Why one speed? Ten things to think about

We asked Eric Hunner, a single speed rider to provide us a guest article that helps geared riders understand why so many people are doing it.

Just in case you wanted to know, Eric is a pretty legit rider, here’s a BIO on him:

Eric Hunner age 30,
245 pounds, 225 fighting weight, married, one child, mechanic, home: South Orange County. Started riding mountain bikes in second grade. Began riding SS seriously 2002. Racing on SS Counting Coup 2008, set a new SS course record. Raced the Traverse 2008, finished in the extreme heat. Leisure riding Whiting, Aliso/Laguna, and Saddleback Mountain. On a race riding a 9 speed bike @ 24Hour Hurkey Creek 2007, he was frustrated by all the single speeds passing him. Eric thought it was time for change. He has been running SS in the last two races trouble free, he stated “it was hard but worth the extra effort.”

Ok enough of the introductions, I present to you Eric Hunner’s article.

No Gears, No suspension, No problem. I ride Rigid Single Speed mountain bikes for a variety of reasons.
single speed santa cruz

1. Most importantly it is simple. By simple, I mean to maintain, or total lack of maintenance. You can get on your bike and know it is going to run hard and not be upset that you didn’t wipe her down, pump up the shocks, and oil the chain right before the big ride. No derailleurs to adjust, chains last a lot longer no fear about a bad shift that tweaks the chain and breaks right when hammering down.

2. I ride to get away from all of life’s distractions, it is easier to change your cadence then changing gears when going uphill and keep your flow, such as driving up and over a rock pile in the middle of a trail that every one else is taking the safe easy way around, great passing opportunity.

3. You find out exactly what you are made of when riding a familiar loop. Single Speeds are great training tools, you just don’t have the option to bail out on a climb to an easier ratio, you find out real quick how strong you really are.

4. No gym required. Riding SS aggressively is a full body work out and a great personal challenge. Set goals on making a hill climb and keep trying till to make it. I have lost weight kept it off and gained muscle just by riding SS.

5. Knowledge gained while riding SS is transferred to all other forms of riding. Bike handling skills improve due the fact you are always in the same gear and can concentrate on how to plant the tires instead thinking what gear should I be in.

6. King of the hill, first one up first one down. Time gained on climbing can be used going down hill when the others are still climbing with their geared bikes.

7. Sand crossings are not and issue, you carry your speed pulling bigger ratios than your geared counterparts that ran out of speed and gas half way though the sand.

8. The respect from other riders single and geared calling out “Go SINGLE” in races will give the energy to finish.

9. SS look cool, No clutter on the bars. They are easier on the wallet as well, my first SS was around $500.00 a Redline Monocog in 2002. 3800 miles later and only $300.00 it still rolls today.

10.I feel like a kid again on an over grown BMX bike

Eric Hunner

I brake for Black and Whites

Black and White on my bike that is…I simply love the color combination. Recently we mentioned Pricepoint.com has some white lock on grips for about $10. Jeremy and I ordered a set for our bikes and I finally was able to install it on my Sette Reken Single Speed.
sette reken single speed

Like my Cow Horn? I figured it would match the theme of the bike.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I also upgraded from V-brakes to Disc.

These are the reliable Avid BB5’s with Roundagon rotors. I’m using a set of WTB Speeddisc wheels.

Sette Reken Frame: Review

Well its been a few months since I first received the Sette Reken from PricePoint.com. I’d like to thank Magally Gomez and Brian Cleveland for sending us this frame to test and review. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

Sette Reken Frame
sette reken
Price: $99.00, not bad if you ask me!

Specs:

Model Reken Hardtail
Material Full 6061 Alloy, Double Butted Main Triangle
Welding Tig Welded
Wheel Size 26″
Headset 1-1/8″ Standard
Front Derailleur Size/Mount /Type 31.8mm, Clamp, Top Pull/Top Swing
Bottom Bracket 68, English
Seatpost Size 27.2
Seat Clamp Size 32.0
Disc Mount 51mm IS
Max Tire Clearance 2.3″
Available Sizes 14″, 16″, 18″, 20″
Color Black
Weight 4.5 lbs/ 2041g (18″)
Warranty 5 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty

Size 14″ 16″ 18″ 20″
Headtube Length 117mm 117mm 130mm 145mm
Top Tube Length (actual) 54.5cm 55.2cm 56.9cm 59.2cm
Top Tube Length (effective) 56cm 57.4cm 59.4cm 61.5cm
Seat Tube Length (C-to-T) 14in 16in 18in 20in
Chain Stay Length 424mm 424mm 424mm 424mm
Headtube Angle 70.5 70.5 70.5 70.5
Seat Tube Angle 73.5 73.5 73 73

If you scour the internet for product reviews of the Sette Reken, you’ll have a tough time finding it. For some odd reason people are either scared or skeptical of a mail order brand frame or bike. People like to stick to the well known brands thinking that they are of superior quality. But in reality, the same factory that made those chic brands was probably the same factory the Sette Reken came from, besides the frame has a 5 year warranty!

The Sette Reken started off as a single speed project back in Winter. I had talked to Magally Gomez about wanting to build an affordable single speed mountain bike. After a few words, she agreed to send me the Reken frame for our project along with their single speed conversion kit and tensioner.
sette reken single speed

The Reken would be my second single speed to build up. I came off another single speed full suspension project I had started around Christmas time. But by January, the Sette Reken was on the trail.

A couple things I noticed about the Sette Reken that made me immediately fall in love with it. First was the geometry. It had a slack 70.5 degree head tube angle that made it more comfortable to ride. I ran a 90mm stem on it because I have short arms, the frame was a 16″, stout, and flickable.

Single speed riding causes quite a bit of stress on any bike. The Reken held up nicely throughout the months of abuse that I gave it. I’ve taken that bike on some of the hardest climbs I can handle to the technical trails such as Rockit, and Lynx at Aliso Woods.

One of my favorite aspects of the Reken is the color, flat black. It’s unassuming, very humble and low key. It’s what you would call a sleeper bike. But once you put some power to those pedals, this thing responds. The Reken doesn’t have a lazy bike feel. It was light enough (25lbs), so that mean I could get up to speed really quick and since it weighed like an anorexic teenage girl, the bike was easy to handle.

Then at one point I had this idea of converting the Reken into a 69er. The frame did well, and there was some concern that the head tube angle was too slack to accept a 29er wheel. But during that time, the bike never felt like a chopper and rode just fine. However, that didn’t last too long since it wasn’t my cup of tea to ride a rigid 69er.

Now at a cross roads where I am considering turning the Sette Reken into a geared bike, perhaps a 1×9. This actually brings me to the summary of this review.

The Sette Reken by far has surpassed my expectations of this frame. I honestly thought that the frame would be OK to use on a build and possibly do well in the review. But after months and months of hard single speed riding, the frame has performed way better than I and anyone else thought. This is a frame that I could literally do just about everything with. Not only does it make a great single speed, but its disc brake ready, gears ready, has an awesome paint job(never chipped during review) and its totally versatile! This frame has seen more projects and tests done on it than any other bike we’ve tested.

So to say that I highly approve of the Sette Reken is an understatement. This frame ROCKS and as the Co-Founder of MtnBikeRiders.com, I am authorizing and approving that this frame gets the Stamp of Approval from MtnBikeRiders.com. Um…that’s a big deal! That means this bike has done its job and a bag of chips! I cannot say enough about how much I absolutely love this frame. Besides the $99 price tag makes it easy on your budget

Ride Report: RL and Moe at the Famous Fullerton Loop


Originally myself, Moe and Lance were going to head out to Santiago Oaks to check out the demo bikes from Pivot Cycles. But it didn’t work out since Lance and I had to be somewhere by a certain time. So Moe and I decided to ride our favorite trail, the Fullerton Loop. We were both on our single speed bikes and fully prepared for hurling. I even ate a bit of food right before the ride so I don’t disappoint people just in case RALPH came calling.

First thing we saw on the trail was Priscilla’s nemesis…this sheep charged at her last summer…He’s lucky I wasn’t there, or things would have gotten really Baaaaad between us! Get it Baaaad…aye…nevermind that was weak…

Fullerton is a great place to ride a single speed bike due to the slow rolling hills and quick steep climbs. What’s interesting is, Moe had asked me to see if I can clear a certain climb on our ride. I can normally get to the top without a problem with my SS, but Moe has had some difficulty with his SS on this particular hill. Sure enough we traded and keep in mind my SS is a 26er and his is a 29er. What was weird was, I couldn’t make it up the hill with his 29er at all! Dunno if it had something to do with the bigger wheels or what, but it was tough!

Since it was spring and stuff, I decided to wear my Velotees, Single Speed Shirt just so I could match the mustard plants on the trail.

Here’s Moe showing the world his new Rudy Project sunglasses.

As we were making our way through the last part of the trail a few things caught our attention. I saw this ladder sitting right next to the trail. I wanted to try it but the thing wasn’t secure.

So then we ran into this big ramp! Now that is something I couldn’t resist…

3,2,1 lift off!

Once I got in the air, the landing came up VERY quickly! I managed to hit the transition just fine…

But quickly ate it due to the loose dirt.

Overall Moe and I had a great time at the Loop. We were hoping to run into our buddy Vince Rodarte of KHS Bicycles at the trail when we got back since he said he was riding with his buddy. But the dude never showed, unless he was late. So after the ride, Moe and I capped off the morning with some breakfast at Roadside Cafe. I got me a breakfast burrito and Moe got a breakfast burrito, french toast, hashbrowns, eggs, bacon and coffee…dang for a guy that’s “watching” his figure, he sure can eat a lot!

Oh by the way, that big jump was totally staged…but it looked real, eh?!

Thanks to the dude on the Single Speed

This past weekend, as you may have read in Moe’s pictorial ride report that we rode Aliso Woods. On our way down to a place called Dripping Cave, we stopped to rest and wait for the remainder of our group to catch up. As we were waiting this guy on a green single speed muscles his way up one of the hills. So in my normal social way, I started talking to the guy about single speeding and how I was at this same trail a few days ago with my SS and even commented on how hard it was.
sette reken singlespeed
He began telling us that he has been single speeding for nearly 5 years and that SS bikes are better because there’s less maintenance involved with them. It wasn’t until recently that he actually broke something on his bike, the chain. Joe Solancho asked him about the shirt he was wearing, Warrior Society…one of OC’s premiere mountain biking club/teams that are always hosting some crazy race. This fella tells us that he recently broke a new course record on his rigid SS at the Counting Coup race…Before I go on, just picture this guy to be super buff and veins are popping out everywhere. I’ve always have heard about SS riders are buffer because they are constantly grinding through everything. At the same time they’re are pushing and pulling on the bars which in return they get an upper body workout…

After we said our goodbyes, this guy, I think his name is Eric Hunner, I looked up the race results…left a pretty big impression on me. I was motivated to start riding my single speed more than I do my geared bikes. Mind you, this Saturday was the first time I had been on my geared bike since I’ve built up my SS…almost 3 months.

Anyway, because of this stranger I have this new found need to make sure that I master my single speed riding. I know it will be tough and I’m sure I’ll puke a few times, but having to put your body through that kind of harsh work is going to just make me a better rider as a whole.

I do feel kinda wrong talking about how a passing stranger made some sort of impact on me…it almost sounds Smurf encounter. But who cares, I’m pretty glad I did run into that fella, I’m sure its going to help me in the long run.

One 29er advantage

I’ve owned two 29er bikes and so far, I have not really bought the whole “29er inches is overall better” idea. However, I can say that there is one noticeable advantage on owning a hardtail 29er versus owning a hardtail 26er: comfort.


KHS Team Alite

I posted before that I’m pretty much new to riding a hardtail, I’ve ridden full suspension bikes most of the time.

Since my current Full Suspension bike weighs about 34lbs, I recently built a 23.5lb hardtail racing machine that would allow me to try to keep up with my friends. Riding this bike really made me miss my 6 inches of rear suspension.


KHS Solo One

I came across a deal that I couldn’t pass up on a KHS Solo One 29er, this bike is a singlespeed and it is fully rigid. I rode the bike 3 times with this setup, but my wrists and shoulders couldn’t take the pounding so I installed a modified (100mm instead of the 80mm) RockShox Reba Fork. After a couple of rides, I’ve noticed something… I didn’t miss my full suspension bike!!! Per the recommendation of Jeremy, I’ve been riding with the minimum tire pressure recommended. I can honestly say that the big wheels are super cushy and riding with this setup has been totally fun. I no longer worry about picking the ‘perfect’ line, and if there are ruts or bumps, the front suspension along with the 29er wheels really mute the shock to my body that I experience with my Alite. If you are a hardtail lover, I think that you will benefit from riding a 29er.

KHS Solo One First impression, CHSP Ride Report


The MtnBikeRiders.com Crew and friends taking in the vista.

Most of the MtnBikeRiders.com crew headed up to Chino Hills State Park for an early morning Saturday ride.


RL, Moe and Arnie (Officially being pimped)

We also had a few friends and Arnie, a loyal MtnBikeRiders.com reader ride along with us. CHSP is not my one of my favorite rides, the uphills are not really worth the downhills, but it is certainly nice to ride another trail other than the Loop.


Me, at Four Corners… Trying not to vomit.

RL was riding his singlespeed full suspension bike, so I had to take my newly acquired KHS Solo One to the ride. At the beginning, I wasn’t so sure if that was a wise choice, I’ve ridden that trail before and some of the uphills are ass kickers.


Jason and Melissa (Happy B-day!)

When RL mentioned that he felt he was faster riding a SS, I thought to myself, yeah right… Funny thing is, as we were riding up Telegraph, RL and I were at the front of the group.


The group resting up a bit.

Did I feel ‘faster’? Well, yeah, I did… Our thinking is that since we don’t have a granny gear to fall back, we have no choice but to grunt up some of the uphills.

At this point, I love riding singlespeed, it is the rigid part that I had a little issue with. The rigid fork does wonders for going uphill, it is going downhill that it really punishes your upper body, mainly your wrists and hands. I think RL and I did very well riding our Singlespeeds, we didn’t puke and we walked the bikes very few times. Heck, we dropped a couple of riders going uphill and they had 27 speeds!


The group riding uphill

Many thanks to all the riders: RL, Priscilla, Jeremy, Khoa, Melissa, Jason, Tim and Arnie. Mountain Biking is awesome, but riding with your buddies is the best!