Single-speed mountain bikes have grown in popularity over the past few years. It seems almost every mountain bike maker in the business is offering a single-speed. Someone new to mountain biking might seem confused when they find out that some people choose to ride a bike with only one gear. One of the best reasons to ride a single-speed is the easy maintenance it offers.
Anyone who has done any serious off road riding knows the abuse a bike's drivetrain can take. Unlike road bikes, mountain bikes encounter many hazards than can destroy a drivetrain. When mud, dirt and sand make there way onto your chain and in between the cogs in your cassette, they drift away at parts until the bike no longer lifts correctly. Once enough damage has been done, there is no recourse but to head into your local shop and have the parts replaced. A single-speed mountain bike drivetrain is much simpler, one chain ring up front and one cog in the back. This does not make you immune to the ravages of dirt and mud, but a single-speed drivetrain is much easier to clean than it's geared brother.
Roots, rocks, logs and other obstacles can rip a rear derailleur from its hanger and leave you stranded six miles into a ride. A bad crash can crush your fancy new trigger shifters. Even regular wear and tear can cause the finely tuned mechanisms of today's advanced shifting systems to malfunction and mis-shift. You do not have to worry about any of these potential issues when riding a single-speed. No derailleurs and no shifters mean there is no maintenance of these finicky parts and no chance they will be destroyed in a crash.
Switching from a geared mountain bike to a single-speed can save you the headaches of dealing with temperamental drivetrains and a significant amount of cash over the life of a bike. Most of all, riding a single-speed allows you to simplify your riding experience and reconnect with the pure enjoyment of mountain biking.
Source by Ben Symon