My Singlespeed Summer Challenge- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    My Singlespeed Summer Challenge

    So I've issued a challenge to myself. Ride Singlespeed for the entire riding season this year. It doesn't matter what the venue.

    I've had both geared bikes and singlespeeds for the past few years, but usually I've reserved the SS for the easier trails here in the city, and used my geared bike for the much tougher, technical trails that are a couple of hours drive away in the Canadian Shield. I also usually fall back to my geared bike for a lot of city rides.

    Well, I thought to myself, why not challenge myself to ride SS everywhere?

    So, the other day I converted my geared hard tail (it only had 9 gears to start with anyway, since I had a chain guide on the front) to a SS with a chain tensioner. I also bought a fully rigid SS specific off-road bike.

    My first real challenge will be this weekend when we go riding at a trail called Eagle Head Lake. It's very rocky and technical with a LOT of very intense, technical climbs. I actually haven't even been able to clean all the climbs with my geared bike.

    I'll take my rigid singlespeed (it weighs about 2/3rds of what my hardtail weighs, so I'll see if that makes any difference in my riding style). Everybody else with whom I ride have uber-tech full suspension bikes. It will be interesting to see if I'll be able to keep up. This terrain is VERY rocky and rough.

    Well, it should be an interesting season, anyway.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by great_big_abyss
    So I've issued a challenge to myself. Ride Singlespeed for the entire riding season this year. It doesn't matter what the venue.

    I've had both geared bikes and singlespeeds for the past few years, but usually I've reserved the SS for the easier trails here in the city, and used my geared bike for the much tougher, technical trails that are a couple of hours drive away in the Canadian Shield. I also usually fall back to my geared bike for a lot of city rides.

    Well, I thought to myself, why not challenge myself to ride SS everywhere?

    So, the other day I converted my geared hard tail (it only had 9 gears to start with anyway, since I had a chain guide on the front) to a SS with a chain tensioner. I also bought a fully rigid SS specific off-road bike.

    My first real challenge will be this weekend when we go riding at a trail called Eagle Head Lake. It's very rocky and technical with a LOT of very intense, technical climbs. I actually haven't even been able to clean all the climbs with my geared bike.

    I'll take my rigid singlespeed (it weighs about 2/3rds of what my hardtail weighs, so I'll see if that makes any difference in my riding style). Everybody else with whom I ride have uber-tech full suspension bikes. It will be interesting to see if I'll be able to keep up. This terrain is VERY rocky and rough.

    Well, it should be an interesting season, anyway.
    I am doing the same ... Rigid SS 29r. My full-squish 26r is in pieces in my shop, so I couldn't ride it if i had to.

  3. #3
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    That's why I changed my geared bike into SS. I plan on riding my rigid most of the time, but this way I'm not tempted to just hop on my geared bike.

  4. #4
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    good luck! i'm issuing that challenge to myself, but i've done that for the past 5 years without "challenging" myself. hehe... no geared mtn bike in my garage

  5. #5
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    My challenge is the opposite, I want to ride my geared bike as much as possible this year, need to justify the money I've put into it and the space it takes up. Have fun with your challenge, but after the first month you'll wonder why you never rode single speed exclusively in the first place

  6. #6
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    Go for it! 3 years ago I started to ride rigid SS and stopped riding my geared FS bike after a few weeks. You will be challenged, you will be frustrated, you will be overjoyed when you conquer sections of trail. After getting injured and then sick for weeks this winter, my fitness is in a serious state of hurt. I put a 1x9 on the former SS to start to ride and get back into shape - my goal is to get back to SS by the end of April. If you can't ride it, push it and you'll still make it there. Go at it for a while and you will soon be leaving your buddies behind in some of the places they won't expect . Have a blast.
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
    Disclaimer: I sell and repair bikes for a living


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATBScott
    Go for it! 3 years ago I started to ride rigid SS and stopped riding my geared FS bike after a few weeks. You will be challenged, you will be frustrated, you will be overjoyed when you conquer sections of trail. After getting injured and then sick for weeks this winter, my fitness is in a serious state of hurt. I put a 1x9 on the former SS to start to ride and get back into shape - my goal is to get back to SS by the end of April. If you can't ride it, push it and you'll still make it there. Go at it for a while and you will soon be leaving your buddies behind in some of the places they won't expect . Have a blast.
    Another option is to leave it SS and just stay away from the steeps until you are more fit.

  8. #8
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    OP -- respect. Good on ya.

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    We get old because we quit riding.

  9. #9
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    ill be doing the same...but i only have one mtb and it is a singlespeed

    Winter is coming.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the support.
    I'm sure I'll be getting a few strange looks at first from most of my riding buddies. They all know I've occasionally dabbled in Singlespeed, but I don't think they were expecting this. Sunday is our first real ride together again since the snow melted.

  11. #11
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    When I abandoned my FS geared bike all my friends took their shots at me, now fully half of them are SS only.

    I should also say my friends are lemmings.

  12. #12
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    This will be my second year on only my single speed! You will be amazed how much stronger you get!!

    Here was my first observation from switching.
    When ever i tried to climb technical steep terrain on a geared bike i would wimp out and drop a bunch of gears and would never clear stuff. A friend of mine who is an amazing technical climber would always say "If you think you are in the right gear, click up 3 gears and then climb it." I never had the motor for it until...I rode the single speed for a few months and all of a sudden i could clear steep technical sections that i could not with my geared full suspension. When you are on single you have no choice but to push a tough gear.
    If you stick with it I am guessing you will be riding with the dark side full time

  13. #13
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    That's the plan.

    A few guys with whom I ride are always pushing uber-tech bikes. They believe that the only way to achieve Mountain Bike Exaltedness is by constantly upgrading your ride with all the latest, greatest components. And, to their credit, they are all very good riders. But I've been able to achieve just as much as they have, and clean the same lines that they have on my low-tech, heavy, 6 year old freeride hardtail. But they've been on my case for years now to switch over to full suspension, clipless pedals, responsive forks, that sort of thing. And quite frankly, I couldn't care less about that stuff.

    I want to take it one step further and completely buck the trend of obsolescence that seems to be dominating this sport.

    Don't get me wrong. It's not the ONLY reason I'm riding singlespeed - I just like the simplicity and the 'don't think' part of it - but it's definately a motivating factor.

    I might be guilty of a little pride, in that if on my rigid singlespeed I'm eventually able to ride all the same stuff I was before, and that these guys are doing on their $6000 steeds I'll be happy.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by great_big_abyss
    That's the plan.

    A few guys with whom I ride are always pushing uber-tech bikes. They believe that the only way to achieve Mountain Bike Exaltedness is by constantly upgrading your ride with all the latest, greatest components. And, to their credit, they are all very good riders. But I've been able to achieve just as much as they have, and clean the same lines that they have on my low-tech, heavy, 6 year old freeride hardtail. But they've been on my case for years now to switch over to full suspension, clipless pedals, responsive forks, that sort of thing. And quite frankly, I couldn't care less about that stuff.

    I want to take it one step further and completely buck the trend of obsolescence that seems to be dominating this sport.

    Don't get me wrong. It's not the ONLY reason I'm riding singlespeed - I just like the simplicity and the 'don't think' part of it - but it's definately a motivating factor.

    I might be guilty of a little pride, in that if on my rigid singlespeed I'm eventually able to ride all the same stuff I was before, and that these guys are doing on their $6000 steeds I'll be happy.
    If you really commit to it, you will be very surprised at just what you can do on a SS bike.... I sure as hell was and still am surprised.
    SS Rigid =
    Quote Originally Posted by gjenkins@
    There is no distraction. You only hear the sound of your breath and the crunch of the wheels across the dirt.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricot83
    If you really commit to it, you will be very surprised at just what you can do on a SS bike.... I sure as hell was and still am surprised.
    Totally agree. I only have a few rides on my SS now and the thing that surprises me most is what I CAN do on the SS as opposed to what I thought I couldn't do on it. The most revealing aspect of singlespeeding for me is that I don't really need all the gears and links that my Mojo has to clean sections or climb steeps or for that matter, have fun (but I still love my Mojo).
    I'm unique, just like everyone else....

  16. #16
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    Just got back from Moab on my 29er single.....so much fun. We did Amasa Back and Sovereign Trail. Both trails are technical and rough, but it's all about the momentum that you bring to the table. It's amazing what a better rider single speeding has made me. I just turned 39, and I am in better shape than I was 10 years ago!!

  17. #17
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    I might be guilty of a little pride, in that if on my rigid singlespeed I'm eventually able to ride all the same stuff I was before, and that these guys are doing on their $6000 steeds I'll be happy.
    I'm on year 5, it's the *only mtb and bike I have ridden. You'll keep up with your buddies no problem once you get a few miles in.The only downside is you'll end up getting a $6000 rigid singlespeed.

    *I must confess that just this week I pulled out an old cross bike that I haven't ridden for 5 years, made it fit like my rigid single and am doing some mountain road cruising. Seem to end up stuck in a gear similar to my singlespeed on all the climbs.

  18. #18
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    Well just finished the White Rim one day unsupported , but rode my Niner RIP.
    Just finished this week building my Lynskey Lefty Pro 29. Got onto Leadville for the 7th time but registered for SS this year. Planning on takin your advice but for Moab I just don't know about that.Have Fun!

  19. #19
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    Go for it, you will be proud of yourself! I now have 2 SS MTB's because I felt lazy riding gears. SS is just so good.

  20. #20
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    Wow...Owww.

    Just did my first ride of the season yesterday. I'm a little bit achey today. Am I ever out of shape from the winter. This is going to take a little bit of work. Well, nothing for it but to get back into the saddle after work today.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by great_big_abyss
    Wow...Owww.

    Just did my first ride of the season yesterday. I'm a little bit achey today. Am I ever out of shape from the winter. This is going to take a little bit of work. Well, nothing for it but to get back into the saddle after work today.
    Yeah, if there is climbing, then it isn't as much of a cardio workout (which I recover from quickly). I had two weeks of riding, and I went every other day for a week and a half and then was able to go three days in a row. I was toast after day three.

  22. #22
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    Well, since I live in Winnipeg (prairies) there are no significant hills on our trails here.

    I think what I'll do after work today is go to the old garbage dump-turned-park (the only hill we have in the city) and climb-descend-climb-descend. It's not exactly trail riding, but a week or so of that should get me in shape for some real riding when I go to Ontario next week.

  23. #23
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    If you can shut off your brain and do hill repeats, you will be in killer shape in a few weeks


    Quote Originally Posted by great_big_abyss
    Well, since I live in Winnipeg (prairies) there are no significant hills on our trails here.

    I think what I'll do after work today is go to the old garbage dump-turned-park (the only hill we have in the city) and climb-descend-climb-descend. It's not exactly trail riding, but a week or so of that should get me in shape for some real riding when I go to Ontario next week.

  24. #24
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    A tad off topic but since someone mentioned Leadville.
    How much slower is a SS racer than his geared counterpart on such a course?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by damon09
    A tad off topic but since someone mentioned Leadville.
    How much slower is a SS racer than his geared counterpart on such a course?
    there has to be someone who has done it on both. I am googling and can not find anything yet.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canyonman
    Well just finished the White Rim one day unsupported , but rode my Niner RIP.
    Just finished this week building my Lynskey Lefty Pro 29. Got onto Leadville for the 7th time but registered for SS this year. Planning on takin your advice but for Moab I just don't know about that.Have Fun!

    Whoah! Big respect there.

    Leadville+SS=hurt locker.

    Same with White Rim 1day unsupported...

    I love my 29SS, and we're going on 3 yrs in May.

  27. #27
    I like dirt
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    Only have one bike, it only has one speed and no suspension. Just completed an 18 miler with climb after climb. This is my first year on the SS and only after about 10 rides I can ride anywhere I could with gears. SS is like Guiness, makes you stronger

  28. #28
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    I finished under 9 at Leadville last year. The 3rd place ss finisher passed me on the Columbine climb. Only 3 sub 9 ss riders versus about 120 geared
    riders. About 10 ss riders sub 10 hours. I'm only guessing but I estimate 1 to 1.5 hours difference between gearded to ss at Leadville.
    I'll know better come August.

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