Sunday, February 28, 2010

Singlespeed love

Today's ride was a toss up between my Surly Pacer (geared) or my Motobecane Messenger (singlespeed). Knowing I'd be mostly on rolling hills (some I'd have to get-up-on-it), I decided to go with the Motobecane Messenger.

I've had this bike since 2007, and I have to say that it has been a super reliable, never failing, go-to bike for light-duty road work. Granted, nothing is stock on the bike anymore except for the brake calipers and seatpost clamp, but even in stock form, I'm sure it would still be fine for most folks. It's also quite the looker, and I get lot's of compliments on it from roadies.

The Messenger simply goes. You crank, and the transfer of power is very noticable. For semi-relaxed geometry, I have to say that it does a better job than my Surly. Maybe it's the gearing, maybe it's the straight chain - in any case it it's probably the fastest bike I own. I have it geared 48X16, and although it may seem tall, I can clear most hills (never had to stop or walk anything, yet). Of course, nothing is outrageously steep - the steepest I've climbed is about a 7% grade for a couple of miles. And lastly, the 4130 chromoly steel is such a wonderful ride.

Today's route was Almaden > Blossom Hill > Los Gatos > Hwy 9 > Saratoga > (stop at S'bucks) > turn around > Blossom Hill > up-and-over Camden > home.

At the S'bucks, some roadies were asking me about my bike... how it is on the singlespeed. I explained to them I really don't know why, but I seemed to ride better on my singlespeed than my geared bike. I hate sitting and spinning in a small gear. I've said it before, but I don't know if it's my body type or just what I prefer, but I hate trying to be cardio-kid on hills. I'd rather grunt up and go anaerobic.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed today's ride and think I found a nice, new weekend ride. Nothing too crazy, but just enough to be a calorie burner.

After I got home, I showered-up and about 30 mins. later, my wife was ready to take the beach cruiser out on the path with Kingston in basket. Of course, I went right for the Beater Bike for that task. It was pretty damn busy on the path, but a bell-and-a-yell works great for days like these. It was a good preview of what Spring is going to look like.

iPhone weather gods say rain after tomorrow, so I guess lifting at Douchebag Gym is my plan for this week's sweat-on.


  1. Hi Dion, Ive been reading you blog about the Messenger and the Fantom Cross Uno... I'm going to build a commuter bike, a 14 mile RT, mostly flat with a 2-3 short but tough climbs that I may have to push up anyway... San Francisco roads aren't the greatest though, so I was wondering what your thoughts are as far as one of these choices to build from or to use out of the box.

  2. WOW! Sorry it took so long to comment on this. I don't know why I wasn't notified...

    I think out of the box is fine, depending on how much of a stickler you are when it comes to components. Building will always be more expensive, unless you shop second-hand and that may take awhile.

    I have my own personal preferences (like saddle choice) which always makes me build vs. buying the complete. But I think this all depends on the individual.