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.
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…