Single Speed Mountain Bike Upgrades

Orange single speed chain

Best looking chain I’ve ever had!  (new wheels not yet installed)

My main project these days has been attempting to motorize my wooden MountainBeest.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get it working (or didn’t try hard enough) using a chain drive, even after upgrading the drivetrain to the sweet wider single speed chain seen on my bike above.  I’ve got another solution though, so definitely check back to see it in action.

Fortunately, I happen to own a custom single speed bike that could also use it.  Check out this post to see my original conversion from a “normal” mountain bike to a lean single speed.

Below is a video of me changing the chain out.  Note that I decided to remove the outer ring on the crank, as it looked possible that the wider chain could rub on it.  Why hide such a great looking chain?  Also note that you may need a slightly wider-than-normal chain tool to work with this wider chain.  One of mine worked, but it had a piece broken off that allowed it to fit.  I think it would have worked eventually, but would have taken some finagling to get things correct.

Since this upgrade was “free,” I also decided to splurge on a set of new street(ish) Michelin “country rock” tires and some fairly cheap “Top Cabin” bar grips.  Although the grips probably not the best you can buy, they are pretty good, and are much more comfortable that the grips I’d been using.  The former grips were literally made out of a tree, and Read more »

Restore “Mallet” Clipless Pedals to their Former Glory!

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that I recently turned an older Cannondale bicycle into a single speed (see this post).  I’ve been really pleased with the results, but one thing that was missing was clipless pedals.  The only problem was that I wanted to ride this bike with street shoes as well for various more casual situations.


Fortunately, there is a solution, called the “Mallet Pedal.”  After I had nearly convinced myself to buy a pair of Mallet DH Pedals (Amazon) because they look awesome (but cost more than I got the bike for), a coworker told me he had an old pair of “normal” Mallet pedals that he didn’t need.  They were a bit worn, (as he told me), so I decided to give them the paint job seen above.  Check out the slideshow after the “read more” link to see my progress taping ans spray painting these pedals. Read more »

Wooden MTB Handlebar Grips


While building up my single speed bike, one thing that I was missing was new grips for my handlebar.  Although I could have ordered some, there’s not really a local bike shop that is close to me.  Instead, I decided to cut down some blank pieces of wood and make my own.

Build Process

I had blanks left over from some of my lathe projects, and Read more »