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Single speed bike

Turning Our Bike into a Single Speed – Tutorial

If our chain breaks or our shifter fails during a tour, turning our bike into a single speed can allow us to return home.

If the shifter breaks, single speed is often the solution

The shifter can break for a variety of reasons. In this case, we examined the case of a broken shifter support.

There is a little support of the shifter which can be removable or simply be at the extremity of the frame, on the rear fork. Either way, the shifter is fastened on it. This small part can break, riding or even during an airborne transport.

Several solutions to repair it

The first solution requires a special tool that is too heavy to bring on a tour. It’s definitely necessary to repair it correctly. The second solution is taking along a spare support, it weighs only few grams. If we don’t have it, and the support is only slightly bent, we can try to redress it with pliers. If it’s not possible, the only choice is to turn our bike into a single speed.

Turning our bikes into a single speed in a few steps

  1. First, we remove the shifter cable from its fastening bolt
  2. Then we unscrew the bolt that fastens the shifter to the frame, taking away the shifter.
  3. We take off the chain, opening one of its links with a chain snatcher.
  4. Now we choose the best suitable speed to ride back home, paying attention to choose a speed that allows the chain to be aligned, perfectly parallel to the frame, as we explained in our post about correctly shifting. Otherwise the chain will slip off the cassette.
  5. We now shorten the chain. In order to calculate the correct length, we position it on the chain ring and on the cassette. We eliminate the links that have become superfluous, the shifter being no longer in place.
  6. We then apply a master link or fast release link to the chain that has to be correctly tensioned, not loose. Our bike is now a single speed.

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