|I’ve already talked about the why of single speeding|
so now I’m going to put it all into practice and tell you about my own gearless thing.
No, this isn’t going to be a how-to either. Maybe a bit of a what if… if you like.
It starts with a what if I go into recycle with a Hope disc brake wheel with the
intention of turning it into the deposit on a DeKerf SS frame.
Unfortunately, for me at least, they happened to have a newly converted Kona frame
hanging on the wall. Oh dear. I’ve always had a soft spot for Konas. My first real
MTB was a Kona, the first SS mtb I rode was a Kona Aha and even the first cross bike
a rode was a Kona. The only problem was that a Hope disc doesn’t go into a Kona frame.
Lucky then that I had a whole load of other stash with me. Even luckier was the fact
that I used to work with one of the guys at Recycle, he swung the deal. They had
wanted to keep the frame a bit longer as one the same colour had just appeared in
one of the mags in a feature on SSs.
Two months of looking longingly at that frame as it sat in my lounge and I’d got
the money together to buy the wheels. Well, that’s not strictly true. I bought a
Hope SS rear hub and a second-hand Specialized front. It would have been a pair of
Spot hubs but there was only one pair in the country and Cycling Toady (sic) had
those. At the same time I got a pair of Mavic 217s and some spokes. Lurking at home
in my bottomless spares’ box was a packet of Spline drive alloy nipples, hmm sexy.
During the Saturday omnibus of Brookside I knocked the wheels up. The Spline drive
nips made it surprisingly easy to get the necessary tension on the spokes for the
radial lacing of the front wheel, not to mention looking well cool, in a shiny red
sort of way.
Still along way from being a bike though. Another month and another visit to a bike
shop; Evans. It only took them three weeks to get a pair of Project Twos. As if that
wasn’t bad enough when I went to collect them they’d not even got around to fitting
them to the bike and at that point they’d had them for a week!
Once again Brookside set the scene as I raided that bottomless spares box again.
My old faithful Middleburn RS2s were dusted off and shoved on a UN52 bb that just
happened to be lying around. Amazingly It produced a perfect chain line, cool. S
set of LX Vs, a Controltech post, Giro saddle, Profile bars and a no-name stem and
I had myself a proper single speed.
Of course, me being me I couldn’t leave well alone. The first thing to get changed
was the bars. The original Profiles were full-on DH beasties. Just for a giggle I
tried a pair of profile drops. Instead of putting a set of Travel agents on the V-brakes,
I don’t like the action; I shoved on a vintage set of XT cantis.
The riding was actually really comfy and climbing was good too. The only problem
was when the going went down. Pulling a set of cantis on with drop levers after you’ve
got used to discs and Vs sure does cause your wrists to cramp up.
Back to the box of spares and out came a pair of old Answer Hyperlites. In their
day these bars were a well trick piece of kit with a price to match. Needless to
say the Vs went back on there too. That’s how it’s stayed until recently.
In a moment of madness I decided to do the London to Brighton, no not the organised
ride, that would be too easy. I decided to do it off road. After five hours on the
Downs as I sat down with a cold lager at the sea front I decided that I really needed
some suspension. The pure ethic off hardcore single speeds might be a nice idea but
sometime you really need a bit of bounce.
Due to my Dyna Tech not shifting via the classified ads it had to make a brave donation.
Out with the big hammer, while Brookie was on of course, and a fork transplant had
soon been completed. Then I just got carried away. That brave Raleigh also donated
its XT V-brakes, ESP 9.0SL levers and carbon Profile riser bars.
Two months on and I couldn’t be happier. The position is finally right, the bike
handles and it’s just generally good fun. The only problem with a single speed is
that there’s nothing to upgrade. So I guess I’ll start saving up for that DeKerf
single speed again, hmm.