We get heaps of questions in the shop. One of the most asked is "Why single speed?" and "What about hills?" - Here we try and explain our love for single speed bicycles, their pros and cons and why we don't build with gears.
First off, a single speed is elegantly simple. This allows the bicycle to last 100s and even 1000s of kilometres without much need for servicing. Even the most basic bicycle service on a geared ride can cost upwards of R500 bucks! Not to mention the downtime and having to resort back to your most primal "one foot in front of the other" transport. (walking... that was a joke...ha...ha...)
This is first and foremost why we love building single speed bicycles. Your Rook ride just begs to be ridden every single day when compared to a geared bicycle that could be slipping gears or in for a service at the shop. Without all the extra equipment required to have gears - your bicycle is much lighter. Lighter means faster. And faster means funner.
"But what about the hills?" you ask... We've geared Rook Bicycles with a super nice medium. Most hills are totally doable - the team road the Cape Valley Rat SS race which is from the V&A Waterfront to Noordhoek. The ultimate test of a gear ratio is a dynamic ride like this with hill climbs and steep downhills. Our bicycles handled this ride excellently and shows that most rides will be mostly fine most of the time 🤘 The being said - the steepest hills you may walk ... but a small price to pay for a reliable always-ready-to-ride bicycle.
A Rook bicycle is well behaved, fast and reliable as a single speed - but flip the rear hub and engage fixed mode. Fixed, if you don't know already, is how you would ride a track bicycle. Fully engaged with the drive train - you just don't stop pedalling. You can slow down using your legs and lock up the rear wheel to slide to a stop. These skills allow your ride to become super dynamic and you'll fall in love with your bike all over again.
All our bicycles are fitted with a flip-flop rear hub that allows you to choose fixed or freewheel based on your riding style. Don't get us wrong - there is a time and place for gears, and absolutely nothing wrong with gears, but a single speed is must in any bike collection and for sure the best weapon for the urban jungle.