Taking the Plunge, Take 2- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Taking the Plunge, Take 2

    So, last year I dabbled into the world of single speed riding when I briefly converting my 2007 Ted Wojcik using both a tensioner and then ultimately figuring out the magic gear ratio. That experiment was short lived, though I knew then that I wanted to build up a bike that was designed specifically as a single speed. I really like the simplicity of a single speed and I actually pretty much just stay in one gear for most of my riding anyway (unless it''s super steep and technical when I drop into the granny gear), so it made sense to take the plunge.

    Now, I just needed a frame to get the process started, so I decided on my favorite bike of all-time, my 1994 Rhygin Ra. I purchased this frame brand new in 1996 as a left over. It's the perfect East Coast single track bike, and is a wonderful single speed candidate. Considering I've had it for about 15 years, it's due for a makeover (even though it sort of got one in 2008). Here's how it looked:



    My beloved Rhygin is currently in the good hands of Chris Igleheart, awaiting its transformation to becoming a single speed. I went up back in early December and Chris and I talked for a couple of hours about what avenue I wanted to take for the conversion. Basically, the dropouts (Paragon, I believe; see photo) will be converted from vertical to horizontal and the cable guides will be removed (the triple will be replaced with a single for the rear brake). At this point, the frame has been stripped and once Chris gets back from the NAHBS, he'll get started on the frame along with the wicked cool traditional New England segmented fork that my trusty Rhygin will be sporting.

    Here's a few photos of the naked frame. I included the groovy head badge, courtesy of Jen Green, and it looks really nice! I'm not having any decals, just the paint which will be the Fat Chance Team Violet (thanks to Rody for posting the formula in his blog). The owner at Under Ground Cycles said it was a shame to strip the rasta paint job considering it was in such pristine condition. I figure after about 16 years it's time for a change.

























    Anyway, I'll post updates as the build progresses. I have most of the parts and will post some photos & thoughts over the next few days. I'm a "newbie" in this forum so be kind when I have really stupid questions!

    The bike should be completed late March/early April, just in time for some nice spring riding here in the New England.

  2. #2
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    Going with Fat violet is cool, but no offense, but thats sad to strip such a piece of history. Even if its recent history. Kinda an after thought, but why not just leave that, and pick up a eddy, then you could have both. Now, to redeem yourself, you need to pick up a Fat replica fork. PLEASE tell me you are gonna keep the ritchey dropouts? If you do and want to sell them, let me know, need a set for a project myself.

    Also, watch that crack on the brake boss. Make sure you get that fixed.

    Sorry to sound like I'm on a soap box, and I'm sure it will turn out great. Keep up posted.

  3. #3
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    That old paint job was pretty swanky. Are you going to put some disc tabs on there while the dropouts are being changed?
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    ^^ I'm sorry, but really.... "Lets take a classic and remove all character it has, then add some new additions that are not needed on a bike like that." Come on... Again, sorry to sound like I'm on a soap box, but thats even sadder than stripping the paint. Adding track forks is one thing, but taking a classic and making it something its not meant to be like disk tabs is just sack religious.

    What parts group are you thinking of? Some old deore or even Suntour XC or XC pro would be cool. Are you gonna keep that fork?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    Going with Fat violet is cool, but no offense, but thats sad to strip such a piece of history. Even if its recent history.
    No offense taken. I happen LOVE that color, so I'm sticking with it. I debated keeping the original paint scheme but after 15+ years, I'm due for something different. I don't think was sad to strip the bike of the original paint job. As beautiful as it was (and it really was in amazing condition for its age and always was complimented), I just don't get all that attached to that sort of thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    Kinda an after thought, but why not just leave that, and pick up a eddy, then you could have both.
    Been there, done that (my 1992 Yo Eddy! & 2007 Ted Wojcik Yo Teddy!):



    In addition, a Yo Eddy! doesn't have the precise handling of the Rhygin. The Rhygin is super light and nimble, perfect for northeast singletrack.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    Now, to redeem yourself, you need to pick up a Fat replica fork.
    As I said, Chris Igleheart is also making a traditional New England segmented fork, a.k.a. Yo Eddy! fork, for this project. He made me one for my Ted Wojcik (see photo) and I really liked it.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    PLEASE tell me you are gonna keep the ritchey dropouts? If you do and want to sell them, let me know, need a set for a project myself.
    Once they are removed, yes, I will be keeping them. If I decide to ditch them, you can certainly have them for free.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    Also, watch that crack on the brake boss. Make sure you get that fixed.
    That isn't a crack. It's how it was made.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    Sorry to sound like I'm on a soap box, and I'm sure it will turn out great. Keep up posted.
    All praise and criticism is welcome!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by the munts
    That old paint job was pretty swanky. Are you going to put some disc tabs on there while the dropouts are being changed?
    Thanks! No, the cantilevers are staying. Chris and I talked about that conversion briefly, but I just wasn't sold on it. I like disc brakes quite a bit, but this bike just wasn't designed for them.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    What parts group are you thinking of? Some old deore or even Suntour XC or XC pro would be cool. Are you gonna keep that fork?
    My goal for this project is to have the bike to have as many parts as possible made either locally (Boston, MA) or in the United States (preferably by smaller builders). I have most of the parts, some I had hanging around and some brand new, and I'll post them with photos once I get a chance.

    And yes, even though I'm replacing the Rock Shox Judy, I'm definitely going to keep it although I have no idea what it'll go on in the future. Like the frame, it's in great shape (even the internals).
    Last edited by misterdangerpants; 02-05-2010 at 07:40 AM.

  8. #8
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    I know thats how the Ritchey bosses were made, but with the strength of current canties and V brakes, I think there could be an issue. Had the same problem on a Ritchey frame I had a while back. Used Paul Mini V's, and the bosses bend over time, spreading at the "crack." Since you are going all US made, I think some early pauls would look great. If you can find them. If not, maybe some Neo-Retros and love levers. I love Chris's forks. I have one on my Eddy, and it rides as good as an original. He should be able to help with the boss, but maybe I'm just being over protective, and my issue was not related. It just seemed to spread and bend at the slit.

    Your Eddy looks nice.

    I think if you did the fat violet, and get some Rhygin decals and use the head badge, that would look sweet. What are you thinking on bars and headset? Keeping the original?

  9. #9
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    ^^ I'm sorry, but really.... "Lets take a classic and remove all character it has, then add some new additions that are not needed on a bike like that." Come on... Again, sorry to sound like I'm on a soap box, but thats even sadder than stripping the paint. Adding track forks is one thing, but taking a classic and making it something its not meant to be like disk tabs is just sack religious.
    It's a bike. Not a piece of art.

    I think the only thing it was "meant" to be was ridden.
    read KNOBBY MEATS or be sadly ignorant of the mediocrity that is allowed to exist in the interwebs

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    I know thats how the Ritchey bosses were made, but with the strength of current canties and V brakes, I think there could be an issue. Had the same problem on a Ritchey frame I had a while back. Used Paul Mini V's, and the bosses bend over time, spreading at the "crack." Since you are going all US made, I think some early pauls would look great. If you can find them. If not, maybe some Neo-Retros and love levers. I love Chris's forks. I have one on my Eddy, and it rides as good as an original. He should be able to help with the boss, but maybe I'm just being over protective, and my issue was not related. It just seemed to spread and bend at the slit.
    Chris has been informed about all the parts that will be adorning it, and he hasn't mentioned any potential issues. He commented on how well the bike was welded, as well as the condition (no rust), so there was a huge sigh of relief I could use this. I'll mention this next time I see him and get his thoughts, though. Better safe than sorry!

    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    Your Eddy looks nice.
    Thanks. I recently dismantled it and sold the frame/fork to a collector in Norway. The bike was a tad too small for me (Small/Medium), and just wasn't going to work. I might pick up another in the future though.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    I think if you did the fat violet, and get some Rhygin decals and use the head badge, that would look sweet.
    I have a couple of sets of Rhygin decals, though probably won't use them. Rhygin bikes had the decals applied after paint, so if I change my mind I can just slap them on.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmadams13
    What are you thinking on bars and headset? Keeping the original?
    Well, here's what I have so far:

    Attachment 518224

    Attachment 518225

    NOS Ritchey Rock 395 rims (mid-1990s). Even though these have the Ritchey name, these were manufactured by Sun Metal Products of Warsaw, Indiana. From what I understand, these rims were an American alternative to the Mavic 231(my favorite rim of all-time) which these seem to be fashioned after.

    Attachment 518226

    Black Sheep titanium seat post. I recently got my order from James at Black Sheep which consisted of this seat post, a titanium fork and titanium stem. They were intended for road project, but I really wanted to use this for the Rhygin. I have one on my IF Deluxe and it works just fine.

    Attachment 518227

    1992/93 Ibis titanium, 1996 Control Tech & 1993 Ritchey (Nitto) Force stems. Keeping with the American theme, I'd love to use either the Ibis or Control Tech (which will be painted to match the frame if I use it). The Ibis is a gorgeous stem and in excellent condition, though it's 135mm, which is a bit longer than I usually use on this bike. Both the Control Tech and Ritchey are 125mm. I might slap on the Ibis just for giggles and see how it feels. Even though the Ritchey/Nitto isn't US-made, I really dig it and it's a fantastic stem. For handlebars, I have a few things in mind and am looking at titanium bars in specific.

    Attachment 518228
    Attachment 518244

    Ciamillo Zero Gravity G-Cross (GX) brakes. These brakes are super light and really well made. Unfortunately, the GX brakes use a dedicated cable hanger/cable, so I can't use the NOS black Ringle MoJo cable hangers I have (or the green ones I've had on this Rhygin since 1996). I have a near-NOS set of Shimano XTR M900 cantilevers I also would consider, but the GXs are just too nice to pass up.

    Attachment 518229

    Kooka Racha brake levers. I purchased the green set brand new back in 1996 (for this bike and they've been on since) and have never had an issue with them. They also super light and do the job perfectly. I just picked up the silver levers on eBay back in December and like them quite a bit and will most likely install those when the time comes.

    Attachment 518230

    Selle Italia SLR saddle. It's comfy for me. Don't know of any US-made saddles so this will have to do. This was already on the bike before the start of the conversion.

    Attachment 518231

    Shimano XTR SPD pedals. I've been using SPD ever since I can remember and I like them the best. My first clipless pedals were titanium Speedplay Frogs, and really didn't like the feeling, so went with Shimano SPD. As for the American options, I had a set of Crank Brothers Eggbeaters last year and really didn't like them at all. These were also already on the bike before the start of the conversion.

    Attachment 518232

    Chris King 2Nut 1" threaded headset. 'Nuf said. Similar to a few other parts listed, this was already on the bike before the start of the conversion.

    I have some Chris King single speed hubs on special order (28H) and am debating which crankset to use (White Industries, Paul Components or Cook Bros Racing). As always, I will be using a titanium Phil Wood bottom bracket.
    Last edited by misterdangerpants; 12-23-2011 at 05:55 AM.

  11. #11
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    That's gonna come out so cool. I'm really liking the brake levers
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    As a pure-blood New England MTBer, I've always loved your bikes, danger. East-coast geometry really is well-suited for the trails in the northeast.

    Original GF Genesis geometry is also some of my favorite geo for NE riding; my favorite frame ever for the trails up there is my old Kaitai. Long top tube, short stem, steep head tube angle, short chainstays. Delicious!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by the munts
    That's gonna come out so cool. I'm really liking the brake levers
    Quote Originally Posted by FKMTB07
    As a pure-blood New England MTBer, I've always loved your bikes, danger. East-coast geometry really is well-suited for the trails in the northeast.
    Thanks!

    The Kooka Rachas are really a nice design and a great two-finger lever. I wish Paul Components made the Love Lever Compact for cantilever brakes as I had those on my Ted Wojcik and really liked them. They're a bit beefier than the Kooka levers and I imagine a tad more sturdy.

    I've done quite a few project in the last couple of years and the Rhygin will be the last for the foreseeable future. Time to ride and not build!

  14. #14
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    So, things are slowly coming along and I received my crankset yesterday. I picked up an NOS Kooka crankset off of eBay and really like it. These aren't the forged version though I'm not too concerned as I'm a lightweight. I'm going with 36T chainring, and have a few hanging around, though would love to find an NOS Kooka chainring. I just have to figure out what size bottom bracket to get a 50 or 55mm chainline as I'm using Chris King single speed hubs. Speaking of which, I called my LBS earlier in the week and it shouldn't be too long until I get them.

    Attachment 521432

    Attachment 521433

    Attachment 521434
    Last edited by misterdangerpants; 12-23-2011 at 05:55 AM.

  15. #15
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    I've had two pair of kooka break (pun intended) levers... my only true JRA stories. On the first pair one of the levers bent on a long techy descent, just from how hard I pulled on it. Kooka replaced them and the next pair the pin ripped out and cracked the body on a panic stop... they were out of business by then, but I was pretty sure I wanted a lever not made from silly puddy. Got a set of paul's, which are still alive and kicking 11 years later. My 2 cents is I'd be much more worried about the strength of those levers than of the brake bosses.
    Everyone has the right to be stupid, but you are abusing the priveledge.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bykegnurd
    I've had two pair of kooka break (pun intended) levers... my only true JRA stories. On the first pair one of the levers bent on a long techy descent, just from how hard I pulled on it. Kooka replaced them and the next pair the pin ripped out and cracked the body on a panic stop... they were out of business by then, but I was pretty sure I wanted a lever not made from silly puddy. Got a set of paul's, which are still alive and kicking 11 years later. My 2 cents is I'd be much more worried about the strength of those levers than of the brake bosses.
    Well, I've had the green Kooka levers on this bike since 1996 without any issues, so I'm hoping for many more years of service. The silver pair is new to me, but are in excellent condition. I'd love a set of new Paul 2-finger levers, but the Love Levers only come in a V-brake fitment. Anyway, I forgot to mention that I also got the handlebars last week. They're NOS Fat Bottom Titanium. These folks were actually local to me, and I had a set of Fat Bottom titanium bar ends on the Rhygin back in the day. It looks like these bars were thrown in a box as the decals didn't fair too well over the last decade or more. It's strange not to have the shifters there, but I'm sure I'll get used to it pretty quickly.

    Attachment 521644

    Attachment 521645
    Last edited by misterdangerpants; 12-23-2011 at 05:55 AM.

  17. #17
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    I can't wait to see the finished bike.

    With your first post my initial thought was "OH NO..What the hell are you doing?" but reading through the parts list it's obvious that you are doing this right and the re-build is going to create a new classic.

  18. #18
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    Looks awesome so far. Good work
    SS Rigid =
    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    There is no distraction. You only hear the sound of your breath and the crunch of the wheels across the dirt.

  19. #19
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    Looks fun. The journey of building a bike is sometimes painful, but always rewarding in the end. All the best to the build!

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