Blog 30-06-23

With the Surly Ogre single speed project on almost complete, I’ve started looking at the next (crazy) project, converting my Surly Pugsley fat bike to single speed, and of course, giving it a snazzy paint job as well. My first task was to create a spreadsheet listing all the individual components and their weights, as I did with both the Harley Quinn and Surly Ogre. With the heavy weight Pugsley tipping the scale 17.60 kg, I’m more than keen to trim some fat from the fatty. The sticker on Surly bikes might say “Fatties Fit Fine” but fat means more weight and Pugsley badly needs to go on a diet.

So, after a brain-numbing session of number crunching, I’ve got the estimated weight of the Pugsley, after his trip to the bike shop equivalent of Weight Watchers, down to a respectable 13.00 kg, that’s a whopping 3.60 kg reduction. The bulk of that was the internal hub gear and associated components, changing the tyres from Surly Larry to Schwalbe Jumbo Jims and lighter TPU inner tubes, with a few other smaller reductions as well.

However, I must admit costs have grown somewhat as my ideas have changed. For example, I’m also replacing the front hub with a Surly hub. I could reduce the weight still further but the ratio of cost to weight saved is just not realistic. Out of interest I looked at the weights of some carbon fibre framed fat bikes and was quite surprised to see some in the range 11.00 kg to 13.00 kg, so I’m pleased with my effort to get 13.00 kg. Yes, yes, they have gears and I’m single speed but who cares.

Yesterday saw me stripping down the Pugsley, so the shed now looks like a bike shop, with bike frames, forks, wheels and boxes of components all over the place. But when I say bike shop, it’s a bike shop that does not get a lot of customers as it’s all neat and tidy. In fact, my only customer is young Aurora from the house across the street when her bike needs adjusted. Proper bike shops, like that run by Scott of Mutts Cycles, is a busy bike shop and also looks like a proper bike shop should look like, walls dripping with bike parts, bikes hanging here there and everywhere and bikes in various states of assembly and repair, a proper bike shop!

Been looking at the topic of gearing again, perhaps the most important topic on a single speed when you only have one gear. Though when you think about it, does a single speed actually have any gears? It’s a mono gear. No, I suppose the gearing is the relationship between the size of the front chainring and the rear freewheel. So, a single speed does have gears and I can talk about gearing.

The Harley Quinn is set up 2:1 ratio, that’s a 32T front chainring with a 16T rear freewheel. For the Surly Ogre, my initial thoughts were for the same as Harley Quinn but I’m now thinking of a slightly lower gear ratio, with a 32T front chainring together with an 18T rear freewheel, giving a ratio 1.78:1. And looking forwards to the Surly Pugsley fat bike, at the moment I’m thinking a 32T front chainring with a 20T rear freewheel will give a favourable 1.60:1 ratio. No doubt ideas will change as both projects move forward.

Now, I must say one thing about single speeding, and riding Harley Quinn, is that my back seems much more comfortable after a ride. Not sure if it’s the lighter weight bike, the different handlebar shape or the slightly different geometry of the frame compared to the Surly Ogre, but I’d put money on the lesser weight and the handlebars. Not absolutely sure, just a hunch.

One question I’ve been asked is how I decided to choose the colours for the Harley Quinn. Well, the answer to that is indecision. I couldn’t decide which colour to use. So, I decided to use them all. There are plenty of colours on the Spray.Bike range and I initially thought just a single colour scheme. Then thought, boring. Then, how about something really crazy? Let’s use all six colours in the fluro range. And there you are.

Oh, one final thing before we go. I hate bikes that rattle. Really annoys me when a bike develops a rattle. With the Harley Quinn I’ve not got a single rattle at all. There was one when I fitted the mudguards and that was a case of me thinking I’d tightened all the bolts when actually I hadn’t. Easily rectified. So, the bike itself is delightfully rattle free. Then the mobile phone mount starts rattling. For heaven’s sake!

P.S. That is the bike shed shown above and not the kitchen. I’m not allowed bikes or scooters in the kitchen, or anywhere in the house for that matter!

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