From Single to Nine

A lot of us like to ‘simplify’ our drivetrains by either converting a multi-speed bike to a single speed/fixie or by building them from a bare frame. I built this Ibex X-ray Single Speed back in October of ’05 for commuting purposes.

I’ve been wanting to convert this bike into a 1X9 for a while — this set up is more versatile and allows for my friends to borrow this bike and go ride with me.

Here are the details of my conversion:

First, I began by removing the single speed kit using my trusty Ice Toolz Cassette remover, then I installed the 9 speed cassette on the freehub.

Next was removing the chain by using a chain breaker:

then I installed the rear derailleur, yep, a Dura-ace derailleur that I scored for cheap on Ebay.

I then installed a Soulchain 9 speed chain using a method to size the chain described here.

Although I have a pair of STI Dura-ace shifters, I didn’t want to change my current setup, so I opted to go ‘old school’ by installing a Suntour Friction bar end shifter given to me by our good friend Ghost Rider.

I then had to go to my LBS to purchase the shifter cable, housing, the BB guide and a new bar tape.

Here’s how I guided the cabling:

After removing the old bar tape, I installed the new bar tape so I can conceal the shifter cable. I chose yellow bar tape so it can match the color scheme of the bike and to be more visible to motorists.

I rode the bike around the block, after a few adjustments the bike shifts very smooth and it is ready to ride to work!


  1. Maulie

    This is a great post. I’d like to see more step by step documentary-style ones in the future. I’m fascinated by this stuff.



    I’m riding my bike 545 miles for HIV/AIDS:

  2. Ghost Rider


    search our archives…while some of our step-by-step tutorials were lost to a hacker last year, we’ve got a bunch more back there gathering dust!

    Moe, it turned out beautifully — that yellow tape looks great on there.

  3. Ghost Rider

    Here’s a quick link to our “How To” archives:

  4. Jami

    I like those tires! They look like rattlesnake skin in the pictures.

  5. Moe (Post author)

    They are SweetSkinz Rattleback tires:

    Not only do they look cool, they are very plush and they are reflective at night!

  6. Mike C

    You need a purple water bottle cage…

  7. Ghost Rider

    Moe, if you want a purple waterbottle cage, I can totally hook you up…and you even have your choice between a Trek Lexan cage or an anodized aluminum one. Just let me know!!

  8. Moe (Post author)

    Well, I do have Carbon Fiber cage with yellow accents… I may go with that instead.

  9. Clancy

    Nice conversion. The 1×9 setup is simple and makes sense for those who can’ t afford a Alfine 8spd hub. I run it on my Xtracycle and it works great for around town.

  10. Lance

    For anyone who has an answer:
    Aren’t there do-hickies out there that will allow a singlespeed bike to be converted to a geared? You know, like a bolt on derailleur hanger for singlespeed specific bikes?

    I’ve been contemplating turning the Redline 925 into a 1X9 setup. Yours look awesome Moe! Those tires are crazy lookin.

  11. Moe (Post author)

    Lance, you can always go with an internal hub.

  12. RL

    Ooh ooh! I want to ride it!

  13. Ghost Rider

    Lance, the short answer to your question is “sort of”.

    If you have a bike with horizontal dropouts (older bikes), then yes, a bolt-on derailleur “claw” is available.
    There’s a picture and link to these adapters in this article, and that might make what I’m talking about a bit clearer:

    If, on the other hand, you’ve got a bike with single-position dropouts, then I’ve never seen a derailleur adapter, but one might exist…

  14. RL

    Lance, I know what you’re talking about, in fact the 29er Solo one that Moe owns actually owns this. Not only is it a tensioner, but it also has a drop out.

    Check out the drop out in the photo.

  15. RL

    Oh one more thing Lance, a problem you may have could be in the shifting, you don’t have cable mount thingies brazed on the frame.

  16. Ghost Rider

    RL…I’m not sure that tensioner/derailleur hanger will work for a single-position dropout, especially since it is designed for a rear-facing forkend.

    Cable stops come in clamp-on models, too, at least for the downtube. You might have to get creative for the mandatory cable stop on the driveside chainstay.

  17. RL

    The 925 has rear facing drop outs.

  18. LLrider

    Ya, I found some clamp on cable stops for the downtube. The only remaining problem would be a cable stop for the chainstay, as you said GR.

    Anybody got any bright ideas? I suppose I could use the adhesive cable stops with a zip tie, but I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with those.

  19. Ghost Rider

    Oh, you know…I never read carefully enough which bike was gonna get this “treatment” — RL is correct that those KHS tensioner/derailleur mount thingies would be perfect! And, ignore everything I said about the other claw mounts and stuff.

    You could try adhesive cable stops with an additional ziptie just to see what happens, but that adhesive better be pretty strong to fight all that spring tension in the derailleur. Worst that happens is it doesn’t work so well, in which case getting a chainstay cable stop brazed on shouldn’t be too terribly expensive or difficult (but will ruin the existing paintjob).

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