Single-Speed Cyclocross

You can train with your wallet, or you can just train hard. Single-speed cyclocross is one of the few ways to truly know how strong of a rider you are. Without the usual variety of gear options, derailleurs, and shifters, single-speed cyclocross bikes are light, simple, and easy to maintain.

Most single speed frames fit standard size road wheels, use common bottom brackets, and allow for a standard seat post. With a few exceptions, you can take any geared road bike and transfer over the standard components to build a single speed bike. Your dream of a disc single-speed or non-standard eccentric bottom bracket may be tougher to pull together, but single speed bikes are, by design, simple. They are also one of my favorite style of bikes to work on.

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Paul, a local Tacoma masters road rider, wanted to get into cross. His only request was that “I don’t want to break it, or buy any fancy parts.” Great! Let’s get started. The bike is on loan from a friend, and as a nice gesture, Paul went ahead with a solid once-over on the bike: new bearings, wheels, tires, handlebar tape, cables/housing, and pads.

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Again, the best part about a single speed is they are compatible with most any traditional wheelset. A simple cog and some spacers will convert these 1,425g, Giant tubeless, carbon clinchers into a lightweight, stiff, and aggressive ‘cross setup.

Note: While I typically do not condone internal nipples on any cyclocross wheelset, this is an exception. Truing a tubeless setup is much easier than spot truing a carbon tubular with internal nipples.

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I am a big supporter of Wheels Manufacturing. All the cups and housing for bottom brackets are machined and anodized in the U.S. The cups can also be re-used after the bearings are worn out. Lastly, the ABEC-3 rated bearings spin almost like a hybrid ceramic (See the video below).
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Stan’s NoTubes new “race” sealant has larger crystals to plug even larger punctures than traditional sealant. It has been developed over the last ten years and is finally available for 2016. Paired with the new Clement PDX tubeless tire, this is a extremely durable setup. The initial seal was so good that I was able to inflate and seat the tires with a floor pump.

After going through the bike and installing its new jewelry, I am pleased to say Paul has himself a solidly built, handsome, single-speed cyclocross bike.

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Good luck to you this 2016-2017 ‘cross season, Paul, and make the other guys hurt.


*UPDATE: Paul has already raced is his first three events. Cat4 55+ at Labor Day Cross in Steilacoom, WA,  Cat4 45+ MFG#1, Lake Samma-mamma-mamma-ish, and Cross Revolution, Arlington, WA with terrific results, and no mechanical issues whatsoever. He is only getting faster with every race. https://www.crossresults.com/racer/142466

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