Not everyone is willing and/or able to go single speed but they may still have the desire for simplicity and reliability in their cycling. My mountain bike (Cannondale Prophet) will never be a single speed bike, and yet it could benefit from having less gears. Something I have considered installing on my bike is The Widgit, a locally made single front ring conversion. Luckily I was able to convince a mate to install one on his bike,
Clearly The Widgit is aimed at off-road cyclist, and yet Jamie (see his wonderful shaving soap!) has no real desire to ride off-road. He wanted to ditch the ineffective and annoyingly unreliable front gears and use the full range of gears on the back (something he couldn’t do with front derailleur installed). It’s hard to believe anyone really needs 27 gears on a commuter (and the cheap and crappy gears never really work anyway), so a devise that converts things to an effective 7-9 gears is perfect for many riders (the rear derailleur being much more effective than the front). My wife has never used the small and large rings on her Bianchi commuter bike.
Installing The Widgit was pretty easy. It replaced the smallest ring so you don’t need to get any special chainring bolts (like you do with some single speed conversions). Simple remove all existing chainrings and replace them with The Widgit. Remove a few links from your chain (about 4), and ride.
Our installation wasn’t totally without hiccups. Once installed the outer bashguard rails were a little too snug and the chain caught on them. Jamie adjusted them with a little help from some leverage from a screwdriver but alarmingly popped a rivet without really putting much effort into it.
Once in action Jamie was extremely happy with the results. I test rode it and was blown away. A clunky old system was replaced with one that was quiet and effective. Every gear was available out back without a hint of rub and that ugly front derailleur was gone. As a bonus we lost a couple hundred grams, and a bit of clutter off the handlebars. I reckon I’ll be ordering one for the Cannondale soon and another for the wife’s bike.