Adjusting Single Speed Sliding Dropouts

Posted: December 10, 2016 by Mark in Uncategorized

So yeah,  I am REALLY into single speed bikes… All bikes are cool but single speeds are MOAR cool.  Bikes with electric shifting systems are cool only when the batteries are dead.  Mechanical cable shifting is cool in ratio to the total number of gears (i.e. 1×11 is cooler than 3×10).

But alas, even cool stuff needs wrench love.  Single speed in particular require adjustments MUCH more often than gearing to handle chain wear and changing ratios.  Thankfully the adjustments are quick and easy.  It’s a good idea to adjust the bike about once a week or any time you clean it.


The bolts for the dropouts are big 6mm steel socket head or fancy Titanium star bolts as shown in the following phone.   I much prefer the steel bolts because steel is stronger and does not wear out as quickly.

When installing the bolts add some thread locking compound.   It’s good to use thread compound on all bolts.

With the bike in  a stand set the dropouts in the forward position before installing the rear  wheel. Once the wheel is installed you can use  the adjustment bolts to set chain tension and align the rear  wheel.   The chain should be checked for wear and then adjusted so it moves well without binding.   It’s okay if you have a small amount of play in the system. If play is excessive look at the state of the cogs and chain ring.

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With everything adjusted, use a torque wrench to lock  the dropouts in place with 29nm applied to the main bolts first and then 2nm applied to snug down the adjustment bolts and locking nuts.

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With some basic care your single speed will provide a lot  of AWESOME in return.

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