I’ve ridden a Surly Krampus since they came out back in 2013. I started with the OG Green Krampus but that bike died in a freak accident and it was replaced by the Black Krampus named Silver which has been my “Mountain Bike” for quite a few years. Over the last year, Silver has been out of commission with a broken hub. I had Johnny T relace a new DT Swiss hub into the Krampus’s rear wheel and I started to think about riding it as a singlespeed. Years ago, I converted a geared hub to one speed using PVC pipe for spacers with a chain tensioner. I can’t seem to stop building and riding singlespeed mountain bikes. I started single speeding on a fixed-gear tricycle as soon as I could walk. This black Krampus looks a little like the black Schwinn sting ray that I used to ride the dirt trails along the Des Plaines River when I was a youngling.
The current Krampus has gone through lots of iterations and modifications from bikepacking to dutch gravel commuter to its role as a geared 1×10 ‘mountain bike’. I’ve always liked it best as a mountain bike. The name of this article is ‘Singlespeeding a Krampus’ so I should get to talking about how I bumbled my way through the conversion.
I looked through my stash of singlespeed cogs and found a Chris King 19-tooth cog that will fit on the Shimano driver of the new DT Swiss Hub. I thought about going to the hardware store and using PVC for spacers, but I decided to buy a Surly Spacer Kit ($45). Since I have a Black Krampus Ops Frame that comes with MDS Dropout Chips that can be swapped out to allow for tensioning the chain. I ordered a set of horizontal drops ($50) and thought that I had everything to make the conversion.
That would have been true if I was using a bolt-on hub. Since the new hub was set up to run a QR skewer, I needed to order a chain tensioner to make sure that the wheel doesn’t move while under load. A Surly Tuggnut ($38) completed the conversion.
The reason that I call this “doing it the hard way’ is that I could have just bought a new 10-speed cassette for well under a hundred dollars, but I spent $125 to convert the bike to a singlespeed. I have to admit that I felt like kind of a dumbass. I didn’t beat myself up for too long because I figured, as a geared mountain bike, the Krampus wouldn’t get ridden very much, because it competes for time with geared fat bikes. The Krampus struggles to be a better MTB than a modern lightweight fat bike. But as a Singlespeed…I felt like that would open up a whole new chapter for this bike. The only other bike in my stable that a single-speeded Krampus would compete with for ride time is my Klunker. The Krampus is a much more capable and better-handling mountain bike than my Klunker!
All of my second thoughts disappeared the moment that I took the new one-speed Krampus out for a ride in the dirt. I’ve got a new singlespeed and it flies! So there you have it…one gnome’s struggle to ride one gear the expensive way…or maybe the hard way, but definitely the FUN way! This is the bike that I’m taking to Singlespeed USA in Iowa next month. If you’re planning on attending be sure to hit me up for some stickers.