IN PRAISE OF THE SINGLESPEED
Most people think of singlespeed bicycles and imagine their father’s old 45-pound Schwinn from the 1970’s. Or the BMX most of us rode to school as kids.
But the reality of a modern belt-drive one-speed bicycle is much different than this. For many first time riders, it can be a revelation.
One of the first things to notice when you get on a very good singlespeed is how elegant it feels. Without a shifter up front, extra cabling running to the frame, and gears behind, the bicycle looks and feels very dignified. There’s nothing extra here, nothing you don’t need.
It’s also easy sense is how light the bicycle feels. Our titanium singlespeeds can weigh as little as 18 pounds. This is a bicycle you can lift with just a few fingers. Our cro-moly steel versions only weigh a few pounds more.
The advantage of a lightweight one-speed is that the bicycle can be geared for speed on the flats and downhills, but still make it easily up a hill. Singlespeed bicycles also accelerate like nothing else on the road.
On geared bikes there is a tendency to stay in the saddle and just pedal and pedal — and to shift a lot, as hills turn to flats to hills again. But on a one-speed the ride is much more dynamic. We use our arms and whole body for extra power and speed. We stand up out of the saddle, lean over, pull on the handlebars for leverage. It’s much more of a full-body workout.
With so few moving parts, there’s nothing to click, clank, or clunk. There’s no slippage (since there are no gears to slip), no unpleasant “chunk” noise when the derailleur pops under load from one gear to another. This is replaced by confidence that we can pull hard on the cranks — very hard if we want to. That frees up up acceleration and power.
The carbon belt drive system we use on all of our bicycles is extremely lightweight, clean (no grease), and virtually silent. Most people are amazed at just how quiet our bicycles are. There’s none of the clack-clack from a grease-caked chain. The feeling is one of solidity and reliability.
Finally (and maybe most importantly), there is joy in simplicity. With 18 or 24 gears on a geared bicycle, part of our attention is always adjusting the shifting. Up, down, up, up, up, down, up.
But with just one gear, we quickly find that less choice is more freedom. There’s a new kind of rhythm, one that changes with the terrain. Riding feels natural. We relax.
Paul rides his Model No.3 Titanium singlespeed from his home in Shelburne, Vermont to our office in Burlington daily — a round trip (with occasional detours to ride along the lake) of up to 30 miles per day. John and Paul recently clocked over 70 miles on a single day in New York City.
Visit or online store today, or call us at +1 802-557-0507.