SS & Rigid makes me faster?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    -arschloch-
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    SS & Rigid makes me faster?

    SS & Rigid makes me faster?

    The following is nothing more than an anecdote. Reading a couple of the current posts regarding the use of rigid forks and whether or not SS-ing is just an ego-boost has caused me to reflect a bit.

    Two weekends ago I did a 24 hour relay on my rigid SS with 32:16 gearing. This past weekend I did a 12 hour night relay on the same bike.

    Neither course was terribly technical, although both had technical sections. Similarly, neither course involved a lot of climbing, although both had several significant climbs.

    In both races I turned-out what I consider respectable lap times. Respectable in terms of my expectations and in terms of how I stacked up against the competition both SS and Geary.

    Now I have been contemplating whether or not I would have been faster riding a geared bike with front suspension -full suspension would have definitely been a disadvantage for both courses.

    With regard to the terrain neither course involved the type of trails that I would have been stoked to ride on a normal fun-ride. The one course reminded me of a cyclo-cross course: lots of twisty technical turns in loose or at least non-tacky soil. Each course had a few short sections of single track, but consisted primarily of rough double track. In all I am pretty sure that for these courses even a short travel front suspension set-up would have been overkill and that rigid really provided advantages: weight, stiffness and cornering tracking.. (Although, after the 24 hour race I have to admit my wrists DID hurt!)

    As for the running of a single speed being an advantage, I cannot make such a strong judgment.

    On the short climbs I absolutely killed it. Had I been riding with gears; I would have never ridden as hard as I did. All of the climbs were between 300 and 800 m in length and ranged between easily-hammered-while-seated and knee-grinding-chain-exploding-standing-hammerfest. None were epic, not all were easy, but at the top of each and every climbing I was nearly blind from pain. In the process of blinding myself, however, I always managed gap, overtake and generally abuse everyone around me. Normally, with gears I am the one getting gapped and abused during climbing, but then again I would never climb in that 32:16 gear when others were available.

    The downhills were steep and short enough that staying off the brakes completely was enough to keep the 44:11s at bay.

    On the flats I probably lost a little time, but I am not sure if this would have translated to faster lap times. I am sure that I would have ridden faster on the flats with gears. On the other hand, I suspect that SS induced spinning out on the flats provided some sort of recovery for my legs that allowed me ride full-throttle-take-no-prisoners on the climb. Had I been riding a geary I would have gone fully agro on the flats and as a result been fully flat on the climbs.

    All in all I really don't think rolling the SS affected my lap times at all and I think running rigid may have provided just the slightest little hint of an advantage.

    When I replace my 13 year old rigid steel (mtb) racing frame and fork it will be with another rigid steel frame and fork set. Simply because it brings me more smiles per mile.
    Last edited by chuffer; 08-10-2005 at 01:27 AM. Reason: grammar, spelling and readability
    To air is human, to dig is divine.

  2. #2
    drev-il, not Dr. Evil!
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    Good writeup, Chuff. I also think that during a race the singlespeed's biggest advantage is on fast, short(er) climbs, because I usually do them as quickly as I possible so I don't have to get off the bike. However, any gap I make is lost on the flats, and downhills are a wash because there's an upper limit to what most can safely go.
    "Keep your burgers lean and your tires fat." -h.d. | ssoft | flickr

  3. #3
    formerly Giantxc
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    IMHO whether rigid or squish is better really depends on the course and contrary to (potentially) common belief I don't think really technical trails are where you need the squish. Where I really want suspension is on fast, non-technical trails with smaller rocks and or roots spread through out. That's the kind of terrain that really beats me up on a rigid.

    For example I raced a dirt crit this past weekend that was about 50% double track and 50% singletrack with only 1-2 short climbs on my rigid SS. Now this park recently had much of its trail network redone and I haven't ridden there since the redesign. Many of the historically muddy areas received the "scottish armoring" treatment - basically a rock sidewalk. Hitting these things at speed for an hour with the rigid down right hurt - in fact I still have the blisters on my hands to prove it - and I probably lost more speed than I would have with a suspension fork. On the other hand, the double track was were I made my move on every lap (I was running a 44X19 just for this section of the course) and I wouldn't have wanted suspension without lockout/terralogic.

    Similarly, a few months ago, I did a 12 hr race on the same bike on a very rooty course (all small, but constant) and it was pure hell.

    As Drevil said, on the real technical stuff you're probably slowing down anyway.

    So, like everything else, it all depends on the course.

    well, enough rambling for one day.

  4. #4
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    Hmmmm....

    Quote Originally Posted by MrXC
    Where I really want suspension is on fast, non-technical trails with smaller rocks and or roots spread through out. That's the kind of terrain that really beats me up on a rigid.
    might the 29'er work for you in this case? Still not quite as plush as a suspension fork but it might keep you on the rigid especially if you work out the tires and tubeless thing.

  5. #5
    -arschloch-
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    @edemtbs: although not really a 29"er during both races i thought about how much smoother my cross bike with 34 tufos would have been.

    @mrXC: i guess it all depends on the course, huh?

    @drevil: yeah the flats were time losers, although, as i said they probably also provided decent recovery periods...although, burping bile and spinning til my ass started bouncing off the seat probably wasnt the best recovery technique.
    To air is human, to dig is divine.

  6. #6
    the cool nerd
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    I have nothing new to contribute, just wanted to add to my post count

    Like everyone else has said, it depends on the course and on the motor. SS and rigid may not always be the fastest, but I think that frequently it is at least competitive.

    Chuffer, look at all the riding opportunities that we missed out on. I didn't know anyone else that ssed back in Golden, but I guess that for the most part I was just a closet sser, only broke it out on solo rides or occasionally on mixed-ability group rides. I was too intimidated by your hossness to show up on the few mtb rides that we rode on a ss. Drop a line the next time that you;re passing through..
    "The search for a perfect pint should take lifetime." M.Jackson

    Ride bikes, not goats. Just good advice

  7. #7
    -arschloch-
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    Quote Originally Posted by sportsman
    I have nothing new to contribute, just wanted to add to my post count

    Like everyone else has said, it depends on the course and on the motor. SS and rigid may not always be the fastest, but I think that frequently it is at least competitive.

    Chuffer, look at all the riding opportunities that we missed out on. I didn't know anyone else that ssed back in Golden, but I guess that for the most part I was just a closet sser, only broke it out on solo rides or occasionally on mixed-ability group rides. I was too intimidated by your hossness to show up on the few mtb rides that we rode on a ss. Drop a line the next time that you;re passing through..

    hey scott.

    yeah, i didnt ride too much single speed in golden. ellis and i built up and rode SS mtbs a couple of times, but mostly if we wanted a little SS action we broke out the BMX bikes.

    you were a closet SS-er & i was a closet BMX-er!

    I am moving back to the US in the spring, so the chances of hooking up for a ride will increase dramatically. You're not still in Golden, are you?

    chris - it is bike:30 here in Germany....see ya.
    To air is human, to dig is divine.

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