I participate in the Mt. Washington Auto Road Hill Climb each year - 7.6 miles at an average gradient of 12% (22% for the last 100 feet, which is mean). At 12%, a 1% drop in total weight (bike plus rider plus stuff) translates to a 1% increase in speed - in other words, gravity provides 100% of the resistance.
So, given that I'm already so skinny my wife would kill me if I lost any weight, and that this race is really my only one each year - I train for it exclusively through the spring and summer, and finally that I'm turning 50 with in a year, and want to treat myself to something really silly - I thought of putting together a crazy light bike just for this race. And I don't want to buy anything new for it - just very light used stuff, so it shouldn't cost too much.
So here's what I'm thinking: I buy a used super light frame (maybe a Scott CR1 Limited?) and then turn it into a minimalist single speed, with no derailleurs, no brakes, tubular tires on super light rims, and shortened handlebars.
What do you think? Could I get down to 8 or 9 pounds total? Is it hard to use a standard carbon frame as a single speed - should I replace the dropouts so they're more horizontal?
Hi dparker, sounds like fun. I am a little older than you, but much heavier, and there is a ride I like doing from Samford to Mt Glorious in Brisbane. It's about 6kms of climbing of which the last 2kms average 15% (the motorbikes like coming down this road). I have set my bike up just for this ride still using a standard crankset but with an 11-36T cassette and XTR RD. This gives me 39/36 if required and it always is towards the top.
So, what am I suggesting ... that you use a double or triple crankset (probably what you have already), with a single ??T sprocket (to give the equivalent of 34/34 gearing or lower 22(F)/24(R)) and a nexus or alfine chain tensioner (or simply use your current RD set to the single sprocket but I think it will be heavier). This will allow you to use the front chainrings as your gear change mechanism.
What do you think ...