What is it with single-speed mountain bikes? What’s the temptation, and why would you bother in the first place? I mean isn’t that why the God of Bikes invented gears, so we could all make it to the top of the hill without having a heart attack?
Just kidding! Single-speed mountain bikes are affordable, easy to maintain, and even lighter without all those gears weighing them down. Single-speed mountain bikes have been gaining more and more fans. The reasons? Well, I am about to explain to you just that.
Benefits Of A Single-Speed Bike
Well, here’s a light-hearted list of 28 reasons why single-speed mountain bikes may be the best thing to have hit the mountain bike community since they invented gears…
1. They Are The New “IT”
The single-speed bicycles are the new “IT”. I should begin by saying I’ve never really understood the concept of things being ‘in vogue.’ Nor does anyone else, especially when it comes to mountain bikes. Things in the cycling world don’t move at the same pace as fads do in other walks of life.
Just google “26” vs 29” and see what comes up. More and more people are trying it so maybe there’s something to it. Maybe the revolution will die soon but we can still try it to see what’s the fuss all about, can’t we?
2. They Are Simple To Use
Pedal and ride and there’s no need to be mucking around with gears, wires, derailleurs, etc. Pedal and ride. You don’t have to worry about gear selection as you go into a tricky downhill section. You can just hammer in thinking about what’s coming at you instead.
Not that worrying about your gears is that much of an issue anyway, but it’s only when it’s no longer a concern you realize how much time you spend thinking about shifting up and down the gears.
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3. Not Everyone Understands The Multi-Geared System
In truth, most people couldn’t tell the difference between 10 speeds and 50 speeds when riding in the first place. Yeah, I know, you can. Of course, you can. It’s everyone else we’re talking about here. Especially the Sunday gearheads who spend their working week googling mountain bikes and only get out for a few hours on Sunday.
4. They Are Affordable
Oh Hell yes, it’s cheaper. That’s especially true if you can do it yourself. I was about to say that downgrading any mountain bike to a single speed is quite an easy task, relatively speaking, but that would be the wrong choice of word. Customize! That’s the word. Let’s start again. Customizing any mountain bike to a single speed is quite an easy task, and also quite cheap to do.
5. They Offer A Simple Ride!
It’s just you and the bike – And it can all get Zen quick. No tech, no nothing; just you, and the bike. There is nothing more that I enjoy than a smooth ride on my bike without the hassle of worrying about the gears. The thing is, you have to be super focused on changing the gears all the time when you are on multi-speed bicycles. For me, it’s the opposite of relaxing
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6. You’ll Enjoy More Aggressive Riding
You’ll have no choice but to be aggressive. There is none of the spinnings to get around obstacles. You will be riding faster and with better control. It makes things more challenging and if you are a mountain riding junkie like me, more challenging means more fun.
7. You’ll Have A Lighter Bike
Single-speed bikes are much lighter since they host fewer components as compared to multi-speed bikes. For example, the Spot Rallye SS weighs about 18 lbs compared to the Bombtrack Outlaw which weighs around 24 lbs. This is because they lack components such as multiple chainrings, derailleurs, and shifters. The smart zealots who build their custom build do have this tendency to leave their bikes with the option of reattaching or leaving their rear derailleurs on.
Even if they don’t, how much weight can be saved by removing a cassette in the first place? Well, that is the reason some people spend thousands on carbon bits and bobs for their bikes to save grams, and here’s some uppity maniac saving the weight for free.
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8. They Are Easy To Build
It’s a great way to build a mountain bike on a budget. Several years ago, after I busted my nice expensive (for me, at the time $400 would have been a fortune.) Kona did some stupid stuff on the downhill, I couldn’t afford to replace it.
Had I known that single-speed mountain bikes were a thing and that I could have built a better bike on my own, for next to nothing just by having a semi-decent frame, I would have done. I cursed the internet for not being a thing when I was young.
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9. They Are Simple To Maintain
Maintenance isn’t a hassle on a fixed-gear bike. The more stuff you have on a bike, the more tech. The more likely it is to break. So the more time you’re going to spend tightening stuff and maintaining it. You won’t have to make trips to the local bike shop just for maintenance.
Get this: Single-speed mountain bikes have next to nothing to look after apart from a chain, and two cogs. It’s also really easy to see what’s gone wrong when it goes wrong. For someone like me, who likes the friendly and easy path through life, it’s a bit of a no-brainer.
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10. You Will Have Improved Mountain Biking Skills
If you ever talk to anyone who has devoted themselves to the crazy world of single speed, they will swear blind they are a better rider because of it. There’s some truth to those statements of course. Because you have no gears to fall back on you will have to force your way through the more challenging sections of the trail and just deal with the pain afterward.
Without a doubt, you will question the insanity that had you choosing a single speed at the time as you power your way up a hill, but you will feel stronger, fitter, and more developed as a rider afterward.
That’s because going uphill you will be standing the whole way up the hill, and having to rely on your skill and technique more. You will have to anticipate what is coming up ahead in a way you don’t have to on a geared bike.
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11. You Will Have Stronger Legs
Your legs will get strong. You will look like you work out constantly after just a few weeks. Of course, you won’t need to go to the gym when you ride a single speed, because you’ll be working out on the trail. All that side-to-side movement you generate up in your pedals will also give you a really good upper body workout.
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12. Want To Enjoy A Worry-Free Ride?
No need to worry about the bike or which part of your bike you’re going to rip to shreds. Because there’s very little to tear off the bike. If you wipe out, there’s more of a chance the bike will all still be there when you get back up.
13. They Don’t Make Annoying Ridding Sounds
Is there any worse sound than that of a slapping ticking annoying chain, or gears crunching when they shift? No there is not. That might be the single biggest thing you notice, after the pain in your legs.
It can make a real change to notice the sound of your tires on the ground over and above everything else. It can almost make you feel kind of Zen-like.
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14. It Keeps Life Interesting
You’ve decided to try something new. Why not? Sometimes constantly shifting up and down gears and rising the same trails again and again, going down the same hills. No matter how fast you get up there doing it, pulling the same jumps can get boring.
Let’s be honest, that’s what most of us do in any case. We get out there and we ride the same stuff again, and again, and again. Well, except for me. I spent most of my time traveling Europe in the last summer. For the last year or so, I was traveling around in a camper van with my bike strapped to the back just moving from trail to trail. That was the summer of my life!
The point I’m trying to make is that most of us have to work for a living. Therefore we ride the same stuff week in and week out. By getting our hands on a single speed, every trail suddenly becomes new again. How you approach every corner, every rock garden, and every berm is a brand-new experience. At least that’s what I learned on my short trip. Try it.
15. It’s Efficient
Your chain doesn’t have to sneak its way around gear pulleys that are at an angle. So all the power you put in is transferred directly from your legs to the ground. The chain will also loop straight back around the rear cog so the force can also be applied directly to the wheel.
16. Feels Special
It feels special. There is something rather nice looking and elegant about a nice well-made single-speed mountain bike. No bits are hanging off it, and the a lack of shifters up on the handlebars or errant gear wires. It makes you feel good. Isn’t that nice? Everyone should feel good about themselves.
It feels like you’ve accomplished something when you manage to hard pedal your way to the crest of a bitch of a climb. People will respect you, although grudgingly if you manage to get to the top of a trail at a single speed.
17. You’ll Look Like A Pro!
You’ll look like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. That’s true. People will either think you’re crazy or know what you’re at. Either of these options works for me. But in truth, this works well.
If anyone questions your ability, you can just tell them, ‘I was after a new challenge, I’ve done everything else.’ At this point, you should look out across the trail with a thousand-yard stare like you are remembering all the comrades you used to ride with who didn’t make it.
18. It Feels Nostalgic
It’s like finally being able to ride a grown-up BMX. Could this be the real reason behind single-speed mountain bikes? Are the single speeders just nostalgic for their childhood, for a simpler time when movies were good, and we all knew that Communism was the enemy?
Riding A Single-Speed Mountain Bike- My Experience
Of course, I am already a convert. I rode a single-speed mountain bike throughout the 80s and through most of the 90s, but back then, no one ever batted an eyelid at me.
Now when I mention to my cycling buddies I’m thinking about building myself one again, they all look at me like I’ve just gone face down in the mud full-on nuts crazy. When I say, ‘But I owned one for years….’ They reply, ‘Your BMX wasn’t a mountain bike. It doesn’t matter you used to ride it like it was…’
But they have a point. If single-speed gearing on a mountain bike was as good as its proponents said it was, and gears were not all that most people think they are, then more people would have them, wouldn’t they? And yet, almost all of us learned how to ride our first bike with just one gear. But aside from that, you know Single speeds have quite a lot going for them.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m firmly in the ‘everyone should own one of every type of bike, or more,’ category, depending on their situation. That’s why I have a 29” mountain bike so I can keep up with my friends, and also my trusty 26” Kona Shred for when I go out on my own. The point I’m trying to make here is that: No matter what it is that others say when it comes to bikes, the only thing that matters, is what you think. Nothing else matters.
Are single-speed bikes OK for hills?
Yes, single-speed mountain bikes are ok for hills but it depends on the strength of the rider
Do single-speed bikes last longer?
Yes, single-speed bikes last longer because they have fewer components. So there is less risk of damage involved.
What type of bike is best for hills?
Mountain or hybrid bikes, with a wide range of gears, are best suited for hills.
Are single-speed bikes good for beginners?
Yes, single-speed bikes are good for beginners because they are simpler and easier to use.
How do you stop on a single-speed bike?
You can either pedal backward or use the brake to stop on a single-speed bike.
Just so you know, it also works as the greatest excuse, for everything. If you struggle with anything, you can just say: ‘Ahh, one gear.’ It works in any situation, even in a nightclub or while fishing! How cool is that?
Anyway, most people who own an FS MTB will wear armor and probably have more money than knowledge in any case. Some of the best MTB riders I ever met, were the ones who rode singlespeed bikes. It’s a great leveler.
Too many riders rely on their bikes to get them out of trouble, instead of relying on themselves. Which one are you? Drop a comment down below and let me know!
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