Single speed mountain bikes are gaining popularity in 2020, 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
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#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.
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!