“Just got around to manscaping my mo.”
“It’s struggling, I know. My hair is too light so it looks pretty thin.”
“The wife is not going to be happy when she sees this. Of course, if I could tell her I made it on Fatty’s blog – I’m sure that will take some of the heat off.”
Fatty’s Remark: Anything I can do to help, man.
Meet the Ibisss
I like my bikes light. I like them light, and I like them simple. A carbon fiber singlespeed, for example, is a simple, light bike.
On the dirt, the Superfly Singlespeed scratches this itch rather nicely.
But what about the road?
Some of you may recall that this summer I got an Orbea Orca with Shimano Di2 components. And some of you may remember that I already owned a really nice road bike — an Ibis Silk Carbon (the Silk SL didn’t come out ’til the following year). And really, two really beautiful carbon road bikes is more than I need.
Unless, that is, the Ibis became my singlespeed road bike.
Which it did.
Now, I’d love to be able to tell you I did the work on this myself. So I will: I did the work on this myself.
Sadly, my enjoyment of saying that is somewhat marred by the fact that it’s entirely untrue. In reality I went to Racer of Racer’s Cycle Service and said, “Make this into a light singlespeed. I don’t need or want drops. I don’t want a chain tensioner. Have fun!”
So, working with my incredibly precise directions, Racer removed the cassette, derailleurs and shifters, and found a magic gear that works with the vertical dropouts:
That’s a 42 x 17. Count ‘em. (You don’t have to really count them.)
Then he put on a CobraWing bar, with TT brake levers.
And how much does this bike weigh, complete with pedals and bottle cages (i.e., this is its actual riding weight)?
Again, to be clear: thirteen point one eight pounds.
Sometimes, to impress other cyclists, I toss it thirty feet into the air and watch it lazily flutter to the ground. wafting lazily on the light breeze.
How it Rides
Any well-maintained bike is pretty quiet, but this bike – The Ibisss (hold the “s” for a long time when you pronounce it), I like to call it — is utterly silent.
And off the line, this bike fairly flies. You really can feel the negligibility of the bike’s weight during that initial surge.
Once in motion, the gearing is fine for flat (I’ll sometimes spin out, but only rarely) and climbing. The exception being that when I did my first ride on this bike, I climbed the North side of Suncrest, which is about as brutal a climb as I have easy access to.
I did manage the climb, but I suffered. Mightily.
Clearly, this is a very niche-specific bike. Really, I imagine it being really great for one thing: climbing the Alpine Loop.
Which got me thinking.
First of all, I currently have two bottle cages. Sure, they’re just little wisps of bottle cages, but there are two of them. For a climb up the Alpine Loop, I can get rid of one. Or both. Go thirsty on the climb, and beg something to drink off someone at the top.
Next, I know for a fact that with a tallish gear like what I’ve got, I’m going to do most of my climbing in a standing position. So why not just fully commit and get rid of the saddle and seat post?
You see where I’m going with this?
Finally, if this really is a climbing-specific machine (and thanks to the lack of saddle, I think I could say it is), do I really need brakes or their accompanying levers? Of course not. Sure, it might be a little risky to ride a freewheeled bike with no brakes, but I live for danger. Totally.
I estimate that with these modifications — no cages, saddle / seatpost, or brakes, this bike will come in at just about eleven pounds.
And once I sand the chrome off the spokes (rotating weight = bad!), it’ll weigh even less.