Although proven to be a real challenge, single gear Mtb still has its own fans. The daily commuters and urban bikers really love its simplicity and durability. But surely, it’s a challenge for mountain bikers. Find single gear mountain bike here!
- Part 1: The Best Products to Buy
- Part 2: Reasons to Have A Single Gear Mountain Bike
- Part 3: The Ultimate Buying Guide
- Part 4: Conclusion
Part 1: The Best Products to Buy
If you are a fan of single gear mountain bikes, consider these two best options:
Niner SIR 9 ($3,500)
If you want to buy a bike that is fully assembled and suitable for a more serious trail riding, then nothing would be better than Niner SIR 9. The SIR is an acronym for Steel is Real. So, is this single gear mountain bike actually made out of steel?
Short answer, yes. The SIR 9 uses the frame that’s taken from Reynolds 853 steel tubing that’s known for its durability and strength. It also has a better shock absorption capacity with the aesthetic of the high-grade steel frames.
The bike also uses the Fox 34 float fork to achieve better tunability that maximizes the 120 mm travel. The head tube is adjusted to 68 inches in size and placed on the steep side to support the buyer’s trail riding activity.
At a glance, SIR 9 parts are carefully designed for more serious mountain biking. It’s not the typical bike for urban or city riding. SIR 9 also has high-end braking power thanks to the Shimano XT hydraulic disc brakes that have 180 mm and 169 mm rotors on the front and back.
The Nobby Nic trail tires are useful to provide better traction with very minimum chances of slip and drag. If you want to do some backpacking, SIR 9 can easily accommodate you with the various mounts that are useful for mounting luggage. The nice thing about the bike is the support for both single-speed and also geared setups. So, if you feel that single-speed riding is so tiring, you can easily convert it into geared hardtail easily.
But as you may notice above, what people feared about this bike was the price. $3,500 is surely pricey, even for sports enthusiasts. But, with that amount of price, you can get yourself a top-of-the-line mountain bike that will crush any hard trails. The high-end materials and components compensate the price.
Surly Lowside ($1,250)
At a much lower price, you can find a bike called Surly Lowside. At $1,250, you can get a single-speed mountain bike that uses the traditional BMX style. It has a sturdy fork, 26 inches wheels, and pretty steep geometry.
The first and noticeable feature of this bike is the wheels. Surly is the leading corporation in the fat bikes wheels market. While these aren’t certainly slim tires, the Surly Dirt Wizard that applied is surely plus-sized. The bigger size may help in providing nice contact with any surface and be big enough for shock absorption.
While the simplicity of Lowside does look really clean and practical, it limits us with the components that can be considered as good but basic. For example, it has the SRAM NX crank that’s strictly taken from the mountain bike parts. It’s simple but really strong against all odds. The brakes are Tektro Hydraulic disc brakes that may not be equivalent parts for the better and pricier Shimano and SRAM. But, it does its job nicely by providing a responsive breaking experience while keeping the price down. If you want to be free from all the limits, Lowside provides enough room for upgrades. The frame can be changed, the head tube that supports fork that has shorter travel, and there’s also a derailleur as well for geared riding.
Lowside can be considered a suitable bike to buy if you are still new to mountain biking. It looks simple but allows further upgrades. Although it can be used for mountain biking activity, Lowside is preferable for urban cruising. So, you can use the bike for both purposes.
It’s also very affordable, especially for a bike that can be converted to accommodate various purposes and activities. It’s a great single-speed mountain bike that allows further upgrades as well without very strict limitations. Lowside is surely an attractive option for people who want to try a single-speed bike for the first time ever.
Part 2: Reasons to Have A Single Gear Mountain Bike
Although single-speed bikes are known to be strength-demanding, they’re not always bad. In fact, they may offer some benefits that you may not find in other types of bikes. See the advantages below:
They’re On The Trend Right Now!
While the world of mountain biking doesn’t really recognize the trend, the popularity of single-speed bikes is just inevitable. Everyone loves the simplicity that these bikes can offer. They are someone’s best friends for commuting and best pals for city riding. If you don’t believe how popular these bikes are, simply search for them on the search engines.
Everyone loves simple things, and single-speed bikes may give you the exact same thing. With the simple structure, you don’t have to dip your head into the mountain biking repair tutorials. Since the bikes work without selecting or adjusting the gear, you can just face any tricky downhill section head-on.
Single-speed bikes are way cheaper than other types. And that’s a fact. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t want to get spoiled in your new hobby, better pick single-speed bikes. You can, however, downgrade any mountain bike back to single speed for easier maintenance. But, you have to deal with the downsides and changes.
These bikes are certainly good options if you want to try a mountain bike. Don’t spend more money just to get a decent single gear mountain bike. While other people have to spend thousands, you only need hundreds to build a single-speed mountain bike.
Lighter, Nicer, Better
To compensate for the single-speed gear, many manufacturers created the bike lighter. There’s nothing that blocks you and your bike. There’s no advanced and complex technology. And all you need to do is just to pedal your way forward.
The single-speed bikes force you to be aggressive at all times. Since there’s nothing that could assist you, the speed performance highly depends on your capability and strength. Riding this kind of bike also provides a better workout routine.
Maintaining your bike could be another obstacle to conquer. If you don’t know what to do, your work could even ruin your bike even further. Thankfully, you may expect easier maintenance on the single-speed bike. Since it only has a simple structure, it’s easy to inspect and repair anything.
Part 3: The Ultimate Buying Guide
Before you start buying your own single-speed mountain bike, there are several reasons to consider.
As we explained before, most single-speed bikes come with alloy or steel frames. Alloy is lighter than steel, but steel is more robust and sturdier. Steel material is also able to withstand more extreme elements and is very easy to repair.
The material of the forks parts is also metal, with steel as the most popular option. But sometimes, you can also find the material of the forks is carbon fiber. Forks in single-speed bikes are usually designed with rigidness in mind. But, to make things simpler, you can always convert it into softer and more responsive forks.
The drivetrain in a single-speed usually has its chain to keep everything steady. This model makes the rear wheel dropout will usually face backward. The popular brands for drivetrain like SRAM, Shimano, or Campagnolo sadly don’t have dedicated parts for single-speed.
So, you want to look for the other brands in the competition, such as Paul Components, Miche, and Wood and Sugino, which are the specialists on the components for single-speed bikes. If you want to save more on budget, you can always look for other unknown brands that are still reputable in this industry. Keep the price and quality balanced.
Meanwhile, the gearing highly depends on the terrain you’re riding on, the bike type, and the user’s capability. Thus, it needs to be set in balance with your character so you may avoid getting spun out easily or hurting your knees.
Now there is a difference between the wheelsets in single speed bikes and others. Due to the frame structure, the wheelsets are designed symmetrical and do not lean on the right side. This is important to allow more easiness in flipping the hub and a more robust wheel thanks to wider bracing angles.
Part 4: Conclusion
Although often seen as a tiring bike, a single-speed bike is able to give you a more natural biking feel. It’s only you and your bike exploring the tracks and trails more naturally without any assistance from the complex biking technology. With this natural biking ride, a single-speed bike is surely a choice for anyone who wants to push their limits.
If you have any recommendations for the best single-speed bike, be sure to put your thoughts in the comment section.