Introduction

Cycling is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get around while staying healthy and still having fun. Single-speed bikes add an extra level of simplicity to your ride by taking away your ability to change your front gear.

Here is a list of the best single speed cranksets available on the market right now that are suited for your city or mountain bike.

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Best Single Speed Crankset for the city

CDHPOWER Single Speed Crankset

Best on a budget

The CDHPOWER Single Speed Crankset has everything that you expect from a high-quality crankset. It may not be the lightest on the list. However, the alloy crank arms and steel chainring are robust and responsive.

You have the option of 32t or 36t gearing, which will work great on any beach cruiser or single speed bike conversion. The subtle black finish makes it look stylish and discreet.

Pedal Crank Arms: 32T = 165mm 36T = 170mm
Gearing: 32T or 36T
Net Weight: 515g
Bottom Bracket included: No – Compatible with all major bottom bracket standards

Pros

  • Competitively priced
  • Good bottom bracket compatibility

Cons

  • Relatively low gearing

SRAM S300 Courier Crankset

Best upgrade for a fixie or single speed city bike

SRAM is renowned for making high-quality mountain bike components. The S300 courier crankset is geared (no pun intended) towards the hoards of single speed and fixie riders in the city. It comes equipped with a TSM (Black RED) Powerglide chainring, which is smooth and efficient.

There is no denying that it is one of the best looking cranksets on the list. It is made from a6061 T6 alloy material, which is both light and strong. It is also one of the only cranksets to come with a new bottom bracket. The Gutter Seal Technology bottom bracket is very durable and ensures all your leg power gets converted into turning the pedals instantly.

This is a favorite among fixed gear cyclists due to its stiffness and durability (partly due to the included quality bottom bracket).

Pedal Crank Arms: 165mm or 170mm
Gearing: 48t
Net Weight: 900g
Bottom Bracket included: Yes – standard 68mm English threaded

Pros

  • Looks great
  • High quality and durable

Cons

  • If you want to swap out the chainring, you may need to take it to the bike shop as the nuts and bolts that connect it to the crank arm are stiff to the point of being impossible to remove

Lasco Forged Road Bicycle Crankset for Fixed Gear or Single Speed

Best for a city or commuter bike

This 44t single speed crankset is the perfect match for a commuter bike. Whether you are looking to simplify your current town bike by making it into a single-speed or want an upgrade for your single speed cruiser, this is a great match.

It looks stylish and comes with a guard to help prevent your trousers from getting caught on the chainring as you pedal. You can also opt for cheaper options without the guard (red or black and alloy).

Pedal Crank Arms: 165mm
Gearing: 42t
Bottom Bracket included: No – Compatible with all major bottom bracket standards

Pros

  • Perfect gearing for flat city riding
  • Worth the extra few $s to get the chain guard

Cons

  • Only comes with a 165mm Arm length

 

Best Single Speed Crankset for Mountain Bikes

SRAM GX Eagle Crankset – 12-Speed, 32t, DUB

Best affordable SRAM single speed crankset for a mountain bike

Source: treefortbikes.com

This 32t single speed crankset from SRAM looks fantastic. It is responsive and provides consistent performance while pedaling. This chainring is designed specifically for Eagle chains and drivetrains (but can be paired with other brands). The 7000 series forged aluminum crank arms feel stiff and look awesome.

This is an excellent single speed crankset if you are already running SRAM components and want to try out only having one chainring upfront. It is compatible with SRAMs 12 speed drivetrain and will give you high-quality performance without breaking the bank.

Pedal Crank Arms: 165mm or 170mm or 17mm
Gearing: 32t
Net Weight: Approx. 621 g
Bottom Bracket included: No – Compatible with all major bottom bracket standards (but best paired with SRAMs own DUB bottom bracket)

Pros

  • They look awesome
  • The crank arms are light, stiff, and strong

Cons

  • SRAM has created the GX Eagle Crankset to work best and most efficiently with their own drivetrain and chain

RaceFace Evolve 32t Crankset with Bashguard

Best for protected single speed crankset for mountain bike

Source: treefortbikes.com

This is the all-in-one single speed crankset solution to upgrade your mountain bike to a single speed right away. You are not restricted to specific drivetrains or chains, as RaceFace evolve chainring is compatible with both Shimano and SRAM components.

The fact that this comes with a bottom bracket and bash guard makes this single speed crankset an absolute bargain. Although it may be heavier than many other single speed cranksets on the list, it is hard-wearing and reliable. This would be a great introduction to the world of single speed mountain biking.

Pedal Crank Arms: 175mm
Gearing: 32t
Net Weight: 1080g
Bottom Bracket included: Yes (English Threaded)

Pros

  • Includes bottom bracket and bashgaurd
  • Compatible with all major chains and cassette

Cons

  • If you are dropping a front chainring to save weight, get a single speed crankset that does not come with the added protection of a bashgaurd

SRAM X01 Eagle DUB Crankset

Best lightweight single speed crankset for Mountain and Enduro bikes

Source: competitivecyclist.com

If performance is your priority and you are looking to shed some weight, the SRAM X01 Eagle is the best single speed crankset for your MTB or Enduro.

It comes with carbon fiber tuned crank arms that are both lightweight and stiff. This crankset comes with 29mm spindles, and when combined with SRAMs DUB bottom bracket, elevates this crankset to the top of the market for lightweight efficiency and durability. In addition to the latest tech that has been squeezed into this single speed crankset, it also looks stylish and will complement any high-end mountain bike.

You may have to buy a SRAM DUB bottom bracket and run it alongside SRAMs Eagle 12-speed drivetrain to maximize efficiency and durability. Still, if you are looking for a serious upgrade to help you hit peak performance, this is well worth the investment.

Pedal Crank Arms: 170 mm, 175 mm
Gearing: 32t
Net Weight: 482g (175mm crank arms, not including BB)
Bottom Bracket included: No (Best combined with SRAMs DUB)

Pros

  • Lightweight and stiff
  • When combined with DUB bottom bracket and drivetrain offers unparalleled pedaling efficiency

Cons

  • It is an expensive upgrade if you do not already have a top-end bike running on SRAM components

 

Buyers Guide

This list was split out between mountain bikes and city/single speed bikes for a good reason. You probably noticed when looking through there are some considerable differences. If you are in the market for a single speed crankset, you will be looking for one or the other.

So there is no real need to compare the differences directly. Instead, the buyer’s guide has been split out, so you can just jump to the section that is most relevant to you. For general information that applies to both types of single speed crankset, check out the FAQs at the bottom.

Buyers Guide – City Single Speed Crankset

Gearing

You will notice a large difference in the gearing of the single speed cranksets reviewed above. They are ranging from 32t to 48t. The single-speed cranksets made for a city bike, commuter, or cruiser are larger than those for mountain bikes, mainly because they are designed to be paired with a single rear cog and not a cassette.

Therefore the gearing of the single-speed chainring you choose is super important. Rather than having the luxury of at least changing your rear gear, you are stuck with just the one.

Consider your local area (particularly how hilly it is), your fitness, and your current single speed freewheel gearing. If you live in a relatively flat area, have experience cycling and up for a challenge, then choose the higher gearing offered by the likes of the SRAM S300 Courier Crankset.

However, if you are trialing riding single speed or know that you will have some hills to contest with, start with a chainring of 32t – 38t.

There is no perfect gear for every occasion, especially when riding single-speed. But that is a big part of the fun. Riding single speed is a challenge and helps kickstart your fitness to the next level.

Buyers Guide – Mountain Bike Single Speed Crankset

Gearing

If you think you will be losing out by changing to a 1 x crankset, you are wrong. The reality is that you do not lose out on much of a gearing range. Thanks to the wide drivetrains you can pair with the best single speed cranksets, you still get plenty of gears, just without the hassle of a front mech.

By dropping to one chainring up front, you reduce weight (losing the front mech, shifter, and extra cogs), reduce maintenance, and your mountain bike has less to go wrong. They also look sleek and remove the need for an extra gear cable and shifter on your bars.

All the single speed cranksets for a mountain bike on this come in 32t. You will notice that this is a lot smaller than those designed for the track or road.

The gearing of your single speed crankset is lower due to the different types of terrain you will be conquering and the simple fact that you will still have the luxury of gears at the back.

You will be able to use any of these single speed cranksets with a 9 – 12 speed drivetrain. Or even a single speed freewheel if you are going for a hardcore upgrade to your mountain bike.

FAQ

What Crank Arm length do I need?

This is an interesting question, and there is a lot of conflicting information about the impact of the crank arm on performance and pedaling efficiency.

To date, I have not seen any compelling evidence from studies that show that there is an optimum crank arm length. Or that longer crank arms increase speed due to the increased leverage.

Ultimately it is up to you and your body shape. If you are comfortable with your current setup, do a quick measurement of what you are riding with at the minute. For reference, the “standard” crank arm length is 170mm, and honestly, I would not over think it. The gearing ratio you choose will have more of an impact on your speed and performance.

Will I need to adjust the chain to the new gearing?

You will most certainly have to change your chain length if you are making a change to your current gearing. However, it is always recommended to buy a new chain when you replace your crankset or rear cassette/freewheel.

Running an old chain that has become slightly worn will decrease your new gear’s lifespan and not make the most of your shiny new crankset!

Will I need a new bottom bracket?

This is an important purchasing decision. You should factor in the bottom bracket cost for the above single speed cranksets that do not come with one. They can be expensive, so consider it a positive if you can get an all in one set.

Although you do not need to replace your bottom bracket when installing a new crankset, you should just double-check to make sure your new crankset will fit your existing set up (standard threaded bottom brackets accommodate a 24mm diameter axle).

Conclusion

Hopefully, this has helped you to decide which single speed crankset is best for your budget and needs. There are so many different options it can be challenging to know which one is best for you. It is worth focusing on the gearing and reliability of a new crankset for the everyday cyclist rather than obsessing on shedding some weight.

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