I recently bought a new (old and used) mountain bike frame at the Midwest bike show. Today was its first real test on the trail. I’ve ridden it by myself a couple of times on gravel and ran into a major problem; its hard to keep a chain on a 1×9 setup. With no front derailluer to keep it in place every large bump wanted to bounce it off the ring. I built my own little chain catcher from spare parts and it helped, but wasn’t exactly right.
I decided to skip the front chainring, derailuer and shifter because I’ve found that I wasn’t using the granny gear very much on my mountain bike anymore, plus I’d be lying if I didn’t mention the fact I wanted to save some weight. Yesterday I mounted my new Shimano HG-61 36-12 cassette, a heavy pie plate block of metal for sure, but the two extra teeth on the biggest cog over the 34-11 cassette should give me the lower gear I needed on a 1×9.
Joe and I went out to Glendale where my friend Mark loaned me a N-Gear “Jumpstop” chain catcher, which worked much better then the home made chain catcher I’d come up with. We agreed on a nice “gentleman’s” paced ride, which basically means that we kept the pace civilized, but we also kept moving since we never had to stop and wait for someone to catch up.
I could immediately tell the bike was working. It felt responsive, nimble and fast. Over 1.5 pounds less rubber in the tires was probably a big reason why it felt so much faster. I found myself riding away from the other guys quite often and had to tone it down. The 2.0 Rocket Ron front tire offered adequate grip it the soft trail, but forget turning it in really wet mud. It felt like a larger tire since it did so well as soaking up bumps that would otherwise jar me loose riding a rigid fork. The 1.9 Kenda Kharma on the back had plenty of traction and grip and felt great. I was the only rider to make several steep and soft climbs where everyone else spun out.
The Dos Niner has a lower bottom bracket then what I’m used to and I smacked my pedal and foot on rocks several times. I’ve got enough air in the shock so its using about half of its travel. It worked great to take the edge off small bumps. It kind of reminds me of running a 2.5 tire with super low pressure, square edge bumps that should jar you get absorbed, but while climbing and in most other situations I could never even tell the rear end was moving.
Now here’s the most interesting part, how much do I have in this bike.
Frame, front SLX brake, BB, Headset: $200.00
Ritchey WCS bar: $8
Rocket Ron tire: $5
WTB rear wheel: $60
shimano CG-51 chain: $13
shimano HG-61 cassette: $43
Ergon Grips from Mark: $20
Junk Parts Box
Everything is so old and used that I couldn’t even remember what I paid for it, but I’ve got my money’s worth already so it doesn’t count.
Kenda Tire with big cut
Specialized Avatar Saddle
Truvativ Seat Post I stole from Dad
XT derailluer Drew gave me
LX shifter, rear brake stolen from Trek
Vassago Odis steel fork I got from Mark
Stem that came with my road bike
I’ve only got about 350 in this bike, SWEET!