Extreme Makeover – Single Speed Edition

Vicee CanyonNobody from the gang was available to ride at lunch today, so I became unmotivated and stayed in my cube. I would forgo the pleasantries of two-wheeled recreation, and work on my status report instead. Later in the day, however, I got an instant message from Kristy saying she wanted to ride. It was a bit late in the work day, but not too late. We met in front of my building, and headed for the trails on our single speeds.

Kristy’s 29er single speed has gone through a transformation of sorts this past week. Last weekend Marcus helped me convert the tires to tubeless, and Jeff P helped me dial in the new mechanical disc brakes later in the week. Jeff P also cut down the bars to 26 inches wide.  The On One Fleegle bars come 28 inches wide so the rider can custom size them. Additionally, we stuck some new Specialized Body Geometry grips on the bars, replacing the very thin stockers. Kristy let me take a little spin on the bike today when we took a break for a photo shoot. Wow! It is safe to say that I now covet her bike.

KristyThe Avid mechanical disc brakes were a major upgrade for this bike. Not that V brakes are bad, but we could never get the rear brake pads lined up properly on the rims…a problematic combination of chain length, horizontal dropouts, and brake post mounting bracket positioning. The rear disc caliper required a number of spacers for proper alignment, but is completely dialed in now. Stopping is now effortless.

The tire selection for the tubeless project consisted of the stock wire bead WTB Nano Raptor 29×2.1 for the rear, and a new folding bead WTB Weirwolf 29×2.55 LT for the front. Both tires sealed up nicely on the first attempt with the Stans No-Tube kit. The process appeared pretty easy. It’s possible though that Marcus just has the routine down and made it look easy. Still, it looked like something I wouldn’t mind tackling myself. We aired up the rear tire to 28 psi, and the front to 22 psi. I thought the bike was pretty smooth before, but now with the combination of the big wheels and plush tubeless tires, it’s like butter. My 26 inch wheeled bike felt a bit jarring when I got back on it, even with my giant tire on the front. I’m looking forward to a complete test ride on Kristy’s 29er sometime soon, but the preliminary results are promising. The Holy Grail? We’ll see…

Kristy is very pleased how the bike came out, and I expect she’ll now spend less time on her Stump Jumper!

11 thoughts on “Extreme Makeover – Single Speed Edition

  1. Man, I want to be you when I grow up.
    Lucky bastard.
    Your wife called you and wanted to ride? In the cold and snow?
    I would buy a lottery ticket today if I was you.
    On the issue of brakes, I would have to agree with your assessment of v vs. discs. I have become a huge fan of discs since buying the On-One.
    In fact, I think I may install them on the Ripper now too.

  2. Yeah, I am pretty lucky!

    From what I’ve observed, the key to a successful man/woman bicycle relationship is to make sure your that wife/girlfriend has equipment that is as good or better than yours! All the hardcore women cyclists that I know have sweet rides. Many times you will see someone buy their wife or girlfriend an entry level bike. They don’t want to spend money on features they don’t think they’ll appreciate, or are afraid they won’t ride it much. And as it turns out, they don’t appreciate the crappy suspension components and end up not riding it. And then perhaps the guy thinks, “Man, I’m glad I didn’t spend a lot of money on that venture!”

    I’m here to tell you though, that women appreciate high end bikes, and love to ride them. Just as we do!

    XD…”shekels” I appreciate your daily vocabulary lesson! You are always expanding my mind!

  3. I fully agree with you if the person is athletic and intends to commit to cycling as an athletic pursue and lifestyle, their equipment needs to be quality. I have purchased two or three good bikes for my wife over the years and she has invested less than a commited amount of time in riding each. Not because she is lazy or afraid to ride, but more by choice. Given the opportunity to walk the dogs through the local park or use the treadmill for a limited amount of time and then move on to other interests, suits her lifestyle more than a full two or three hour ride.
    And cycling comes with a lot of baggage; shoes, helmet, jersey, shorts, gloves, glasses, etc. All of that requires an monetary investment as well as a significant preparation time. Just think how long it takes you to get ready in the winter with skull caps, booties, tights, arm sleeves, jackets and gloves! Hell, I am tired by the time I am suited up to ride.
    She has a hard time commiting to that time.
    My wife likes having the freedom to run or walk with nothing more than a change of shoes. Or to be able to catch the news while using the treadmill.
    And cycling can be dangerous; whether on the trail or especially, on the road. That is a huge incentive for her to avoid riding and just run or walk.
    Cycling isn’t for everyone. I think it is a wonderful part of my life and one that I wish I could share with my whole family (and in the past, we all actually used to ride). But that just isn’t the case for me.
    Her intent is to rejoin the world of cycling on a limited basis this summer; we will see how much as time goes on. The tandem idea has been dropped for now due to the cost, but she still insists that she will ride her road bike with me on a limited basis. I am hoping for the best. And if it doesn’t happen, that is okay. Cycling is really my thing. And I love it, but it is not for everyone.
    Sorry to ramble, but it just struck a cord with me.

  4. I’m super jealous of anyone that can ride from their front door!!! Really, really super duper jealous.

    I ride alot and consider myself pretty hardcore and frankly, I’d rather have a high end bike with top of the line components than a big rock on my hand. Seriously.

  5. Brian…yeah, you’re right. If someone bought be some $5,000 golf clubs, I still probably wouldn’t stick with it. The passion has to be there. I guess what I’m saying is that if you see the spark, you need to feed the flame!

    And you’re not kidding about all the gear. I change 4 times a day! On both ends of the commute and both ends of the lunch ride. I spend a good period of my day standing on one foot in a bathroom stall… (can I say that without opening myself up to jokes?) I’m glad it’s Friday and I don’t have to change clothes as much this weekend!

    …and V brakes vs. disc brakes. I have hydraulic disc brakes on a couple bikes, and V brakes on my single speed. In the summer time, the V brakes are fine. They’re easy to adjust, and they’re light. Sometimes disc brakes are a pain because of their tight tolerances for clearance. Just a mm off, and they make all sorts of racket. In the winter though…Disc brakes are way superior. V Brake Pads wear down quickly in the snow and mud. And they don’t stop that well when wet. I also love my disc brakes for extended downhills.

    I’m curious to try the mechanical disc brakes. They seem more adjustable, and easier to service.

  6. You must have a pretty flexible schedule. It is good your wife likes to ride. It keeps her from getting grumpy with your bike habits like the rest of our wives do.

  7. Jeff- I also have a firm belief that getting the stuff for the wife BEFORE you get yours works wonders too. You and I kinda came into this “wife riding partner” thing at the same time. It works much better when your wife knows how the right equipment makes all the difference in the world. Before Sandie started riding regularly, I always had to try and justify the things I wanted and/or needed. Now it’s “I need this…” and she says, “OK”. Easy as pie! Honestly I have the FBC to thank for it. If she hadn’t started riding with you guys (after much nagging from me and a bit from you), I would still be trying to convince her I need a new bike instead of getting 2 (4 if you count hers) new bikes in the past year. Also, I now have a great person to ride with whenever we find the time and I don’t have to twist her arm or drag her up hills. In fact there are some things she does better than me. The other thing is that I am spending more time in the saddle too! Everybody wins. I could go on forever about how cool it is to be married to someone who rides… but I won’t. Sooooooo THANKS!

  8. “From what I’ve observed, the key to a successful man/woman bicycle relationship is to make sure your that wife/girlfriend has equipment that is as good or better than yours!”

    What about your equipment?

  9. I’m starting to dream of a SS 29er…there’s a local framebuilder who is starting to produce a few (lugged steel frame) in partnership with a local shop, but it would be cheaper to go with a Surly and build it up myself.

    Decisions, decisions!

    AND, regarding the significant-other issue, I’d been on the other side of the fence until recently. It was tough, for the guy in most cases, because I could out-geek (and out-ride?) the men I’d date….

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