Learning how to build your own single speed bike is surprisingly simple; and considering how much money you'll save by doing it yourself instead of purchasing a brand new single speed bicycle, you'll be able to affordably customize your new ride. There are a number of ways to go about converting a geared bicycle to a single speed. Basically, the difference lies in whether you wish to use the existing wheel set or purchase a single speed-specific wheel set. Either way, many of the steps are the same.
To build a single speed bike, you'll need the following:
- A geared bike.
- 15mm wrench
- Hex key set
- Chain breaker tool
- Adjustable crescent wrench
- First, you will need to remove the chain. Using your chain breaker, pick a link and drive the pin out. The chain will come apart. It's important, however, not to drive the pin all the way out–only far enough to break apart two links.
- Next, remove the derailleur. The derailleur is the contraption attached to the frame at the rear drop-outs. You will not need this for a single speed bicycle. Some bikes may also have a front derailleur above the chain ring. Remove this as well.
- Remove all gear cables and shifters. Depending on your bike, the shifters may be attached to the frame, the stem, or simply mounted on the handlebars. The gear cables are typically incased in black rubber called housing. All this needs to be removed.
- Remove the rear brake and cable. This is an optional step, however, on a single speed bike, the rear brake has little value. The majority of your stopping power will be with your front brake.
- At this point, you may simply replace your old rear wheel with a single speed-specific rear wheel or you may use your old wheel with the multi-speed cassette. If you plan to use a single speed-specific wheel, simply remove the old wheel, mount the new wheel, and reattach the chain. (Note: you'll likely need to remove a portion of the chain). To use your original wheel, You'll need to line up the chain the sprocket of your choosing. Be sure the chain line is straight, from the chain ring to the rear cog.
- Ride it.