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Hill Climb Project

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Hill Climb Project

Old 07-08-21, 08:24 AM
  #1  
AJ1515
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Hill Climb Project

Hey Everyone,

Over the next 2-3 years, I think I am going to build up a light as possible, fixed gear, hill climb bike. I am just starting to putter around various builders site, and I am wondering what light alloy frames you all would suggest looking into. In terms of price, I am looking at the State Black Label and the State Undefeated frames. I would like not want to pay more than $600 for the frame.

Thanks for the help!

AJ
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Old 07-08-21, 10:42 AM
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We are on the same quest I believe, I'm a bit ahead of you maybe, but not fixed gear, single speed only for this guy.

I recently bought a 2009 Cannondale Capo, and have it outfitted with fairly light components, a set of Wabi Sub 15 superlight wheels (1450ish grams per set), a Stronglight Crank,a titanium bracket, carbon seatpost, bars, Sram Red brakes, the whole enchilada of lightish parts.

My goal is to spend a week-10 days on the Blue Ridge Parkway later this month (I have camping reservations so this is happening) and do all of the climbs that mean something to me. I am a frequent Parkway rider 3-4 times a year and have developed a number of favorite climbs and do them on my geared bikes but am looking forward to single speeding the same climbs. For me the descent is the goal. I would dread coming down Waterrock Knob or from Craggy Gardens with a fixed gear. There are a number of riders that see 60 mph down the Parkway hills (not me!) but 35 plus will be fun. I can;t imagine that fixed.



I am setting up initially 42/23 gearing but bringing components to go lower or higher as required. I have found the relatively long Parkway climbs (4-7 miles) are more mental than physical and if you get control of your breathing and find a comfortable pace you can usually tough them out. There is a nice scenic pull off every 3/4 mile or so if you need to rest. On my geared bikes I climb with a 34/26 so I am going to be pushing more than I am used to but I have been riding single speeds exclusively for 8 months hoping for a bit of improvement in climbing ability but that isn't easy in Florida.

I will weigh my Capo later today and let you know how many pounds!
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Old 07-08-21, 12:04 PM
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I love this sort of stuff, I want to be as light as possible but then oh wait I have a budget. I am not saying spend billions but saying light as possible maybe isn't the right way to phrase.

State frames seem pretty chunky, almost 6lbs for frame and fork on the black label, The Undefeated II seems a bit more reasonable and looks a lot better but not for me.

If I was looking to go ultralight, probably a LOW would be in the cards and I would ask Andrew not to paint it for even less weight. There might be others who could do it lighter? I know an ex-co-worker who had a LOW and loved it and he had it built out decently light.
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Old 07-08-21, 04:27 PM
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Thanks guys!

Bykemike: What bottom bracket, specifically, are you running? How much does the Stronglight with that BB weigh?

Veganbikes: Thanks for the suggestion, and you are right, this is 100% a "light, but still reasonable..." build. With some custom hill climb wheels and the Undefeated frame, I've got a brainstormed build at around 5800g for a little over 2k. Without spending a bunch--like A BUNCH--more, I don't think I am getting much lighter than that.

I can hear the true weightweenies scoffing at me...
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Old 07-08-21, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by AJ1515 View Post
With some custom hill climb wheels and the Undefeated frame, I've got a brainstormed build at around 5800g for a little over 2k.
That's like 12.8 lbs for a complete bike. You've made a mistake somewhere in your calculations.
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Old 07-08-21, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
We are on the same quest I believe, I'm a bit ahead of you maybe, but not fixed gear, single speed only for this guy.

I recently bought a 2009 Cannondale Capo, and have it outfitted with fairly light components, a set of Wabi Sub 15 superlight wheels (1450ish grams per set), a Stronglight Crank,a titanium bracket, carbon seatpost, bars, Sram Red brakes, the whole enchilada of lightish parts.

My goal is to spend a week-10 days on the Blue Ridge Parkway later this month (I have camping reservations so this is happening) and do all of the climbs that mean something to me. I am a frequent Parkway rider 3-4 times a year and have developed a number of favorite climbs and do them on my geared bikes but am looking forward to single speeding the same climbs. For me the descent is the goal. I would dread coming down Waterrock Knob or from Craggy Gardens with a fixed gear. There are a number of riders that see 60 mph down the Parkway hills (not me!) but 35 plus will be fun. I can;t imagine that fixed.



I am setting up initially 42/23 gearing but bringing components to go lower or higher as required. I have found the relatively long Parkway climbs (4-7 miles) are more mental than physical and if you get control of your breathing and find a comfortable pace you can usually tough them out. There is a nice scenic pull off every 3/4 mile or so if you need to rest. On my geared bikes I climb with a 34/26 so I am going to be pushing more than I am used to but I have been riding single speeds exclusively for 8 months hoping for a bit of improvement in climbing ability but that isn't easy in Florida.

I will weigh my Capo later today and let you know how many pounds!
what brand are you using for your SS cog?
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Old 07-08-21, 07:50 PM
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An Omni Racer, 161 grams I think

OMNI Racer Titanium Ti Ceramic JIS Square Taper Bottom Bracket: 68x116mm ENGLISH | eBay

Omni has a lot of cool stuff, I still have to weigh this bike soon. BTW a Capo frame is fairly light and you can find some complete Capos on eBay. My 09 is supposed to be the last year they were USA made,

Here is one:

RARE USA Handmade Cannondale Track Capo Optimo 58cm Fixed Fixie Track Bike 2007 | eBay

I am using a White Industries rear freewheel, heavy, but the quality is worth it.
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Old 07-09-21, 10:13 AM
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In spite of its name, the Stronglight crank is not very light. I have one, and it's a nice enough part, but not what I'd use if I were trying to save weight wherever possible.

I would definitely look for a reasonably priced hollow spindle crank, like GXP, Hollowtech, etc. I'm actually not sure what all your options are for FG/SS in this style. I know there's a hollow spindle version of the Sugino 75 that looks really nice, is sure to be super strong, but costs buku bucks. (Probably half of your entire budget, AJ1515 , based on what you said you're willing to pay for a frame.)

The SRAM S-300 is very reasonable. Lighter than most any square taper track crank (for total weight of the crank arms and bottom bracket), strong enough for what 99% of riders will ever need, and not super expensive. It's the GXP standard, which stands for Giga-X Pipe, just SRAM's version of external bearing/hollow spindle. They are not hard to install, although you need a special tool for the bearing cups. I have this crank on one of my bikes and like it a lot. One downside for some guys is that it's a 130mm BCD. If you're set on getting a 144mm, this could be a deal breaker, but if weight is a concern, you shouldn't care--in fact, you should probably be looking for 130 cranks.


Edit: I just went back up and read that you're budgeting around $2k for the whole project. In that case, you might be able to squeeze in that super nice Sugino 75DD (Direct Drive). It's a beautiful crank, as well as being stiff and light. If I were undertaking a bike build like yours, I would prioritize the frame, wheels, and crank/BB, in that order. Everything else is just details, with multiple options available at reasonable cost and weight.

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Old 07-09-21, 11:49 AM
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Hey Broctoon,

Thanks for all the information. I agree about the Stronglight Crank, not all that light but it is a pretty thing. It is a 130 BCD so I am developing a collection of chainrings in 130 BCD. I am searching out a Sram S-300 today just so I know what the difference would be.
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Old 07-09-21, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
Thanks for all the information. I agree about the Stronglight Crank, not all that light but it is a pretty thing. It is a 130 BCD so I am developing a collection of chainrings in 130 BCD.
That's a good call. My Stronglight is 144mm, but I guess they're allowed to make more than one model.


Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
I am searching out a Sram S-300 today just so I know what the difference would be.
Retrogression usually carries the S-300, but I think they've had trouble maintaining stock on a lot of items lately (same as every bike shop in the world). Unfortunately, their website is temporarily down right now.
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Old 07-09-21, 07:40 PM
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There are a number of S-300's on eBay, any where from 99 bucks to $170, seems like a deal
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Old 07-10-21, 05:58 PM
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Oh boy, I have been down a rabbit hole recently.

So, I think it is possible to fully spec a 5.3ish kilogram hill climb machine for around $2500. Here is where the major weight savings will (hopefully) come from:

Dolan Pre Cursa Frame, size 52
Stem, Seatpost, and Titanium bottom bracket from Omniracer
Affinity Pro Track Crank
Toseek (China carbon) seat and bullhorn bars

And here is the big one...

Farsport Kaze tubular rims (35 ml...yes, we are rolling with tubs...)
Mack hubs from Poland
Sapim laser spokes

For a wheel build around 1150 grams.

God bless hydroformed-aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber...
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Old 07-10-21, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by AJ1515 View Post
Oh boy, I have been down a rabbit hole recently.

So, I think it is possible to fully spec a 5.3ish kilogram hill climb machine for around $2500. Here is where the major weight savings will (hopefully) come from:

Dolan Pre Cursa Frame, size 52
Stem, Seatpost, and Titanium bottom bracket from Omniracer
Affinity Pro Track Crank
Toseek (China carbon) seat and bullhorn bars

And here is the big one...

Farsport Kaze tubular rims (35 ml...yes, we are rolling with tubs...)
Mack hubs from Poland
Sapim laser spokes

For a wheel build around 1150 grams.

God bless hydroformed-aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber...
Again, I think you're way off on your weight estimate. I have a very light track bike that weighs 2 kg more than your target weight. It is a 49cm Bianchi Pista Concept that is lighter than a Dolan Pre Cursa. I know this because I also own a 45cm Dolan Pre Cursa that is heavier. I'm running lightweight carbon tubular wheels, a very light Zipp 303 in front and a Cane Creek Sprint 50 in the rear. The handlebar is a very light carbon Easton EC90 TKO. The cranks are very light Sugino 75DD. So, basically, it is about as light as a road fixed gear bike with 700c wheels can be. I mean, I certainly wish you the best in this endeavor, but unless the gravitational constant is different where you live, I seriously doubt that you will achieve your weight goal.
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Old 07-10-21, 09:05 PM
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"Again, I think you're way off on your weight estimate. I have a very light track bike that weighs 2 kg more than your target weight. It is a 49cm Bianchi Pista Concept that is lighter than a Dolan Pre Cursa. I know this because I also own a 45cm Dolan Pre Cursa that is heavier. I'm running lightweight carbon tubular wheels, a very light Zipp 303 in front and a Cane Creek Sprint 50 in the rear. The handlebar is a very light carbon Easton EC90 TKO. The cranks are very light Sugino 75DD. So, basically, it is about as light as a road fixed gear bike with 700c wheels can be. I mean, I certainly wish you the best in this endeavor, but unless the gravitational constant is different where you live, I seriously doubt that you will achieve your weight goal."

So now I want to know where I am off!

I, too, have a track bike around 7.6-7.7 kg. This has been weighed a handful of times at the LBS as we've transitioned it from freewheel to fixed. I built this bike up (with some help), and I have a spread sheet that lists out all of the parts of the first build--I got bored during shutdown and want to learn how to assemble and reassemble a singlespeed. The grams on the spread sheet are just about the grams on the scale.

I am using the same spread sheet for this "theoretical" climbing bike, and my math looks right. The Pre Cursa frame and fork, according to Dolan, weight around 1.6kg when you subtract the seat post. This is 650 grams less than my thicked-tubed titanium frame and the carbon fork on my real track bike. My likely-dangerous-"theoretical"-wheelset, according to the companies' specs, weighs in around 800 grams less than the Mavic Ellipses I currently run (1900 vs. 1100). Factoring in just the frame, fork, and wheels, my theoretical climbing bike is already 1.45 kg less than my real bike. And then I have a whole mess of parts that are also spec-ed lighter than what is on my 7.6 kg bike--lighter bottom bracket, lighter seat post vs seat topper, lighter cranks, lighter pedals, lighter stem, lighter bars, lighter brakes...

The big assumptions I am making are that 1_The companies specs are accurate AND 2_I am correctly understanding the specs as written, and 3_Any scales I've used are accurate. I realize none of you have my spreadsheet, but if something I've written above screams "WRONG!" I'd love to know and fix it.

Thanks, all!

AJ

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Old 07-11-21, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by AJ1515 View Post

Yada-Yada-Yada

OK, Ok - I admit that I am a bit of a closeted weight-weenie so have been paying closer attention to this discussion than the others here ever since I read the phrase "light as possible," but since they tend to go bad I had promised myself that I wasn't going to post in it. But I can't keep that promise.

I'm sorry - you can't just make vague statements that this or that item for your projected climbing bike is super-light and expect to be taken at face value. It is useless to keep blabbing on in this type of discussion without facts and it shouldn't be up to the group to look up the weights on your claims. And sorry, but I lean towards accepting TT's contention over yours so to please prove me wrong it would be great if you post your spread sheet which hopefully has links to the parts you plan to buy weight claims. Remember - told you I have some weight-weenie in me so I do know a few things.

One thing I can tell you is that there is a guy in a couple of the FB SS/FG groups who has a ridable sub-10 lb bike (he's always working on it so likely even lighter now) that he posts weigh-in pics to substantiate his claims whenever the subject comes up. He admits it cost cubic dollars to put together but its his thing so he likes doing it. Sorry, I can't remember his "name."

Oh yeah...


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Old 07-11-21, 07:20 AM
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Sounds good, IAmSam--thanks for the feedback. Time for me to fade back into the background until I start to actually source and build the bike...
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Old 07-11-21, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by AJ1515 View Post
Sounds good, IAmSam--thanks for the feedback. Time for me to fade back into the background until I start to actually source and build the bike...
Why fade? What's wrong with posting your work? This sub-forum has shrunk so not so much anymore, but there is still some knowledge floating around here that could help you in your quest.

Good luck - I think you are going to need it...
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Old 07-28-21, 03:39 PM
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Just back from fantastic 10 days on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I took my Trek Domane and my Capo single speed geared to 42/23.
I didn't have hope for doing much with the single speed. My favorite climb is Waterrock Knob's north side from from Balsam gap (about 6.70 mile climb) about 1875 vertical feet over that distance.

I climb that on my Domane using a 34/28 gearing (fairly easy but you gotta stay on it) so the prospect of jumping up to doing that with
42/23 was making me rethink this SS thing.

After a couple of warm up days though I decided to take the SS up to the 5.5 mile mark and try climbing it from there (1538 vertical ft).

This was the result:



A bit of a thigh burner but more doable than I had expected, seemed slower but I was mashing a bit more speed than usual and the time was 52.29 minutes, now I was on a single speed high.

Next up was the highest area overlook at Richland Balsam, from the 6 mile mark, again about a 1400 vertical ft climb but this approach (from the south) has some flat spots and a couple of short downhills on it's way to
the last steep section so at least you can get some respite.



I could not do any real distance in the mountains with a single speed, you don't have anything for the descent, you are spun out at 11.5 mph, my Domane can take you to 45 mph downhill (not me though, I chicken out at 30).

But it is fun to do, I spent most of the remaining days climbing on the Single Speed, even pedaled Linn Cove Viaduct a half dozen times while I was there. A rider at the Viaduct went by me and said "single speed?, No way!

That made it just a bit better.
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Old 07-29-21, 08:58 AM
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I would suggest looking at geared hill climbing builds and see what they are doing there in that price range. It is a pretty well established discipline (especially in the UK) and while the drive train will be different, they are sure to have optimized everything else.

But... as noted already, the big problem is SS gearing. To build a custom SS climbing bike you have to make some hard choices. Anything serious uphill will require gearing that will be useless downhill. And, the gearing will be specific to the particular gradient of hill. Some you can do in one set gear, others not, so you'll need to swap chain rings out dependent. Doable - but how long before it becomes a pita. The bike will become something of a specialist build which is a lot of investment when admittedly on a budget.

There are some work arounds.

One is to aim for long dropouts and do the flip flop thing with a wide range of gears so you can swap at the top and get some gearing downhill.
Another is to go for a dinglespeed, which is like a flip flop without flipping the wheel. Usually those don't have a very wide variation though unless you DIY it.

Another is to go 2x2, which I have done with my SS mtb. This I did because I wanted a bike I could ride up our access trails (usually 2-4 km's of sustained climbing) and then down the actual technical flow trail. In my area a true SS MTB would be otherwise impractical because all our systems are gravity up and downs (like road hill climbing)

I have two chainrings and two cogs, so two manually set SS combos. One is a small chainring/large cog that is geared low enough that I can do the uphill trails. Then I played with a larger chainring/smaller cog until I got the same chain length. The chainrings and cogs are spaced evenly so the chain line when swapped is straight (no cross chaining).

Note I have a vertical dropout and still can make this work. With a horizontal dropout the swap would be even easier because the wheel doesn't need to be removed. Just loosen, slide, swap and ride. I like it so much that I plan to do this on a road FG when I come across a track frame one day.

How it works: At the base of the climb I pop the QR and set the chainline on small chainring/large cog, tighten QR and ride SS up the trail to the top. At the top I pop the QR and set the chain on large chainring/small cog, tighten the QR and ride down. Takes 30 seconds and I get enough gearing both ways to be worthwhile.

It's funky but it works and I can SS up and SS down. The same could be done on a road hill climbing bike to make it practical for the weight gain of a chainring and cog.


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Old 07-29-21, 09:13 AM
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That is a great looking drive you have there, it looks as if the chain ends up being almost the same in the inverse position. Very cool!
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Old 07-29-21, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
That is a great looking drive you have there, it looks as if the chain ends up being almost the same in the inverse position. Very cool!
It is practically the same (there is a 1T difference total between the two sets) which was necessary for the vertical dropout because I could not tension the chain.

First I found a magic gear combo for my low range, and then swapped some cogs until I found a magic gear combo for the high range. I forget the T counts (at work presently) but can look them up later.

I racked my brains for a bit trying to come up with a SS system for mtbing hills that would allow reasonable up and down performance and this is the most practical solution to give a wide enough range choice without requiring tools to swap.

The trick is to determine which direction is most important (up or down hill) and choose the gear combo that meets the need. Then mess with the inverse gearing to maintain the T count and give the best opposing performance. That allows the widest range possible.

A road "pass hunter" bike could do the same if the hills are long and sustained in a way that makes the 30 second swap at the top and bottom worthwhile.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 07-29-21 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 07-29-21, 12:05 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
My favorite climb is Waterrock Knob's north side from from Balsam gap (about 6.70 mile climb) about 1875 vertical feet over that distance.
This hill isn't messing around, is it?


Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
A rider at the Viaduct went by me and said "single speed?, No way!
That's gotta make your day.
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Old 07-29-21, 01:58 PM
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"That's gotta make your day."

It did but I was too winded to say anything!
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