I decided to give single speed riding a try and purchased a Specialized Rockhopper Singlespeed. The main reason for the purchase was to have a winter bike so that i wouldnt thrash the moving parts on my new Stumpy 29er.
It was an 09 left over, and I gotta say i had a terrible ride overall, with all the stuff that went wrong, I had a blast on the bike today, and I can see myself riding the SS more than just the winter riding I had originally planned on doing. I got into the woods and about 25 minutes into the ride it started to rain, then a few miles later i ran into a fellow riding a Yeti around. He said that he had just put a new fork on it and he was testing it out, So on all the downhills he would fly past me, then i would catch him on the uphills as we was dropping into his granny and spinning, and I was trying to keep my speed and actually make it to the top with my SS, so it turned into a race around the park until he realized i was on an SS and then realized i wasent trying to "challenge" him up the hills and just backed off and let me go. Finally on the way up one of the hills halfway through the ride my crank brothers candy ti pedal bearing went on me and the pedal pulled right off the spindle, so that ended the ride and it was a long walk back to my truck.
But with all that said, i had a blast on the SS. I really didnt think i would be able to handle it, but the 32/20 gearing was plenty generous for all of my getting around andmy South Western PA climbing needs, and the hills i didnt make it all the way up are going to be do-able with a bit more practice, i may even try an 18t or 19t cog in the future to carry more speed into the hills. It was funny when i was riding I never seemed to want to downshift to an easier gear, but i did find myself moving my thumbs trying to get a faster gear for the straights and descents. Maybe I had already etched into my mind that the gear i had was the easiest it was going to get, and I didnt even consider spinning to gear out or wanting more resistance for more speed and a lower cadence.
After the first ride in the woods, i found its going to be more than a winter bike, and I was surprised with how much I enjoyed the single speed riding and style. Like most, i found that I was pedaling more on sections that i would normally take a chance to recover in order to carry to correct speed into the next technical section or incline. I really feel that riding this bike in a rotation a few days week with my stumpy and my road bike is really going to make me a stronger rider.
The bike was a total blast to ride, and it is a very fun bike. It was setup a bit upright for me with a rise on the stem and riser bars, which i am sure most people would like, but I am thinking about changing to a flat bar and a slightly longer stem to make the cockpit about the same as my current Stumpjumper 29er HT.....or I might even just do a frame swap for one of the new Stumpy HT SS Alloy frames (mmmm.....tasty!!! ) so i can keep the exact same geo and cockpit and feel between the 2 bikes.
For the people on the fence and scared like I was, i would say give it a try. I am not an XC machine by any means, just an average rider, and it was great. Most of the shops are doing pretty good closeout pricing on these bikes now.
Anyone else have on? If so, let us know what you think! I would love to see others setups and hear their opinions.
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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Thread: Rockhopper Single Speed 29er Fun