akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

RTW Macnine Downgrading - SS

syok sendiri suka suka suaiubah single speed sikal saya

'Downgrading' to singlespeed, the obvious change on the RTW Machine is that it is getting simpler. Alongwith, the weight is also shaved considerably. I'm not a weight weenie through-and-through, so I did not really bother by how many grams the bike lost with this diet.

- 9 speed SRAM PG-970 cassette
- Deore 2009 FD
- Deore 2009 RD
- XT 9 speed chain
- Deore 2010 shifters
- 28T granny ring - I still have to put on the 48T ring because I don't have spacers for the ring bolts :P
- shifter cables with hoses

+ DaBomb 16T SS kit
+ non-branded chain tensioner
+ China made chain (RM10 only)

Well, that's the physical change on the RTWM. On the riding aspect, the bike is painfully slower than usual. This is in direct relation with the choice of gearing pair, of course. That's normal, as the gearing pair has got to be catering for all riding gradient. In my case, I chose 38T in front and 16T for the rear.

Okay, not entirely true. I didn't actually get to choose the rear tooth count. The DaBomb 9-to-1 kit comes with 16T ring. It's on loan from Panjang/Atuk (together with the tensioner), so I had to make do with it; I'd go with 14T if I had it my way. The 38T ring comes from the 28/38/48 crankset.

Prior to the setup, I had a 2-weeks trial on my RTW route. I tried 38/16 and 38/14 with the 9 speed setup (heavier bike). I favoured the latter due to the speed on flats and downhills while still able to carve the two hills en-route to the office.

It has been more than a week now, and I must say that SS is not for me. Purely because I miss the speed on flats and downhill. With SS, I couldn't go more than 25km/h on flat road without spinning frantically. On flats, the normal speed would be 20 km/h, while to get to between 22 and 25 km/h it would warrant a considerable effort. Also it is rather frustrating to coast downhill while normally I could still mash the crank and get down faster.

Some would attribute simple setup, worry-free ride (due to the absence of the need to think and change to the optimal gearing) and lighter bike as being the pluses (and joy) of SS. Well, I don't really mind about the worry-free part. And as it is, I'm okay with the weight of the bike with 9 speed setup. Simple is nice, especially on the handlebar. Well, a gripshift could combat that, although I play down that option because I don't want to fork more $ to change to SRAM or get down to 7/8 speed with Shimano RevoShift. If options available, I'd shrink the 9 speed cassete to have only the first 5 rings. Not really using the rest of it, actually.

However, I'd like to point out that if you want to practice spinning/cadence, SS is good. I had to spin in order to get more than 25km/h on flats. Macam orang gila terhenjut-henjut. Of course, it would reward you with strong legs and heart also, conditioned with climbing up steep hills. That, I love.

So, it looks like I'm going back to 9 speed (or lesser), then. When? As soon as I get a new chain and if I could have a few hours to make the 'upgrade'. Until then, I'm spinning on the slow singlespeed still.

more photos here.

Have a good one.
Ride safe.

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