Friday Group Ride #277

Friday Group Ride #277

I’m stuck, and my stuckness is part financial, part indecision, part inexperience and part simple laziness. What I did was strip my mountain bike. That it’s a mountain bike is only incidental. It could be any kind of bike. It just happens to be a trail bike in this case. It was a single-speed, 650B bike, which is/was great for simple, rolling, New England single-track, but, and perhaps this goes without saying, it had some limitations I decided I didn’t care for. So I stripped it with the intention of welding on cable stops and a derailleur hanger.

But this bike was also built right as 1-1/8″ headtubes were all changing over to 44mm headtubes for tapered forks. There is nothing wrong with the fork I have, but it gives me pause. As long as I’m applying heat to the frame again, why not swap out the headtubes, right?

What wheels should I get? The pair I have are dished for single-speed, and I don’t want to redish them.

I know I want a 1x system, but which one. SRAM does this well, but the new Shimano looks great, too.

Those are just logistical and financial issues though. I can make choices, as long as I can afford them.

The real mess starts when I let my mind wander. What if I put a rigid fork on this bike and ran thin file treads, or even 40c studded tires for winter? It’d be a flat bar trail killer, not so suited for really technical stuff, but fast everywhere else and good on the road in inclement weather.

Then I’d build another, more traditional mountain bike to replace it. Except that’s another bike and more money and more choices. So now the frame is sitting next to my desk, looking like the drumstick the dog left behind, and my parts box sits out back depreciating by the day. I’m sure I’ll figure it out eventually. Some precipitating event will transpire, like a ride I want to do.

This week’s Group Ride asks, when is the last time you got stuck? What was it over? Do you keep a bike project going at all times? Or are you swift and decisive in the face of these big life decisions? How would  you resolve my dilemma(s)?

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  1. Michael

    I feel your confusion, Robot. I have a beautiful custom-built 26″ mtn bike from the mid-90s. It rides great, with the original mostly XT/XTR components and Judy fork, for what it is – a hard tail from the 90s that fits me well and is very light. I bought a new hard tail 29er and hardly ever ride my old bike. I have a few other bikes, so have the habit of selling a bike whenever I add to the stable. But who wants to buy a hard tail 26″ mtn bike any more, especially an old one? So do I make it a single speed and play with it that way? Then I could morally call it a different sort of bike from my 29er and thus keep it for a different sort of ride. I haven’t made the decision, after more than a year, so I guess I am just a knucklehead. What would I do in your place? About what you are doing, apparently!

  2. Pat O'Brien

    Got stuck on a Gary Fisher Ferrous 29. Loved the way it handled and rode, but my heels kept hitting the seat stays, they were bowed out, and the back tire clearance at the bottom bracket, damn creaking eccentric, was almost nothing with a 2.1 inch tire. Mud? Forget it. After 2 years I gave up, bought a Niner MCR frame and switched all the components to it from the Fisher. Sold the Fisher frame at a bike swap meet. What would I do with that Seven? Put on the dérailleur hanger, 1 X11 SRAM drivetrain, and ride it, for a long time.

  3. Miles Archer

    Are you kidding? My bike is a toy, not a hobby. I let the professionals work on it. Ok, I’ll do little things like adjust the derailleurs sometimes. I spent far too much time as a kid trying to fix the epic crap my parents bought with no money for tools or parts.

    You want your computer fixed or your laptop screen replaced? That I can do.

  4. mechaNICK

    A project bike can be good for temporary relief of bike-lust, I feel, but project bikes should be inexpensive. As I said, it’s only temporary relief, so you shouldn’t deplete the bike fund completely. Build something fun with it – one-by? Sure, one-bys are great! Both SRAM and Shimano’s new stuff is great to ride and simple to run. Keep the headtube as it is and make it a monster-cross bike. Or a sweet mountain bike. I feel that I’m not helping. Have fun!

  5. cash

    29er vs 650B. Its time to replace my aging Tallboy with a new trail bike and I keep flip flopping. The speed and uphill, over obstacle prowess of 29″ vs the sprightly, slightly longer travel fun-ness of 650B. Today it’s tomato, yesterday it was tomatoe. Tomorrow it will likely be potato. An embarrassment of riches, as my current ride is more than I need but less than I want.

  6. Stooby

    I have a very old 26″ Cannondale M400 that was my first MTB in the 90’s. When I finally bought a new MTB the ‘dale was stripped to bare alloy, polished, and rebuilt with a 700C carbon Road fork, 700C wheels and used as a hybrid for commuting. Then later in life, when I no longer needed a hybrid, it got fitted with a set of pace RC31 rigid forks and made singlespeed for slopping thorough the muddy British winters.
    It now sits, disassembled, patiently waiting for it’s next reincarnation. It’s a bit limited due to a 1″ head tube but I’m sure I’ll think of something…….that bike and I are quite attached, despite a fleet of nine other bikes to choose from.

  7. Andrew

    It’s a bike. You ride it for fun. If you feel it “needs” to have certain components or features that it doesn’t have before you can enjoy it, then I fear you’ve fallen victim to the unachievability of perfectionism, and perhaps also to rampant marketing and consumerism. Make a plan. Any plan. Stick to it and see the build through. Then go ride it. On tar, on gravel, on dirt. Uphill, downhill, fast, slow. With others, with friends, by yourself.
    I’ve got a vague recollection of an internet quote/meme that says something like, there’s nothing as useless as an unridden bicycle.

  8. Joack

    I am currently in a similar situation. Tapered vs straight steerers, 650b questions, frame clearances, and axel to crown lengths to think about. It think its a ton of fun!

    Here’s my simple fix solution for you: Talk with Seven (I assume that’s your bike in the picture) about getting a new dropout with a hanger. If they use any sort of standard, Paragon Machine Works may have it already:

    Then 1 new rear wheel to fit a cassette, but keep the front wheel the same. If your heart is set on finding a new fork, MRP makes some good forks in tapered and straight steerers. Especially check out their Rock Solid rigid fork. It would fit your machine, you would just need to convert your Stan’s front wheel to a 9mm QR.

    When you are deciding between SRAM and Shimano, consider piecemeal-ing to get an optimal setup (unless you are buying a complete groupo). I would definitely go with a Shimano cassette since it means you won’t need to use the XD driver. Then SRAM and Shimano both have great shifting, but many people would agree that Shimano has better braking (and easier to bleed). Optional: Red-ano NW chainring from RaceFace.

    Good luck and please post the final result!

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