I just converted an old early '70s Raleigh Record (found in a yardsale for $10) into a Singlespeed roadie, all it needed was tires, tubes and brake pads, she rides quite nicely for a bike almost as old as i am, still needs a clean-up job and the drop bars retaped, but other than that, a nice old classic…
why did i singlespeed her, as opposed to fix her up with more modern shift componentry?
well, first, it was cheaper (free) as all i did was yoink off the crappy Derlin plastic Simplex components, and shorten the chain
second, there’s something…pure and simple…about riding a singlespeed bike, it’s closer to the bikes i grew up on as a kid, those were largely singlespeed (well, my old Schwinn Stingray Chopper had a 3 speed internal hub, but other than that…), a singlespeed is quiet (no deraileur clatter or chain rattling)
it’s simple and reliable, a front gear, a back gear, and a chain, can’t get much simpler than that, there’s no deraileurs to constantly or worry about going out of whack or getting damaged
it’s more efficient, the chainline is completely straight and doesn’t have to wind thru a series of serpentine pulleys, or be angled off center, nearly 100% of your pedal stroke goes to driving the rear wheel, and you don’t need to worry about being in the wrong gear for the conditions, because there is only one gear
it makes you a stronger biker, no “cheating” and switching down to the “granny gear” for hillclimbs, you need to maximize your efficiency for climbing hills, even if that means getting off the seat and standing on the pedals to get a stronger pedal stroke
the only drawback is it’s addictive, once you’ve ridden a well-tuned SS, you’ll either fall in love with the simplicity and pure power delivery, or hate it and go back to your gearie, if you find you like the SS, you’ll begin to formulate plans to switch all your bikes (assuming you have more than one) to SS…
i’m looking at my commuter Fila Taos MTB thinking that IT would make a nice Singlespeed, i just need to save up and slap on a chain tensioner and i can yoink off all the crappy Suntour shift componentry…
as a side poll, what’s your favorite frame material?
Carbon Fiber/Aluminum hybrid
personally, i love the old classic steelies, steel framed bikes just feel more “alive” to me, it’s hard to put into words, but to me, a classic steel frame bike just feels…right