Single speed mountain bikes are gaining in popularity in 2018, despite (or perhaps because of) their reputation as a more hardcore alternative to mountain bikes with multiple gears. The best single speed mountain bikes have a lot to offer both new and experienced riders.
Many say that riding a single speed is a purer form of mountain biking, and it’s almost certainly a better workout. The lack of gears means that you’ll need to focus even more on the work your body is doing in tandem with the machine.
While some see this as too much of a challenge, it can be an excellent introduction to the central tenets of mountain biking for beginners, and also offers excitement and freshness to more seasoned mountain bikers.
There are also several advantages to single speed mountain bikes:
- There isn’t a sophisticated gear system to maintain and repair, single speeds are generally more comfortable and cheaper concerning upkeep.
- The money saved when considering the price of a single gear against that of an expensive gear system can be used to upgrade other critical aspects of the mountain bike, such as the frame or brakes.
- Many riders say that single speeds make for a better ride, due to their smoothness and quietness even in harsh conditions.
Best Single Speed Mountain Bikes in 2018
#1 - State Bicycle Co Pulsar Mountain Bike
The Pulsar by State Bicycle Company may be the king of single speed mountain bikes. Between its high-end gear installed at the factory and the design expertise of DKLEIN (bike artist Dustin Klein), it’s one of the most feature-rich bikes out there.
They say the devil is in the details, and the components that come equipped on this bike are a big part of what makes it shine:
- Ultra-durable 4130 frame with artistic flourishes from DKLEIN.
- WTB SX 19 29″ rims (32H disc hubs)
- Truvative E 400 crank
- Cable guide hardware for simple conversion to a geared setup
The State Bicycle Co Pulsar Single Speed 29er Mountain Bike is best suited for cross country and enduro riding, but it’s also light enough for commuter use as well. With significant parts already installed and plenty of versatility and opportunity when it comes to customisation, this bike offers a lot of potential for growth even though it starts in such a strong place.
#2 - Nashbar Single Speed Mountain Bike
This offering from Nashbar offers some serious benefits when considered alongside other single speed mountain bikes at this price range. First and foremost among these is the mechanical disk brakes, which provide superior control on the slopes.
As a hardtail with a chrome forked front suspension, this Nashbar Single Speed Mountain Bike also offers plenty of stability, and the frame is highly durable. I’d recommend it most to endurance riders for its overall comfort and strength, but also to more casual cross-country mountain bikers, who stand to gain a lot from the excellent 29″ wheels (which come equipped with WTB Nano Sports tires).
#3 - Gravity G29 FS Single Speed Mountain Bike
If you’ve been mountain biking for long, you probably know Gravity and their focus on geometry in their frame designs. The Gravity G29 FS Single Speed Mountain Bike is no exception to the rule and makes for an exceptionally comfortable ride even in the harshest conditions.
Besides the geometry, the standout feature here is legendary manufacturer Suntory’s 29er LockOut fork, which might be one of the most absorbent suspensions in the game. In addition to making for a more comfortable ride and helping you adapt to jumps and bumps, it might just save your joints some wear and tear.
Its anodised aluminium rims and disc brakes make for superior durability and safety as well, meaning this bike is built for even the hardest trails.
#4 - Critical Cycles Harper Single Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike
New and innovative manufacturer Westridge Outdoors (formerly known as Critical Cycles) has created one of the most versatile options on the market with this bike. In addition to being designed for suitability on both the road and the trail, it’s built around a flip-flop hub.
The specialised hub means that you can choose to ride the Harper either as a single speed or as a more intuitive, yet also more challenging, fixed gear bike. The flip-flop hub is easy to use and allows you to customise your ride at any time.
The Harper Single Speed Fixed Gear Urban Commuter Bike also packs plenty of value at a very low price point, with defining components like a KMC chain and Wanda City tires. Between its durability and versatility, it’s an excellent option for just about anyone and blows other budget choices out of the water. The bike is also available in a wide variety of colour schemes to suit your style.
What kind of MTB suits me best?
While all-mountain bikes (and by extension, all the best single speed mountain bikes) share some things in common, there’s a significant amount of differentiation in the MTB world. If you’re just getting started in the mountain biking community, how do you know what will be right for you?
Whether you’re brand new to mountain biking or want to switch up your riding style, this buyer’s guide lays out all the key points to help you get the perfect bike to suit your taste.
What are the different types of MTB types?
What kind of riding do you want to do? The journey you do has a significant impact on the construction of the best bike to meet your needs.
Downhill riding often proves to be a subset of the larger mountain biking arena that only adrenaline junkies love. Downhill bikes are typically heavier than most mountain bikes, and so are constructed to be a whole lot more durable. Good brakes and a hard frame prove necessary for this type of aggressive and all of-downhill type of riding.
When you consider such as mountain biking, it may really be cross country which you mentally envision. Cross-country biking involves numerous variations, starting with casual styles friendly to beginners to events far more competitive, even hardcore. Yet, they all involve the main of trail riding.
Whether you’d want to experience local sights or actually jump into racing competitions, a good frame featuring superior suspension is essential. A light frame that doesn’t compromise on durability is additionally crucial when you hope to move quickly.
Enduro riding is actually a variation of cross-country mountain biking, only one that emphasizes endurance in competitive and in many cases hardcore ways. Speed isn’t always a fantastic concern here, but you do require a bike that will move fast without plenty of weight onto it. However, versatility and sturdiness will matter more than most anything when you hope to slay the grueling endurance trail conditions you are likely to face.
What are the must-have MTB accessories and customization?
A big part of the fun of mountain biking is designing and building a bike to suit your needs exactly. While the best single speed mountain bikes are great right out of the factory, they can be made even better for you through accessorising and customisation.
Critical accessories for almost all mountain bikers include saddle seats and bottle holders, which make long rides much more comfortable. Downhill bikers will need additional protections on their bike, and some enduro riders might go this route too.
Of course, you can also enhance your bike’s functionality and style by upgrading hubs, suspension, and other significant components. While installation can sometimes be a bit tricky, becoming better at repairing and customising bikes will also make you a much better cyclist in the long run.
Whether you’re entirely new to the mountain biking community or you’re a seasoned veteran looking to switch things up by getting one of the best single speed mountain bikes around, We, at Ira Ryan Cycles, hope this article has helped you learn about what single speeds have to offer (and which is the best for you).
While single speed mountain bikes are often more challenging than their counterparts, they can also be much more rewarding depending on your personality and your circumstances.
Share your favourite single speed mountain biking stories in the comments, or offer advice for any newer mountain bikers who might be reading this. Good luck getting the best bike for you, and happy trails!