I've got another new bike:
This one has a few features that set it apart from the rest of my mountain bikes. Or rather, it lacks a few features. It's a fully–rigid singlespeed. It's also an On–One Inbred, which makes it pleasingly cliquey.
I've been hankering after a singlespeed since I borrowed a Kona Unit for a razz round Cannock last summer. So when On–one started selling off end–of–line inbreds at £350 a pop, well, it would have been rude not to, really.
I've done about 50 miles on it now, including a trip round sherwood pines, a ride too and from work, and a couple of local jaunts. The single gear really is much less intimidating than it looks. For starters it's pretty low (32:16) so there aren't that many hills you cant thug it up. For seconds, the bike is light (23lbs, even with a stupidly–heavy pair of Mallet pedals), and not having all those extra cogs and curves means the drive train is much more mechanically efficient. I think that I could probably do about 90 percent of my off–road riding on a singlespeed and not miss it too much (would be nice to keep gears for the occasional big–mountain epic though).
Riding rigid is a bit of a wake–up call though. You have to be really sharp at moving your weight backwards and forwards on fast downhill, as the front is apt to hook up on rocks and roots. Aching wrists also seem to be a fact of life, although that could be partly due to the ultra–swept–back handlebars. How I used to manage back in the 90's, riding a rigid bike that weighed about the same as my Coiler, I have no idea. Anyway, the big advantage of the rigid forks is that it makes stuff that was previously easy, a challenge again. Should be good for thrashing round cannock, at any rate. And it should sharpen up my technique (and my thighs!) for when I get back on one or other of the 'sussers, not to mention the fact that it'll be nice to have a bike that doesn't need two hours of cleaning and fettling after a 1 hour ride.