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I'm thinking about building up a single speed cx bike from used steel frame on Ebay. I have a few questions to ask the veteran single speeders:

1) What cranks would you recommend for a single speed cyclocross bike, if you can't afford White Industries or Paul?

2) I know both Paul and Chris King and Phil make some very top end s/s hubs that can be used for racing ss cx. What are some more economy-mid-ranged priced hubs that you'd recommend? I'd have a set of King's ss cx hubs laced to new Mavic Open Pros, but I can't afford $600 for a set of clincher wheels.

3) Which chain tensioner would you recommend for using a frame with vertical dropouts?

If these questions have been answered already, please let me know where I can go to read the responses.



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Replies to This Discussion

1) Any crankset will work, just remove the extra chainrings. I use an FSA SLK compact chainring (compact so I can use a 34t chainring in the off season for riding the mountain bike trails).

2) White Industries ENO (non eccentric) is quite nice but you can use any hub/wheel set (as long at it has Shimano splines), just get an SS cog and some spacers.

3)No idea, never used a tensioner.
Maybe I will invest in the White Industries hubs b/c you can get the rear in fixd/ss and they are a bit cheaper than the Chris King ones. The quality seems to be awesome too.
I use a Shimano Ultegra crank. It's worked OK but with a 130 BCD you can't put on a chainring smaller than 39 (maybe a 38). Look for a singlespeed crank with a 110 BCD (Truvativ might have one) so you can run combinations like 36x18. Also, if you've been using a 172.5 road crank, you probably want to go 175 on your SS. On steep climbs it's good to have some more leverage

Surly hubs are heavy but mine have held up through four seasons. They're tough

Never used a tensioner but I've heard the Paul works well

Good luck
Hey Trevor, if you haven't seen it, be sure to check out our Issue 2 for the tensioner reviews and a conversion article, plus plenty of SSCXWC love. There are good and bad things with each tensioner, but the Soulcraft was a good choice, as well as the Rennen if it fits. The how-to article is also online here. The big question is whether you plan to change gears last-minute at the races, thus wanting a bit of flexibility with spring tension. Otherwise the springless setups are great.

I've used everything from old 126 mm freewheel hubs to normal 7 and 8-10 speed cassette hubs. I like it a lot for conversions since with the spacers you have a lot of flexibility to get the chainline perfect, which is CRITICAL in a good, reliable low-friction setup. If you go this way, I recommend a nice beefy steel QR for more dropout bite.

Spacers and/or short chainring bolts work fine, and a 38 or 39 or 42 tooth chainring can do the trick on a 130 BCD or 110 BCD crank.

Also, don't forget about the "magic gear" possibilities.

Good luck.
Do you think it's better to find a singlespeed specific cx frame with horizontal dropouts, or do vertical dropouts work just as well? I know you need the tensioner for vertical dropouts.

I don't think many people ride fixed cx in races but I could be wrong. It seems like the only hub option i'd have if I wanted to a vertical dropout cx frame as a fixed gear would be the White Industries Eno Eccentric Hub. Are there other ways to ride fixed on a vertical dropout frame?
Stratch the fixed question, I found my answer in your chain tensioner thread!
1) 170's, whatever's cheap, it's not going to make a substantial difference unless you're into that sort of thing.
2) Surly hubs ($100-120 for the set) bomber

to address your later amendment, chain tensioners start to eliminate or reduce the advantages of a SS, like increased efficiency, fewer moving parts, etc...


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