Tuesday, January 8

Why go this far?

An obvious question would be "Why go with SRAM XX1?"

It was hardly an easy choice to go back to SRAM.  I've already mentioned that my last experience with SRAM X9 on the Tallboy almost had me tossing the bike in the woods on multiple occasions (it tossed me into the woods more than once).  Too many dropped chains and the whole 26/39 tooth chainring combo... blech.  Shimano was better on the last go around, even though I still dropped my chain a few times AND the 26/38 thing was no less annoying up front.  I did feel some allegiance towards Shimano after how well Zac and I were treated in Sun Valley, but nevertheless, many features of XX1 appeal to me way too much to be ignored.

First let's talk about doubles.  Supposedly they were a good idea.  I jumped on board.  On local trails, I would stay in the bigger (39 or 38) chainring for most of the ride.  There were many times when I was cross chained or damn near it though.  I was reluctant to make the shift to the smaller ring, as I would only be in it for a very brief period of time.  In the mountains, I would drop down to the smaller ring for climbing.  The shift was a bit clunky over the 12-13 tooth difference, and I still had to deal with occasional chain drop.  There are many reasons I like single speeding.  No chain drop is high on that list.
Why not ride an old school double (granny and middle ring)?  Too little top end on some occasions AND eventual chain suck with the granny.  Pretty much why I gave it up the last time I tried it.

Why not ride a single ring and a chain guide?  32X36 just doesn't cut it for me in Pisgah.  There are plenty of things there that can't be climbed by mortals with a 32X36.  Some might say that anything you climb in a lower gear could be walked just as fast.  Does that mean I want to ride it any less?  Plenty of people buy fat bikes even though I can walk down a powder covered snowmobile trail just as fast.  Does that make it silly?


Why not run a double ring chain guide?  It still doesn't solve the odd double ring ratios, so why bother putting a band aid on a compound fracture?

So SRAM comes out with XX1.  I watch and wait.  Rave reviews and accolades are bestowed upon the group.

I contacted my industry insider douchebag friends who had ridden it already.  They confirmed that it is indeed a game changer.  No chain drop with the funky new tooth shape on the chainring and the whole range of gears on the 10-42 casette.  Errmmmm...

Industry Nine already had XD1 driver bodies out for consumption.  When I called about wheels, I was told things that made my head spin.  The bike was coming together in my head quite quickly, taking on a life of its own.

The price of XX1?  It's ridiculous and makes sense all at the same time.  The steel part (11/12) of the monster cassette takes six hours of machining to produce.  A good bit of R&D went into this to (hopefully) produce a winner right out of the gate.  The nosebleed price tag easily makes this the most money I've ever spent on a bike, which means this has the potential to be the most disappointed I've ever been in a bike.  The $400+ retail on the cassette means that there will be no riding in nasty weather.  I've seen drivetrains destroyed at a rainy/muddy 12 hour/hundie.  No way I'm turning a $150 race into a $1,000 race... ever.

I'm not saying I'm ever going to race this bike, but the idea of doing something different this year at my 8th Shenandoah Mountain 100 is tempting...

I'm anxious to ride the XX1 as opposed to just looking at it half-attached to a frame and half still on the work bench.  Will I become a full-on gearie fan boi?


But I look forward to uninhibited speed in the Pisgah very soon.  Believe it or not, full squishy speed leads to transferable skills on a rigid bike.  Comfort levels are raised and thousand yard stares are honed.

Familiarity breeds contempt.  Contempt wins races.  Jeremiah Bisquick says so...

at least I think that's what he said.   Maybe not.  Ever since he pierced his tongue, it's hard to understand him.


Rigidnsingle said...

Have fun, Stay single...

Anonymous said...

It seems like in 80% of circumstances you will be in the wrong gear...sometimes grinding and sometimes spinning. Or maybe no...give an update once you give it a go.