Man, I woulda loved to have done a Trans-Sylvania Epic preamble to the shit show that's about to happen, perhaps wax all poetic about the seven other guys in the SS class. I only really know three others, Chris M, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Dejay Birtch... who is once again traveling across the country to beat up on a bunch of mid-packing wannabe single speeders (myself included). I have spent some time with Mike Maggs (more of it drinking than riding at SSAZ, he does both things quite admirably), and I've internet debated the finer points of all things single speedy with Gary Hoehne, Jesse James, and Shoogs. I anticipate three to four days of actual heated racing, and after that, things should degrade into the usual heap of misbehavior and evil-doing.
More importantly (not really), my secret weapon(s) showed up.
Industry Nine Torch 24 wheels built up on NOX Composites Farlow crabon rims. Why am I semi-confident of this? Because who else would want this exact set of wheels?
I've been staring at crabon wheels for years now. It's such a huge investment, so I wasn't going to make a move until they were everything I wanted them to be.
I wanted wider rims, for more volume to make better rigid single speeding. Not crazy wide, just wide-wide... and hookless beads for all the right reasons.
I wanted durable wheels. Nothing überlight for me. I want to travel to races like the Breck Epic not wondering if my 350 gram rims are up to the task.
I wanted lighter wheels. This seems like a lot of money to spend to end up with a heavier bike.
Industry Nine does have their own Pillar rim. They are light, they are durable (the Industry Nine guys have put a ton of Pisgah into them and they've held up fine), and they even come in the super light Trail 24 spoke option. The only problem I had with them was the 24mm inner rim width. Less than the Enduro™ I already run up front, close to the same as the Trail rim I already have in back. I wanted more.
So I looked elsewhere for rims. Not going with I9 hubs/spokes, not an option for me.
I could rattle off the list of rims I looked at and why I shot them down as an option for years, but it would be easier for me to say why I confidently settled on NOX Farlows. Yes, the rims are sourced from Toray in Japan (only ENVE makes crabon rims in the US, and they won't work with I9's alloy spokes), but NOX is in Tennessee. I know plenty of riders that have been riding NOX rims for years now, and they have held up well under conditions similar to what I'll put them through. If I have any issues, I can get on the phone with someone a few hours from my house and sort things out.
The Farlow rim is their beefiest selection. 29mm internal width, 430 grams, the strongest RockGuard Hookless bead lip they've ever made... a bunch of other details you can read if you want to, but those were the selling points for me.
The only problem I ran into was that if I went with the standard (for me) 32 spoke Industry Nine Torch single speed build, I would have only saved 80 grams.
But then I realized, why not do a 24 spoke build on the Farlows, essentially an XC build on a AM/Enduro rim?
I also made this change... kinda had to:
Honorable mention to the Endless Bikes 19 tooth Kick Ass cog with a Fibonacci spacer kit, keeping the chainline correct and being very pink as well.
Not everything was hunky dory last night. I never thought about rim tape and valve stems... until I opened the box. I'm so used to stock Industry Nine wheels, I never considered acquiring the 30mm tape from NOX... until last night.
I resorted to one layer of Stan's 25mm tape and one layer of 21mm tape, which does not add up to 30mm but overlaps quite nicely. Also, TruckerCo had sent me those 48mm pink valve stems months ago, and I thought, "Who needs valve stems this long?"
And for those that would ask, the tires went on by hand, the new tire aired up without trickery, the older Ardent got the removable valve core trick, and everything still has air in it this morning.
I'm outta time. TSE blerghing when I get back. Mebbe some FaceBook or Instagram while I'm gone, some stuff I have to write for MTBR while I'm there, but keep in mind...
Sorry for the shitty pictures. It was hop on the bike, do some (shitty) wheelies, ride to the church, take some photos with my phone (real camera packed away), get home and relax... for the first time since I started getting ready for TSE.