Monday, February 28, 2011
So, just new pads and my Juicy 3's are a-o.k. Just need to zip-tie the cable and put some tape on the bottom cup of my Kingbling. I was in the middle of reviewing the singlespeed parts on this 1x1. Last one that matters: King headset. Duh. 7 years, three bikes, kickin' a$$ and takin' names. With a rigid fork and friends with suspension in front, you need three things: a tight grip, loose arms and a King headset. It's 12:04 in the a.m., cheers...
Sunday, February 27, 2011
This is the first set of Avid disc brakes I've had. It looks like when the pads are extremely worn you should change them. Maybe before! The little wire piece that hold them together and helps tension them out looks like it needs a bit of a ridge from the brake pad to keep it in place. The little wire piece got ripped through the break today on Henry's ridge. It took a little while to figure out what happened. I took the break off and tied it to my handlebar, and rode the rest of the ride with just a rear break. I have had the breaks for right one two years without any problems. I haven't gone out to the garage to put it all together with new pads and see if it's all working. Hopefully it's fine.
I am taking a minute to explain to my many followers on this blog (wink/wink, and some laughing, and then some crying). In case there is someone out there interested in reviews of battle tested singlespeed gear, here goes: Phil Wood rear hub, 3 and half years, twice a week, lot's of mud, no problem, like new. It's not the lightest thing in the world, but it's dealt with a lot of wet sloppy weather and it's going strong. White Industries Trials Freewheel: easily my favorite singlespeed part. Instant engagement. That is really great in singlespeeding because you are always dependent on every inch of your pedal stroke. I am a month short of 3 years with this. No problems what so ever. Silky smooth in the sloppiest glop. Micro back-pedals, readjustments, instant on, trial precision on logs or whatever.
I haven't pushed the limits on the "Fatties Fit Fine" spacing. I've had the same 2.35 Maxxis Minions on this for a year and a half. They fit fine. Even with a lot of chunky mud, they fit fine. Many singlespeeds get put together very randomly with whatever parts are available, some bailing wire, duct tape and a tensioner from Price Point. My Surly 1x1 is quite the opposite, most of it's parts are picked for very specific reasons, that have very specific applications on the trail. Tires: Maxxis Minions, single ply DH, 2.35, around 850 grams. Grip is super important on a singlespeed, much more so than it's multi-gear and suspension brethren. These tires have big, nicely spaced knobs. The sidewalls are strong, so you can run low tire pressure. I run 16 lbs of pressure. Not one flat in 18 months. This makes things very grippy, and makes about an inch of travel front and back. At even 20 lbs of pressure I would have to put a suspension fork on this bike. Light tires are for other bikes, not Surly 1x1's with the rigid fork. The front ring is from the LX crank set. I like Shimano cranks. This LX and BB have been solid for a year and a half. That is a long life for a bottom bracket in Western Washington when you ride as much as I do. I think the bearings on the outside of the shell has been a good thing in this respect. The Shimano 32 ring is not round. The Surly stainless steel one is not round either. I ran the Surly rings without a bashguard and bent them like crazy. They were fine, but honestly the Shimano with ramps and pins is just as good or better. I am still looking for a "round" front ring. When I have some extra dollars I'll try the White Industries crankset, bb and ring. A friend said that Campy makes some very round rings, I'm not sure how to make that work though. Signing off, remember tires are important, don't buy wimpy ones for your rigid singlespeed. Note: I weight 155 lbs at 5'10". If you are heavier, a bit more tire pressure is needed probably. More weight squishes tires more though, get it. There is a chart or formula in this but I'm not the guy to make it.
I guess dried mud is dirt...I've had my Surly 1x1 for about exactly a year and a half. It is my main ride, I ride pretty much twice a week every week all year round. Western Washington. I see a lot of mud. So does my 1x1. Quick review: It rides like a bike. Hmmm. I remember reading that on Surly's site when I bought it thinking that was mostly if not entirely from their creative marketing department, but it does ring quite true. I've been mountain biking for 11 or 12 years, riding bikes my whole life, I've spent ridiculous amounts of money on bikes with many gears, suspension, there was always something about the bikes I bought that was going to make them something more than a regular bike. They all worked out to be really great in many ways, but never perfect in every way. A bike I was very fond of broke on me one day, and without many dollars in my pocket, I took all my spare parts and made a singlespeed from an old Supergo Access frame. It, by the grace of God, had perfect 32:18 spacing. Anyway, I thought I needed this Surly so I shelved the Access, later loaned it to a friend for a Winter bike. (That bike is Super-Bad A$$). I digress. The 1x1 rides like a bike. Yes, after soul searching, with out money for a "better" bike, seems like soul searching happens more when you are broke. So, what I found is that what I like most about mountain biking is being on a single track, fresh air, nature, de-stress, exercise, woodsy-rollercoaster if you will. Almost any mountain bike from $600 to $6,000 does this just fine. My issue became, let's find a bike and component group, that is responsive on single track, fun to ride, durable and minimal maintenance. That's where the Surly 1x1 came in. It handles like a trials bike, light like an XC bike, tough like a freeride bike, and maintenance free (for 1.5 years so far). So, again, it rides like a bike, like, well, all bikes. Quite simply, I have as much fun as everyone else on the trail without spending as much money up front or continually in maintenance. My Surly 1x1 is not exactly cheap, as it's built, but it's bullet proof, I'll share more on the component group, and why each part makes the bike a lot of fun in it's own way. Official Review, at 18 months, 5 out of 5 stars: *****
Friday, February 11, 2011
The Surly 1x1 is a precision instrument when it comes to log rides...like a trials bike really. A couple years back I bought a White Industries Trials Freewheel. 72 points of engagement. In single speed mountain biking, that is the Holy Grail. The single best single speed part is the White Industries Trials Freewheel.