Is it expensive/difficult to convert a geared bike to 1 spd?

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Stratocaster, May 13, 2007.

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  1. Stratocaster

    Stratocaster Guest

    I'm checking out a classic cruiser style bike today, but the thing has 5 gears...I wanted a simpler design with the coaster brake on it. It won't look very motor-cycly with gears on it.

    Is it tough to make it into a single-speed? And get rid of all the gearing stuff that's on it?

  2. JosephGarcia

    JosephGarcia Guest

    buy a new rear wheel, with 12 guage spokes. (that means the thickest spokes you see) It should come without the cassette attached. or buy a 1 speed rear wheel. always use 12 gauge spokes

    or you can remove the entire pedal drive system thing on your bike, the cassette, derailers, shifters, and pedals. Unless this is illegal in your area. as Motorized Bicycles have to have a small engine, AND pedals to be legal.

    I use footpegs in place of where my pedals use to be, never got in any trouble. I also ride my bike like a motorcycle.
  3. gone_fishin

    gone_fishin Guest

    my would, however, look VERY motoredBIKE-ly :p

    besides, there are many advantages to multi-speed freewheeling rear wheels, check around the board.
  4. DougC

    DougC Guest

    Re: Is it expensive/difficult to convert a geared bike to 1

    Short Answer: Yes

    Long Answer:
    Single-speed and multi-speed bikes are different at the rear dropouts--the metal plates at the back of the frame where the rear wheel bolts in.

    Single-speed bikes (like BMX bikes, and bikes that use a multi-speed rear hub) have horizontal slots, to allow shifting the wheel fore-and-aft to adjust the chain tension properly.

    Multi-speed bikes (like the typical "10-speed" bikes) have an angled slot for the axle to sit in. The rear axle doesn't need to be moveable fore-and-aft to adjust chain tension on these bikes, because the rear derailleur also serves as a chain tensioner.


    There are some expensive bikes that are convertible, by either the frames having convertible dropouts or by using an eccentric bottom bracket with vertical dropouts, but in either case these are specialized pieces that have to be welded into the frame when it's made. They're not going to be easily adaptable to a vertical-dropout frame.
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    My drop outs are all the angled type, like the ten speed you describe.

    All three bikes are coaster brake bikes. :???:
  6. Stratocaster

    Stratocaster Guest


    Thanks guys. This sounds like too much hassle then to bother. I'll just concentrate on finding a single-speed to keep it simple.
  7. Stratocaster

    Stratocaster Guest


    How do you take off without frying the clutch with no pedals? Or even start it?
  8. DougC

    DougC Guest

    -No, they're not.
    Single-speed bikes use rear droputs that allow the rear wheel to be shifted fore-and-aft somewhat, to provide a means of setting chain tension. Ten-speed type bikes have dropouts that don't allow the rear wheel to shift fore-and-aft at all.

    Like in this thread, showing one of your bikes:
    --the rear dropouts on this bike are technically at a slight angle, but these are still called "horizontal" dropouts, because the wheel can be shifted fore-and-aft.

    Here is a page showing the differences between some horizontal and vertical dropouts (scroll about halfway down):
    You can see that most of the "horizontal" dropouts aren't quite horizontal at all (-and Mr Brown argues that the rear-facing track "dropout" isn't a dropout at all, but anyway--it's what track bikes and kids BMX bikes use).
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Well, I guess I can delete that little confused face then, can't I?
  10. saylor

    saylor Guest

    110mm & 130mm

    BMX are 110mm and gear bikes are 130mm axles/frames/spacing whatever, ,, I think that's around 3/4" for us rednecks.

    I guess if you're up to modifying a motor onto a bike, this is not a big issue :)
  11. SpeedyG

    SpeedyG Guest

    Actually, if you look at your Sheldon "Have you seen my helmet?" Brown's reference... Please note that, except for the Raleigh 3 speed and the Track End, those are all "10 speed" dropouts. Even the one without a hanger. Also, except for the vertical and near-vert drops, they are all suitable for a single speed conversion.

    As for the 5 speed to single conversion... I would recommend against it. You would have to spend at least $150 because you're basically gonna have to replace some drive train components and probably a new rear wheel. Anyway, there are too many single speed cruisers already out there at yard sales just waiting to go home with you for $10.
  12. DougC

    DougC Guest

    Yea but those are also dropouts from older or upper-end frames, too. They were made that way on purpose, so that using them as single-speeds would be possible.

    Most cheaper bikes with rear derailleurs now aren't like that--they have semi-verticals. Sheldon mentions this part about "most cheaper bikes made since 1980..."
  13. SpeedyG

    SpeedyG Guest

    I thought we were talking about old bikes... if you just want the look then you could drop $200 on a brand new Giant Simple Single, or perhaps another brand, or go the garage sale route.