Thursday, July 14, 2011

Single Speed: Why not?

When people walk into my house they see a family room full of bikes. The latest one doesn't really have a place on the wall. It sits on the floor below one on the wall. The Newbie has pulled it over on himself a couple of times, but I feel the house is mine and he needs to learn not to touch my stuff. I usually get a few questions regarding my bikes. Below are the top three.

1. Why?

2 Why?

and C. Why?

Each question is valid and I will explain them in detail.

1. Becuase.

2. Yes.

and C. Why Not?

That being said, it is something I enjoy, it is reasonably healthy (a matter of much debate based on some people who have been injured or died in the process of biking), and it gives me something to do instead of drinking, smoking, and kicking my dogs.

A few years ago, I bought a Salsa El Mariachi. I took a bonus from the "gubment" and figured it may land me in an exotic location with people that hate me, I might as well. It is steel, rigid, 1x9 gears, a pretty nice paint job, and really big tires. I really like fat tires. I have spent many quality hours on the bike and I have enjoyed it.

So when I bought a new Giant Anthem X 29er (I really love fat tires and Fox Suspension) I decided that I would transform the El Mariachi into a single speed. This answers one of the above questions, they are not all the same.

Salsa designed it with a Bushnell Eccentric Bottom Bracket so it could easily be run as a geared bike or fixed/single geared bike. Notice it says that when functioning properly it goes unnoticed. Well I can say I have noticed it before.

I also purchased a Surly singel speed spacer kit and a cog.

I ordered some Crank Brothers Cobalt grips of which I don't like the appearance, but they feel great.

Sadly, when I returned from Pakistan, I found that the face plate for Thomson Stem had cracked. Though it was an expensive stem, I got it as part of a recall for a defective stem made by Salsa. Thomson is a great company and they replaced it for me free of charge (even though it was probably my fault since my arm is not calibrated properly for specific torque specs).

I took some stuff apart. I found that the EBB lets a lot of sand and crap in through those little holes. I put some stuff together. Ignoring torque specs, I defaulted to 240 B/Lbs (Brent Pounds) of torque on everything.

I now have a very different bike. It has a clean cockpit with no shifters and extra cables. No deraillure or cables, and a very clean look.

I finally got the nerve to ride it (my work can be somewhat unreliable since I usually ignore instructions). I will write about that in the next post.

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