Convert Road Bike to Single Speed – Quick and Easy

Introduction

The idea to convert road bike to single speed came after realizing that my Trek 1.2 road bike saw little use in the past couple of years. A solid bike, this. My first road bike which I rode all the time. I took it everywhere. Rode or in the city, by the shore. Did my first “hill climb” with this bike. I learnt a lot with this bike. Stock is a 9 speed Shimano Sora group set.

I have since bought a Cannnondale Carbon Evo 6, with the SRAM group set. Light as a feather; flies up hills. This is in a stable of other bikes in my house.

So the 1.2 saw little to no use as a result. So 3-4 years ago I had converted the 1.2 to a gravel bike. All I did was put on 28mm tires and was good to hit the gravel paths near my house. A blast this was on gravel and dirt.

Mountain Bike to Monster-Cross Conversion

I kept playing around and started tinkering with my Trek 4300 mountain bike, which didn’t see much use since I use my StumpJumper for mountain bike rides. So I put some drop bars, a granny ring in the back, and converted that into a monster-cross bike which is capable of both off-road trails and gravel rides. A very capable 26″.

mountain bike with drop bars - monster-cross bikeDrop bars on my Trek 4300 mountain bike.

Single Speed Conversion – Trek 1.2

So now back to the 1.2 – Single geared, or single speed, bikes have been my only choice when I was a kid since geared bikes were more expensive to buy. I was introduced to geared bikes only in my adult years. So, it has a nostalgic feel to it. And the popularity of single-speed and fixed-gear bikes had always appealed to me. Simple in their setup, design, and maintenance, I now had the opportunity to go back to my younger days because I have an extra bike to play with. I started the conversion for the 1.2 to single speed.

The 1.2 came with a 9 speed Shimano Sora group set. When I swapped parts with my 4300 mtb, I changed only the drop bars for the 4300’s flat, and the mtb gear levers. And to my surprise, the pull ratio of Shimano was the same for their 9 speed mtb and road bike group-sets. Which means I will have no issue braking or shifting gears in both bikes.

Front Chainrings

Now that issue is no more, since will be a single speed. I had to reduce the 3 front chainrings to 1 (52 teeth). I got a crank puller and bottom bracket remover from Amazon and got to work. It was a simple enough job, when I realized I needed a lot more leverage to remove the crank arms to remove the middle and small chain rings. I got matching blue single chainring bolts for the big ring.

Single speed conversion in progress.Trying to remove the chainrings without the crank removal tool. Not recommended. :o)

single speed - single front chain ringFrom 3 to 1 chainring in the front after proper use of the crank arm removal tool.

Rear Derailleur

In the rear, the derailleur was removed, and the chain reduced to 90 links. Surprisingly the chain is taut, with slick within acceptable range. I retained the 9-speed cassette since i wanted to see how the whole process progressed work minimal spend.

single speed - smallest cog in rearNo derailleur in the back. This is technically a single-speed now.

Conclusion

This was a fun project; more for me to learn by tinkering, and to put new life into a little-used bike. The end result was as expected, and I learnt a lot in the process. I’ll ride this bike for some time until I change my mind about the rear single speed spacer kit, or till I find another use for it.

The transformed bike.

single speed Trek 1.2Conversion to single speed complete.

Hope you found this post useful. Check out my other cycling posts as well. Thank you!

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