Once upon a time, Interbike would have seen the singlespeed underground out in force showing off their obscurist wares. But these days, they’re not underground. Many major manufacturers have singlespeeds in the range, so the niche guys suddenly find themselves in the mainstream.
Anyway, we thought we’d pull the singlespeed strands together in one place. After all, it’s one of those opinion-polarising things – you either can’t get enough of them or you’d like them all to disappear. So with everything one-geared in one story you can quickly find or readily ignore it.
Still with us? OK then. First up is KHS’s softtail singlespeed. It’s a chromoly frame with flex in the chainstays and a simple spring offering the traditional ‘about an inch’ of travel. That’s the only travel it’s got, the fork being a chromoly unicrown unit.
Combining MTB undercurrents, 29inch pioneers Willits have the Safety, a big-wheeled singlespeed. Which means that your traditional 2:1 gear becomes a bit harder than you’re used to…
Then of course you’ve got the real pimpy stuff. You can get a titanium singlespeed frame with an eccentric bottom bracket from On-One for £699, but if you just want to spend more money or have a fatal weakness for US exotica, you now have a choice of hilariously expensive frames. This is Phil Wood’s version…
…and this one’s from Independent Fabrications. EBB singlespeeds are particularly lovely things, with super clean lines even by one-geared standards.
While we’re on the subject of EBBs, Phil Wood also had a selection of shiny components on display including hubs and this eccentric BB assembly. It’s super light and polished to within an inch of its life.
The weakest link in most singlespeeds is the freewheel. Screw-on freewheels have a tendency to disintegrate at inconvenient moments. There are a few singlespeed cassette hubs available, and a lot of people are running regular cassette hubs and lots of spacers, but if you don’t want to rebuild your rear wheel news of a bomber freewheel will be welcome. And here it is. The White Industries Platter comes with 17 to 22 teeth, has a four pawl mechanism, actual proper seals and is available in a nickel coated steel or titanium version. Not cheap (the Ti one’s $95) but should last.
OK, that’s it. The singlespeed jihad can come back in now…Pictures by Andy Armstrong