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I had been looking out for a new bike/frame for Sam to use for school.

I was lucky enough to pick up a 1992 Kona Lava Dome (thanks Jim), in an 18 inch frame with various additional accessories.

Sam and I decided to single speed it, to keep it simple and also to keep it cheap (I don't have any more gear shifters, or rear mech's in the spares box).

I went for the classic 32:16 or 2:1 ratio. That's 32 teeth on the front chainring and 16 teeth on the rear.

I bought a Dead Head Single Speed Kit from the Woolly Hat Shop - a bargain at £9-99.

This kit converts your existing 7/8/9 Speed hub to single speed. It includes two rings - 16 tooth and 18 tooth plus all spacers required to sit on your rear hub.

Sam also managed to strip the thread out of one of the crank arms (it served me ok for four years), so I also ended up buying the cheapest Shimano crankset I could find.

I removed the large and small ring and reversed the middle ring to ensure that I could tighten the crankset bolts sufficiently.

kona lava dome

The Kona Lava Dome straight out the box

kona lava dome

just to prove it is a Lava Dome

kona lava dome

XT levers on a narrow flat bar and cantilever brakes

avid sd 1.9 lever

The Avid SD 1.9 levers and v-brakes that also came with the bike

kona project two forks

Kona Project Two Rigid forks

velocity stem

Velocity stem


The middle ring and tapered crankset from my Specialized Enduro which had to be replaced when Sam stripped the thread out of one of the crankarms

single speed

This was before I got hold of a singlespeed sprocket converter and a chain tensioner.

kona singlespeed

The (almost) finished article

kona lava dome singlespeed

no chain tensioner


with added riser bars and Avid levers fitted

new shimano crank set

Dead Head single speed kit fitted

an old LX rear mech put to use as a chain tensioner

the full chainset

Sue's classic (early 1990's) Kona singlespeed

Huey's singlespeed Kona Explosif

Huey giving the Kona a good fast outing

followed by Sue

Rob likes one gear too - here's his ONEOFF single speed conversion

and Rob's Merlin XC single speed conversion

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all photos and content copyright of Richard Sear 1999 to 2015