Friday, July 20, 2012

FSSS Update

I mentioned earlier about a full suspension singlespeed (FSSS) project, so here is an update.

The bike I'm converting is a Sette Ace, which I have had for several years.  It's a great bike from an often mocked company and was sold through Price Point.  When I bought it, I went the frameset route and built it up rather than purchasing the complete bike with a bunch of stuff I would want to immediately swap.  Also, the frameset came with a Rock Shox Monarch 3.3 which was better than what the complete build came with.  It is a capable climber that doesn't suck much energy and inspires confidence when descending.

On Wednesday, a package arrived containing the main piece for the conversion, a Shimano Alfine chain tensioner that I scored on eBay for twenty bucks shipped (brand new).  Supposedly, the Alfine tensioner is better than others because of the extra spring tension, which is useful for the suspension's articulation.  I was able to remove the derailleurs, shifters, and cable without taking off or loosening any cable.  I'll be able to put them back on with little fuss if I decide I don't like the FSSS.  After removing some links from the chain, I decided that I should remove two more.  Too much tension.  Add one link.  Perfect.  I should note that the Alfine tensioner came with three washers, but I had to add one to straighten the chain line.  It's not perfect, but it is close and works just fine.

Did I ride it yet?  No.  I'm waiting on the arrival of an Avid disc brake bleed kit so I can try to fix my Elixir R brakes, which I pretty much hate.  They have been troublesome from day one.  However, there is supposedly a better bleed procedure, as seen in this SRAM video:


How to Bleed your Brakes with Chuck from SRAM on Pinkbike

I have set up the rear with a 16 tooth cog and 32 ring up front, which is the same as on my HTSS.  As you can see from the photo, I still have the large and small chainrings on the crank.  I still need to order a bash ring and then I'll remove them.  Or, maybe I should forget the bash ring and get a chain guide similar to what the downhill guys use.  Hmm.

As is sits now, it weighs about 24 pounds, only a pound heavier than my HTSS.  I could easily drop more weight with some carbon bits and better wheels.  However, I think I'll ride it first and see how I like it.
Crappy cell phone photo.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Singlespeed Punishment

Last weekend I got talked into doing a local CCCX mountain bike race with one of my GTR team mates, Andy.  I had my choice of the beginner race on a geared bike or the sport race on a singlespeed.  Being the brilliant individual that I am, I chose the singlespeed race.  I haven't done any racing since February of last year, when I did a beginner CCCX race on my geared hard tail.  I also haven't done much riding recently.  The race on my fully rigid Surly Karate Monkey was brutal and I dearly paid for my poor decision.  There was also an error by the officials who informed me that I had one lap left when I had two to go.  I questioned him as I went through the line, but he was adamant that I only had one to go.  I learned long ago not to mess with the officials too much, and thought he might have had a good reason for cutting a lap.  Nope.  He was just wrong.  I was talking with him about results later, and he seemed surprised when he said, "You only did four laps."  Yeah, you told me to do only four laps.  Thanks to Andy for sticking around after his race, which he won, to take these videos.
video
My short-lived second-place lead.
video 
Crossing through the finish area, probably finishing lap two.

 Anyway... I want some redemption, so instead of fire-bombing something I am going to race again on July 28th.  I went ahead and did the sensible thing and bought some lighter weight parts.  However, the parts are not for the Karate Monkey.  I decided to rebuild the 26" wheeled Redline Monocog Flight frame that I've had sitting around for a few years.  Front suspension is a brilliant luxury and I hope to never race on a fully rigid bike again.  I have outfitted the Monocog with brand new Easton XC One wheels and Thomson setback seatpost (on order), and the lighter bits that were on the Karate Monkey.  As it sits, it weighs about 23 pounds, which is not incredibly light, but much lighter than the 29er anchor that is the Karate Monkey.  I took it out yesterday for a shakedown ride, and it felt really good.


I now have the crazy idea of converting my full suspension Sette Ace to singlespeed, and have already ordered an Alfine tensioner.  Stay tuned.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Jack be Nimble, Jack be quick...

Jack Flash sat on his candle stick.

A couple weeks ago I was daydreaming and thought about the Nimble Crosswind wheels.  I headed on over to the website to find it hadn't been updated in years.  Being the curious fellow I am, I sent an email to see what was up.  David at Nimble sent me the following reply:

"Steve:

Thank you for your e-mail.  We are operating at a fraction of former self.  We are working on collaborating with new manufacturing to produce both our historical flagship products and new higher performance products we have yet to introduce.  It may be a year before you see us again.

David"

I'm glad to hear they will be returning to the scene with some new products.  I wish them a speedy recovery and safety from sitting on candle sticks.

Images from Nimble

Image from CYCLINGWMD

Tater Tot

Last night I was poking around on the Bell Sports website looking at children's helmets for Madison. I checked the size recommendations for the XS helmet, grabbed a measuring tape, and wrapped it around the kid's head (much to her confusion). I was surprised to find that her noggin is big enough at eight months to fit into the helmet. With a giant grin, I immediately ordered a Tater from Bob's Bicycles in Boise (nice alliteration, eh?) in the teal/magenta hearts pattern. Stoked.
I now have to decide which bike I want to use as the hauler for the trailer and/or the iBert I will purchase soon. The only problem is that the iBert requires at least 3/4" of space along the steer tube under the stem for the clamp. My bikes are all set up with much less space than that, so I might have to do some sort of conversion shenanigans to make it work.

As for the Tater, I will post my impressions once it arrives and I strap it to her giant noggin.