Today was my first singlespeed ride since 1984. And that’s only if you count BMX riding the Arco in T.O. I tell you, I wasn’t very convinced singlespeeding was going to be anything special until I was riding in the San Tans one day. As I rode around on the Fuel EX 9, I thought…these trails are not so technical that I need this much bike…they’re not so steep that I need this many gears…especially a granny!
Then I thought about my trusty 2001 GT Avalanche sitting in the garage with flat tires and a 1997 LX drivetrain that only I knew how to shift properly. The Avalanche frame was a warranty frame for my 1995 GT Karakoram that cracked. Sweet memories on both bikes.
So I went ahead and spent some change for a Forte singlespeed conversion kit at Performance, a SRAM singlespeed chain, and a new hard-to-find five bolt 94 mm BCD front chain ring to fit the old school LX crank arm. My local shop up the street (Arizona Bike Source) had one in red.
So for under 50 bucks I got a new bike. Tack on the Maxxis Crossmark tires and total cost was a bit more, but the Crossmark 2.1 tires roll like pie crust. Went straight to the San Tans and had a blast burning through the trails. A hardtail is all the bike you need to ride the San Tans, and I dare say that ONE is all the gear you need too. I’m starting on 34/18 ratio, and after a few rides I might go to 16.
Fighting the tendency to shift is a hoot. Even after 9 miles my right index finger dropped down and ghost shifted down after cresting a hill and picking up speed on the down. On the climbs it was easy to remember I had no gears, I just hammered into them. Over the course of the trail, I think I actually rode faster on one speed that with all the gears. Go figure.
This is my year of exploration and now all the trails in the valley are new to me and my singlespeed. The adventure never ends, only the shifting.
|From SanTan Singlespeed