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Riding the River Bottoms on the 1X1

I know what you’re saying;  the 1X1 is old, don’t you have a bunch of awesome new all terrain and off-road bikes that you could be ripping around on instead of that old dinosaur?


Also, you’re probably saying, what the f#ck are the river bottoms?


Maybe you’re not saying any of those things, but in my head you are, so I’ll begin by addressing your second question. The river bottoms are just what they sound like.  It’s a bunch of trails in Minneapolis that runs along the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers.  They flood out when the rivers get high. Because of the flooding the trails are an awesome combination of singletrack, mud and sandpits.  We did about 15 miles this morning on the way to work, Greg and I, and it was pretty neat.


Greg road his new “Loaded Yellow” Pugsley, with 3.8 Surly Knards, and I rode the trusty 1X1.  A while back I built up this bike all funky and weird cuz I wanted a disc 1X1 with flip-flop wheels.  The disc rotors tended to get in the way, so I built it up with a Moonlander fork, spaced 135mm, so I could run two rear wheels, one with a singlespeed and the other fixed.  I go back and forth between the two with some regularity, though I must admit, I have an old fashion liking for the fixed.


But I digress… the point of all this is that I ran a Moonlander fork on the 1X1.  Also I had a dude who knew what he was doing (Adam our product manager) build me a set of Marge Lites for the bike, so I could go extra fat.  For a long while I had it set up with Schwalbe Big Bettys, which are a great tire. Last night, however, while lounging around in my basement staring at bikes and indulging my various vices I had a thought. I looked at the 1X1 with those great big rims, and the really big fork, and I looked at my 3.8 Knards (then mounted to my Moonlander) with their fast rolly, cornering magic awesomeness and I knew what I should do.  So I put one of those 3.8 Knards on the 1x1. At least on the front.


It rode awesome. It was a blast.  The big tire in the front didn’t make it janky, cuz the 1X1’s fork is 100mm suspension corrected and the Moonlander fork isn’t. So the axel to crown on the Moonlander fork ends up being slightly less (6mm) than the 1X1. All in all, the front end was jacked up about 9mm more than it would have been with the 1X1 fork and a 2.5 tire on it. The smaller tire in the back allowed me to accelerate a bit faster than on the Moony, but the big tire upfront let me roll over all the shit I could ever hope to. It was a great morning ride.


I know we here at Surly tend to spend much of our time cramming our new stuff down your throats.  That’s cuz it’s new and we’re excited about it.  But it’s not all we’re excited by. What I love about our stuff (which I rode long before I ever worked here) is that I continue to be excited with and by our all of it. Old and new.  So much so that when I sit and mull over what to ride next, I choose the 1x1 time and time again.  Since the first moment I threw my very large leg over that top tube, it’s been one of my favorite bikes, maybe even my favorite. That’s why I can’t stop mucking about with it.  Plus, mucking about with things is really fun.


Should you do this to your bike?  Should you do something even better or weirder or more stupid? On the one hand, legally…no you shouldn’t.  Surly in no way indorses the doing of anything with your Surly bike that might end with you dead or worse.  On the other hand, if you want to, you should (again, legally you should not).  At Surly we love to experiment, and we know that many of you out there love to do that too.  So do what you want, experiment away, just remember that lots of the things you might want to do void your warranty, and may result in your hurting yourself. We wouldn’t want that now, would we?


And now I’m done rambling. Here’s a picture of the bike.  Doens't the sun make it look majestic?


Gern Blanston's avatar

About Gern Blanston

A rider-slash-Surly fan who somehow bounced like a quarter at a drunken college mixer into what he thinks is pretty much the swellest job a fella could have, it is Tyler’s job to determine how Surly should seek attention to its products and itself generally. He has an extensive background in children’s theater, which is, perhaps not surprisingly, a good fit for the marketing manager of this company.

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