FAQs

We get a lot of questions about our range and about what parts fit with what.

Take a look to see if we've already replied to yours, and let us know if not. In general we often send people to these five very useful pages, all at the site www.sheldonbrown.com:

Measuring the chainline of your chainset Scroll down the linked page for explanation

Measuring your frame spacing Scroll down a bit for images/explanation. Don’t alter the spacing on your frame unless you are confident you are not going to damage it

Working out what bottom bracket type your frame needs Depends on the four dimensions shown in this table

Working out what BCD your chainset is

Working out the caliper length you need Scroll down a bit for images/explanation. Also shows how to measure the size of an existing brake (rather than those ones that don't exist...)

As well as www.sheldonbrown.com the London Fixed Gear and Single Speed (LFGSS) on-line community is also a great resource

Click On A Question:

    1. Wheels

      1. Can you explain your different imported wheels?
      2. A bit more detail about the differences between Workhorse, Carthorse, Premium and Traditional wheels?
      3. What about the traditional style wheels?
      4. I want something high spec, should I get a custom build?
      5. Which Wheel Should I Buy? I'm a... YOUR PROFILE HERE
      6. What size tyres fit on your wheels?
      7. I am doing up an old Raleigh bike frame which part do I measure to get the spacing correct?
      8. My 10 speed bike has 123mm frame spacing, do I want a 120 or 126mm wheel?
      9. I have a Frame built for 27”, what wheel should I get?
      10. My bike was built with 27", should I stick to this size or move to 700c?
      11. My frame has 135mm spacing what wheel should I buy?
      12. I have a Mountain Bike or Hybrid, do you have a wheel for me?
      13. How do I find out the wheel spacing I need?
      14. My concern with buying a "value" wheel set such as this is the quality of the build - will the wheels be properly tensioned, true, and ready to ride? Will I need to have them adjusted after a few miles? Are they put together in a factory or built by hand yourselves?
      15. Do your wheels come with Rim Tape? What kind? Rubber, plastic or fabric?
      16. What hub spacing are the front wheels on the wheelsets you sell?
      17. I want to ride with a freewheel but you only seem to sell the Ambrosio and Miche hubs as fixed or double fixed gear, what can I do?
      18. Is the rear wheel symmetrical spoked?
      19. I have a frame with vertical dropouts; can I ride fixed gear with a tensioner?
      20. Can I put a 5 speed freewheel on this flip flop wheel you sell?
      21. I have fitted the rear wheel and it is great but I have a problem with the front wheel. The axle is too thick to fit in the fork dropouts. What can you recommend?
    2. Chainline

      1. If I buy a wheelset, cogs and a chainset and bottom bracket will the bottom bracket you supply fit my frame and by buying the complete kit will that give me a straight chain line?
      2. I bought a chainset from you and it doesn’t line up with my rear wheel. What’s happened?
      3. The cog on the wheel you sold me doesn’t line up with my chainset? Is this the wrong wheel? Can I move the cog?
      4. Will your chainset and bottom bracket line up with my rear wheel?
      5. Are your hubs different sizes or do you just put spacers on the wheels? Does this affect the chainline of the wheels so they won’t line up with my chainset?
    3. Chainset, Bottom Bracket & Chainring

      1. Which chainset would you recommend?
      2. Which chainset is better, the Sunrace Sturmey Archer or the SSC Modern?
      3. Do you do a 48t version of the SSC Modern?
      4. Could you advise which BB you provide with your chainsets? I'm not sure which size I need but its a British thread.
      5. How do I know if the bottom bracket you supply will fit my frame?
      6. My frame has an old Raleigh bottom bracket in it, will it work with your chainsets?
      7. How good is the Gebhardt Chainring?
      8. I have recently brought my first fixie, a second hand Charge and I am looking to replace the 42T Chainring. Could you please advise on what I require and if you can supply it?
      9. I'm converting a hybrid to a single speed. Do I need to replace the crank or can I use one of the chainrings already present on the bike?
      10. I want to use one of the existing two chainrings on my road bike for my conversion. Which one is best to use?
      11. Do you sell chainring bolts for a single chainwheel?

1 Wheels

1.1. Can you explain your different imported wheels?

All our wheels are good quality and excellent value for money. We have chosen them for their durability, aesthetics and price and we think we’ve done a good job (though we keep working to give a better offer).

The best value comes from our imported Workhorse, Carthorse or Premium wheels. If you ride pretty sympathetically and are willing to do regular maintenance I would expect all three of these models to get you past 10,000 miles. We've done just under 7,500 miles on these. Here we describe the three wheels:

Workhorse - Our lowest price wheel is the Workhorse, it has double walled rims, cnc brake surfaces and sealed bearings. While all wheels need to be trued and their bearings changing every now and again we think that the Workhorse should last about 4,000 miles with little maintenance needed. It should go on to do many more miles beyond this.

Carthorse - This wheel has the same hub as the Workhorse but two small differences in the rim - it is wider (can take a tyre from 28-44mm wide) and it has single eyelets in the rim holes giving more strength. This wheel is designed for people who want to ride wider tyres and perhaps to carry heavier loads (on panniers or whatever). We'd say the extra strength of the rim brings this wheel up to more like 5-6,000 miles with little maintenance (maybe a true or two).

Premium - the Premium has a higher quality Quando hub - really smooth and very nice looking - than the Workhorse and Carthorse. The rim comes with single eyelets, or in our upcoming Premium+ double eyelets - bother offering extra strength over the Workhorse. We’d say you’ll get more like 6-8,000 miles with very little maintenance from the Premium.

For us, because we like the design of the Premiums and they offer a smoother ride we usually go for them. But in terms of the mileage you'll get for your English pound the Workhorse probably wins.

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1.2 A bit more detail about the differences between Workhorse, Carthorse, Premium and Traditional wheels?

Sure, have a look at this table and then our summary:

Wheel Name Hub Rim
Sealed Bearings Smoothness Double Walled with CNC Braking Surface Eyelets Tyre Width Allowed
Workhorse Yes Quite Yes No 18-28mm
Carthorse
Yes Quite Yes Single 28-44mm
Premium Yes Very very Yes Single 18-28mm
Traditional Style Yes Very No, neither No 25-37mm
Premium+ and
Retro Modern Classic
Yes Very very Yes Double 18-28mm

Hubs: The Workhorse and Carthorse have the same sealed bearing hub which is reliable but not super smooth. The Premium hub is a bit nicer looking, has a slightly nicer polished finish and is incredibly smooth. The bearings on the Premium will likely last longer. See section 1.3 for a description of the Traditional Style wheel.

Rims: All the imported wheels - Workhorse, Carthorse and Premium - have double walled rims made from the same alloy material and all have cnc brake surfaces. However the Carthorse and Premiums have single eyelets, and the Premium+ double eyelets, which makes them stronger. The Carthorse wheel accepts a wider tyre. See section 1.3 for a description of the Traditional Style wheel.

Spokes/Build: All the imported wheels are from the same factory with the same kind of stainless steel spokes, very reliable good wheels. Traditional Style wheels are well built from stainless spokes in the UK.

To summarise: the Premiums look a bit better and are stronger, a smoother ride and more reliable. You shouldn't have any trouble getting about 4,000 miles out of the Workhorses... and more! And the Carthorse is like the Workhorse but with a stronger, wider rim. Note that you have to do some maintenance - spoke changes, truing and at some point bearing changes. The Traditional Style we explain below.

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1.3 What about the Traditional Style wheels?

Only buy these if you really like the traditional look of the rim, and the overall visual effect this gives, otherwise the Premium is a better wheel for a lower price.


The hubs on these are very nice, pretty much on a par with those of the premium. Very smooth, nicely finished, and reliable.

But the rims are significantly lower spec than our workhorse ones, let alone the Premiums:

They are single walled and without a CNC braking surface (all our others are double walled and with this); and they have no eyelets (Carthorse and Standard Premiums have single eyelets, Premium+ has double eyelets).

So, the Premium wheel is both cheaper and significantly higher spec than the traditional one…

…but it doesn’t look like it just came from 1978.

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1.4 I want something high spec, should I get a custom build?

Well we'd suggest you look at three options:

1. SSC Premium - in silver, black or gold - is good quality and excellent value because we import it ourselves - £100 for a set. As a ball park we'd say they'll do about 6,000 miles with little trouble, just some truing and maybe a bit of adjusting on the bearings.

2. SSC Premium+ and Retro Modern Classic - have double eyeletted rims rather than the single eyelets of the standard Premium. This means it is at essentially the same high specification level as our custom builds but still at a lower price of £145 or £165 for a set. We'd extend the mileage life one or two thousand miles for these.

3. Custom Builds - As standard we offer either Mavic Open Pro or Ambrosio Excursion rims. And either Ambrosio or Miche hubs. For super hub quality we can source higher spec Ambrosio, Suzue or Campagnolo track hubs which are significantly more expensive. You're welcome to request a quote with any other rim - just get in touch.

Hubs: Though I have no qualitative data on this I'd suggest that the Ambrosio hub may be about 10% better than the Quando one on our Premium wheels, and the Miche hub maybe 20% better - we're talking about generally toughness and longevity here. The Suzue is an unknown quantity except that it is a brand I have heard a lot of good things about and these hubs look great.

The rims: I think that the Open Pro and Excursion are essentially identical, both are excellent double walled, double eyeletted rims. The Ambrosio is lower priced so I'd go for that unless you have a particular penchant for Open Pros. These are better than the rims on the SSC Premium set because they are double rather than single eyeleted… but now matched by the SSC Premium+. Again at a rough estimate these rims may be 20% more enduring than the rim on our Premium+.

Build: We don’t think that the build quality of the custom builds is clearly better than that of the Premiums which we consider to be very good.

Prices: With all parts silver (black rims and spokes may add a bit; see these here):

Ambrosio Rim
Ambrosio Hub                                                   Wheelset £170 / Rear Wheel £95
Miche Hub                                                        Wheelset £200 / Rear Wheel £110 
Campagnolo Hub                                             Wheelset £370 / Rear Wheel £195

Mavic Rim
Ambrosio Hub                                                  Wheelset £200 / Rear Wheel £110
Miche High Profile Hub                                    Wheelset £230 / Rear Wheel £125
Campagnolo Hub                                            Wheelset £400 / Rear Wheel £210 

Conclusion: To return to an earlier point, because we import the Premium and Premium+ we think that the best value per mile of life for wheels in this quality area would be to go with them, and to reiterate, the Premium+ matches the spec of the custom builds. The custom builds may last around 10-20% longer but the cost increase is quite a bit more. However if you want to get something which will do the most miles, don't want to waste time and metal on buying wheels more regularly than needed, or just love particular parts in our custom range we're very pleased to build these.

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1.5 Which Wheel Should I Buy? I'm a... YOUR PROFILE HERE

Commuter who does 200 miles per week: Genuinely, you may want anything in our range, please check out sections 1.2, 3 and 4 above and have a think. I think least likely is the Traditional wheel because it's just got quite a low spec rim. Other than that you really may want anything because all our wheels will work hard and for many miles, so it's more a question of whether you're someone who demands single, or double eyeletting on your rim, or a particularly smooth hub, in which case move on up to the Premiums and Custom Builds.

Pretty heavy guy with a heavy pannier, I tend to go through rims, spokes, etc.. We've brought in our Carthorse wheel with you in mind. It can take a tyre from 28 up to 44mm wide so you can still get around quickly or go for something wider for more stability, but the wider rim and single eyelets give you the extra strength you need. Our Premium+ and Custom Build wheels are narrower but have double eyeletted rims. If you have another rim in mind get in touch and we can quote you to build whatever you want, but we think the Carthorse should be able to withstand a decent load for many miles.

Fairweather Cyclist: Assuming you're happy with a 28mm or narrower tyre then our Workhorse wheel will be fine, otherwise our Carthorse if you need something wider. You really only want to spend more on the Premium or Custom built wheels if you really like the look of them as you're unlikely to need the extra specifications. The story of the Traditional Style wheel is a bit more complex, see section 1.3.

New to this: See answer above for the Fairweather. The Workhorse is our standard wheel and it'll give you thousands of miles

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1.6 What size tyres fit on your wheels?

Currently the 700c wheels we have accommodate three tyre size ranges:

18-28mm: SSC Workhorse and Premium Wheels

28-44mm: SSC Carthorse Wheels

23-32mm: Our usual Custom Build Wheels

25-37mm: Traditional Style 700c Wheels

So you need to choose wheels on this basis.

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1.7 I am doing up an old Raleigh bike frame which part do I measure to get the spacing correct?

See our 'Measuring your frame spacing' link at the top of this page. This is one of 5 links we've put there for helping with some regular measurement questions.

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1.8 The frame of my old 10 speed has 123mm rear spacing, what rear wheel spacing should I choose, 120 or 126mm?

The best thing would be to try to ascertain what size this frame originally was. It was probably a 120mm frame, in general 5 and 10 speed bikes were that size; while 6/12 speeds were 126mm.

Otherwise in general I would just see which way the frame seems to flex easiest.

You need to make sure you don’t damage the frame structurally. A couple mm movement is usually fine but for more than that you need to be careful, more than say 3-4mm and you should probably go to a mechanic as you don’t want to weaken the frame. For more on this see our link to Measuring your frame spacing at the top of this page, in the linked page they discuss altering the spacing.

If you’re going for a Workhorse set then if you buy the 126mm set you will be able to experiment with either 126 or 120mm spacing easily because this is a 120mm rear wheel which we add two x 3mm spacers to the outside of, and you can simply remove them if you want to take it down to 120mm. This isn’t the case for our other wheels as we tighten the spacers onto the hub meaning you’d need specialist tools to alter them.

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1.9 I have a Frame built for 27”, what wheel should I get?

The only 27" wheel we get at the moment is this Traditional Style Wheel. We explain here that we have other wheels which offer higher performance for less money in 700c, but of course that's not quite the size the frame was built for

If you’re thinking about getting one of our 700c wheels for your frame we explain in the next section what impact that may have.

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1.10 My bike was built with 27", should I stick to this size or move to 700c?

There are three usual consequences of doing this set up, and it depends what you think of them!

The great advantage of 700c wheels is that choice of rim and tyre you have is significantly better and often a bit cheaper too;

But 700c wheels are 622mm diameter and 27" ones are 630mm. Therefore on a setup used to 27” wheels you need to be able to add 4mm extra drop on your brakes to reach the 700c rim (just the radius is effective here so it's a 4mm difference). So, if you have nice calipers with only 2mm space to move the brake pads down you may want to stay with 27”. And even if you were happy changing your calipers you may end up needing longer drop ones which can offer lower performance (for example our 73mm drop calipers are not as good as our 57mm ones)

Finally, the extra 4mm gap between the frame and the tyre to some eyes looks a bit strange once you’ve fitted the 700c wheels. This is diminished of course if you buy wide tyres for your wheels as wide tyres have a greater outer diameter.

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1.11 My frame has 135mm spacing what wheel should I buy?

First of all with this kind of frame we want to check whether you have a mountain bike or hybrid, rather than a road or track bike. If you do then please see our Mountain/Hybrid bike section you may need a special built wheel or prefer a freehub wheel (all explained there).

If you’re clear that you have a road or track frame then we’d still advise that you first of all have a look at the chainline of your chainset and check it’s something close to 42mm. If it’s more like 52mm then again please consult the discussion below.

But if you do have a 42mm chainline then you should probably try to ascertain what spacing this bike originally had because it is very unlikely it was originally 135mm. Hopefully it was a 130mm frame and can be drawn back into that width without damage. If you’re not confident about doing this without damaging the frame then please consult a mechanic.

If you get it down to 130mm, then you can buy a 130mm spaced wheel.

If it turns out that this was originally 135mm then get in touch with us so we can try to work out the best solution for your build. Again the section 1.12 below will probably still aid in your understanding of what we’ll suggest for you.

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1.12 I have a Mountain Bike or Hybrid, do you have a wheel for me?

A standard single speed wheel – and all of those that we sell - has a chainline of 42mm which is a bit small for most mountain bikes and hybrids. This is because if you try to position the chainset this close to the frame (42mm) – which you need to do to get the chain to run straight - then it usually ends up grinding on the chainstays, which are fatter/wider on an MTB and most hybrids than they are on say a road or track frame.

Have a look at your existing chainset, what is the chainline? If you think you can bring it down to 42mm then we can build an MTB wheel with a standard hub or if you have a hybrid you can simply buy one of our 700c wheels. Usually the situation will be that it’s set at about 53mm and you can’t bring it much further in without dragging on the frame.

The fixed gear solution to this is to use a wider Surly fixed gear hub, designed with a larger chainline of around 53mm, for such a build. This hub is pricey and pushes the price for a rear wheel up to something around £130. Note also that you can pretty much only ride fixed gear if you have horizontal dropouts on your bike. so check that before talking to us about such a build.

Because of this at this point we’d ask you, how wedded are you to riding fixed gear as opposed to just freewheel single speed?

Because if you’re happy to just have a freewheeling set up we can use a freehub wheel (see explanation of this here) and position the cog where you want so that it’s bang in line with your chainset. This is a lot more cost effective, more like £50 for a rear wheel.

We’re happy to arrange either, please get in touch if you need a quote.

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1.13 How do I find out the wheel spacing I need?

See What size of wheel you need for your frame in our Advice Centre for this. Let us know if you have any trouble.

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1.14 My concern with buying a "value" wheel set such as this is the quality of the build - will the wheels be properly tensioned, true, and ready to ride? Will I need to have them adjusted after a few miles? Are they put together in a factory or built by hand yourselves?

Most of our wheels are machine built, but about half of our custom builds are done by hand. All are sold as trued and tensioned ready to ride. Usually they won’t need anything done to them for around 1,000-1,500 miles (this does depend on how they’re ridden).

All bike wheels need periodic truing and other maintenance but we aim to sell well built wheels which will do many thousands of problem free miles as long as they are reasonably well cared for. And our experience is that we achieve this. Our 5,000 mile challenge on a £70 pair of our wheels is one example, as is the excellent feedback we have received over the last few years of hundreds of wheel sales.

We should also note that though some people choose a hand built wheel because they expect it will be better built a major reason for hand building is simply that it affords the customer the choice of exactly the components they want on the wheel, rather than for reasons of build quality.

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1.15 Do your wheels come with Rim Tape? What kind? Rubber, plastic or fabric?

All our wheels come with rim tape, and almost all with a high pressure plastic tape. Sometimes we fit our Traditional Style rims with a lower spec. rubber tape because it tends to fit into the shape of that rim better, but if you're buying these wheels and want to specify plastic we'll fit that instead.

We have found that the two types of plastic tape we use work very well, including with high pressure tyres; however if you want to upgrade to a fabric tape - usually made by Velox or Schwalbe - just let us know and we can do it for a few £s.

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1.16 What hub spacing are the front wheels on the wheelsets you sell?

Almost all contemporary front wheels are 100mm and this is the only hub size we can get for a front wheel. It’s quite common for our customers to have a set of forks with a smaller spacing – say around 95mm - as this kind of size is quite frequently found amongst older frames.

We simply cannot find a new hub in this size so your options are dig out an old hub and get us (or someone else) to build a wheel on it, or try to widen the frame – which is discussed on the frame spacing page which we link to at the top of this page.

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1.17 I want to ride with a freewheel but you only seem to sell the Ambrosio and Miche hubs as fixed or double fixed gear, what can I do?

The sprocket threading on fixed gear hub threads is the same as that on a freewheel hub. It's just a bit shorter to allow for the lock ring threading which is also there, but it’s absolutely fine to run a freewheel on these threads.

So onto a double fixed gear hub you can fit two fixed sprockets, two freewheels or one of each. With a single fixed you just have the choice of either type of cog.

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1.18 Is the rear wheel symmetrical spoked?

Yes, the rim is centred about the hub on all our wheels – front or rear.

(Unless we have a conversation and end up supplying you a freehub wheel, but you'll know about that).

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1.19 I have a frame with vertical dropouts; can I ride fixed gear with a tensioner?

Sorry, no you can't run a fixed gear set up through a tensioner. This is because the nature of fixed gear means that you will sometimes be putting a lot of tension into the bottom half of the chain and this is likely to crush the tensioner onto the frame.

Is there any way you think you can make it work without a tensioner? If there’s any horizontal or vertical play in the dropouts you may be able to set it up to work?

Alternatively if you’re willing to go freewheel then we can do something for you.

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1.20 Can I put a 5 speed freewheel on this flip flop wheel you sell?

You could fit this on (it will screw on) but you’d have at least one, maybe two terminal issues both based on the fact that is not a dished wheel (which is what you want):

Because this wheel is built with the hub moved to the centre of the rim rather than to the side (dished) the freewheel would be sticking out further than usual from the centreline of the wheel meaning that the derailleur you have will not put the chain in the right place. The chain will therefore almost certainly spend half the time stuck on the edge of the hub shell and won’t reach beyond a couple of the largest cogs on the freewheel;

And for the same reason of the lack of dishing the freewheel would probably actually stick out further than the lock nut on the wheel meaning when you tried to screw the wheel to a frame you’d end up fixing the freewheel to it instead. Result: driving the freewheel would involve pulling the wheel out of the frame – please do not try this

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1.21 I have fitted the rear wheel and it is great but I have a problem with the front wheel. The axle is too thick to fit in the fork dropouts. What can you recommend?

Yes, some frames, especially older ones, are designed for a smaller front axle. I'm not totally clear what sizes different vintages/designs are designed for but it certainly happens.

Also most of our wheel sets have 3/8" axles on front and rear. 3/8" is about 9.5mm and some modern track bikes run 9mm front and 10mm rear axles so these also have this issue sometimes.

This answer applies to similar (but less frequent) issues with rear wheels and dropouts.

The two stage answer to the issue is: 1. file, 2. probably file the wheel because you'd rather maintain the integrity of the frame.

If you look here there's an image shown of a filed down axle, http://bmxmuseum.com/forsale/gt_hub_5_blowup.jpg. Note two things:

1. Instead of being filed all the way round this has simply had two 'flats' (as they say) filed on 180 degrees away from each other. This is all that's needed;

2. Also, unlike what they've done with this axle, you only need to file the bit close to the lock nut where the wheel will actually be within the frame... so you don't need to file where the nuts will be screwed on and wonder if that's going to cause issues.

To File Wheel or Frame?

As pointed out above your frame is likely to outlast your wheels and may have a really nice paint job, so we'd usually think you'd want to keep the frame intact.

However there is one good reason to go with the forks instead - it's easier, specifically easier to get it done evenly. For filing forks I'd get your file and put it all the way through both fork ends (basically in the same position the axle will later take). This means you can file both sides at the same time - quicker and more even than going at one side and then the other. Filing four different sections of a wheel axle reasonably evenly is a bit harder than this! But it's not too hard if you're methodical.

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2. Chainline

2.1 If I buy a wheelset, cogs and a chainset and bottom bracket will the bottom bracket you supply fit my frame and by buying the complete kit will that give me a straight chain line?

If you buy a kit with wheel, chainset and bottom bracket included the chainline will definitely be straight as both items will have a chainline of 42mm

The remaining question is will the bottom bracket fit your frame?

There’s a small chance you need an Italian or Raleigh threaded bottom bracket. If you’re not sure have a look here.

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2.2 I bought a chainset from you and it doesn’t line up with my rear wheel. What’s happened?

We almost always supply chainsets and wheels for a standard 700c single speed set up which has a 42mm chainline (explained here). Assuming this is what we were aiming for, either the chainset is not at 42mm, or your rear wheel has a different chainline, for example if it is a hub geared Shimano Nexus bike it may have a larger chainline. To take these two situations one by one:

The chainline of the chainset is determined by two factors – the crankset shape and the length of the spindle on the bottom bracket you have. So if we only sold you a chainset, then depending on the length of the bottom bracket you have the chainline will vary. If you look here we show a chart of bottom brackets which give a close to 42mm chainline with our chainsets, and of course we sell these. If we sold you a chainset and bottom bracket and it doesn’t have very close to a 42mm chainline get in touch, we must have made an error, so please let us know.

If you find that the chainset has a 42mm chainline but the rear wheel does not line up with it and you don’t know why then get in touch. As we say some bikes (but almost zero single speed bikes for 700c) have different chainlines, and if so we need to work out the best way to get it straight.

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2.3 The cog on the wheel you sold me doesn’t line up with my chainset? Is this the wrong wheel? Can I move the cog?

If you have bought a 700c wheel from us it will have a 42mm chainline. This is the standard chainline for single speed use on a 700c road, track or single speed bike. If your frame is a hybrid then take a look here as you may be correct that this wheel should be altered.

But if you have a road or single speed/track frame the usual routine to get the chain straight is to make sure the crankset at the front also has this 42mm chainline – then they will match up perfectly. So, assuming you have this kind of frame our first suggestion would be to measure the chainline of your chainset to check it.

The chainline of the crank is determined by two factors – the crankset shape and the length of the spindle on the bottom bracket you have. So, for example, if you have a longer than correct bottom bracket spindle this takes the chainset away from the frame too far. We offer all of our chainsets with an optional bottom bracket so that if you want we can ensure that you’ll get the right length to give you the correct chainline with that chainset.

But if you don't buy these from us then you may find yourself with this issue which requires either change the bottom bracket for one with a different length spindle or if you have a spider crank you can try one of these two fixes.

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2.4 Will your chainset and bottom bracket line up with my rear wheel?

We choose the bottom brackets we sell with our chainsets precisely to ensure that the chainset then lines up with a standard single speed wheel – which has a chainline of 42mm. All of our wheels have this same chain line, so if you buy our wheels and a chainset with bottom bracket they’ll be spot on. If you already have a 700c single speed wheel then it should also have this standard 42mm chainline so it will be fine. But if you buy a chainset from us but not a bottom bracket then it may not work, because the bottom bracket has an impact too (see section 2.3 above).

Note that none of this depends on the frame design since both the wheel and the bottom bracket will be mounted centrally in the frame so their centres will line up. We then have to get the cogs in line by callibrating their distances from that centre line and that’s what we’ve done.

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2.5 Are your hubs different sizes or do you just put spacers on the wheels? Does this affect the chainline of the wheels so they won’t line up with my chainset?

For road or track style 700c bikes we vary the spacing of a given wheel which we sell between 120 and 130mm by simply changing the spacers on the hub. This is the norm – a manufacturer like Miche, Quando or King Kong will produce a hub with a certain spacing and expect their customers to respace the wheel if they need a different spacing.

But three points need to be made here:

1. This does not impact on the chainline, the position of the cog with respect to the centre of the bike. With 700c bikes there is a dominant standard chainline for single speed hubs, which our wheels follow. Almost any wheel you will see put on such a bike will have a chainline of 42mm, and that is the chainline all of our wheels have. And when we add or remove a spacer on/from each side that does not alter the chainline. Because the change is symmetrical about the centreline of the wheel the chainline remains at 42mm

2. We don’t routinely turn these kinds of hubs into 135mm width wheels. Most frames with 135mm spacing are going to want to have a different kind of hub with a bigger chainline than 42mm. Also on a lot of our hubs if you add that much in terms of spacers you don’t leave enough axle beyond the width of the frame to be able to screw the nuts far enough onto the axle to be safe

3. In line with the above what some people get confused by in this situation are manufacturer Surly’s single speed hubs for mountain bike and other wider frames which they specify as 130mm or 135mm O.L.D. hubs. To be clear, the main difference with the Surly wider hubs from our ones is that they do have a bigger chainline of 47.5, 50mm (and we believe previously more like 53mm) rather than the fact that they are wider hubs overall – as we say, our 130mm hubs have the usual 42mm chainline. Surly may seem to specify their hubs as if the 130mm or 135mm width is what is singular about them… but it isn’t - though of course it is a feature (especially the 135mm width for reasons described in point 2) - what we would suggest is more fundamental about these hubs is their 47.5mm plus chainline. Which is very useful for MTB and Hybrid frames as we point out here.

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3. Chainset Range

3.1 Which chainset would you recommend?

All of our chainsets are strong and long lasting, but they do improve in quality with price, so we’d really just advise going for whichever fits in with your aesthetic preferences and budget.

I happen to prefer the look of the ones we import - the SSC Modern and particularly the Classic which I think is lovely.

So I’d take one of them, depending on the budget I faced.

Many people like the Suntour (which is also very cheap).

But the Sturmey Archer is perhaps the most obvious option, it looks very like a Miche Primato but at about ½ the price if not less. It’s extremely strong, and is probably a bit more hard wearing than the SSC Modern.

That’s all of them, all very good in their own ways

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3.2 I am looking for a not too priced chain set, 44T. I saw on your website that you have Sunrace Sturmey Archers and SSC Modern in this size. Which would you say is better?

I would say that the Sunrace is probably a bit better - probably a bit tougher, and the reverse side of the SSC Modern has not been polished that much (not that you see it but it is a difference).

To be clear, there is not much in it, both are tough chainsets. I prefer the look of the SSC Modern but that's subjective of course.

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3.3 Do you do a 48t version of the SSC Modern?

Hi, we only have the sizes of chainset shown on the site, so at the moment that is a no.

However it is possible to get a chainring and refit it to the spider crank of any of our available chainsets in order to change the number of teeth.

You can either do this yourself simply by purchasing the relevant Gebhardt chainring to go with your chainset choice. Or if you contact us we may be able to offer you a reduction for swapping it ourselves and keeping the original chainring.

If you are purchasing a chainring note that the SSC Modern, Sturmey and Suntour chainsets require a ‘130mm BCD’ chainring, but the SSC Classic requires a 144mm BCD.

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3.4 Could you advise which BB you provide with your chainsets? I'm not sure which size I need but its a British thread.

We include an FSA 103mm ISO (compatible with British frame) threaded bottom bracket, unless you go for the SSC Classic chainset which comes with a 107mm Tange bottom bracket, also ISO.

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3.5 How do I know if the bottom bracket you supply will fit my frame?

A standard bottom bracket has four features, three of which you can identify quite easily, one with some difficulty. At the top of this page is a link to a table showing the features of different standards of bottom bracket from which you can find out what kind your frame needs. What we usually supply with our bottom brackets is an ISO bottom bracket.

Here’s our explanation of what your frame would look like if it was going to accommodate an ISO bottom bracket:

1. The width of the shell of the bottom of the frame would be 68mm (not 70mm or 73mm);

2. The direction of the threading of the bottom bracket would be standard on the side which doesn't have the chainring; and would be backwards on the side which does have the chainring (the drive side). When we say backwards we mean in reference to the normal way something (like a jam jar lid) screws on;

3. The diameter of the hole in the frame would be just under 35mm;

4. The bit you can't really measure is the gauge of the threading: some British frames from usually before about the mid 1980s have a different 'Raleigh' thread gauge. The only real way to confirm you don't have that is to put a standard ISO cup into the frame and see if it gets stuck after about 3 rotations... if it doesn't then the frame is standard. If it does then you need to either find a Raleigh threaded bottom bracket, reuse the existing one or buy a ‘threadless’ bottom bracket.

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3.6 My frame has an old Raleigh bottom bracket in it, will it work with your chainsets?

Sort of. The chainset will fit onto it but is likely to be too far away from the frame to line up well with the rear wheel, so you’d want to get hold of a shorter bottom bracket. Unfortunately new Raleigh threaded bottom brackets are not available as far as we know.

In this situation you have four options, but only option 1 is sure fire; 1 and 2 also assume that you have a 68mm shell on the frame, if not then contact us and we can see what’s possible.

1. Surefire: get a 103mm Velo Orange threadless bottom bracket (of 107mm if you have an SSC Classic Chainset) from somewhere, that'll give you a perfect chainline. We don’t sell these at the moment but hope to soon;

2. We have a 110mm threadless bottom bracket we can sell and this may work... but may not! It may be too out of line, http://singlespeedcomponents.co.uk/bbhset/bb-tl.html

3. We also could sell you a 116mm spindle to put in to the existing bottom bracket. this may work too but unlikely, http://singlespeedcomponents.co.uk/bbhset/loose-bb-parts.html .

4. And your original axle, similar to the 116mm one above, may be okay. To measure it you need to measure end to end from the outside of the spindle.

Note that with options 2-4 you may be able to put the chainring on the chainset on the inside of the spider of the crank which would move it in and then it will work (like this)

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3.7 How good is the Gebhardt Chainring?

We came across this chainring a while ago and searched hard to find a supplier because we think it’s a really tough product and we were struggling to find one.

We think the Gebhardt ring will usually do more than 6,000 miles... although this is of course just a guide dependent on riding style, the condition of the chains you use, ambient conditions and foibles of the individual parts.

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3.8 I have recently brought my first fixie, a second hand Charge and I am looking to replace the 42T Chainring. Could you please advise on what I require and if you can supply it?

We sell this one model of chainring.

You can see that it is available in 42T in both black or silver.

However you also need to ascertain the BCD of your chainring before purchase so you can get the right size, usually 130mm, 135mm or 144mm. Have a look on the existing chainset and chainring, it may be written on one of them.

Otherwise one of five useful bike measurement links at the top of this page takes you to a page explaining how to work out BCD. You need to measure the direct distance between two adjacent chainring bolts and then work it out from there.

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3.9 I'm converting a hybrid to a single speed. Do I need to replace the crank or can I use one of the chainrings already present on the bike?

If you're changing the rear wheel the issue you're more likely to encounter is that of chainline – have a look at this section on MTB and Hybrid conversions.

Other than that, keeping the chainrings on the bike is usually fine, although in general they, as well as chains and rear cogs are a ‘consumable’ part which would be changed every 5-12,000 miles (that’s a back of the envelope figure), so bear that in mind.

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3.10 I want to use one of the existing two chainrings on my road bike for my conversion. Which one is best to use?

Measure the chainline of both (see link at the top of this page for this). You’ll want the one which is closest to 42mm.

Note, that if you have a spider style crank you may want to remove one of the rings to save weight and simplify the bike. If so you may want some single chainset bolts, which we sell here.

Also note that you can move the chainrings around on a spider crank to get a better chainline - we explain this here.

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3.11 Do you sell chainring bolts for a single chainwheel?

Sure, here.

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