Monday, November 5, 2012

One Speed to Rule Them All


There are times when I thrive on the forward thrust of the bicycling industry.  It has a collective sense of constant momentum that can be inspiring.  Many times, it feels good to be a part of that.  But just as often, I find myself moving back towards the great simplicity a bicycle can provide.  The biggest R&D budget in the world can’t buy the repetitious circles carved out at a varying cadence over miles and miles.  Riding is more than just being the fittest and fastest.  Sometimes the simple act of pedaling gives you so much more. 

That brisk feeling on my way to the trails while wondering if I have overdressed for the first cold weather ride of the year.  The latest and greatest this forward-looking industry produces cannot give you that feeling.  Simply riding does. 

I always try to keep myself grounded in that way—constantly striving to remind myself why it is I ride a bike.  So often stripping away all of the extracurricular accoutrements makes me feel closer to knowing exactly what it is that gets me out of a warm bed in the morning to suffer. 



It was with this idea in mind—and light pocketbook in hand—that I set out to build my newest MTB: a singlespeed Cannondale Trail SL 29’r with many a modification.  The best part of a singlespeed is that it is not a huge commitment.  This one, as it comes from Cannondale (before my extras) comes in under $1,000, which seems to be an increasingly rare feat in the performance bicycle world these days. 

Riding a mountain bike is an activity that sells itself, and riding a singlespeed, while daunting at first, can be a joy for anyone who sticks with it.  I won’t muddy this up with my words—rather I will just show you the build and let you appreciate it for what it is: a simple machine that I love to ride.  

Check it out:



It's a slick looking ride...
I tried Q-rings for my SS on a whim and was not disappointed   
Cannondale and WTB collaborated to develop the new Nine Line 2.0 tire that I am running on the rear.  I'm a big fan.  'Nuff said.
Garmin 500 and Ergon grips complete the cockpit.
Cannondale changed the geometry of this frame dramatically for 2013--mirroring their amazing Flash geometry from previous years.  For some reason though, they decided to shorten the head tube--making it not readily compatible with their Lefty fork--which was confusing, but non-compatibility is no match for the creative minds of Jamie Brock and myself in the shop...
These aren't exactly XC bars, but I got them because they are wide and have a lot of sweep, something I like for a SS bar.  I have trimmed them slightly, but still run a pretty wide bar for the extra leverage.  
I've ridden Egg Beaters for years now and never saw a reason to change.  
The WTB Bronson 2.2 is my rubber up front.  It has great side nobs to really grip in the corners.  

As a bonus, I'm gonna include some more pics of another SS build we are working on in the shop right now.  Can you say custom steel Ritte 29'r?

A custom steel 29'r from the new masters of cycling style from California.
A Niner Bio-centric BB makes chain tension a breeze even with vertical dropouts.

It's all about the details...

I hope you guys enjoyed a quick look at these super fun bikes.  Hopefully you can catch some inspiration to build up your own!

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