Thursday, December 18, 2008
Deke's Chum Bucket
I stopped into Oneota River Cycles last night to take a look around and see what Deke's been working on. He's got a few projects in the mix at the moment, and last night I saw his new Surly Karate Monkey done up in "Chum Bucket Red". Surly isn't known for having pretty bike colors, but at least they kept the name ugly. Karate Monkeys are a good solid 29'er that are really hard to beat for the price. This one is a rigid fork with an internal 9 speed hub in the rear wheel. I've been a big fan of single speeds because I tend to break stuff and since I'm no MacGuiver, I did a lot of hike a bike back home when I rode gears. Luckily Decorah seems to be an ideal place for a single speed. Everybody in town can hop on and ride a couple of miles to the trails. Even better, you can ride right out of the trails and it's only a couple of miles to the bar! I usually don't mind spinning as fast as I can in the wide open, but I can't keep it up for very longand you're always at a disadvantage when someone yells "Last one there buys the first round". However, there have been times where I've been in a race and get passed on the wide open prairie sections or log roads, just to hammer up and get stuck behind geared guys in the single track. I ran into that situation on every lap of the 24 hours of 9 mile this year. Internal hubs have been around for a while, but the quality has been questionable and the price was really up there. This new unit is a SRAM i-Motion 9. I got to take it out a little bit last night and it shifted really smooth. It was also really quiet. It felt like a single speed but I could shift down and go as granny as I wanted and shift up and really get moving. Once I shifted it engaged immediately. This baby has yet to hit the trails, but Deke was telling me he's still not 100% sure what he's doing with this bike. It's kind of a work in progress and an experiment machine. There are still a few questions such as, Can it shift under load? How does the oil hold up at 20 below temperatures. Can Trevor Rockwell take this thing on the log ride and fall off in his usual spot and continue to ride?