La vie de vélo

Adventures in cycling and life

Project SS CX

I felt a strange urge to build up and race a singlespeed cyclocross bike this season …

It’s been a while since I’ve done any serious racing on a bike (mid July) and looking back at my training log I was appalled to see no cycling workouts at all for the month of Sept. (despite 170 miles of backpacking and 75 miles of running since August).

So needless to say I’m itching to get on the bike. And with fall coming on strong, cyclocross will be my outlet. Unfortunately, before the wedding/honeymoon I noticed a crack in my Bianchi CX bike. Long story short, they wouldn’t warranty it but I ended up finding a sweet deal on a Ridley Crosswind frameset.

And just to make things interesting, I wanted to go single speed on the cross bike to reduce maintenance headaches. Colorado snow and mud screws with your drivetrain something fierce – best to keep it simple and single.

So here she is:

The specs:

  • 56 cm Ridley Crosswind
  • 4Za Python Carbon Fork
  • Stans 355/White Industries Eno Hub Rear w/ 18T freewheel
  • Stans Arch/American Classic Hub Front
  • Maxxis Raze Tires set up tubeless
  • XTR crankset with 42T Salsa Chainring
  • A bunch of other boring stuff…

The real gem is the White Industries Eno hub which is has an adjustable eccentric hub axle to move the rear axle relative to the bottom bracket allowing for chain tensioning and single/fixed applications.

First impressions?

Ridley’s are sized BIG .. I typically ride a 58-60cm road bike and the 56cm Crosswind is a good fit but I could probably even drop down to a 54 and be comfy!

The frame and XTR cranks make for one stiff and responsive ride. Stomp on the pedals and this thing just flys. The steering is super quick and the bike feels tall but nimble … it turns on a dime with very little input like you’re ready to zip through a tight obstacle course – which is essentially what CX is. The geometry is comfy to sit and grind the pedals too but it really encourages you to attack out of the saddle. In short, Ridley’s pedigree as the best CX frames in the business is well deserved. Not entirely sure if it will make a good all-around bike but it sure is a zippy race-specific machine.

The Python fork is nice and light but you gives some godawful brake shudder unless you really dial in your brakes. I ended up toeing he pads A LOT .. the front of the pad hits ~ 4mm before the rear. Makes the brakes a little squishy but eliminates the brake shudder.

42×18 might prove to be a little stiff of a gear. It’s great on the roads/flats but we’ll see how it works in mud, grass, climbs and slow corners. I’d rather push some low RPMs or just jump off and run if it means avoiding spinning out on the fast flats though.

We’ll see how it goes this Tuesday when the New Belgium cyclocross series starts up. I am stoked. And, oh yeah, tomorrow I’m racing the Blue Sky Half Marathon which I am clearly very focussed on 😛


October 2, 2010 Posted by | Cyclocross | Leave a comment

The inaugural backcountry cyclocross ride

I’ve been thinking about it for a while but I finally made the leap and bought a cyclocross bike a couple weeks ago. I had to get cables, bar tape, a front derailleur top-pull pulley, and a new cassette for it so the inaugural ride was delayed a bit.

I got a killer ebay deal on a used Bianchi Cross Concept 2004.


Just like my Mamasita, its got a scandium frame with carbon stays. I like the combo of stiffness and compliance. Its outfitted with full Dura Ace and so far I’ve been super happy with it.

I got a cross bike for two reasons. First, I want to race cross later this year, ’nuff said. Secondly, I wanted a bike for epic long rides that was equally at home on pavement as it was on dirt roads and light trails.

Today’s ride was the test of reason #2. It passed with flying colors.

I rode out to Montecito (1 hour on pavement), climbed Romero (45 min on technical fireroad), traversed camino cielo (30 min pavement), descended Angostura and rode out at red rocks (1 hour on fireroad) and rode out Paradise road, up Stagecoach and down San Marcos (1.25 hours on pavement). 63 miles, 7000+ vertical ft of climbing in 4.5 hours with a good mixture of dirt and pavement.


Routes like this would simply not be possible on a road bike and would be tedious on a mountain bike. The cross bike just opens up SO many options around here: Refugio, West Camino Cielo, Murrietta, Romero, all these dirt roads that link up great sections of road riding are now available.

The best part is looking like a roadie with the skinsuit and drop bars, hammering past some roadies on a climb covered in mud. Or likewise flying past a mountain biker wondering how the hell a road bike just made it up the trail.

I think I’m gonna really enjoy this …..

February 9, 2009 Posted by | Cyclocross, ride_report | 2 Comments