Arizona Mountain Biking
San Tan Parksinglespeed

I’ve Converted

san tan singlespeeder.jpg

Today was my first singlespeed ride since 1984. And that’s only if you count BMX riding the Arco in T.O. I tell you, I wasn’t very convinced singlespeeding was going to be anything special until I was riding in the San Tans one day. As I rode around on the Fuel EX 9, I thought…these trails are not so technical that I need this much bike…they’re not so steep that I need this many gears…especially a granny!

Then I thought about my trusty 2001 GT Avalanche sitting in the garage with flat tires and a 1997 LX drivetrain that only I knew how to shift properly. The Avalanche frame was a warranty frame for my 1995 GT Karakoram that cracked. Sweet memories on both bikes.

So I went ahead and spent some change for a Forte singlespeed conversion kit at Performance, a SRAM singlespeed chain, and a new hard-to-find five bolt 94 mm BCD front chain ring to fit the old school LX crank arm. My local shop up the street (Arizona Bike Source) had one in red.

So for under 50 bucks I got a new bike. Tack on the Maxxis Crossmark tires and total cost was a bit more, but the Crossmark 2.1 tires roll like pie crust. Went straight to the San Tans and had a blast burning through the trails. A hardtail is all the bike you need to ride the San Tans, and I dare say that ONE is all the gear you need too. I’m starting on 34/18 ratio, and after a few rides I might go to 16.

Fighting the tendency to shift is a hoot. Even after 9 miles my right index finger dropped down and ghost shifted down after cresting a hill and picking up speed on the down. On the climbs it was easy to remember I had no gears, I just hammered into them. Over the course of the trail, I think I actually rode faster on one speed that with all the gears. Go figure.

This is my year of exploration and now all the trails in the valley are new to me and my singlespeed. The adventure never ends, only the shifting.


From SanTan Singlespeed

8 thoughts on “I’ve Converted

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  • Dave, the 34/18 has been perfect for me so far. After the initial shock of stalling up a few hills, I’m learning to keep momentum and now I’m cleaning all my favorite trails. After a few more rides I’m going to drop down to 34/16 and give the same trails another few spins. Hammering on the singlespeed has really pushed my strength limits… I get more of a workout in less time.

    Good luck with your Cannondale conversion.

  • awesome! last year i converted a 700cc and had a blast running around the city. this year im converting my hardtail a cannondale headshock and have narrowed in on 34:18 ratio — so i googled it and hit your blog. im a little outashape (ok a lot) lol.. hopefully that chainring will give me some good growth. how’s the 34:18 working out for you?

  • We should start calling them the San Tan Singlespeed trails. I’d love to give El Mariachi a spin. Let’s plan our first QCRO group ride soon.

  • I couldn’t agree more re: STRP & SS being all you need. If you think what you did was fun, try it with a rigid fork & 29″ wheels! That’s all I ride out there. We’ll have to hook up for a ride sometime and I’ll let you give my El Mariachi a go…

    And thanks for joining QCRO!

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