Wednesday, January 27, 2010

chain slap

You hear of people riding singlespeeds in the winter for 'training'. I hung my singlespeed up for a little bit and am now riding gears. That is right, multiple gears for me. Blasphemy! Not quite. I haven't ridden a 29er with gears before and was curious to try it out for myself.

Guess I also wanted to try something different.

Picked up some Shimano XT paraphernalia (thanks Robb & Sean) and converted the Ghostship 1FG to a 1x9 set-up.

Drivetrain consists of:
~ XT 9spd shifter
~ XT 11-34 cassette
~ XT M772-GS medium cage derailleur
~ Salsa 36T chainring
~ Salsa Ring-Dinger chainring guide
~ N-Gear Jump Stop chain keeper

Went out for a slow 2hr ride in the West Hartford reservoir the other weekend to see what this was all about. Slow was the name of the game for I was still fresh off surgery on my sinuses (about 2 weeks out... yeah, started 2010 with a doctor's visit, but it was planned). Temperatures finally rose above freezing (got to maybe 40*F that day) so I figured my sinuses wouldn't be that sensitive. I was wrong. The air hurt as I would breathe.

Anyway, I wound up riding in only three of the nine gear ratios that day. Middle of the cassette. The biggest hurdle was shifting gears on the trail. This was something I haven't done in a very long time so my brain was not smart enough to tell my hand to shift gears. I just pedaled through things like I normally do on my singlespeed.

I do have to say the gear ratios with the 36T front chainring are nice. A few times I purposely was shifting to different ratios to see how it would feel. On one steep incline, which I have never been able to ride on the singlespeed (typically 34x20 ratio), I climbed no problem with the 1x9 in the 36x34 ratio. That was pretty cool.

Then there is that dreaded thing referred to as 'chain slap'. While I have the chain fairly tight to prevent popping off the front chainring, on some very rocky sections of trail I heard the chain hitting the chainstay. AKA: "chain slap". This was annoying as it disturbed my zen-like moment of riding the trails. That is one thing I have always loved about my singlespeeds. They are super quiet on the trail and you sort of become 'one' with the terrain you are riding. No obnoxious noises to distract your mind from enjoying the outdoors and the trail.

Hoping to get out for a ride tomorrow and this weekend. Thanks to Monday's rain I don't anticipate getting on the trails anytime soon. My 1x9 ride the other weekend was just about at my limit for trail riding now-a-days: most of the trail was frozen but there were significant portions that were very wet and muddy where the bike would make a mess. I think tomorrow we'll be riding forest service roads and paved roads on our mountain bikes (ride #2 on the 1x9). Saturday I'll probably take the road bike out for 4-5hrs doing a big loop that takes me west.


Blogger James said...

On my cross bike I had a rubber rim strip that I put on my chainstay with some zip ties and electrical tape. Getto for sure but 0 noise. I would cringe also at the sound. Like my bike was breaking beneath me.

1/27/2010 12:28 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home