Singlespeed project - proper ride report- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    Singlespeed project - proper ride report

    Inspired by Frozenspoke's bit of a report on his new ride, I thought I'd share some thoughts on my week-old or new/old ride. Last week was a bit of a shakedown weekend. Getting the bits and pieces sorted, making sure the drivetrain worked OK and everything. Mid-week, I'd changed from my craptastic fork to a rigid fork. My Specialized decals also come in, so the bike got dressed up a bit.

    This week came the real test. Two days' worth of proper riding. Yesterday, I rode the bike along some relatively flat but rocky/pebbly trails. The mild climbs and short but fast descends were a pure pleasure. Handling over the bumpy rocks made for a whole new experience with the rigid fork, but I quickly learned how to unweight myself over the rocks rather than rely on suspension to eat them up. I also learned that the fastest I'm going to ride was around 12mph. Anything faster, I'm spinning like mad.

    Today, I'd see if the bike was climb-worthy. That, or how crap I might be using the 32x16 gearing. I made it up 3/4 of the way up the first steep hill. I ran out of gas at that point. I stopped, rested for a second, then hopped on to finish the climb. I got until about 20 feet from the peak and the incline was far too steep, so I had to dismount and walk the remaining 20 feet. Bummer. But what it did tell me was that with a bit more practice and workout, I could probably clear most of that steep hill. And one day, I'll clear the whole damn thing. Going downhill was simply a matter of clipping in, holding on, remaining light on the feet and hands so as not to let the rocky descent rattle my brains out of my ears. I also found that when using the rigid fork, my turn response seemed to be a lot faster. I didn't seem to need to fight as much to turn.

    I also learned how light a 21lb. bike can be (compared to my 29lb. hardtail and full-susser). Jumping over smaller logs and rocks became a breeze. At certain portions I was able to hop-hop-hop with ease. What an absolute blast!

    Only two things have left me a little bummed out. My seatpost is rubbish - on two occasions on two different bikes now, I'm landed hard on the saddle and it's tilted the saddle backwards, so that the nose is pointing up into my ass, 'causing me to stop and have to fix this involuntary anal invasion. The other thing is after a 15 mile ride or so, my chainring bolts seem to loosen ever so slightly, enough to cause a clicking noise as the washers in crankset make contact with the chain. When I tighten everything back up, the sound goes away. Not a big deal, but I wish the bolts wouldn't loosen up as easily. Maybe some Loctite is in order here.

    So there I had it. A proper ride with the singlespeed mutant I put together with the help of you guys. I think I might stick with this singlespeed nonsense for a while, see what else I can do with it.
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  2. #2
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    Thats...

    good looking conversion you got there! Like it alot!

    32/16 is a tough gear if you ask me. I've been doing the SS thing for 2 years and still don't ride it much. I just like the ability climb things more than walk them I guess! I also found that running to hard of a gear lead me to get injured some, like sore knees and sore back. 34/18 has been the perfect gear for me this year.

    You can go way faster than 12mph with 32/16 for sure! Just work on that highspeed spin and you'll be up over 18mph no problem.

    MC


    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    Inspired by Frozenspoke's bit of a report on his new ride, I thought I'd share some thoughts on my week-old or new/old ride. Last week was a bit of a shakedown weekend. Getting the bits and pieces sorted, making sure the drivetrain worked OK and everything. Mid-week, I'd changed from my craptastic fork to a rigid fork. My Specialized decals also come in, so the bike got dressed up a bit.

    This week came the real test. Two days' worth of proper riding. Yesterday, I rode the bike along some relatively flat but rocky/pebbly trails. The mild climbs and short but fast descends were a pure pleasure. Handling over the bumpy rocks made for a whole new experience with the rigid fork, but I quickly learned how to unweight myself over the rocks rather than rely on suspension to eat them up. I also learned that the fastest I'm going to ride was around 12mph. Anything faster, I'm spinning like mad.

    Today, I'd see if the bike was climb-worthy. That, or how crap I might be using the 32x16 gearing. I made it up 3/4 of the way up the first steep hill. I ran out of gas at that point. I stopped, rested for a second, then hopped on to finish the climb. I got until about 20 feet from the peak and the incline was far too steep, so I had to dismount and walk the remaining 20 feet. Bummer. But what it did tell me was that with a bit more practice and workout, I could probably clear most of that steep hill. And one day, I'll clear the whole damn thing. Going downhill was simply a matter of clipping in, holding on, remaining light on the feet and hands so as not to let the rocky descent rattle my brains out of my ears. I also found that when using the rigid fork, my turn response seemed to be a lot faster. I didn't seem to need to fight as much to turn.

    I also learned how light a 21lb. bike can be (compared to my 29lb. hardtail and full-susser). Jumping over smaller logs and rocks became a breeze. At certain portions I was able to hop-hop-hop with ease. What an absolute blast!

    Only two things have left me a little bummed out. My seatpost is rubbish - on two occasions on two different bikes now, I'm landed hard on the saddle and it's tilted the saddle backwards, so that the nose is pointing up into my ass, 'causing me to stop and have to fix this involuntary anal invasion. The other thing is after a 15 mile ride or so, my chainring bolts seem to loosen ever so slightly, enough to cause a clicking noise as the washers in crankset make contact with the chain. When I tighten everything back up, the sound goes away. Not a big deal, but I wish the bolts wouldn't loosen up as easily. Maybe some Loctite is in order here.

    So there I had it. A proper ride with the singlespeed mutant I put together with the help of you guys. I think I might stick with this singlespeed nonsense for a while, see what else I can do with it.

  3. #3
    -arschloch-
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    spinz,

    wow, nice looking ride!!!

    good for you that you got it done. alse glad to see that it looks and performs so well.

    the thing you might need to do to fix that loosening of the chainringbolts is buy the proper tool to hold the back side of them. loctite is generally just a band-aid fix. most fasteners are designed so that when you tighten them to the proper torque they will not loosen. you wont be able to torque down those chainringbolts without the proper tool.

    as far as riding, you gotta work on spin and power. that's one more reason that SS-ing is so cool.

    EDIT: just saw that the seat post you are having trouble with is a ritchey post. funny, because i have never had problems with ritchey posts, except for bending the super light ones. to the contrary, i find the ritchey cheapo posts are the the absolute best bang for the buck. i seem to be obsessed with torque today , but did you torque the seatclamp bolt well enough?

    (for anyone who wants to argue the loctite / band-aid / torque business. first, i said 'generally' and 'most'. secondly, take a look in any elementary mech. eng. book and read the fasteners section...it's all about preload. )
    To air is human, to dig is divine.

  4. #4
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    I didn't think I needed that screwdriver-looking tool for the chainring bolts 'cause the bolts tighten up nice and hard. But I'll give it another whack and see if they loosen up again. If they do, I'll look into this tool. As for that seatpost, I thought I'd tightened the hell out of it, but then I could've been careless on both occasions. That being said, this is a single-bolt seatpost and it's happened to me twice. I have other seatposts that have double-bolts and it's never happened to me on those rides. I'm willing to give it a few more rides - with the bolt deathgripped to the post - and see if it happens again. If so, I'm tossing it and looking for something else.

    Post-weekend ride report: I am sore as hell today. Aches and pains in the places that never hurt before. Biceps, backs of my thighs, shoulders. Nice dull pain not enough to call in sick, but just the right amount of hurt to make it bloody annoying. The only thing I can attribute this to is the rigid fork. I had some major rough riding yesterday, and I think this is a case of something like getting on your bike for the first time after 6 months or so - you ass hurts like hell at first, but your ass toughens up over time. Likewise with riding a bike with no suspension: rough as hell the first time out, but I'm hoping I'll toughen up and learn how to ride the full rigid ride in time.

    But right now, I'm all about Bengay and Tylenol.

  5. #5
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    Oh and can you guys expand on the power vs. spin phenom when riding? I find that when I'm going about 12mph or faster - typically downhill - I can't get any resistance when pedalling. I'm spinning and spinning away and not going any faster. I seem to have to wait for my momentum to taper off, so that I slow down, and then I can start pedalling again.

    Are you guys referring to riding on a descend or going at speed on a flat terrain?

  6. #6
    Recovering Weight Weenie
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    That thing looks sweet!
    Ritchey posts are junk in my experience. I've made some really beautiful designs with them using my backside alone.
    For years of service and a part you'll never think about again, drop the $60 on a Thomson. I'm 245lbs and have been running the 410mm version at almost full extention for 3 years with not even a whimper. Flawless.

  7. #7
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    Put some pipe dope on the chainring bolt threads. You know, the grey, pastey stuff. It makes a great light duty thread lock as well as keeping the threads from seizing. I have used it on many troublesome threads and it works great.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    . Handling over the bumpy rocks made for a whole new experience with the rigid fork, but I quickly learned how to unweight myself over the rocks rather than rely on suspension to eat them up. I also learned that the fastest I'm going to ride was around 12mph. Anything faster, I'm spinning like mad.

    Today, I'd see if the bike was climb-worthy. That, or how crap I might be using the 32x16 gearing. I made it up 3/4 of the way up the first steep hill. I ran out of gas at that point. I stopped, rested for a second, then hopped on to finish the climb. I got until about 20 feet from the peak and the incline was far too steep, so I had to dismount and walk the remaining 20 feet.
    The other thing is after a 15 mile ride or so, my chainring bolts seem to loosen ever so slightly, enough to cause a clicking noise as the washers in crankset make contact with the chain. When I tighten everything back up, the sound goes away. Not a big deal, but I wish the bolts wouldn't loosen up as easily. Maybe some Loctite is in order here.
    Sounds like a great first ride. I am running 32X18 and find it works great. I'm going about 12 MPH at a comfortable spin. Sounds like you prefer a pretty slow cadence if 32X16 only yields 12 MPH. Gear the bike so that it fits YOUR preferences. You will find lower gears helpful on technical and hilly trails. Also if you prefer to stay seated you will like a lower gear. Don't get to discouraged by walking, that is part of SS. I hate walking to BTW. Your right about the ridgid bike as well, it forces you to really pay attention to what you are doing. I agree with the others on the chain ring bolts. You must hold the back part from spinning or you will never get then tight. I actually use never sieze on mine. What are the washers you mention?
    "I've never been better .... nor cared less!"

  9. #9
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    Ritchey Seatpost Fix

    I run them posts too and I like them - - cheap, light, strong, pick three.

    Take the seat out of the post and use sandpaper to remove the finish from the two areas (on each sde) where the clamps and the post comes together - - the curved part of the post. I had the same problem and a guy at the local shop hooked me up with this tip. Now I have them on 3 bikes with no slipping.
    Thanks to www.weavercycleworks.com for my awesome bike frames!

  10. #10
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    Good job! Spin, Great looking Ride!

    Where mine is all black and beat and screams "I'm gonna kick your A$$!", yours says "I'm slick, I'm fast, lets go kick some A$$!"

    As far as spinning is concerned, what cadence do you normally turn? Twelve MPH seems a bit slow. The trick to good spinning (for me at least) is to divide the pedal stroke into three segments.

    The first is the down stroke, and is where you generate the most power. Every one has this one down pretty well.

    The second is near the bottom of the power stroke when the pedal starts to move backwards in the stroke. The trick here is to pull back with your foot as if you were scraping mud from the sole of your shoe. Your not generating a lot of power here, but you are maintaining momentum through the bottom of the pedal stroke.

    The third segment is on the upward part of the pedal stroke. As soon as you feel the pedal start to rise, thrust your knee up toward the handlebars of the bike. You will be surprised by how much this will increase your power and speed.

    BTW this is one of the reasons why I am having trouble with the flat pedals. I keep thrusting my knees up to the bars and end up leaving the pedal behind.

    Great ride report and a sweet looking bike! You can be proud!
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  11. #11
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    Cheers, all. This ride is pretty roughed up, too - not quite the slick, fast machine it's perceived to be. Definitely not fast as I've already proven! With regards to the gearing, I understand that maybe I should've been a little more conservative and gone with something like 32x18 or thereabouts, but wouldn't slow me down on the straights even further? I think that with 32x16 I get to go a little faster than 32x18, and I'm hellbent on improving my climbing ability by my own strength rather than ease the gearing to get me to the top. Nothing against the 32x18 preferred by some, but I'm on a bit of a mission here.

    The washers I referenced are washers I picked up from Home Depot that I filed off on one side to fit between the crankarm and the chainring. I managed to pick up a set of chainring spacers last Friday, but they didn't fit. They fit around the bolt in front, but I needed them to fit around the fastener in the back. If all chainring spacers are identical, I'm afraid I'm stuck using Home Depot washers that are filed off. I have a stack of two per bolt, which may be why they're working themselves loose, so I might apply some Loctite between each washer, too. Not a perfect fix, but I'm not too bothered since this is a bit of a singlespeed mutant.

    And its mutant status is exactly why I won't get a Thomson seatpost for this bike. I'm outfitted with Thomsons for both other bikes I have, but since this is a low-cost singlespeed mutant of a bike, I'd rather keep things 'low-tech'. Nevermind that I have issued with one seatpost costing more than what I paid for the entire frame! Let's see how if fare any better with this crapola Ritchey seatpost before I decide to toss it out.

  12. #12
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    Oh, and as far as pedalling is concerned, I think I have the technique down. Maybe I should be pedalling faster when going faster than 12mph, so as to 'keep up' with the bike? It's just that right now, when I'm pedalling at that speed, I feel like I'm not doing anything to 'push' the bike forward. On a geared bike, I'd typically upshift at this point.

  13. #13
    Sofa King We Todd Did
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    OK, quick question here. 36x16 gear ratio. This'll likely help me go faster on straights, but will possibly kill me on climbs, right? Have I gone bonkers for considering this gear ratio at such an early stage in my singlespeed experience?

  14. #14
    giddy up!
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    OK, quick question here. 36x16 gear ratio. This'll likely help me go faster on straights, but will possibly kill me on climbs, right? Have I gone bonkers for considering this gear ratio at such an early stage in my singlespeed experience?
    Yes.

    Yes.

    B
    www.thepathbikeshop.com

  15. #15
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    Use it to work on your Spin

    Even when you don't FEEL like you are doing anything, you are. Use the SS as a tool to work on getting a nice SMOOTH spin. Found myself bouncing a bit in the saddle on my commute today as I was topping 18 MPH with the 32X16 ratio. Clipless would help as I could pull UP and counter the push DOWN that causes the bounce.

    If you are climbing hills with yours, I would avoid going to a harder (smaller rear cog) gear. Your knees may never forgive you. Besides, the extra bit of speed you could buy on the descents is proportionally MUCH smaller than the speed that you would lose on the climbs by pushing too hard of a gear.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpinWheelz
    OK, quick question here. 36x16 gear ratio. This'll likely help me go faster on straights, but will possibly kill me on climbs, right? Have I gone bonkers for considering this gear ratio at such an early stage in my singlespeed experience?
    Go for it. I ride 36/16 myself. Get up serious speed before the climb then power on up.

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