Monday, February 20, 2012

Single Speed Randonneuse

I’ve owned this 1982 Trek 311 for couple years now and in that time it’s been set up in various ways. This winter I decided to build it up as a single speed brevet bike, and so far I’m really happy with how it’s working out. The 311 was Trek’s cheapest model back in its day. The main triangle is Ishiwata Magny X double butted tubing and the stays and fork are good ol’ high ten (aka "drainpipe"). Definitely nothing to write home about, but somehow it manages to be an extremely comfortable and fun to ride bike. It handles a moderate front load well, though it can shimmy a bit if I put 10 lbs or more in the front bag. That shouldn't be an issue because I usually don’t carry anywhere near that much on a brevet.

There’s actually not much of the original bike left in this build. The frame, fork, headset, stem and handlebars are original, but everything else was scavenged off of other bikes, out of my spare parts "warehouse", or purchased new for this build.

The gearing is 46/18 which works out to about 68 gear inches. I’ve found that gearing to work well on long rides. It allows me to keep up with moderately fast groups on the flats, and still make it up most of hills. When the hills get long and steep, I kick it into the granny gear (i.e. I get off and walk).

Since I started Randonneuring in 2009 I’ve wanted to complete an SR series on a single-speed bike. This year seemed like the right year to go for it, so that’s the vision that inspired this build. So far its longest ride has been only 90 miles, but it handled it with aplomb. I have little doubt the bike is up to the task of a full SR series.

P.S. Did you notice how I did that without any mention of the fact that I haven't posted a darn thing in nearly four months?


  1. Great to see new posts - and chapeau for riding the series on single speed! I'm guessing SIR doesn't have a 'no mountains' set of alternate brevets?

  2. Actually it looks like the spring series is going to be pretty flat. I rode the 200k last weekend and it only had 3,500 ft of climbing. 300k next weekend is a little hillier.

  3. Replies
    1. I have a White Industries freewheel on there. I'm a big fan of coasting.

  4. Hi,

    I love how the front rack does not need eyelets to be out on. What kind of rack is it and where can I get one? Thanks in advanced.


    1. It's a Velo Orange Randonneur front rack. You can get it here: