He’s Thinking of Making a Bike a Single Speed and Needs A bit of Advice

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Robert L. Craig lives in Michigan, In and is building himself a single speed from some old equipment that he has “acquired” he wants a little advice on gearing and anything else he might need to know about single gears.



Question: While at my cousins this week I adopted a Panasonic touring deluxe road bike from the 80s. Although I took it for parts I have discovered it to be a really nicely made bike with all Japan made components.

I am thinking of making it a single speed and have fit a nice set of 700 track wheels with a 16T cog freewheel in place of the rusty spoke 27s. The cantilever brakes will work nicely.

single-speed-cranksimage mtbr.com

The triple crank set has a 48 and a 42 chain ring and you can fit ether to the outside position. Which would be best for this type of bike? The roads hear are mostly flat but it is very windy all the time.

I am used to building bikes with lots of gears but like the simplicity of the single speed rebirth going on. Any advice is always appreciated.

Robert.

Hi Robert

If you live in a fairly flat area I would go for the 48 tooth chain ring, because with a 42 tooth chain ring with a 16 tooth free wheel you will be spinning your legs off and probably you will never get on top of the gear even uphill into a head wind, your legs will be a blur most of the time.

Single speed track bike

So the 48 x 16 will be the best gear, personally I would go for a fixed wheel gear as it gives you great bike control and teaches you to pedal properly and smoothly.

Track Bike

Make sure that you have a straight chain between the chain wheel and the sprocket, because if this is off line it will wear out quicker and the chain will jump occasionally making it dangerous and not much fun to ride.

To get a perfect chain line you can use spacing washers on the bottom bracket to move everything across. Smaller spacers can be inserted between the chain rings and the crank for a slight adjustment. As long as the chain looks straight and runs well then it should be OK, test it by spinning the cranks backwards as this push the chain off if it is not.

Will the 700c wheels fit OK into the 27 inch brakes? It’s very important to check that the brakes work properly. Good luck Robert should be fun!


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