Single Speed Mountain Bike Conversions

The advice here for Single Speed Mountain Bike Conversions also applies to most people with Hybrid Bikes or Road Bikes with a freehub wheel fitted.

First of all with this kind of frame you may only have a realistic option of riding single speed with a freewheeling system, rather then fixed gear.

This is because there's a good chance your frame design means you will require a Chain Tensioner - so you may want to check this here before going any further.

You can not run a chain tensioner on a fixed gear set up - tension running through the chain will break the tensioner almost immediately if you try this.

If you do need a tensioner and even if you don't if you're happy riding a freewheeling system then the best option for you for going to single speed is likely going to be to fit the following three parts:

  1. A Freehub Wheel (You may have this already. Do You Have a Freehub Wheel? Freehubs also can not be used for fixed gear)
  2. A Single Speed Freehub Sprocket Kit
  3. And the Tensioner

All of these are available on our Mountain Bike Single Speed parts page

Before you purchase a Freehub Wheel you need to confirm: What Width of Hub Do I Need?

If you really want to try to ride fixed gear on your bike or for some reason don't like the idea of a Freehub Wheel then here's the rub:

A standard single speed wheel – and all of those that we sell - has a chainline of 42mm.

This 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 a single speed mountain bike wheel with a standard single speed hub or if you have a hybrid you can simply buy one of our 700c Single Speed Wheels. Again make sure you check your frame spacing so that we can get you the right hub width on your wheel. 

Most of the time however the situation will be that your chainset chainline is set at about 53mm and you can’t bring it much further in without dragging on the frame.

At this point you have two options:

  1. We remind you that you can simply go with the Freehub wheel set up described above
  2. 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.

Mountain Bike Fixed Gear Wheel With Surly Hub

But if you have the right frame to be able to run single speed without a tensioner, we can find you the Surly hub, build you a wheel with it and you can have a fixed gear mountain bike (or hybrid) with a great rear wheel!