Thursday, March 14, 2019

Epic "Slop Season" Begins

Saturated road from T.I.v2. I hear the roads look like this in the country now too.
The Winter is dead, but Spring is spilling Winter's "blood" with a hard swing to warmer temperatures and rain. All that water, in the form of snow, ice, and frost, is playing havoc with the gravel roads right now. In fact, I saw a pretty epic video on Facebook Tuesday evening of a road North of Cedar Falls. I hear it is very bad, as in even 4X4's are having issues getting around.

So, with thoughts of going exploring on gravel roads dashed, (because, what would be the point?), I decided that prudence was necessary and stayed within the bounds of the city. It is no picnic in town either, by the way. Pot holes are popping up everywhere and we aren't even into the meat of pot hole season yet. These are some of the worst, biggest, and the largest amount of pot holes that I can recall in many years.

Water was running off the snow banks alongside the roads like someone had left a garden hose on somewhere. A huge garden hose! I had to pick my way through my loop in the cemetery where there was some ice and on the unpaved parts, it was possible to ride, but barely. My tires were doing the "pizza cutter" thing, and resistance was very high. I decided my plan for laps in the cemetery was not a good one, so I headed over to the Byrnes Park area to climb some hills.

Running a single speed, with 180mm cranks, you can find that cadence and just crank, (slowly) away and grind right up the inclines. Now, I haven't been on a single speed since mid-January, so I knew I wasn't going to be quite "single speed fit" and a little resistance was going to go a long way. I figured I maybe had an hour in me to putz around the wet, sloppy neighborhoods and then I had better hang it up.

Lots of snow melted today, but there is a LOT of snow to melt!
I think I am going to be really happy with the BMC "Orange Crush" set up as a single speed. I was having fun cranking away and the bike is really suited to being a single speed rig. I do have a wish though, and that is for a bolt on, single speed specific rear wheel, so now that I am pretty sure this is the direction I want to go with this bike, I am going to start tracking down a set of rims and I probably will use hubs I have already.

Those would be the old Surly "Jim Brown" edition New Disc Hubs that I got over ten years ago now. I used to run them on the Karate Monkey, but I switched that over to rim brakes and the "chocolate chip" wheel set has brown, no-rim brake Velocity rims on it. So, those wheels aren't much good to me with those rims. I am going to look at getting some Blunt SS rims, (Editor's Note: Reader Exhausted_Auk reminded me that Blunt SS is a disc only rim.) Cliffhangars I think, and I'll lace up those hubs. Or.......

Since the disc part is no good for me here, I may look at getting brand new hubs. Silver, of course, would be the obvious choice, and rim brake only. I'll have to look into that..... Then I could keep the all silver thing going and not have to have a black, or brown, component on the bike.

But anyway...... Enough about that. Slop Season is here and man! It is treacherous and I have no idea when it might straighten out enough to make for decent riding. I think Saturday will be another day of poking around to see how things are going, and then maybe I'll have a better idea. Thankfully it looks as though windy, sunny, no rain days are forecast for much of the weekend and through next week.


Exhausted_Auk said...

I thought Blunt SS rims are also disc only

Guitar Ted said...

@Exhausted_Auk- Whoops! Probably should be looking at Cliffhangars then, eh? :>)

Scott said...

I've never read anything here that makes me think you're a weight weenie. However, you've pedalled plenty of miles on high end wheels. Are you sure a cliffhanger (675g) is a good substitute for a blunt SS (425g)?

Guitar Ted said...

@Scott- Well, let's keep in mind that the Orange Crush is a rim brake only bike. In that case, a Blunt SS is a wrong choice in the first place, since it does not support rim brake use, as pointed out by Exhausted_Auk earlier. My mistake there in posting that in the first place.

So, in the Velocity family of rims, a Cliffhangar works, since it has support for rim brakes and wider tires.

Now I could go outside of the Velocity family and get rim brake compatible rims. Maybe like the HED ones I already have, for instance.

But the bottom line here is that I mistakenly posted that the Blunt SS would be a workable choice when it clearly is not. I apologize for any confusion there.

Scott said...

Thanks, GT! No confusion here on disc only blunt ss not working with canti stud BMC frame.

I honestly was just really curious about using the MASSIVE cliffhanger rim on an SS gravel bike. The Blunt SS is superlight XC rim which makes alot of sense on a gravel bike (I have it in 650b on my BMC Road+). The cliffhanger is wide like the Blunt SS but it is a super heavy duty rim. I think of the cliffhanger as a rim that I might use on my Big Dummy to handle heavy cargo. Its almost as heavy as the 50mm rabbit holes that are on my surly krampus.

Have you considered the Velocity Quill? Are the benefits of the wider Cliffhanger large enough to compensate its 200+ extra grams relative to the narrower Quill?

Based on the article I am assuming you'd only be building a new rear wheel for the Orange Crush? Do you think having the hefty cliffhanger out back paired with the presumably much lighter current rim up front have a noticeable affect when riding?

Guitar Ted said...

@Scott- Well, I am very familiar with the Cliffhangar in a single speed application as that is what I use on my Surly 1X1. I think from the standpoint of single speeding, lightness of wheels is not as big a deal as maybe it needs to be for geared bikes. That is because of two things, in my opinion. First of all, a single speed rim gets a heck of a lot more torque loading than a geared rim might for the same terrain. Your standing and grinding out higher torque/lower cadence climbs, and a stiff rim that won't yield to lateral flex is a good thing here. Secondly, single speeding is all about momentum and conservation of momentum. A heavier wheel (up to a point) is going to conserve your momentum, and that can have the effect of smoothing out dead spots in low cadence pedaling scenarios. Plus, it helps when coasting too, since that wheel wants to keep spinning and a "flywheel effect" is sometimes an advantage.

Overall weight of a single speed is going to be lighter anyway, so I have grams to play with, so to speak. That said, I will consider other rims. I don't want anything too flexy though. So lightweight isn't one of my concerns.