Feeling 26 Again

This past Sunday--my 42nd birthday--I headed out to P2 with buddy Brian for a morning ride. I was riding my somewhat also old school configured Breezer:



26" wheels, flattish bars, no suspension, and single speeded via a tensioner:

Back when single speed frames were still rare, tensioners were a pretty typical way to convert a bike to single speed. These days, my single wheeled generic tensioner won't win any style points, but I've used just about every single speed method out there (sliding dropouts, track ends, EBB, etc), and the tensioner works at least as well as some of them, and better than many (slipping track ends, creaking EBBs, slipping AND creaking sliders on my old Voodoo). Anyway, it's what I had to make the Breezer a quickie single speed, and it worked fine, of course.

A long stem and wide bars also aren't the hot cockpit these days:

But it worked well enough. I may change this over to a 100mm stem (down from 120mm), due to the width of the bars. The Breezer's top tube is quite short, so I need some extra room to stretch out, but maybe not this much.

Scandium 26" wheels are as light as I have ever gotten:

Buddy Brian joined me for his first mountain bike ride in a year or so, determinedly humping his single speed up the hills:

Too bad Klein couldn't hold on until 29ers came around, it might have made a difference for them:



I haven't ridden a pure 26er in quite a while, so I was at once appreciating the differences and a bit surprised at the similarities to my usual 29ers:

- rollover: not a huge difference, small advantage to the 29er

- acceleration: not much difference. Yes, the Breezer was snappier than the Big K, but given the weight and tire difference, I expected a lot more.

- handling: the 26er is noticeably better in sharp, tight turns, where you need to flick the front wheel over to a new line. Otherwise, not so different

- front wheel lofting: not the different, oddly enough. Even though the Breezer's chainstays are 20-25mm shorter than my usual 29ers, it still took about the same amount of effort to get the front end up, and I wasn't pulling off 10 yard long wheelies, either. I think the long stem may have affected this.

- smoothness: the 29er do seem to ride a bit smoother, I think due to a mix of the bigger wheels and the longer wheelbase.

Anyway, I still want to the try the Breezer as a 69er with my upcoming (some day) Singular Gryphon fork, but then I will probably convert it over to city duty, while I keep a lookout for a new 29er rigid/SS candidate--to be paid for by selling the Krampus.


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