Fully Rigid and Single Speed (Part 2)

Nearly two pounds heavier with the Fox Terralogic fork.

Okay, so I gave it a try (see my article on making my single speed Raleigh Talus Carbon Pro fully rigid).  Today I rode about 20 miles at a moderate effort today on various surfaces.  What were the pros and cons and what was the verdict? Weight.  Yes, the rigid bike was lighter — much lighter.  Rigid was 18 lbs. 6 oz.  With the Fox Float FIT Terralogic 80mm fork the bike weighs in at 20 lbs. 5 oz. for an increased weight of 1 lb. 15 oz. or a hefty weight penalty of 10.5%!  Fortunately it is static weight. Handling.  Obviously handling is a subjective thing.  Speed, on the other hand, is not subjective.  I found myself bouncing around even the mildest corners and downhills.  Cornering was somewhat slower.  Downhills were much slower.  My...

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Fully Rigid and Single Speed (Part 1)

They don't get much lighter than this!

I finally did it.  I’ve been threatening to do it for a while, but have always talked myself out of it.  Not this time.  I took the Fox Float FIT Terralogic 80mm suspension fork off my single speed Raleigh Talus Carbon Pro. I’ve always liked riding rigid — the bike just feels like it is not even there it’s so light.  It climbs like a goat and it corners like it’s on rails.  Well, unless there are lots of roots and rocks, in which case it tends to bounce around a bit.  Technical descents get a bit bumpy as well. Lately I’ve been reading a lot and researching online trying to figure out how to ramp up my technical skills and one common theme I keep coming across is riding a fully rigid bike.  The theory seems to be that with suspension...

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“Tiger Rag” XC Race at Clemson, SC

Wow!  I guess there was some level ground after all!

On June 23, 2013, race 9 of the Southern Classic Series intersected the US Cup East / South Eastern Regional Championship  Series (SERC) #7 at Clemson South Carolina.  Now throw in a Georgia State Cup make up race and you have lots of the best riders throughout the southeast showing up ready to compete.  Essentially, anyone who is still in the points race for any of those three series was likely to be in attendance. Now about the course:  Last year I raced it as a Cat 3 (or beginner) rider, so I did one lap.  Since that time, USA Cycling, in their infinite wisdom has decided that I needed to be upgraded — not once, but twice — to Cat 1.  After all, I have been riding a bicycle for a whopping two years and am only halfway through my second...

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Homemade Power Bleeder

Power bleeder 480

I have brand new Hayes Prime hydraulic disc brakes on my two race mountain bikes.  Great brakes.  Reasonably light.  Easily adjustable.  Like all hydraulic brake sets, they come pre-bled from the factory.  The bummer is they come with 75′ long hydraulic lines, just in case you are installing them on a tandem or other gigantic bike.  Well, I ride a small frame bike so I have two options:  Option one is to leave the system pre-bled and roll up the extra 3 feet of brake line and tape it to frame or handlebars.  Definitely falls under the “you might be a redneck if…” category.  Option two is to shorten the lines to properly fit the bike.  But that means breaking the factory seal and allowing the possibility of air going into the...

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“Hobby Park” XC Race at Winston-Salem, NC

Matt Podium Hobby Park 480

The Southern Classic Series cross country mountain bike race in Winston-Salem, North Carolina is held in a venue named Hobby Park.  The park likely got its name because if you have a hobby, this is your park.  It has a runway for radio controlled airplanes, two tracks for radio controlled cars, a long paved hill for soap box derby racing, nice trails for running and or hiking, and last, but not least, it has a great mountain bike trail. The race course is 6.7 miles in length beginning and ending at the model airplane runway and is thickly wooded with a mix of pine and deciduous trees, as well as all manner of vegetation.  The trail surface itself is for the most part hard-packed, dark, loamy soil that is riddled with tree roots — probably one of the more...

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“Uwharrie XC Festival” Race at Troy, NC

Randy Shields (left) leading the way. I'm still in 3rd place prior to my mechanical.

The first Sunday in June was the Southern Classic Series race # 7 held in the Uwharrie National Forest near Troy, North Carolina.  The Uwharrie National Forest is a federally designated national forest located in the Uwharrie Mountains with a total area of over 50,000 acres.  The thick canopy of pine and oak make for a lot of shade but also hold in the humidity and stop any breezes, making for a steamy race. The Uwharrie trails are some of my favorite trails anywhere and have a great mix of technical elements, climbing, and long stretches of rutted jeep trails where you are either grinding up slow, steady climbs or bombing down long gradual descents.  The trail surfaces range from hard packed dirt, to loose gravel, to a couple of sections that are just slabs of...

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“Bump and Grind” XC Race at Jackson, GA

Mark Perri (50) left, Mark Gilliam (51) middle, and yours truly (58) right.

This week’s race was the 2013 US Cup East / South Eastern Regional Championship series (SERC) race #6, the  American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) race #6, and the  Georgia State Championship series race #4.  The intersection of these three races, coupled with double USA Cycling ranking points made for a very well attended event with many top competitors bringing their “A-game”. I dubbed this race the “bump and grind” because the course was probably the bumpiest course I’ve ever ridden.  There were lots of roots and rocks sufficient to kill any momentum you developed and forcing you to grind along the trail under power most of the time.  In other words, there was not a lot of opportunity to rest. Just how bumpy was it?  Riding this course was...

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