It’s been a quiet few weeks with my attention diverted to some last minute study for my Pharmacology and Statistics exam. Man, talk about dry. Hence why the study was put off, and put off, resulting in a few weeks of intense cramming. There were facts zooming around in my head for those precious three hours that are now long gone. Now, the waiting game begins to see whether I score an invite to Melbourne for the Viva component. The good: this exam costs the same as a new Ti frame (plus a few carbon bits), so if I make it then there well be a just reward. Just in time for Dirtworks too…
With the exam pain fading I ventured out into the back yard to put together the components that have been slowly accumulating in the shed and waiting for the day when they would come together. In classic Rob (and Rossco) style, they didn’t come together without a hitch, which I’ll explain below. Thanks to Google for the solution. Apologies to my neighbours for anything that may have been said in the heat of the moment.
I went with the Stan’s tape and Olympic valves. After having good success with the ol’ rubber rim strip and tape on the original wheelset, I thought I’d go with the recommended yellow tape. Easy to install and the tyres went up without a hitch (using the compressor). I stuck with the Ralphs as they already have a nice coat of sealant over the porous bits, and also the price was right.
Single Speed Conversion
After not wanting to use a generic spacer kit, I found a company in the States called Q2 doing a carbon one for the same price. Absolutely no performance enhancement, but it looks nice and the variety of spacer combos means that a straight chainline was easy to achieve.
The Centrelock Rotors
After talking to The Unknown Rider/Trail Master/Event Promotor I was swayed against the 6-bolt conversion, and opted for a set of new XTR Centrelock rotors. Installation is simple as, no hassling with a torque wrench and alternating Torx screws. Just thread up and your’re done! Or, so I thought. See the Centrelock Rotor sits on a large 5-arm mount, which makes the rotor true and strong, but it also means that they are not compatible with Avid calipers as the disc tabs project into the path of the spinning arms. So, wheels installed, mounted, tightened, and… nothing. After a few slow deep breaths I Googled my frustration and the answer came to me – angle grinder. Just grind the tabs away, too easy. After digging my grinder out of the shed and plugging it in, I decided discretion was the better part of valour and removed the tabs from the bike rather than attempting to grind in situ. 30 seconds of angle grinding loving and I was rolling. Oh, and the Avid turkey warble is gone, these things are completely silent.
Note the clearance. Millimeters. Seems to be ok on the test ride.
The DT Swiss RWS System
I’ve read mixed reviews on these, and seeing as DT Swiss has already released an upgraded version of the skewers I’d say that some of the early complaints may be founded in reality. What I like so far is that they were free with the wheelset, they’re super chunky, solid yet light, and provided that you’re not too ham-fisted, then you shouldn’t have any issues with the ratchet system failing. However, saying that, why they’d choose to make a component that you’re going to be twisting with reasonable force and that is prone to impact out of plastic escapes me. So I expect these to last until at least my first crash, which is usually on my first ride back from a prolonged MTB absence. Damn, I’d better start saving for the upgraded ones now.
As a plus they did bolt straight into the frame, and with the handy little drive side screw on the GT’s rear dropout I’m hoping wheel slippage won’t be an issue. In fact, at a peak power of about 250W I’m betting it won’t be! The other bonus is doing away with the rear bolts, and no longer needing to carry a 15mm ring spanner duct-taped to my frame.
The last time this bike was actually ridden was the Coghead Sawmill ride, which saw the bike (and rider) in practical full-immersion. A lesson learnt thereafter was that single speed bikes are low maintenance, not no maintenance. The second hand XT bottom bracket has called it a day, and there is a replacement on way from Hong Kong. There is a company called GUB that are hawking ceramic BB’s for $50. They seem to get decent reviews, so how could I say no? Once it’s here and installed (and ridden) I’ll post a review.
I’m very happy with the way these came together. Through good luck and online shopping I’ve come away with a decent wheelset for under a grand. It brings the bike to 11.2kg and I now also realise that the only original thing left on the bike is the frame itself! Of course the proof will be when I actually get to ride these things in anger, and I’m hoping to have a weekend free and a racing licence soon. See you out there.