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I realize that there comes a time in the lifecycle of a bike when the cost of replacing certain components becomes too high. New chain rings, cranks, bottom brackets, derailleur and other parts can pile up to several hundred dollars. I faced this problem two weeks ago when I decided to bring to life an old 21-speed mountain bike as a city cruiser. The bike, which had seen much abuse over the years, was a sad picture. The people in the bike shop suggested that converting it to a single-speed configuration would be the best option. Do you have any single speed gear recomendations?

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It is a good choice. Since moving parts are minimized, in addition to saving on costs, the single-speed setup would require very little maintenance. To do this, one new component has to be added - a Surly Singulator chain tensioner. Also superfluous gears, shifters, derailleurs and other parts have to be removed. The final result: a streamlined bike with one speed. You will have to remove the rear cassette, add some spacers and cut off the extra front chain rings. The Surly Singulator will have to be added too. It acts like a rear derailleur arm to keep tension on the chain so that it does not slip on the gears. You may consider sanding and sprayed painting. The job will probably cost you somewhere between $80 and $120 (on average $60 will be going to parts and $40 to labor). The final result of this upgrade can be a solid all-weather commuter bike that can take several more years of abuse.
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