Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

27 minus 18 = 1×9 actually

Posted by Colin | February 10, 2010 | 8 comments so far

N-Gear Jump Stop chain guide
I’ve never really been a trend setter in my 39.99 years but it just shows that life begins at 40 – with my enforced garage restructure meaning I wanted (needed) to raise some funds and make 2 bikes from 3. I also decided the new bike would be a little different and inadvertently seem to have been one of the first round these parts to take up the latest fad to hit MTB-ers.

So, the Prince Albert and the singlespeed Inbred have been cannibalised to raise cash (along with lots of old motorbike stuff) and make way for another Inbred, but this time a geared Ti version, a sort of upgrading/downsizing kinda thang. However, this one will spend half the year with gears and a bouncy front end and the other half with rigid carbon forks in Gears-are-Gay guise, courtesy of a White Industries eccentric hub to provide chain tension (more on that soon).

Nothing trend setting so far but when I say the new bike will be geared, I actually mean I decided that I’d just run a single ring up front and 9 outback. The reasoning being that a) I never use the big ring much b) it makes the swappage between gears and SS much easier and quicker, c) I like to run a bash ring instead of said big ring and d) if I have a granny, I use it too much, meaning I have weak legs and am shit slow up climbs, mincing away with the 22t upfront, going nowhere fast and pedalling like a banshee.

In bygone days, others who have gone this route have warned of the chain being thrown off the front with no mech there to guide it along its merry path. The usual 36 hours of ensuing Googling (formerly know as R&D), saw me purchase an N-Gear Jump Stop device which is one of those rewarding finds that is cheap (£10), well made, looks ok and works extremely well.

Straitline Bash Ring in Ti Grey

I’m expect the combo of the jump stop and the bash ring on t’other side is what makes it so effective but I’m glad to report I’ve not yet suffered any chain offage and have tested it down Telegraph Road and Infestation, both of which do more than enough to encourage the chain to be otherwise thrown. If the chain is thrown, it is deflected back by the angled plate and dumped on the chain ring.

Despite some half-hearted bitching under my heaving breath up various climbs in the Surrey Hills, I’m also very pleased with my decision to go 1×9. I’ve so far managed Alsatian, Radnor Lane, Tanners Hatch, Gatton to Reigate Tea Hut, Albury up to Newlands and the dreaded climb home from the Mole in Leatherhead (which greets me at the end of every ride) without the granny, which I have previously depended on oh-to-heavily. I am under no illusions there are climbs that I may not be able to tackle (eg Leith Tower) but overall my riding will benefit from the anticipated and enforced strength improvement.

I gather that going 1×9 is right up there with 1) adorning the garage with a fixie road bike and 2) white being the new black dahhling. Some lead, some follow…

Filed under Mutterings in February 2010


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There are 8 comments on ‘27 minus 18 = 1×9 actually’

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  1. tony says:

    looks good. A bit more high tech than just leaving a adjusted down front mech in place.

    It does make me think about how many times I actually need a granny/big ring. Around Surrey – hardly ever.

  2. Matt says:

    I agree, since I’ve been singlespeeding it’s become apparant that I don’t really need a granny ring or a big ring. Maybe the 2×10 SRAM XX trickle down effect will suit us all much more than we think? Both Shimano and SRAM are introducing more versions this year.

    Colin, don’t write off the Leith Hill Tower climb, I’ve managed it on my 32:18 singlespeed with careful line choice so you should be fine with this set up. (What size front ring are you running BTW?)

    I like that N-Gear device, for £10 it’s a bargain.

  3. Rupert says:

    Good work! I find without the granny ring you can actually benefit on many hills especially when it’s dry and loose as you get less wheelspin. Does mean you need more torque from the engine though unfortunately!

  4. mike61 says:


    Nice idea, for £10-00 I’m tempted.

    On the other hand all this getting stronger/fitter/singlespeed gubbins sounds like hard work to me.


  5. Colin says:

    I’m running a 32t Deore steel one for now. Maybe one day i’ll move up to 34.

    So Leith Tower climb is the challenge! Conditions will have to be perfect for me to stand to manage that.

    With the clag-fest each ride has become lately, I can’t wait to revert to singlespeed, oddly.

    Mike, c’mon, you need to come out of the closet soon, I know you really want to try singlespeeding, your secret is safe with us!

  6. Jools says:

    Well we riders from Reigate need the granny ring to get up the Chalky Path from Reigate to Colley Hill – – and even tougher, the climb from Clifton’s Lane to the North Downs Way .. which we call “Cyclists Dismount” after the sign at the top (now changed) which warned of a “steep descent .. cyclists dismount” .. as if …

  7. Matt says:

    Jools I’ve cleaned both those climbs but you definitely need the granny ring for those – granny/third or so for the Colley Hill one and bottom/bottom for the ‘Cyclists Dismount’ – it’s hell and most occasions I find it’s unrideable (the hairpin is what kills it for me). For a long time I thought it was impossible.

    Couple of pics of it from my Flickr set from September 2003:

    Back in the day of my old Marin – still surprises me how nice it looked! And that I’ve been doing this so long!!

  8. Dave says:

    Just to clarify that if you want to try one of these in the UK they are available from for £10.


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