newbie SSer thoughts- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    newbie SSer thoughts

    Virgin SS'er hooked in one ride... yeah baby... Got her on the trail. I finished piecing her togerther Sunday evening and expected to hit the trail on Monday afterwork. But by the time I got home the afternoon Colorado monsoons washed me out. So launch day plan b worked out yesterday. Sweet.... What fun.

    I really did not know what too expect and to be honest I was a bit nervous. I hit the backdoor trails from my house which is a little park down the street. Not much elevation but a few short climbs, some real nice techie sections and some spots to stretch my legs on flat terrain. About an 1.5 hours somewhere between 7 and 10 miles. This was also my first build from frame up and so I stopped to make some adjustments hear and there.

    I think I am hooked. For anybody thinking of given a shot here is what I found:
    1. It is hard. No gettin' around it. But the hard parts really don't last any longer than the hard parts on a geared bike. Just a different hard.
    2. It took me back to the style of riding I did quite a lot on my first rigid bike... Stand and climb. felt good.
    3. I was able to climb more stuff than I thought.
    4. I was actually faster in some spots. For example when geared I always ended up in the granny trying to spin up some hill. When I got to the top I was so winded that I often would just sit and spin in the granny gear and really felt like I was going no where. Can't do that now. I found pushing a bigger gear and standing some left me a little less winded and my speed picked up way quicker to where I was cruising right away and stead of sitting still and recovering.
    5. And probably the real kick to the whole thing and I think may be the secret for me... you can only go so fast. I found myself coasting a lot when I spun out and not really worrying about more speed but maintaining what I had.. and that is fun.. It is like floating. And since I ride by myself most times I really think it raised the enjoyment level. Most of the ups were a pretty cool challenge. I did not make all of them but hell who cares.. I did not make all of them before.

    It was nice to be off that full susser tank and on something that really went where I pointed it. This is definitely cool.

  2. #2
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    I feel the same way - I just made my geared hard tail into an SS 3 weeks ago and probably have 100 miles on it so far - love it. Plus the fact that the bike weighs 20-ish pounds now...

    I immediately noticed I had a great deal to learn momentum wise, braking.. everything. I took it up to kettle moraine in southern wisconsin and did about 35 miles the first day - walked a few very tough climbs on the connector and emma carlin trails, ones that i'd struggle greatly with when geared, so no suprise. i didn't want to stop riding! it was a perfect riding experience. the last three rides have been local, technical, much slower in parts, and i feel my bike control, strength, technical ability... all much better now (and a long way to go still, ha) that I'm more focused and less reliant on my gears (i almost feel like they were a crutch holding me back?).

    And like you said, I climbed MUCH more than I thought I'd be able to and faster in almost every spot. Coasting and not braking for those high/medium speed corners took some getting used to. Seems so strange to climb things in 34/17 when i would 'give up' on a 2:1 gear on most of these climbs when I was geared! Not only climbing, but just attacking the trail and riding better than ever.

    Anyways - I share your enthusiasm. My stamina and power are much better, my road biking has improved (and my road cadence has increased) and my mtn biking has taken a giant leap after a few short weeks of SS.

  3. #3
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    I share similar thoughts to Chris as well. After a little over a month, and my 100 mile marker passed and in the rear view, I'm really enjoying SS more and more. Today was my first ride in over a month that I finally picked up my Ell's FS for a ride instead of my SS. It was for a ride in Sherando, VA. that packs a brutally steep set of 7 switchbacks and some fairly rough going terrain wise overall. It would have been rough going on the SS, but I honestly was wishing I was riding it instead much of the time. I noticed I felt very disconnected from the trail on the FS. I grew tired of the sit and spin, and kept getting out of the saddle from time to time with results that were not so satisfactory. The FS felt sluggish. Sure it was softer on the terrain, but I felt like so much energy was being wasted. I'm really starting to feel like the climbing trade off of an FS versus a hardtail is not really worth it. Sure, there are times the rear suspension has helped in a techy climb, but it more or less seems that the majority of the time it hurts. Now I'm wanting to build another steel hardtail up as a gearie for these types of rides. Back to the SS side of things though. I feel like I have improved more over the last month than I have in the previous couple months before riding gears. Learning to conserve more momentum, picking better lines, pushing much harder but more efficiently on the climbs. Also, the simplicity and fun of it is making me feel like a kid all over again.
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  4. #4
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    Yep, same here.
    Last night was the second ride on the SS and I'm hooked. Definitely need to pay attention to the momentum thing when attacking some steeper stuff. It used to be you could just cruise up to the bottom of the hill, drop it into the granny and spin up. Now it's more like attacking every hill.
    Pretty winded at the top of some of the climbs but overall was faster around the lake and actually had to wait up on my geared riding buddies while they spun up the longer climbs

    Built this bike on the cheap with leftovers to see if I'd like it and now I'm surfing ebay for some upgraded rims and lighter parts

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rzims
    Yep, same here.
    Last night was the second ride on the SS and I'm hooked. Definitely need to pay attention to the momentum thing when attacking some steeper stuff. It used to be you could just cruise up to the bottom of the hill, drop it into the granny and spin up. Now it's more like attacking every hill.
    This is a bit interesting to me because so many people say the same thing. The reason its interesting is I attack hills all the time on my Geared bike. Gears or single gear, hills are easier to get up when you attack them. That is not to say i dont shift down half way up the hill but I still attack to get the momentum going.

    I just bought my first SS and it should be here on Tuesday. Between my riding style and 2000 road miles this year, I am interested to see how I take or dont take to SS

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by heythorp
    This is a bit interesting to me because so many people say the same thing. The reason its interesting is I attack hills all the time on my Geared bike. Gears or single gear, hills are easier to get up when you attack them. That is not to say i dont shift down half way up the hill but I still attack to get the momentum going.
    I guess my use of that comes from this line of thinking...

    Spinning up a hill in a granny gear, to me, was not attacking in the same since of taking the hill on in the middle chainring. When geared I always had the opiton of either. Not to say I was going to clean for sure either way 'cause I have made the wrong choice on occasion. BUt having only one gear eliminates the option and forces me to essentialy attack all of them in the gerar I have which is steeper than any granny gear I would have hit them...

    Some hills (regardless of the gear) require attack others present options.

  7. #7
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    Another new SS rider and same thing for me.
    Built my SS this past Monday, went for first ride on Wednesday, and just as others here, attack uphills faster than my FS.
    What really surprised me was after riding about 10 miles of intermediate trail, I timed myself on Pocahontas park Green trail and beat my previous best by 10 seconds! (11:30 vs 11:40)
    I'm sure I can knock another 10 seconds off that time, since I slowed down for couple of riders for a bit until they pulled over to let me by.
    I might even consider entering a race for the first time now.

  8. #8
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    Well, today was supposed to be the first time on my newly converted rigid ss, but the rained stopped that. I'll hopefully go tomorrw, i rode it around some walking paths and it rode pretty good, rigid definitely gives you all the feed back. I guess i'll find out if im faster on it. The problem is my ss weighs (budget build with random parts) about as much as my geared race bike, somewhere south of 23 lbs. So i dont think weight is going to place a role. But i did enjoy riding it very much....and the cool part is the frame was taken from my first "name brand" mountain bike my rents got for me when i was 16 and the one that got me into mountain biking. I've just given it a new soul now...
    Bare Knuckle Brigade

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