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Wanna get in shape? Make a single speed.

What is a singlespeed? A bike with only one gear, duh! Think the BMX bike you rode as a kid. But a mountain bike frame, or road bike frame and whatever gear ratio you choose.

The best thing about them? While there are dedicated SS frames, you can make one from just about any old bike for next to no scrilla. Take the big and small gears off the front cranks, throw them away. Take the shifters, derailleurs, cables, and throw them away. Take all the gears except one (18 or 20 tooth to start) off the rear cassette. Buy a spacer kit for the rear so the chain lines up straight with the front. Buy a chain tensioner to keep the chain tight. (does the job the rear D used to, you could use the rear D if you're poor but the chain path is ugly) Bam, you've just made a singlespeed.

Now go out and ride up some hills. It is sink or swim, all you have is your legs to get you to the top. No granny gear, no gear slipping to curse at or use as an excuse. Will get your legs in shape like nothing else.

Here is mine, a non-ghetto SS. Still relatively cheap for a serious MTBer. 24 lbs for under $600.

 

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man wheni used to race i had a single speed fixed gear. would start ridding it in late dec/early jan, was on form for the first races in feb! thats the only time i ever podiumed in the early season. but it was hell on my knees. you should go race in a velodrome!
 
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