My Single Speed Is Actually a 2-speed

Today was new chain day. I installed a KMC K1 Narrow single speed 1/2″ x 3/32″ chain last night but couldn’t get a good length. The chain seemed way too slack even with the wheel all the way back in the dropouts. I removed a link and set the wheel back to what seemed like a good chain tension, but now the wheel looks to be too close to the dropout’s front edge. I’m not so worried. It’s not that close and the bolts are tight! But I wonder, is it too close? 

Some have said a chain may stretch a little initially and I may be able to move the wheel back somewhat. Others say, chains don’t stretch, they only wear, and seem to stretch. Another suggestion is to add a half link, it seems reasonable, but maybe a hassle? I may add one. 

Come what may, it’s very nice to have a new chain. I can feel the difference. The KMC K1 Narrow is quite nice. 

The chain I replaced, also a KMC, a multi-speed I think, came with the bike. There’s no telling how long it had been on the bike prior to my riding it sporadically over the past year. It was without a doubt ready to be replaced. I believe the KMC K1 Narrow chain is nicer and better suited for a single speed bicycle.

1986 Fuji Allegro
1986 Fuji Allegro

Despite an issue or two, I love this bike. I bought it on Craigslist a bit over a year ago when my office moved from Astor Place to Union Square (in New York City). I wasn’t sure if there would be a bike room in my new office, so set out to find a bike I’d be OK with locking up outside.

It turns out, there is a bike room in my new office. Nevertheless, I commute on this bike from time to time.

Due to it having fenders, I tend to ride it when there’s rain in the forecast. Incidentally, I have two other geared bikes with fenders. So even when it rains, I have a few choices.

The SRAM Automatix is a 2-speed internal gear hub. One of the issues I have with the bike is the hub. The hub is quite nice. It has a low gear and a high gear. The only problem is the shift point. It shifts to high gear too soon, like when you pick up a bit of speed but happen to be going up a hill. It doesn’t bother me much. I’m still impressed that it has 2 speeds and shifts automatically. Not to mention, it makes a very nice ticking sound, like a fine timepiece, once you get going in high gear. It is possible to adjust the shift point, but this involves dissembling the hub and bending an internal spring, and then reassembling the hub and hoping it’s just right. I’m not sure I’ll be up to that task any time soon. 

I liked the hub so much, I soon purchased another one, but it was the coaster brake version. I’d rather have rim brakes so decided to disable the coaster brake on this hub. I watched a video on YouTube which describes this process for an SRAM i-Motion 9 hub, which seems to be, disassembling the hub, removing the 5 roller pins & brake shoes, then reassembling the hub. I should be able to do the same with the SRAM Automatix. 

The only other real issue I have with the bike are the Origin8 Bullhorn Handlebars. They feel somewhat odd to me, but not intolerable. I typically ride randonneur style drop bars. The bullhorns are quite a bit different.

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