Mountain biking is a fun sport and a great way to stay in shape and build muscle. Whether you are brand new to biking and are ready to buy your first mountain bike or just want a change, one of the first things you need to decide is what type of bike you will choose.
Do you want a bike that is set for one speed, or something you can change as needed? Depending on what your needs are, you will have to decide between a geared bike or a single-speed bike.
There are many reasons why single-speed bikes are preferred, including that they are easier to ride, more affordable, and lower maintenance than geared bikes. Understanding the pros and cons of each type of bike will allow you to figure out which bike is best for you.
Here are some of the top reasons why you might want to choose a single-speed mountain bike for your next trail ride.
1 – It’s Easy to Ride
Single-speed bikes are very simple to use. You just get on the bike and start pedaling.
Unlike a geared bike, you can ride a single-speed mountain bike up and down hills without worrying about shifting through gears, so it’s easier to enjoy the ride.
Having just one gear to deal with when you first start riding, or if it’s your first bike, will allow you to get used to riding on trails and provide a better overall riding experience.
2 – Most Gears Aren’t Necessary
If you are new to mountain biking, you may be wondering what to do with all the gears on a mountain bike. The truth is, the average mountain bike has more speeds than anyone really needs.
If you are a casual rider and aren’t competitive, a single-speed bike will be more than adequate for most types of mountain bike riding. A bike with one gear will still get you where you need to go, regardless of your riding style or preference.
3 – It’s More Affordable
If you are just starting out and are hoping to find an affordable mountain bike, a single-speed bike is a good option. Because single-speed mountain bikes are simple and do not require as many components or parts, they are more affordable.
Geared bikes are more expensive and usually cost more to maintain. In a single-speed bike, there are fewer components that can break and fewer parts that need to be replaced if something goes wrong, so the maintenance cost is lower.
Less maintenance means less money spent on repairs. Single-speed mountain bikes are proof that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good bike.
Knowing what features you want and which ones you can do without will allow you to shop smart and get everything you need while still sticking to your budget.
4 – It’s Low Maintenance
Choosing a mountain bike that requires less maintenance means you will spend more time mountain biking and less time doing repairs or tending to your bike. A geared bike requires much more maintenance than a single-speed bike.
Not only will you have to ensure the chain tensioner and other technical sections of the bike are in good condition on a geared bike, but you may have to replace the chain more often and even change and maintain the wheels. Sometimes, you’ll even have to do this when you are on a trail.
A simple bike with fewer parts will allow you the space you need to figure things out on a gradual learning curve and make riding more enjoyable.
5 – It Burns More Calories
Riding a single-speed bicycle could help you burn more calories. Many people enjoy single-speed mountain bikes because you get a more consistent pedal stroke and a better workout on the same trails you would take a mountain bike with gears.
A fixed gear still has a good carry speed so you can maintain fast speeds without having to worry about the gear ratio or knowing when to shift gears. A single-speed mountain bike does have a gear ratio, but since it is a single gear, there is no need to shift it.
The bike stays in a fixed gear so you have to put in more effort to maintain your desired speed, depending on the slope you are biking on.
6 – It Makes Rides More Exciting
Riding multispeed bicycles might seem like the more exciting option, but after a while, you will get used to going up and down the same hills and shifting through the same gears, and it will become boring. When you ride single-speed bikes, you will be faced with a different challenge every day.
You will sometimes need to work harder to pedal the bike up and down the hills and over your favorite trails. With a single-speed bike, there is always a new challenge and something to look forward to mastering.
7 – It Will Make You a Better Biker
You might have to push hard to make it up and down different trails on a single-speed bike, but in the end, it will make you a better biker. There is no gear ratio to help you kick into a low gear for steep hills (a low gear is an easier gear to ride in), or a high gear (for flat surfaces) where you need more speed.
You have to ensure a single-speed mountain bike maintains its speed and you will have to pedal faster or harder to do that. If you want to become a better mountain bike rider, single-speeders are the best option.
8 – It Builds Muscle
If you are planning on riding on challenging sections of a trail, a single-speed bike could be the better way to build muscle. You will need to work harder to pedal the bike up a hill, which means your muscles have the potential to become stronger.
Even when you pedal down a hill, you will be getting a good workout. The harder you pedal and the faster you make the wheels move, the harder you are working your muscles.
In other words, if you want to lose weight and build muscle, riding a single-speed bike can help.
9 – It Gives You a Chance to Understand Your Bike
When you are trying to figure out how your bike works, simplicity is best. You need to learn about the way the chain connects to the bike or how to loosen the bolt on the horizontal dropouts to change the rear wheel tire out.
These things are much easier than worrying about rear derailleurs and how the rear cog moves along with the rear derailleur. While single-speeds are very low maintenance, they still make it easier to learn the basics of your bike so you can do your own repairs.
10 – It’s More Portable
Most of the time, a single-speed bike is lighter and more portable. Your road bike might be fun to ride everywhere, but if you are planning on riding somewhere that is far away from where you live, it’s best to pack the bike up in your car or on a trailer.
A lighter bike will be much easier to take around with you. Its lighter weight will also make it easier to carry, if needed.
11 – It Gives You a Quieter Experience
The only thing worse than not knowing when to shift gears is listening to ticking chains and gears while you are biking. With a single-speed bike, you won’t have to worry about any of those sounds.
You can enjoy the sounds of nature and the calmness and clear your mind. Whether riding through a forest or a rock garden, you won’t be distracted by the mechanical sounds of the bike and can enjoy the moment, wherever you are.
12 – It’s Durable
One-speed bikes might be simple, but they are also extremely durable. The lack of bells and whistles means there is less to be damaged if you wreck it.
Whether you’ve been mountain biking for years or it’s your first ride, there’s still a good chance you will crash at some point. Your bike will go down, and you’ll probably go down with it.
When using one-speed bikes, it’s easier to simply pick the bike back up and continue down the trail.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you should invest in a single-speed MTB. But if you’re struggling to decide between a single-speed bike or a geared bike after considering all the reasons above, the truth is, you can’t really go wrong with either option.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for simplicity and convenience, a single-speed bike is your best option.