The Slow Spoke is a place where I put my thoughts to words and hopefully some will read them. Since I'm a major bike geek most entries will be bike related but, not always. I'm also guilty of thinking far too much so you never know what the topic will be. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sweet Rides: Entry #12

Well, I've been sitting on this one for some time now but have been too busy (read lazy) to post about it. A shame really. I most certainly hadn't forgotten about it though. I didn't really feel an "urgency" until I got talking to a buddy about how I would KILL to have someone develop a 5 or 6 speed drivetrain. And by, say, 5 speed, I mean 5 speed too. Not 5 speed with multiple rings on the front making that “5 speed” actually a 10 or 15 speed. You know?

I have been saying that for years and I am not the only one in this world that isn’t satisfied with the state of drivetrain tech and/or trends. Many of us are not happy with single speed but don’t feel the need to overkill something with a million gears either.

Cyclist (mostly mountain bikers, dirt jumpers and hipsters it would seem) unhappy with something will very often take matters into their own hands. We’ll make stuff happen for ourselves, share our findings with other looking to do the same when no one else provides us with the goods: we’ll make stuff work. We’ll make ourselves happy when we want something and it is for this very reason I bring you this beautiful Kermit green bike.

At first glance, some of you may be rolling your eyes thinking, "He's just putting this up because it's got nice parts on it and it's a Niner. He too owns a Niner shouldn’t count."

Well, if you are thinking that way, I can assure you, that is not why I'm posting this bike in this "Sweet Rides: Entry#12”.
Yes, I agree, at first glance this bike is pretty, but, it's what is seen once one looks closer that caught my attention and stoked my goat. Once I learned more, I knew I had found another worthy steed. Kudos to the owner for this stellar rig.

The owner not only assembled this bike with lovely bits like red Marta SL’s, matching headset, bottle cage bolts, seat post clamp etc. but decided to smartly pack a small, modified, 6 cog cassette onto his single speed hub. An absolute masterpiece!! And it works flawlessly too!

Do you see what we can do when we put our minds to it??
He achieved this 1X6 sweetness through the use of a SRAM PG-970 11-23T DH cassette mated to a Hope Pro II SS rear hub. Shifting was setup using an Ultegra short cage road derailleur, Dura-Ace bar-con shifter and Paul Thumbie for mounting purposes.
The parts are all quite different in their own right but collectively perform their newer roles perfectly. Perhaps not “as designed” by the manufacturer but, like I said earlier, if we’re not happy, we’ll MAKE ourselves happy and MAKE it work. In this case, the only real modification (if you want to call it that) was a longer derailleur limit screw. Everything else fit without issue. I have read others sometimes need to grind down the rear of the cassette a bit but not in this case. This.........a perfect example and exactly the type of thing that gets me excited. It’s exactly the type of thing I wanted to focus on too when it came to my “Sweet Rides” entries: rides that aren’t off-the-shelf.
This one’s extra special. It’s stuff like this that the big boys pay attention to as well. This sort of “home-engineering” is usually adopted by them years later when they claim “they” came up with it. I look forward to the day when we can specify the number of gears we want. Or, at the very least, have far more option than we do today.

If for some reason that doesn’t happen, it’s nice to see that there are folks out there who have similar views/ideas as I do and have experimented and worked an issue enough to give anyone of us a head start.

Or, like in this case, the full-blown answers!
Thank you!!

Nice fuckin' job on this one.


  1. Actually, it's a great idea. Total newbie at cycling, but sometimes it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the gears I don't use and have to skip around. Sometimes more isn't necessarily better. Love the green bike. Pretty sweet.

  2. What a brilliant solution. A lotta folks are taken-in by lottsa gears. I can totally live with 1x5. Nice ride BTW.

  3. I was planning to just send you a PM for my lame stupid question but I can't PM so here it goes, how the heck did you make the bike stand on it's own? I don't know if I am just too sleepy to spot the Photoshoped portions of the picture or what not but I am just really baffled. :D Great bike and awesome blog btw, your posts made me want to rush and finish my bike project so that I could start blogging.

  4. I use the same hub and rear mech but used a lathe to machine the rear of the carrier out of a 11-32t XT cassette. And now ride a 7 speed 13-32 cassette on the Hope SS hub. Up front still two rings but plan to go to 1 34t narrow wide.