Singlespeed Mystery

Posted by on May 12, 2009 in Bike | 10 Comments

Something is wrong with my singlespeed.

The problem is reoccurring, and I believe consitent.  I am, like a software engineer, able to duplicate the issue over and over again, and yet – I am unable to find a solution.  I have spent a considerable amount of time troubleshooting the problem, from spinning the wheels while listening carefully for tire rub or any other out of place noises to habitually cleaning the chain.  I have ridden dirt and pavement and even a little grass to try and feel or locate the origin of the disturbance.

Notwithstanding, I am continually coming up empty.  It is getting very vexing.

Let me describe the problem for you, and perhaps you may have some insight as to where it is originating:

Whenever I ride uphill the bike feels very sluggish, cumbersome, and heavy.  I feel as if there is an unseen force pulling and tugging me downward, causing me to ride slower and slower.  There have been times even, where I have been forced to dismount and push the bike.  As I walk I find myself tinkering with the chain tension, the brake pads and the pedals, but to no avail.

The uphill always seems to be tiresome and ponderous.

What is really bizarre is that the unwieldy, oppressive nature of this mysterious botheration completely vanishes when I ride downhill.  Contrary to the climbing, the bike feels light, responsive, even elegant as I descend.  I am able to carve through swooping singletrack, rattle over stone steps and float through rocky switchbacks with ease and speed.

And so, I have to wonder, what could be the cause of such discrepancy in the bike’s performance?  Why, when climbing would I feel so incommodious, while on the down so deft and nimble?

It is, I suppose, one of those unsolvable mysteries.


  1. Slowerthensnot
    May 12, 2009

    Rear tire on backwards 😉

    Or Maybe you need a full sus single like DH?

  2. Bob
    May 12, 2009


  3. Aaron
    May 12, 2009

    I agree with Bob. Sounds like your transmission has gone out.

    Or maybe you’re just having problems with your engine.

  4. dug
    May 12, 2009

    so you’re saying you never have this problem on your geared bike?

    • Grizzly Adam
      May 12, 2009

      Oh no, I have this problem on all of my bikes. But right now all I have is the SS, and frankly, the issue seems exacerbated – more so than usual.

  5. Andrew
    May 12, 2009

    The answer’s in the question.

  6. Corey
    May 12, 2009

    Try inflating the tires with helium…and of that doesn’t work, try a big burrito about an hour before you ride, the extra methane thrust has several benefits…

    If all else fails, you can try riding the all-downhill loop

  7. MOCougFan
    May 12, 2009

    Sounds like the twins messed with the bike.

  8. Rick S.
    May 12, 2009

    More Diet Coke.

  9. Matt
    May 17, 2009

    Umm…I think I know that hill climb….White Rim?

    BTW, the mystery force is best understood while sitting under an apple tree.

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