Did my first Singlespeed ride! Want MORE!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Did my first Singlespeed ride! Want MORE!

    and had an absolute blast! It was the best time I've had riding in years.
    20 yrs ago, I bought a 22" RockHopper Comp (Full LX) from Brands in Wantagh, NY for $625. This bike served me for the better part of 12 yrs as an MTB, Commuter, and quasi roadbike when I put 1.5 slicks on it. In 1995, I fitted a Judy XC with England air suspension cartridges in it and over the years, the only stock parts remaining that didn't break or wear out were the cranks and stem. Come 2002, I get married, move to Saratoga Spring NY and have 3 kids over the course of 6 yrs. Needless to say, my trusty steed was relegated to occasional rides. So 2 years ago I get the itch to start riding again. I ordered a large Fantom Pro 29er from Bikes Direct (I'm ducking now). I go out on the Daniels Rd trails occasionally (Yes I paid) with some friends and while I usually have a decent time, I feel off, have no confidence, sucking ass going uphill, constanly braking downhill and I'm not improving so I figure maybe at age 42, I should stick to milder stuff. So thinking about it, I say f*ck that and try to deduce why I can't ride anymore. So on a whim I compare the geometry of my old Rockhopper and the Fantom and i find the Fantoms top tube is almost 2" longer plus the stem is longer as well which had me stretched out too far. I dig out the Rockhopper from the basement and notice that included in the parts I had accumulated during my heavy riding years included a used singlespeed wheelset with a spot hub I had purchased as a lark at one time. I know, I'll make the old girl into a singlespeed! I set it up as a 34/20, grind my dropouts a bit and add a singleator. Pumped up the forks and took it out yesterday. I rode with 2 full suspensions and a Ti hardtail. When they saw my 20 yr old bike they were like WTF is that? I say "An experiment". They're like "You can't ride a singlespeed on these trails, you'll never make it" I say "Just drop me if I'm too slow and i'll meet you back here later".
    I honestly had no idea what to expect but as we set out, I started to have fun - a lot of fun. It was nice not worrying about shifting for once. I just picked good lines and rolled. Used the bar ends for leverage and see sawed the bars while cranking uphill. I even passed them to their (and my) shock a couple times early on. The Rockhopper was like an old friend, I knew what it was going to do, the steel frame soaking up some the hits and the vintage Judy performing well. After about 1.5 hrs had passed, I was totally soaked in sweat, pulse racing, and I was having the best time on a bike I'd had in years. As I was pretty shot, I told my fitter friends to finish their loop and I would meet them at the car.
    Then as the sun was going down, I flatted. And the glue in my patch kit was so old it had dried out..... As I walked my bike the mile or so back to the trailhead, I discovered the environmentally friendly bug repellent my wife had pushed me to use had either rolled off in my sweat or just stopped working because the bloodsuckers descended on me in a buzzing horde. I jogged and swatted the whole way back receiving a fair share of bites.
    I meet up with my friends and they ask "Would you ride that singlespeed here again?" The answer: Hell Yeah!
    I could tell that my fitness was the only thing holding me back. Singlespeeding was like pure joy. It was like riding as a kid again. I can't wait to get out again!

  2. #2
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    You post nicely summarizes what singlespeeding is all about. It puts the fun back in MTBing.

    By the way, I passed up a guy on a $5000 FS Trek top fuel. I was riding a converted singlespeed that i found in the dumpster.

    It ain't about the bike....

  3. #3
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    Convert that 29er into a SS and try out the trail for comparison.

  4. #4
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    Congrats and welcome!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by p nut
    Convert that 29er into a SS and try out the trail for comparison.
    Been thinking about acquiring a steel 29er frame and either making it a 1x9 or a SS by swapping components. I failed to mention earlier that I dislike the Aluminum ride qualities. I also have a Truvativ 1:1 with 180 cranks I would use for that.

    Man, I still can't believe how much fun that ride was. I would stop to rest, panting, soaked in sweat, with my pulse feeling about 180 and just giggle. Must've been the endorphins or something because I felt good.

  6. #6
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    Trailwrecker at large

  7. #7
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    ^^^This!

    I felt the same way! Can't wait to get out of here and go ride!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjphillips
    You post nicely summarizes what singlespeeding is all about. It puts the fun back in MTBing.

    By the way, I passed up a guy on a $5000 FS Trek top fuel. I was riding a converted singlespeed that i found in the dumpster.

    It ain't about the bike....
    I agree it ain't about the bike, but seriously...you know you'd have passed him if he was on a singlespeed too right? At least the guy was out riding and not stuffing his face with doritos on the couch.

  9. #9
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    swiss time!!

    Same thing here...I just bought a SIR 9....first ride....the ridicule of my incredulous riding buddies stopped when a) they picked up my bike and felt how light it was and b) when I thrashed them on most of the uphills. I surprised myself what I and the sir could climb. I'm hooked.
    R.I.P 26ers....

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