One by Nine

Are you looking for a simple bike, but a single speed is just a little too simple? A 1×9 may be for you. 1×9 refers to 1 chain ring up front, and a 9 speed cassette in the back.

I was going to interview Scott R and have him talk about the 1×9 that he built, but he got tired of waiting for me and interviewed himself. I’ll pretend that it was me asking him the questions…

Scott R
Scott R’s 1×9

Bike Carson: So what made you go 1×9?

Scott: Originally the bike was a 27 speed. When I moved back to Maryland, there was a nice place for single speeds, so I converted the bike so I could keep up with my riding buddies. The bike is light. When I moved back to Nevada I couldn’t deal with the terrain of just climbing and descending on a single speed. I tried it maybe 3 times, and got the idea that if I had only a few more gears it would be fun.

Bike Carson: How did you do it?

Scott: I always have parts around, so I just threw on a 34 tooth cassette, bought a new chain, left the front derailleur on, and took the left shifter off.  I’m sure there are devices to use other than leaving the derailleur on that would work, but it rarely drops the chain…usually when I’m stopping or something and not actually pedaling.

Bike Carson: So whats the big deal?

Scott: There is no big deal really, but it’s nice having less parts and only what you need. That’s what appeals to single speeders, and since I needed a few more gears, it seemed to fit the bill.   There are very few areas on our lunch rides where I need more gears. 9 is plenty. There is gear overlap in a 27 speed setup, so there are only so many unique gears anyway.

There is something that’s hard to explain about having something simple that serves all your needs. You know…not overkill. I love technology and adjustable travel and such, but this 1 x 9 experiment has really been an eye opener. So much so, that I threw a rigid fork on and adjusted to that as well. I wouldn’t want to ride it in anything rough though. Lunch terrain is basically butter.

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12 thoughts on “One by Nine

  1. I find the best way to figure a computation such as this is to make sure the bottles are empty. Consuming the contents will insure accuracy, plus you won’t even care what you were trying to find out come the next morning.

  2. Good timing. I was just thinking about the possibility of a 1×9 conversion on this morning’s ride/commute (except that I’m currently running a seven-speed cassette, so, a 1×7.) What size (# of tooth) chain ring is Scott using?

  3. I think it would be way-awesome to use a single-speed hub like a King (where you can fit multiple sprockets) and have 4-5 gears. Something like a 34/28/24/20 cassette and one or two rings depending on your terrain and how much pavement you need to cover to get to the trails.

  4. Great. You tell me about this 1×9 thing now. After I blew major dollars on a new Race Face crank with 3 rings and front derailleur. I can’t keep up with all of this new technology crap!

  5. And yet another option.

    Moser had a good idea in recommending that I do write up and pictures of my 9’er ‘Dingle Speed’

    Look for it soon.

  6. I did build a fixed flip flop single 2 years ago and loved it so much that I then realized that 20 or 27 speed was not always needed so I transformed my old, not used Merckx, into a 1×9 44x 11-32 and love it it will be my light touring bike this coming summer for 2 to 4 days I can’t wait.

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