of a light SS cog. Put the chain first in the chainring and then the cross pondering sprocket in a straight line.
Usually, the chain line will be on the middle sprocket. You will not need to align the spacer and cog; it is a time-saving and low-cost method. Install the chain tensioner in the place of the derailleur.
Addition Upgrade – SS Chain Rings
For extra comfort, you can use single-speed chainrings with more prominent teeth and do not have to shift pins and a ramp, so fewer chances of the chain slipping out. You will feel more efficient use of energy.
What Gear is a Single-Speed Bike?
Single-speed bikes have hard gear. The exact measure varies on the size of chainring and cogs, but usually, they have 42t-12t (42 teeth front chainring and 12 teeth rear cog) hard gear. However, the broader and longer teeth provide better efficiency on smooth roads than multi-geared mountain bikes in the same gear.
What Is Fixed Gear Vs. Single Speed?
Single-speed bikes have a freewheel cog with balls bearings, which makes wheels rotation free from cogs. Fixed gears have cogs directly attached to the wheel, so when the wheel rotates, the cog also rotates, thus pedals and vice versa. Fixed gears are preferable for the snow and winter season because you can directly control the power transmission with pedals.
Can I Put Gears On A Single Speed Bike?
Yes, you can put gears on single-speed bikes. Most mountain bikes have suitable vertical dropouts for gear. You have to check the dropout of the bike, so it can install gears or not! However, putting gears on a single speed is costly, so most people sell SS bikes and buy new gear bikes.
Is It Hard To Ride A Single Speed Bike?
Generally no! Single-speed bikes are much easier to ride. You do not have to mess with derailleur and multiple drivetrains. They have excessively lightweight drivetrains with fewer mechanical parts, which makes them more reliable.
Can Single Speed Bikes Go Up Hills?
Climbing hills on single-speed mountain bikes is a challenging task because they have hard gear. One way to do it is to attack the uphill on a flat surface; maintain the pace before climbing up hills and going towards them.
If you get rid of the derailleur, shifters, and multiple drivetrains, it is better to switch to Single speed. They require less maintenance due to fewer mechanical parts and are lightweight.
They have significantly fewer chances of slipping due to large teeth and eliminated shifting ramps and pins. Performance in the same gear of multi-gear bikes is much better on a single speed. You can give a new life to old multi-gear mountain bikes by converting them into a single speed.