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My other ride is your mom
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK....so I'm not exactly a HT neophyte....I did after all, learn to ride a HT back in the day when I was 3 feet tall and I taped my GI Joe to the handlebars.....but yesterday was a rebirth of sorts with the SS thrown in for extra flair. Lightandfast stopped by my place after work yesterday and brought his wifes Voodoo Ti HT SS over so I could try it out on Hawes. Since I learned to ride a mountain bike, I've never ridden anything with less than 4" of suspension....yet I love to climb which probably much makes me a rolling dichotomy.

After switching out the pedals and getting it adjusted, we rolled out and I was immediately impressed with how light and nimble the bike felt. The snappiness and easy acceleration, the steeper HTA....everything felt sharp and crisp. I found myself trying to shift with my fingers when I started to spin out on the descent from my house to the trailhead; only to remind myself that I was better off coasting. The fore-aft balance thing took a bit of adjustment given the lack of rear suspension and my previous reliance upon it, but became intuitive after a few short rocky sections. Whereas I previously just leaned back a little and let the suspension soak up everything, I was having to be much more active on the bike with respect to micro-managing my center of gravity.

I found myself instantly using my knees much more than I have ever done before.... something which I've known implicitly even though I can get away with not doing it so much by simply letting the 5.5" of suspension soak up the terrain by itself. However, I've always felt that relying on this sometimes was a bit of a crutch and has limited my progression as a rider.

I've always marveled at seeing folks on HT send stuff that I still walk on my bike. I've always suspected that riding a HT would make me a better rider; this thought was becoming reality as I pushed into the trail system. One thing that took some learning, however, was the need to conserve energy on the down for the next up. Being so used to just shifting down has created a situation where I did not need to carry speed if I did not want to; now this was a necessity. I found slightly different parts of my quad muscles were on fire. I'm so used to sitting and spinning up just about anything that those parts of my muscles don't really get fatigued that easily anymore. Yet here I was, forced to stand up and grind out the climb with the tops of my quad on fire. I was humbled by how much I thought my legs were conditioned for riding...and how much I was wrong. The far off realization that I have become an asymmetrical-skilled rider was now reinforced with every scalding pedal stroke up climbs I previously zoned out on.

I guess this ride was like a moment of clarity for me. I've been intoxicated by the suspension for the last 2 years, functioning ok in every day rides. Yet deep down, I knew that the bike I was riding was masking some bad-habits and preventing me in parts from forming a good baseline of skills that other riders who have been with the sport since it's inception, have known all along. I'm not saying I'm going to abandon my full suspension bike. I am saying that I feel that the epiphany's that smacked me around yesterday are something I will take back with me on my full-suspension ride today. I will use my knees more instead of relying on just my suspension...this will probably make me faster. I will be more conscious of my COG and manage it more actively despite the saftey cushion of a full suspension....this will probably make me more efficient. Lastly, I will shift up a few gears and get out of my saddle to climb more....this will make me stronger.

In the end, I came away feeling that if I had a second bike; it will have to be a HT. And riding that bike will make me an all around better rider if I choose to take lessons from one bike and cross-pollinate those to the other bike. One last thing though occured to me: The bike I was riding was a 26er SS......is that so out now...that it may be in again?:thumbsup:
 

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Singlespeed HT's are fun. Way fun.

On our last BCT ride, cesslinger was riding his rigid SS 29er and was absolutely smoking everyone.
 

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aka Diesel
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It's like angels are singing, and playing harps, as I read this! :D

Maad, welcome to the world of SS HT! Next time borrow my fully rigid, because I would LOVE to hear your observations on the way that changes the game even more! I'm no authority on ANY kind of bike or riding, but I know what feels great, which is why I've stuck with it.

But listening to somebody describe their first SS HT experience, is like watching a birth (minus, you know, the Eww factor), and I hope you'll give it another shot.

It's tricky going back and forth from FS to SS HT, but, I think it's worth the effort to learn to maximize the benefits of both. According to Doug Gangi, the Cool Kids know how to effortlessly go back and forth between the two. ;) Although be warned- once you get used to the way an SS climbs (smokes, as Kavu said), you'll never be happy to sit while climbing. Especially during events, when you see SS HT riders blazing past you. ;)

(And yeah, yeah, this from the person who took GEARS out to Pemberton yesterday! hehe. But I was doing 3 loops, so I wanted the security of Granny with me in case I got tired!)
 

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CoyoteKis said:
It's tricky going back and forth from FS to SS HT, but, I think it's worth the effort to learn to maximize the benefits of both. According to Doug Gangi, the Cool Kids know how to effortlessly go back and forth between the two. ;) Although be warned- once you get used to the way an SS climbs (smokes, as Kavu said), you'll never be happy to sit while climbing. Especially during events, when you see SS HT riders blazing past you. ;)
You said a mouthful here (with the exception of Gangi's comment about only Cool Kids being able to go back and forth). I can remember my first ride on my FS after riding the SS almost exclusively. It was like I had never ridden a bike before. Granted, I went from 29" wheels, to 26" wheels. But the first gradual climb I attempted, I was in way too big of a gear, and fell over. Needless to say, it took me a ride or two to get used to my other bike.

It's been probably 3 months since I've been on the FS, and to be honest, I'm really not looking forward to it, as I'm sure there will be a learning curve.
 

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I notice that I'm even faster on my fully when I switch back.

I keep thinking about picking up a cheap SS HT again.
 

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parenting for gnarness
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i'm not riding with you anymore until you get a job! you're gonna crush me.

hey Dave! share the love? does patty wanna borrow any of my bikes?
 

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KavuRider said:
Singlespeed HT's are fun. Way fun.

On our last BCT ride, cesslinger was riding his rigid SS 29er and was absolutely smoking everyone.
Only on the uphill parts :thumbsup:

I ride my rigid 29er SS as much if not more than my 7-in freeride monster truck. It is fun and the skills needed for both bikes compliment each other.

The SS is about line choice and momentum. The freeride bike is about letting go.

After doing many Sunrise trips last summer, the first time back on DC with the SS made me feel like a new rider. I could turn smoother, brake less, and hop over choppy stuff.

Now I need an in between HT or squishy...:madman:
 

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My other ride is your mom
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
chollaball said:
i'm not riding with you anymore until you get a job! you're gonna crush me.

hey Dave! share the love? does patty wanna borrow any of my bikes?

Why are you in such a hurry to scissor my saddle?
 

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cesslinger said:
Now I need an in between HT or squishy...:madman:
In a perfect world, I'd have:
A rigid HT SS
a 5" sub 30 lb trailbike
a 7" mid 30's FR bike
a full on 8-9" DH sled
a DJ bike
a true road bike
and an around town beater/commuter

Dare to dream...
 

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parenting for gnarness
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Maadjurguer said:
Why are you in such a hurry to scissor my saddle?
i'm a petty, jealous man. i wanna be retired too!
 

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"Yabut"
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Another convert, maybe? My HTSS is, by far, my favorite bike. The FS bikes just feel wallowy by comparison. I get used to the wallowing, and then get back on the SS, and say, Aaaaaahhhhhh. Fully rigid is a totally different thing. When I ride that bike, I always say, "this bike needs a fork".
 

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Powered by ice cream.
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Maad:

Good stuff. I go back and forth all the time and really enjoy the differences in the bikes.
 

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My other ride is your mom
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
MyBike'sBroken said:
Another convert, maybe?
I don't think convert is the right term.....I just feel a missing part of the puzzle has been found, that's all.
 

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Shred...it's the new drug
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I love my HT SS, so diverse and fun!!! Pulls my kids trailer by night and rips DC and Hawes a new one by day. Great training tool for my DH bike, makes me hammer on the way up and spin out on the way down. I love pumping that sucker and flicking it all over. It's like half the weight of the sled and airs superbly!!! I'm upgrading to a Trans Am as of next week. Will post pics when it's complete!!!
 

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Dave
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chollaball said:
i'm not riding with you anymore until you get a job! you're gonna crush me.

hey Dave! share the love? does patty wanna borrow any of my bikes?
I would like her to try a 29er and you have one that might fit her. But where you live now a SS might make you sore. :D Im sure her bike would fit you too as it did Maad.
 

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My other ride is your mom
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
don't do an upper body workout before your SS ride like I did....I was regretting it enormously....
 

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SS Convert Here

I discovered SS about a year ago. I go back FS once in a great while, but just don't enjoy it quite as much. The squish is nice but makes me lazy. And for me Lazy and MTB don't really jive. I ride the FS and don't shift all that much, and sit down way too much.
I first put together a BMX 24" cruiser, had all the parts just laying around and thought what the hell. 26" front end with a 130mm fork W/disk brake. It was super light, very nimble and an incredible workout.
So after a couple of months and an almost destroyed BMX cruiser, I decided to build a legit SS. I picked up a used Santa Cruz Chameleon frame and built a SS wheel and put it all together. This bike is now my do everything bike.
And I don't really believe SS 26" ever went away, try taking your SS 29er to NRA. My Chameleon is a blast out there.
 

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Maadjurguer said:
The bike I was riding was a 26er SS......is that so out now...that it may be in again?:thumbsup:
As another new SS rider, and physics major that thinks about these things way too much...

As I see it, a HT/rigid SS has the most to gain from 29 inch wheels. Having no suspension to soak up impacts maximizes the benefits of the ability of 29ers to roll over rocks and such. Also, the increased rotational inertia of the larger wheels really helps you carry momentum through obstacles, which I've noticed is important when you've got no other gears to fall back on.

By the way, I had a lot of the same feelings as you about my riding skills going from my FS to the new rigid SS - and getting a bike with no gears or suspension will definitely help you out with the stuff you're talking about. Standing up on climbs is what I notice most, and the effect was almost immediate - now I think "ok, stand up" where I used to think "time to shift down..."
 

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livin' the dream......
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I've ridden a rigid SS 29er out of 40th street a while back and liked it. I ended up going with a geared HT 29er and would strongly consider adding SS to my stable in the future. Not sure if I would go rigid or not.
 
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