• 04-25-2013
    Single Speed to Multiple speed conversion?
    Hey everyone, I'm pretty new to the forum, so forgive me if this is in the wrong place, or if this has been previously discussed. I've just been doing a lot of research online but I can't seem to find any adequate answers, so I figured I'd post my questions here.

    I recently got a 2013 Specialized Langster (not the pro version) My previous ride was a 2011 TREK 1.2 9 speed road bike, and I loved that thing, it was great for me. I powered up hills, and would ride an average of 35-40 miles in one session. Anyways, I sold the TREK because I wanted something that was a bit less to maintain and something for more of a commuting purpose/daily rider through the streets of Manhattan. Unfortunately, after riding it around for a couple months or so, I realize how much I miss the ability to shift gears and really climb when I want the option to ride Central Park or other hilly areas out on the island, or go for long distances and get a good workout in.

    I know it's fairly easy to convert multiple speeds into single speeds, but I don't know anyone personally who has done the opposite. Is there a way to turn my single speed Langster into an 8 or 9 speed road bike? I like the frame design, but I really miss the gears.

    Has anyone ever done this, or know someone who has? If so, around how much was it? I wouldn't be looking for anything super fancy as far as components go, but I would like a decent bike build. I would assume this process would be fairly pricey, but perhaps not? Would it be better or smarter to just sell the Langster all together and get a new road bike? If anyone has had any experience with this, or wants to put their two cents in, it'd be appreciated. I've just been very confused over this :confused:
  • 04-25-2013
    Love Commander
    I'm assuming the Langster is still spec'd out as 120mm spacing. If that's the case, you won't be able to fit a modern road hub in there, nor can you increase the spacing since the frame is aluminum. Some companies sell bolt-on derailleur hangers for bikes with track ends, but that doesn't help you due to the Langsters rear spacing.

    But what you CAN do is run an internal gear hub. Sturmey Archer makes a 3-speed hub (SRF-3) and a 5 speed hub (SRF-5) that both can fit into a 120mm-spaced frame. Bonus is that they have multiple shifting options for these: bar-mounted thumb shifter, bar-end shifter (I'd recommend that option if you're using drop bars), twist shifter, trigger shifter. I'm not really sure of the availability of these, I tried to find both online a while ago for my Steamroller and the pickings were slim. You might have better luck going to your LBS and asking if they can source it for you (and build the wheel if you don't want to tackle that project).

    Bonus is that you still get to keep a lot of the low-maintenance ease of the single-speed and most of the nice aesthetic since you won't have a derailleur. You can route the shift cable any direction you want with stick-on cable guides.


    Something like this: Soma Iggy 3-Spd 700c Rear Wheel
    With this shifter: Sturmey Archer 3-speed Bar-end Shifter
    They show their Over Locknut Dimension on that wheel to be 127mm, you want 120mm. You could always email them to see if 120mm is an option.

    Wheel: Soma Iggy 5-Spd 700c Rear Wheel
    Shifter: Sturmey Shifter 5sp Hub Bar End Shifters
    That one is shown as 120mm, but I'd still email to confirm.

    They even have a matching front wheel if you need things matchy.

    I'd still shop around, though. And see what your LBS can do for you.
  • 04-25-2013
    What was said above. With the rear spacing of 120mm, you can go 3 to 5 speed with the Langster.

    My vote is to buy another bike with 20 speeds.

    No contest IMO.
  • 04-25-2013
    If you want gears but low maintenance, get a bike with an Alfine 8-speed internally-geared hub. Very little maintenance if you're treating it normally.
  • 04-26-2013
    Hey everyone and thanks for all of your input! I thought a lot about the 5 speed Soma Iggy last night, but I feel that ultimately I'd love to have something more than that, whether it's an 8-9-10 or 20 speed. However, it is good to know that I have a couple of options if I do choose to stay with the SS, even if they are minimally geared options.

    I feel like I should have just gotten a new road bike instead of a single speed... didn't realize how much I'd miss it. I can still get a work out in with the SS, it definitely requires more work, and a bit a more push, but the climbing just isn't the same and my affinity for gears is kind of taking over the simplicity and beauty of a single speed!

    I have some things to think about!
  • 04-26-2013
    Keep the single speed bike and get yourself a 10 speed from Craigslist. I have both a 2x10 Blue AC1 that I road ride and a SS Americano CX Disc that I commute on. I love them both for different reasons.
  • 04-26-2013
    +1 for keeping the SS and buying a used bike with gears.

    After all, someone on this forum once said: They number of bikes you need is X+1, where X is the number of bikes you currently own :D
  • 04-29-2013

    Originally Posted by AtomicMoose View Post
    Keep the single speed bike and get yourself a 10 speed from Craigslist. I have both a 2x10 Blue AC1 that I road ride and a SS Americano CX Disc that I commute on. I love them both for different reasons.

    hmmmm, I'm actually thinking about selling the SS, and buying a nice new road bike, and then getting more of a beater SS to take around for commuting! I definitely think it's better to have two bikes, each for their own purpose!