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Thread: 69 with Ruth

  1. #1
    Baby Bear is in the house
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    Wink 69 with Ruth

    I finally finished* my project 69er conversion with my SS rigid bike, "Ruth" (yes, I name my bikes... don't you? )
    *[OK, not exactly "finished" as I'm still awaiting the 17-degree flat Salsa Moto Ace bar at an LBS]

    What else did you think this thread was about?

    As I've mentioned a few times in other posts, both the SS and 29er "movements" are still in their infancy (OK, maybe pre-school) here in the Philippines, so sourcing parts (and bikes) is a bit of a challenge. Upgrade decisions [at least for me] are pretty much governed by two things: availability and budget. That explains, therefore, my parts picks for this conversion.

    The Customary Image Gallery

    Rim choice: DT Swiss X470... nice and light.


    Like a circle in a spiral...


    Big Wheel


    We have clearance, Clarence... (WB Rock Solid, 425mm a2c)


    SS Ruth 69 -- not your grampa's Penny Farthing.



    Here are a couple of "before and after" shots. Sorry, but these are the only ones I have.

    -Before-


    -After-


    I was thinking of replacing the rear rim with a black one, but figured I didn't want to spend any more than I already did. And, apart from the mismatched colour, the Mavic works perfectly fine (and light to boot... ~400g!).

    Initial Ride Impressions

    It's monsoon season right now, so I doubt if I'd get the chance to ride this baby off-road any time soon. I did manage a ~4km road ride the other day, and here are my first impressions on the big wheel up front.

    Three words: Sluggish, Smooth, Stable.

    SLUGGISH - The heavier front end was immediately apparent and it was noticeably harder to accelerate the bike. Still, I'm glad I went with the X470, as the alternative would have been even heavier (WTB SpeedDisc). Rolling resistance probably also went up significantly with the Small Block 8. I really wanted either a WTB Weirwolf LT or Nanoraptor, but again, the problem was availability. The only other choices were the Rampage, Nevegal, Prowler SL and Vulpine. Versus the SB8, all of these, except the Vulpine, are presumably slower rolling. And I wanted more knobbies than what the Vulpine offered.
    That said, my ride could also have been influenced by my physical condition, as I haven't ridden in over 3 weeks, and there's the distinct possibility that I'm cultivating a virus (my two kids are sick).

    SMOOTH - Now this is what I'm talkin' about. I didn't expect it to be this dramatic, but the big wheel does smooth out the ride noticeably. Potholes, small rocks, and even speed bumps were brushed off admirably, making the ride overall more comfortable. It's not suspension, but front end harshness has been significantly reduced [if not eliminated]. My suspension seatpost complemented this effect nicely. I'm looking forward to how this will feel off road.

    STABLE - The stand-and-mash style of SS riding has you rocking the bike side to side as each downward push of the pedal is countered by a pull on the bar on the same side. The gyroscopic effect of the bigger (and heavier) wheel lessens this side to side movement, keeping the bike more upright throughout the pedal stroke. It felt strange at first -- and will likely be so for the next few rides -- but it's a "good strange" and something I'd likely get used to eventually.

    Overall, I'm pleased with the conversion and despite the disappointment with the initial sluggish and heavy-feel, the smoother, stable ride more than makes up for it.
    It's important to note that my BB height went up by about half an inch, giving a towering feeling when in the saddle. But as with all the changes, I'll likely adapt, eventually.

    I can't compare it to a full-on 29er as I've never ridden one, but IMO a 69er conversion is a relatively inexpensive way to dip your feet into 29er waters, so to speak.

    I wasn't so sure about the whole 29er idea before, but after this project, I now have a much better understanding of what the "hype" is all about.

    Add a 29er (or a production 69er/96er or 55 or 650B) to my wish list


    PS
    I just noticed that this is my 1,000th post!
    Last edited by r1Gel; 07-07-2009 at 04:43 PM.
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  2. #2
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    Awesome post, this is the exact type of bike Im looking to build, I like how you talked about the stability and the reduced rock side to side when cranking hard on the pedals.

    ps I ride nano raptors and love them!! They're pretty fast and monsters in the corners for me

  3. #3
    Baby Bear is in the house
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    Quote Originally Posted by Americanbandit
    Awesome post, this is the exact type of bike Im looking to build, I like how you talked about the stability and the reduced rock side to side when cranking hard on the pedals.

    ps I ride nano raptors and love them!! They're pretty fast and monsters in the corners for me
    Thanks

    Glad to be of some help
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  4. #4
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    It'd be worth it to check out the Prowler SL - the tire rolls deceptively well and has good volume for a 2.1.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  5. #5
    Baby Bear is in the house
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcaino
    It'd be worth it to check out the Prowler SL - the tire rolls deceptively well and has good volume for a 2.1.
    Now you tell me jk
    Hey, thanks for the input.
    Have you had a chance to compare the Prowler SL against the SB8?
    I couldn't find any reviews of the Prowler and so decided on what's tried and tested.
    I'm also a bit concerned with wear rate, as the tire will be seeing some significant on-road use (1 and only bike).
    Also, isn't the Prowler considerably heavier?
    Last edited by r1Gel; 07-13-2009 at 06:49 AM. Reason: added text
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

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