Monday, February 21, 2011

The wrong gear for every occasion?

I am thinkin' again and it is likely to lead me to an odd place.  I actually rode my road bike this weekend.  It is a bike that most of the time languishes in the rafters on hooks, but every so often, it gets rolled out when enough time has gone by and I have forgotten how much I dislike riding it.

I really can't blame the bike too much, it is just a few parts and some set-up issues that I do not like, but it is a buzz kill for me.  The frame is actually pretty sweet.  It is a hand built steel bike, all mini brazed by Curtlo Cycles, and is a mix of RC2 True Temper tubing with an MTB OX-3 TT for a down tube.  I figure it was built in the mid 90s.  It is parallel 73*, 59cm square, with an aluminum SR Prism fork.  I bet it does not have 1000 miles on it.  Maybe not even 500.  It actually is a very nice riding bike and it just over 20 pounds.

But the parts are killin' me, mostly the shifting and the cockpit.  It has bar end shifters and 7 speeds with a Shimano 600 front crank.  That is fine....I like bar end shifters well enough I guess, but I had the wheels built with some cool Bullseye hubs that were left over from my first custom MTB wheelset, pre-Shimano Hyperglide, as I had the hubs just laying around.  The hubs are light and smooth, but the rear hub takes a thread-on freewheel and the Sachs/Aris 7 speed never indexed right with the Shimano shifters.  It sucks.  The H-Bars have a crazy amount of forward bend and hardly any flat up top, so I look like I am time trialing all the time...the hoods are almost useless as a place to rest your hands.  Not helping this is a stem that is likely 1.5" too long.

And every so often (every time I ride it, about 15 minutes into the ride) I think about upgrading some parts, but the cost of a new rear hub/wheel, the shifters, at least a rear der, maybe a front too, then getting a stem for that old, threaded 1" steerer and new bars....well, it just seems so expensive for something I am not sure how much I will use.  Would I be better off just grabbing a new, close-out road bike?  Maybe carbon?  No soul there, but lots of zip.  Ah, I don't know?  I really like the classy old girl at heart...steel is pretty nice, especially a good custom one. I am thinking about all this and, as I stood out of the saddle, pedaling that 39/23 gear that the 7spd allows for, up a long uphill grade, it kinda came to me.  How hard would it be to singlespeed this bike?  Do people even RIDE SS road bikes besides fixie hipsters?  Maybe.  But it is NOT flat here.  Quite the contrary.  But I have come to love the SS off road.  I wonder if it would be the same on road?

Or, as Guitar Ted remarked, "It would have the wrong gear for every occasion".  Yeah, that could happen too.

But it would solve some things for me.  It would be cheap to do.  An ACS freewheel is 20 bucks.  The bars I can handle...and a new stem...well, there are adapters to get a quill type stem to convert to a threadless version so I can use things I have sitting around.  I have shims if need be.

It might be fun.  Well it WOULD be fun, I am sure, but would it be practical?  Maybe not for group rides where I would get dropped on the flats or the fast runs out of the canyons.  But it could be VERY cool for long, solo or coup'la buddies-type training rides.

Of course, I may find that it simply will not work with the hardware I have.  Not sure yet.  If so, I will likely hang it back up and let it sit there another few months till I forget again why I hate it and wheel it out one more time.  Insanity has been described as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  That applies nicely to my road bike and I.

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