Friday, September 28, 2012

URT Singlespeed a Ride Review

The long journey that has been my Trek Y 11 singlespeed blast from the past has finally culminated.  Version 2 was finally completed Wed night thanks to some parts bin BB7s from Carl for the front wheel.  Just in time for our CNH Thurs ride.

For those keeping score version 1 was more of just clean the thing up, convert to singlespeed and see if it even works.  The singlespeed portion of the build has proven itself solid from the get go.  The DMR STS chain tensioner works great and is pretty smooth no issues there.  Version 1's main issue was the tired old suspension, front and back.  I knew if I was going to ride this thing long term I would need suspension that actually worked.

I put my desire for a full suspension singlespeed party bike out into the Universe and a few months later I got a text from Jomo informing me he was actually going to mail the fork I gave him back from CO.  I had told him to just sell it and then buy me beer when I come out to visit but all told this is probably better.  Then Phil at work had mentioned a while back about an old Stratos Helix rear shock he had laying around in a box in his shop doing nothing.  Although I guess technically what it was doing was hiding..waiting to fulfill its DESTINY.

Only issue at this point was the fork coming from CO was a 29er but I've randomly decided to turn 26er frames into 69er's before to pretty decent effect so I didn't let that phase me for a second.  There was a good chance the geometry was going to go straight to hell but it turns out the Stratos is a quarter inch longer than the original spec'd rear shock on this frame.  So the wagon wheel fork tilted things back a bit but then a slightly longer than spec'd rear shock tilted things right back.  Its still a bit hokey but it works.

The ride itself went pretty damn great.  It's going to take me a bit to learn how to appropriately ride suspension again.  I wasn't really using it to its full effect and was getting messed up a bit in corners because of the slight differences in steering behavior and not being used to rebound etc.  The geometry feels very odd to me but I think its actually probably fine.  I need to get someone like Ben on this thing who is used to riding a bit more slack to know for sure.  It rides flats and downs just fine...climbing is awkward as hell and feels like its 3 times harder than it should be but I guess that is to be expected.

I posted one of my faster times on Mighty Chicken last night so right from the get go I can see there will be some gains in the descending realm over my Redline.  Although I did almost kill myself going off the slight drop before the last big berm.  Turns out this thing is a little front heavy, go figure.  I'm comfortable in a high speed nollie though so no big whup.  I think once I learn the little ins and outs of actually riding a slack FS ride appropriately I will probably be partying pretty hard on this thing.

A viable full suspension 69er singlespeed? Who'd have thunk it??

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