Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The New Phone Book's Here!

I am reminded of Steve Martin in the "The Jerk" when he gets wildly excited about the new phone book arriving. He whips through the pages and says "Johnson, Navin R."

That was my excitement level when I arrived home to see the Stan's No Tubes box waiting for me. Like Christmas in late March. The correlation between my excitement and the movie is probably more because while I was carrying the box inside thinking, "the new phone book is here", I thought about the absurdity of being as excited as I was. A later scene in the movie illustrates the fact that what I get excited about could mean absolutely squat to the average person. "Johnson, Navin R., sounds like a typical bastard" is uttered as he is shot at in this this scene.

So what's in the box? Bike stuff of course. Before I bought the Superfly that is calling my name to the right on this page, I convinced myself that buying it could also be justified by converting it to a single speed because it was a lightweight hardtail. Following through on that, to not let myself down, I ordered a new Stan's ZTR 355 29'er laced up with an White Industries ENO Eccentric hub. This ingenious hub sports an eccentric spindle that allows the axle's center to be adjusted. For those wondering, this is to allow chain tension adjustment in the hub on bikes that don't allow it in the frame. This is really only applicable in the singlespeed application, where you only drive one gear, like my old BMX days. White Industries has taken it one step further and designed the Dos Freewheel, which is essentially two gears on a freewheel that marries to the ENO hub. By setting the chain tension to the smallest cog/shortest axle length position, you can switch to the largest cog and simply adjust the hub position to gain the proper chain tension. Two gear positions with one chain and no removal of the wheel. If I ever get serious about the singlespeed application, I can just go to single cogs and multiple chains, but not now. Perhaps some pictures will help.

Some would argue that this is a two speed bike not a single speed. I could argue that point too if I cared about doing so, but since I can only ride in one of the two gears without making a five to ten minute adjustment, it will never be anything more than a singlespeed. Those quick to critique the setup as not a pure singlespeed should only worry about it if they are behind me.
The hub is disc specific so the folks at White Industries also make an eccentric disc rotor adapter so that every adjustment in the gearing, or axle location, can be accomodated by an adjustment in the brake caliper. This is because when you adjust the wheel location slightly, the disc brake rotor is going to be out of alignment. It all makes sense in my head, and on paper, but will it work. That entry is yet to come. Once the snow melts, I hope to give it a thorough test drive.

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