So when the recreational riding slows down for me in the colder, darker times of the year, I tend to want to work on bikes (drink beer) instead of just riding them. Usually this entails disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling arrows in the quiver, but every now and then I start a project where an old bicycle is reborn as a new bicycle. This year the victim was my 2004 Bianchi Grizzly MTB.
Ever since I singlespeeded it a couple years ago, I thought eventually I could turn it into a “super light” singlespeed. I would only have to sacrifice my wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Small price to pay for the ease of pushing a hunk of metal up hills. Since I had singlespeeded this bicycle in the past, it was an easy and enjoyable affair to strip off the totally unaesthetic and terribly heavy, Sram X9 drivetrain. I discovered that my faithful Avid Juicy Seven hydraulic disc brakes were no longer usable (tears). I could try and service them (buy all new internals), but that would have been nearly as expensive as buying newer ones off of the popular free classifieds website. I was thinking I would just get new Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes anyways as they are cheaper and more reliable. The inspiring part of the build, though, would be the Origin 8 Black Ops carbon fork. Who needs suspension? If Sven Nys doesn’t need it then neither do I. It’s cool looking (matches the carbon rear stays on the Grizzly), cheapish (I got the bike shop deal), “indestructible” and fairly light (both debatable, but I’m on a budget so no Ti fork for me). Pictures below of the final product. I think it turned out well, however “super light” is a relative term for a 21.5 inch frame. At 22lbs even, I’ll take it.
This thing works flawlessly on some pretty rough stuff (Heil Ranch, CO) and doesn’t make a sound. I have put some photos of other features below in case anyone is interested in replicating this. This bike is built for a 100mm travel sus. fork. The Origin 8 didn’t jack up the steering to badly I just had to flip the stem over to make it feel less tippy.
I tried an unsprung chain tensioner on the bike this time as opposed to the generic singulator I had used before. Although that one worked well, I did drop the chain on occasion. To reduce the chances of that happening this time around, I used the DMR STS which bolts into the derailleur hanger and into the drop out. You set the chain tension and lock it down. I had to get the right gear combo as it would not tension the 32×20. I was mystified by this, but I hardened up and tried a 32×18 then had no tensioning issues. With the DMR and the little plastic chain keeper on the seat tube, I have not dropped the chain, even at the aforementioned rock garden that is Heil Ranch.
I only have 5 rides on this set up so far, but I am really enjoying it. I am interested in getting back on the 29er to see how different the two rides are.