Tuesday, June 12, 2007
when a single speed is really a three-speed
The biggest bike story in my life recently has been my destruction of the hardest working bike that I have, and my frustrated attempts to bring it back to life.
I think the rebirth has finally happened however. In this picture (below) you can see the hole I dug myself with this bike. When you are trying to straighten your non-replaceable derailleur hanger and it snaps off entirely - AND you obviously have a vertical dropout - you're pretty stuck for choices regarding what to do with your bike. You can no longer have gears for one thing (unless you want to buy some sort of fancy hub). So you have to set it up as a single-speed, and since you don't have a derailleur hanger and therefore can't use a chain tensioner (see my posts about my Kona singlespeed for tensioner pictures), and you have a vertical dropout, you are going to have a heck of a tough time getting the chain tension right.
I played around (a lot!) with different chainring and cog sizes, trying to get a match which would give me nice chain tension, but nothing was working. So - despite having read some negative stuff about them online, I went with a half-link. If you click on this picture and go over to the Flickr site, and choose the LARGE image of this picture, you'll see the half link a lot better.
I've ridden the Cannondale twice now set up like this, and so far everything is working great. I'm using a 44tooth chainring up front, and a 15 tooth cog on the back, and it seems like a nice gear to me. And the bike just flys right now. It's obviously lighter without the extra drivetrain components, but I also have brand new Easton Circuit wheels on the bike, and these wheels spin up really fast and then just zip along the road, so I'm pretty darn happy with the bike.
All these pictures from today and yesterday were taken outside the UOIT Library incidentally.
And what does the title of this post mean? Now that I have two bikes set up as singlespeeds (neither of them fixed incidentally), I've decided that you have three speeds when you're riding a single gear bike: