Thursday, February 05, 2015


I went out for a nice single speed ride yesterday after work. It's a huge pain to load everything up in the morning, store my bike in a locker at work, put it back on the car after work, drive to my destination, change clothes, gear up and ride. I always dread it, at least until I am actually out riding.

I started at Folsom Bike and rode up the bike trail towards Beal's Point where I hit the dirt.

I rode out to Granite Bay and did two loops around the area. I was surprised how damp and grippy the soil was considering we haven't had any rain in a month.

On the way back I had to hit the lights.

I rode for about a half hour in the dark. Normally I ride with two lights, but I was being lazy, so I just used one on the bars. I couldn't see a thing in turns. Next time I will also put a light on my helmet.

Last time I rode single speed I was on my orange Waltworks. After not riding the bike for a while, and getting used to the Canfield's upright position, I really didn't like the low handlebar height. I am 47 years old and I have been in a hunched over "racing position" for 30 years. I don't want to do it anymore. Enter the blue Waltworks.

The frame originally started life as a geared bike in 2006. In 2009 I hade a local guy convert it to a single speed by installing an eccentric bottom bracket. I always meant to get it repainted and built up, but never did. It hung in the garage for over five years.

The fork is 40mm longer than the orange bike's. The increased fork height combined with the riser bars made for a much more comfortable position.

I had a Bushnell EBB once, which is an expanding wedge unit, and it was horrible. It creaked, clicked and slipped. You had to grease the hell out of it, and re-grease it frequently.

I went with a pinch bolt unit this time, and it works great. This is the quietest bike I have ever ridden. It was almost too quiet in the dark woods; I could hear lots of creatures scurrying about as I passed though the darkness.

One thing I never considered was how the EBB would affect my rear tire clearance. The original frame's bottom bracket, which was cut out and discarded, was 73mm. While the aluminum EBB insert is a standard 68mm, the actual steel part of the frame is only 60mm, so I lost 13mm in width. That's a lot of tire clearance to lose. Added to that, the increased diameter of the bottom bracket requires the chainstays to be shortened and squeezed together even more.

When I moved the wheels from the orange bike to the blue one, the nubs on the rear tire were hitting the chainstays, and the knobs were far too close for comfort.

A few weeks ago I bought a WTB Nine Line tire for another bike. After mounting it up, I immediately took it back off. It was ridiculously narrow for a 2.25 inch tire.

It measures a whopping 2.044 inches. Stupid. It should be labeled as a 2.0 for sure.

However, its narrow profile made it the perfect candidate for the rear end of this bike.

Being narrow and having low, closely spaced knobs, it wasn't the greatest tire for climbing out of the saddle. It slipped a lot. If I keep this bike, I will have to find something better.

This is an old bike with old geometry, and it rides like it. Nobody uses a 72 degree head angle anymore. It was a handful on high speed descents, especially in the dark. I can't help but wonder if selling both Waltworks single speeds and getting something newer would be the way to go.


No comments:

Post a Comment