Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Inbred

All the new 2007 designs are coming out, and it's fun to look at all the innovations, but at the same time it can be a bit nauseating. It can make your head swim to hear people debate VPP vs. Single Pivot vs. 4 Bar (sub debate, pivot on the chain stay vs. seat stay...), stable platform valving, blah blah blah...

To combat the confusion, I stop thinking and get out the fully rigid single speed. Pictured is my 05 On One Inbred, with 32x16 gearing. Nothing to fiddle with...just hop on and pedal! And weighing only 24 lbs, the bike feels like you control it telepathically.

This bike has definitely made me a better rider. Picking a good line is very important on a fully rigid bike. Having a firm hand on the grips is important too. If you try to cover the brakes in technical sections like you do on your suspended bike, there's a good chance your hands will fly off the bars. You learn to ride smooth and even, so you can keep your hands on the grips. This technique has definitely increased my speed in the corners. You also learn to blast up short climbs. Instead of the typical downshift that you might do on your geared bike, you stand up and hammer up the rest of the rise. Going back to the geared bike, you'll find this works well too. In fact, you'll find that you pass most of your riding buddies near the top.

I also think this type of bike makes an excellent winter bike. There are far fewer bearings, bushings, and seals to worry about compared to a full suspension bike. The last bearing/bushing kit on my full suspension bike set me back over $200!

And let's not forget the upper body workout you get on a single speed. There's a great deal of standing and pulling up hard on the bars for leverage. You get to hurt in all new places...

2 comments:

rigtenzin said...

I've just gone through this debate with myself for the 4th time. I buy a dual-suspension bike and love riding it until I have to pay for some maintenance related to the complications of dual suspension. Then I sell the dual and ride a rigid bike or hard tail. Then I get sick of being beaten up and buy another dual.

I have decided to keep both types and ride both and not complain too much about the dual-suspension maintenance costs.

Jeff said...

Yeah, I have a bike for every application. I would get burned out riding only the rigid single speed. I also have a 4 inch travel hard tail, and a 5 inch travel full suspension. I find myself mostly riding the hard tail these days...probably because it's light, new, and most of my trails are quite smooth. There are some trails I would ONLY take the full suspension on though. It would be too brutal otherwise.

Thanks for the comment! I've added your blog to my list of Biker Blogs...