Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Verdict

My singlespeed trial is now several months old, and the jury (of me) has returned a verdict.

Last winter, I converted my ’96 Stumpjumper to a singlespeed because its old drivetrain was pretty much worn out and I figured it was a good time to find out what the SS believers were all excited about. And it has been nice having a one-gear in the mix.

So am I a convert? Hell no. My commute is short and pretty flat, so it’s suited to a single gear. And there’s a certain attraction to a bike that requires not even the slightest adjustment for weeks at a time. A little chain lube from now and then, and some air in the tires, and you’re golden.

But my defense of multi-geared bikes remains as strong as it has always been: As soon as hilly terrain comes into the picture, good derailleurs make life better, boys and girls, and they aren’t hard to maintain. There’s nothing so reassuring as dropping into the granny gear when things get steep. Technology can be our friend.

In the end, the SS vs. Gears debate comes down to the old truth that any well-built bike is a good bike. Which one is best depends on how and where you use it. Sticking exclusively with a rigid bike, or a suspended bike, or a geared bike or a singlespeed is just silly.

My singlespeed will stay. It has a future. But only as a commuter and town bike.

When rubber meets dirt, I’ll be twisting the Grip Shifts every time.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Grip shifts, really? I would have thought you pulled triggers.

GenghisKhan said...

I was with you all the way until you finished with twisting the GS... ;o) Actually, I figure, ride what you want, when you want and how you want!

Notorious T said...

Grip Shift forever, baby! I've never allowed triggers on any of my bikes. Went straight from thumb shifters to GS, and still love 'em.

bikegirl said...

I agree, No.T. Having a singlespeed in the stable gives me one simple bike to ride on errands & nothing beats it on a rainy day... full fenders, baby!

As for the Grip Shift, I'm with you. I love the precision of sram. I've noticed that most people who don't like grip shift have never used it... or at least not in the last 8-10 years...

But, you know: Mac vs. Windows & all that.

GenghisKhan said...

@BG--yeah, it's 8-10 years since a twisted a grip to shift (at the LBS where I worked, we frequently dropped the "f" in "shift"), now that you mention it! ;o)

sent from my Windows PC

bikegirl said...

gk - ha! I recently stopped working at an lbs (how geeky, it's the abbr. for pounds). I sometimes called the shimano stuff "crapidfire." Not in front of customers, of course.

Interesting that you use windows...

GenghisKhan said...

@BG--"Crapidfire"--ha! Love it. Never heard that one, but then, again, I'm sending this from a PC... ;o)

P.S. Offroad this, year, it's been all SS, so the SRAM/Shimano debate is kinda moot for me--but fun nonetheless! ;o)