Riding with Scott and Aaron on their hardtail MTBs has shown me that my XL sized Santa Cruz Nomad isn’t the best weapon for tight twisty singletrack where the speed never climbs to warp levels. I love my Nomad and won’t be getting rid of her until she dies of natural causes, but I wanted to try something more nimble that better suits the realities of mountain biking in the Forests of Endor.
Thing is I didn’t have any desire to buy a new MTB so I looked around the garage and decided I’d try franken-building something. I stole the front wheel from my Surly Big Dummy as I had a dynohub wheel I had planned to install anyways.
Avid 160mm disc rotor from the Big Dummy. Shimano SLX hydraulic brake that I bought for my CETMA cargo bike, but never installed. I was going to use it on my Pugsley, but stuck with the tried and true Avid BB7s on the fatty. So that freed them up for this build.
Kenda 2.35″ Nevegal with stick-E rubber compound to get some traction in the slick forest.
If this experiment proves successful I’ll be looking for wider rubber to add some float to this rigid frame…something between 2.5″-3.0″
The Shimano Deore BB/crank from the fixie build lives on with a Thorn 38T chainring. I may go lower in terms of my gearing, but I had the 38T ring so we’ll start there and stay legal!…=-)
Of course having a spare disc ready Rohloff IGH built up into a nice Velocity Aeroheat wheel from the CETMA was the critical element in the whole plan. I had a spare Rohloff disc rotor so I was golden. Note the Surly Tugnut to keep the wheel from sliding in the horizontal dropouts due to my massively powerful chicken legs. No need for a chain tensioner on the 1×1.
I used a Monkey Bone disc adapter & Rohloff OEM2 axle plate to keep the IGH from spinning. 160mm Rohloff rotor and external gear mechanism is normal fare for a mountain bike. I used a Nashbar allen bolt semi-QR skewer so I could tighten the wheel up better than a QR. We’ll see how this works.
I see some night winter MTBing in my future so I left one light on the 1×1.
I had a previously hacked set of Ergon Grips I threw on the bike with some rubber bar ends and the SLX levers. I managed to cable the Rohloff backwards so gear #1 is the hardest and gear #14 is the easiest. Since it works fine I’ll just use it like that.
I kept the very very very hard narrow Brooks B17 saddle from the fixed 1×1 build. I figure I’ll break it in MTBing or die trying…=-)
You’ll notice in the top photo I’ve added a rear clip on fender to the downtube mounted splash guard. This should keep the Brooks from self-destructing and keep my back from sporting the brown MTB strip of shame.
My plan going forward is:
- ride the 1×1 rigid and see what I think
- consider a short travel suspension fork if I can find one that’s reasonably priced [EBay?]
- try some wider rubber
- try some lower gearing
If I’m happy I’ll keep tweaking and riding her. If it’s not a fun setup I’ll probably strip her down and return the parts to the spares bin.
You might be thinking what about the Pugsley as a rigid MTB? I’ll be testing out the fatty this winter as well. I’ll end up using whichever one makes me smile the most.