Fixed gear off-road mountain biking is not practical, but it’s a blast! No coasting allowed.
It provides a whole new set of challenges when biking as the pedals are always in motion. In addition, full concentration is always required. Think about pausing for a second and there will be a sudden reminder to keep on pedalling.
Too much fun to be had as bunny hills, switch backs, and logs can become technically challenging. In addition, going down a hill is suddenly just as challenging as climbing a hill. It’s like learning to bike again as a whole new set of cycling techniques need to be learned.
The fixed experience is also very different from singlespeed bikes, as the cyclist is always connected with the terrain. A mountain biker’s pace can be controlled simply by pedalling faster or slower.
- Note, having front brakes is absolutely necessary off-road. It’s suicide without them!
When experimenting with fixed gear off-road mountain biking there was very little information available. It is/was a very small niche as none of the local cyclist bike fixed gear off-road. In addition, the local bike shops were not familiar with the sport either. As a result, it became a custom job as parts had to be researched and special ordered.
In short, mountain bikes can be converted to fixed gears either by attaching a bolt-on disc cog, or by building a rear wheel with a fixed rear hub with mountain bike spacing (135 mm O.L.D). Chain tensioners cannot be used as they will break under pressure when reverse pedalling.
Unfortunately, most solutions require a MTB frame with horizontal dropouts or track forkends. However, MTB frames with vertical dropouts can be converted with a rear wheel built around an elliptical axle hub (i.e. White Industries Eccentric ENO).
Anyway, below is a list of fixed gear parts for off-road mountain biking.
The following were composed on August 24, 2013.
Bolt-on Disc Cogs
The following list bolt-on disc cogs.
They are the cheapest and easiest solution to convert a mountain bike with horizontal dropouts or track forkends into a fixed gear bike.
Bolt-on disc cogs are drilled to have a 6-bolt ISO disc pattern. They are installed by mounting them onto a disc hub. The rear wheel is then flipped and remounted onto the bike frame with the chain on the cog. However, this results in the loss of rear disc brakes.
- Note, an alternative do-it-yourself solution to the following cogs, is to drill a 6-bolt ISO disc pattern into a singlespeed cog with a bench press drill
|Phil Wood & Co.||Rear ISO Bolt Pattern Cogs, 1/8”|
|Problem Solvers||Problem Solvers 6-bolt Cog|
|VeloSolo||VeloSolo Bolt-on Disc Cog, 3/32”|
|VeloSolo Bolt-on Disc Cog, 1/8”|
The following list rear fixed gear hubs with 135mm O.L.D. spacing for mountain bikes. There are only 5 models listed, but they come in many variations.
The White Industries Eric’s Eccentric ENO is the only fixed gear hub designed for use with vertical dropouts as it uses an elliptical axle. However, it is a flip-flop hub and rear disc brakes cannot be used.
For disc brakes, there are more options, but the hubs are designed for horizontal dropouts or track forkends.
The following list lockrings, which are used to prevent track cogs from unthreading from a hub. Most are designed for English lockring threads (1.29×24tpi left-hand).
The following list track cogs for fixed gear use. Any regular fixed gear cog will work for off-road mountain biking use.
Standard track cogs are designed for ISO-threaded (1.375” x 24tpi) hubs.
White Industries uses a custom spline pattern.
- Miche track cogs, require a special carrier (housing)
- Singleworks website is coming soon
- Sugino track cogs include a special carrier and lockring
- Surly Dingle Cogs are unique as they offer two cogs (17/19T, 17/20T or 17/21T) within the width of a single track cog