Okay, so I’m mixed up (ask my GP who prescribes my medication) but right at the moment I find myself in a very odd place. Half way between “weight weenie” and “steel-framed, high-mass luddite”.
You see… Waaaay back in the day I first began singlespeeding because I viewed it as a simple way to dump a kilo or so off my bike. Think about it for a second: No derailleur (200g at least), no heavy cassette (300g or so), no shifters (another 200), no front mech (another 150) no triple chainrings, no cables… Bingo, 1kg straight off the top! I was riding a light weight alloy frame (Yeti ARC) and with some carbon bars, a Ti seatpost and a kevlar/carbon saddle that nearly cut my butt in half (before it broke) I was in (fairly) low mass heaven.
Okay, so the SS bit was good, and after a dalliance with shifty stuff again, I’ve gone back there. However, I decided that light but uncomfortable was not for me. I ditched my custom tweaked air sprung fork for 100mm of plush Fox Vanilla steel spring, I binned the Kevlar saddle for a 500g Brooks B17, the ally frame is gone and replaced by a steel On One Inbred, my SPD pedals are gone and replaced with flats so I can dab a foot without thinking about it…
So far so good until last weekend when I was out riding and a buddy said “Hey, can I have a shot on your SS?”. Happy to spread the word I was only too pleased to let him hop aboard, while I rode his Anthem for a while. Nice bike, really quick, but the fork had so much pressure in it, it was basically like riding a rigid front end…
Okay, so the only downside to my SS is weight and I don’t want to give up the Brooks, and yet Niner make a carbon rigid fork that at 550g weights nearly a kilo and a half less than my Fox Vanilla… (You can see where this is going can’t you?)
Yes, having foresworn the dark side of weight weenieness, I now find myself awaiting the arrival of a rigid fork (albeit a very nice rigid fork) to pop on the front of my steel framed “heavy” bike.
Watch this space (for a bloke in his late thirties bitching about how much his back and arms hurt).
Back, arms wrists etc are fine, a decent puffy tyre up front (2.35 Lopes Bling Bling or 2.4 Conti Mtn King) and you don’t even remember that you’re not on a squishy fork for most terrain. Handling is great, bike doesn’t feel unbalanced. I’m sold.