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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was looking at the Sea Otter Classic website and I was surprised to see separate categories for Single Speed bikes. The only other equipment-dictated category I see is for Tandems. But Tandems have a pretty unique ability to carry two people, so they arguably deserve their own class. I don't see what unique ability Single Speeds have over Multi-Speed bikes.

So what do you think of having equipment-dictated race categories as opposed to rider-dictated (such as gender and age)? Do we need separate categories for full-suspension bikes and hardtails too? How about different categories for bicyclists who hang fuzzy dice from their handlebars? Maybe a separate category for people with Chris King headsets?

Why do you think there is a separate category for SS bikers? Just go to the SS forum, they are 100 percent certain they are faster than "gearies." So were they are put into a separate category so they don't make multi-speed bikers look bad? Why?

Personally, I ride 29ers and I don't race. But I would really hate to see them put in a separate category. It would be degrading. IMHO bicycle racing should be anything goes (as long as it is a human-powered vehicle).

Flame suit, kevlar vest, trauma plate -- check, check check. Go!
 

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Old man on a bike
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I always thought it was so that they didn't embarass the rest of us as much...but really, why not? Why allow multi gear bikes at all? Let's all race with the same gearing, no suspension, a level playing field sort of thing and see who's best, not whose equipment is. While I do have a ss, I am not nearly strong enough to consider racing it (well, even if I was a couple years younger, don't race anymore except for the Lemurian, and I call it course-sweeping then).
 

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paintbucket
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Its a little known secret that the SS class doesn't really race. They sprint off the line, then as soon as they're out of sight they all stop at a keg they've cached behind a hill and start drinking. After an appropriate amount of time has passed they get back on their bikes, sneak to the finish, and start coming over the line in dribs and drabs. Whoever drank the most gets to win.

They'd really like to get all this out in the open because then they could heckle the gearies as they go by. But then they figure everyone would want to SS and there wouldn't be any more gearies to heckle.
 

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Category Winner
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Classes make no sense anyhow

We regularly rely on a system that allows riders to choose their own class based on their own judgement. We end up with beginners with something to prove racing the sport class and experts sandbagging in the sport class to make the podium. Why not equipment based classes? It is less arbitrary. No room for sandbagging. Each equipment based category would have a full range of ability expert through beginner.
It really doesn't matter to me how they divide the classes up. Most of us are racing for fun anyhow. If I race XC I enter the expert class just because I ride so much. Do I make the podium? Rarely. If there is a SS class I sign up for that. I like the idea of racing against like-minded individuals, not to mention the occasional beer lap.
No matter how you look at it it is a lose/lose (or win/win) situation. Get rid of the classes and it discourages beginners and weekend warrior types. Keep the classes and sandbaggers will abound. Divide us up by equipment and people complain on all sides. Should a beginner on a hardtail race DH against a beginner with too much money and a $3000 Ironhorse from Supergo? I don't know the answer.
I think if you race, sign up in the class you want and have fun doing it. If you don't have fun you are missing the point.
I obviously had 15 minutes to kill.
 

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i worship Mr T
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that's it!!

wooglin said:
Its a little known secret that the SS class doesn't really race. They sprint off the line, then as soon as they're out of sight they all stop at a keg they've cached behind a hill and start drinking. After an appropriate amount of time has passed they get back on their bikes, sneak to the finish, and start coming over the line in dribs and drabs. Whoever drank the most gets to win.

They'd really like to get all this out in the open because then they could heckle the gearies as they go by. But then they figure everyone would want to SS and there wouldn't be any more gearies to heckle.
we have the correct answer here. :D

rt <--- doesn't race ss because she would always lose the drinking contest
 

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SS Chimp
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Quasi said:
Why do you think there is a separate category for SS bikers?
1. to showcase our superior ability to stand for extended periods of time
2. to provide a place for washed-up pros/semi-pros to race and feel good about themselves
3. to escape from the droves in the 'look how fast and cool i am but not quite pro' expert class
4. to hear the grumble of a geared racer as you pass them on the uphill
5. to hear the *****ing of the same geared racer when they pull back up on the flats
6. to put the final nail in the same geared racers coffin on the next hill

the list goes on :)

On a more serious note :eek:, in Colorado at least, the SS class is not divided by NORBA category and i like it this way because it is the only level playing field in the normal NORBA category quagmire.

1. no wondering if you are sandbagging or being sandbagged because the answer is yes to both
2. it can actually be quite difficult to race in a big pack of geared racers (for both the SS and geared) because the tempo and flow is very different on the SS
3. less people in the class and more friendly...no joke. we all want to win but there is very little of the garbage that goes on in some of the other classes.
4. different challenge and it is nice that this is offically recognized

I do not see any 'unique ability' in single speeds but if you don't ride one it is hard to explain. It seems that very few people who ride SS wonder about the different category.
 

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The Duuude, man...
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compared to Road Racing

Here's a related thought:

Why does mtb have so many catagories compared to Road Racing.

At most local RR's, it's like 5 classes total. 4/5, 3/4, 123, Master, women, jrs.

At most local mtb races, its like a bazillion categories. Jr, novice, beg, sport, ex, then within that: sr, master, master 1, master 2, master 50 plus, then within that, men, women. My math's bad, but in rough numbers, thats a lot of classes.

Not complaining, just observing.
 

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wooglin said:
Its a little known secret that the SS class doesn't really race. They sprint off the line, then as soon as they're out of sight they all stop at a keg they've cached behind a hill and start drinking. After an appropriate amount of time has passed they get back on their bikes, sneak to the finish, and start coming over the line in dribs and drabs. Whoever drank the most gets to win.

They'd really like to get all this out in the open because then they could heckle the gearies as they go by. But then they figure everyone would want to SS and there wouldn't be any more gearies to heckle.
LOL, now it makes sense that there are no age classes either.
 

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It's about showing up.
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Inclusive rather than exclusive

The idea of not wanting to be shown up by SS is fatuous.
It may be that SS simply fell outside rules describing the rescrictions of bikes for XC and a Special SS class was setup to allow them to race. They clearly have weight advantages. We might look at the issue of keeping Cyclocross bikes out of XC Races, There may be soem similar thinking.
I have always felt that some of our best riders, on average, are singlespeeders. However, one you get everyone up to the same level of riding stamina and skill, XC seems to be faster. Times posted for Sea Otter last year show SS to be very competitve, though not superior, to XC times.The difference is not great but neither is the difference between making the Podium and not making the Podium.
 

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SS Chimp
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Berkeley Mike said:
The idea of not wanting to be shown up by SS is fatuous.
This is somewhat fatuous. I get one of 2 responses most of the time. 1 of support or a grumble/groan followed by furious shifting in an attempt to regain their perceived loss of manhood. I much prefer the first response but the second is always good for a laugh.:D

Berkeley Mike said:
They clearly have weight advantages.
Actually, my unused geared bike weights less.

Berkeley Mike said:
However, one you get everyone up to the same level of riding stamina and skill, XC seems to be faster.
I will agree somewhat. Depends on the course and the mental fortitude of the racer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bikinfoolferlife said:
I always thought it was so that they didn't embarass the rest of us as much...but really, why not? Why allow multi gear bikes at all? Let's all race with the same gearing, no suspension, a level playing field sort of thing and see who's best, not whose equipment is.
Why ban multi gear bikes? How does that make it a more level playing field than banning SS bikes? Why ban any bike at all? If you want to eliminate the "equipment factor," the only way to do that it to make it a bare foot race.

Bicycle races, like motor races, help encourage technological development of better equipment. That is why it makes no sense to start banning anybody unless their equipment defeats the purpose of the race (like allowing bikes with internal combustion engines or wind-powered sails).

Putting people into classes, because of their equipment is a bit different than another's, just complicates the competition and dilutes any technological innovation or notable physical achievement of any particular rider.

I would have to agree with the posters here stating that there are too many classes altogether. A reporter or TV viewer might be interested in who won Sea Otter this year, but they are not at all interested in spending an hour or two learning what all the differences are in the categories and races. It seems to me that trying to satisfy everybody (politics and infighting among different riders) is keeping the sport down and it will forever be just footnote to road racing. We have to decide on a premiere event/race which is distinct from RR, yet open to lots of people.
 

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post-ride specialist
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Isn't MTB racing itself an equipment-dictated category? I mean, show up at an MTB race with a cross bike and watch the hoopla begin. Not that you couldn't smoke most mtb race courses these days with a cross bike...
 

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Probably drunk right now
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You're wrong on at least one point

Quasi said:
Why do you think there is a separate category for SS bikers? Just go to the SS forum, they are 100 percent certain they are faster than "gearies."
Not true. I think if you spent any time there, what you'd learn is that the nature of a singlespeed requires that the rider be more efficient when they ride. They become faster on a SS in order to carry their momentum. When they get back on a geared bike, they're faster still because they can generally push a bigger gear when climbing (on a hardtail).

I don't think I'm faster than a geared rider. I ride a SS because that's the type of bike I like to ride. Most of the people in the SS forum feel the same way: Rider what you like and like what you ride.

Why a separate catagory? To increase the number of paying racers. If the singlespeeds were lumped in with gears, people would still race. But with a separate catagory, more people will race.

Ken
 

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Category Winner
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NIce

Why a separate catagory? To increase the number of paying racers. If the singlespeeds were lumped in with gears, people would still race. But with a separate catagory, more people will race.

Ken[/QUOTE]

Very true. Promoters will look for any angle to get more people. Nothing wrong with that, but it is true.
 

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Your Customer Sales Rep
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You could argue that variety is the spice of life, even when it comes to competition. Or you could argue that people like/demand specialized riding. Or you could argue that the fragmentation of mountain biking (or biking in genreal) is a bike marketer's dream come true. How many equipment-based riding styles/markets can you name:

Road Race
Road time trial
Road triathlon
Cyclocross
Mountain Bike XC
29s
SS
Clydesdale
Trials
BMX
Urban
Downhill
Freeride (NOT the same as downhill, as a RaceFace sales guy once explained to me)
Tandem
Unicycle
Recumbent

There is probably lots that I'm missing here, you could also argue that its all good. D.
 

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It's about showing up.
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I hesitate to even respond

32x18 said:
This is somewhat fatuous. I get one of 2 responses most of the time. 1 of support or a grumble/groan followed by furious shifting in an attempt to regain their perceived loss of manhood. I much prefer the first response but the second is always good for a laugh.:D

Actually, my unused geared bike weights less.

I will agree somewhat. Depends on the course and the mental fortitude of the racer.
as your tone is more phallic than factual. Manhood has little to do with the appreciation of Category. All sorts of racing creates distinction to do what is possible to make a level playing field and create interesting competition; the two principles often do battle.

As to YOUR geared bike, which must be sweet as I am certain that your SS is no brick, as opposed to AVERAGE geared Racing bikes vs. AVERAGE SS Racing bikes, the idea that a bike without 2 shifters, 2 sets of cables, 2 sets of housings, 2 derailleurs, 2 chainrings, and a 8-9-10 speed cogset is heavier than ageared by defies reason, purpose, and statistical logic.

As to finishes, rather than refering to general qualities of course and "mental fortitude", some facts might be nice. Where are yours?

As a racing coach my interest is caught by character as it confronts a course but the better the rider the finer the machine tends to be; the two work with each other over time. There are racers out there, though, who can ride ANYTHING and do well, but that is a rare exception. We are talking about managing thousands of riders.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Duncan! said:
You could argue that variety is the spice of life, even when it comes to competition. Or you could argue that people like/demand specialized riding. Or you could argue that the fragmentation of mountain biking (or biking in genreal) is a bike marketer's dream come true. How many equipment-based riding styles/markets can you name:

Road Race
Road time trial
Road triathlon
Cyclocross
Mountain Bike XC
29s
SS
Clydesdale
Trials
BMX
Urban
Downhill
Freeride (NOT the same as downhill, as a RaceFace sales guy once explained to me)
Tandem
Unicycle
Recumbent

There is probably lots that I'm missing here, you could also argue that its all good. D.
What's your point?

Are you saying that racing categories should be dictated by marketing categories?

Why can't the equipment be dictated by the terrain not the rules of the race? If you want to bring a recumbent to a XC race, go for it.
 

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Des(s)ert Rat
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Do you singlespeed? If you did you would know that singlespeeding is a very different type of riding (note: I said different, not better). It has more to with rythm and momentum on a bike. While I agree, a race is a race, a singlespeed race has some other nuances going. It's like a bmx race is about speed, but it takes a different sorts of skill than just going fast. Or road race as to mountainbike race.

I don't know if a different category is needed, but there is a marked difference. And the race promoters can get more people to the events by offereing the category. And the all-mighty dollar dictates a lot of things.

And why do you care? Does it really affect you adversely when there is a ss category?

Out of all the explainations, I like wooglin's best. It's not too far from the truth.
 
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