Man. I said I'd blerhg about the whole "gears thing" today. What a lame and redundant topic to talk about... again.
I feel very fortunate with how things turned out when I slipped my toe back into the pool to check the water temperature. Fortunately, the Evil Following was way outta my price range for an experiment when I was ready to make a jump, and the Specialized Camber only just now started being available. I saved myself a certain amount of grief and an uncertain amount of wasted money by the grace of timing and opportunity.
I think there's only about $300 wrapped up in this pile of stuff. Maybe less.
The Shimano XT 1X11 did work marvelously. Combined with The 1 Ring from Endless Bike, I never dropped a chain once... on a bouncy hardtail... over some gnarly terrain. It was definitely an interesting experience being able to climb up certain things in Pisgah that I'm used to walking, but some things that I had figured out on the SS were more troubling with all the options.
You'd have to know what trail I'm talking about, but the cut-through from Cove Creek to Daniel's Ridge is a great example. I can ride the whole thing on a single speed. I know how to do it. I don't always make it, but normally it works for me. On the geared bike, the timing to get up the tiny ledges, the sections for recovery... I dunno. Not my cup of tea, I guess.
I'm still going to have to figure out if I'll use the gears to make a terrible road bike for the Tour de Burg (if I do the Tour de Burg). I didn't mind sitting out one road stage to drink beer and be all Helpy Helperson last time, but I wouldn't wanna sit out two whole days. It's gonna come down to effort and apathy. It would be pretty easy to toss some borrowed cross wheels and a big single speed gear on the Stickle and that would be that. Guh... and a rigid fork.
It's already sounding like a lot of work again.
Oh, yeah. I still have this: