Surly Black Ops 1×1 Mountain Bike…

24 11 2011

It's rigid and black and beautiful...=-)

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.

Shimano XT + Mavic XC717 front wheel...

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.

160mm disc up front...

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.

Jonny Tomac pro-model rubber!

Kenda 2.35″ Nevegal with stick-E rubber compound to get some traction in the slick forest.

Lots of room in there...

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″

38T x 16T...

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!…=-)

IGH bling...

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.

Slick Rohloff setup...

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.

Where did I go?

I see some night winter MTBing in my future so I left one light on the 1×1.

Right hand control setup...

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.

Time to break you in!

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…=-)

Black is back...

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

Is that all the rubber you got?

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.

This was what the 1x1 looked like when started the MTB build...



10 responses

24 11 2011

“Of course having a spare disc ready Rohloff IGH built up”

That is one of the most awesome things I’ve ever heard.

24 11 2011

That is one absolutely drop dead gorgeous super sexy bike!! I have a gloss black ‘dale F400 hardtail with Brooks B17 on it and crud raceguard to protect it – works great for me, but a hub gear/disc brake MTB would take me to a whole new level of happiness. Can’t wait to hear how you get on with the Black Ops.

24 11 2011

This is exactly why I enjoy your blog: all your messing makes for great armchair wrenching! Especially with the amazing stuff you have “lying around.” You have your priorities in order, brother!

24 11 2011

awesome build! bikes are kind of like legos that you can ride.
it will be interesting to hear what you think of fully rigid vs. fs.

24 11 2011
Gerco van Vulpen

Nice build Vik!!

Maybe it’s me, but i have the feeling your rear disc is mounted the wrong way round…

25 11 2011

Thanks guys!

@Gerco – the rotor is on backwards. I’m trying to figure out why it would matter which way the rotor spins? If it’s symmetrical it shouldn’t matter.

25 11 2011

Since Necromancer name is already taken, i’d call this one a Vampire. Great build, looks very evil!

Ps. I guess you’ll manage to break in your B17 narrow, moist climate should help you in this.

25 11 2011
Rob Thomson

Hey Vik, this is kind of unrelated to this post (although kind of related, because of the leather saddle on the bike), but you might be interested to know that Selle Anatomica is having a sale on their saddles (I just go this in my Reader list): US$99 instead of US$189.

25 11 2011

@Rob- thanks for the tip!

27 11 2011

@Greco – I flipped the disc rotor, but I can’t see any reason why it would matter which way it’s installed.

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