What bike for SDW?

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  • What bike for SDW?
  • Premier Icon blanklook
    Subscriber

    Am doing the SDW over 2 days in July with friends. Currently I have two bikes – one full suss (certainly not lightweight) and one Cotic simple SS (rigid forks). Which one?? Was that thinking perhaps buy an Alfine or even rohlhoff equipped hub to make the Simple more complex?? Other suggestions?

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    The FS. I’ve done it on an old commencal meta 55, it was tough dye to weight and 36T front ring only, but it was better than being rigid!

    Premier Icon Wally
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    There was a thread on this last year. The consensus was what ever you are comfortable on after 8hours on the saddle. 29 er FS with 100m travel for most votes. However fast superhuman guys use a cross bike, I think.

    I have done it on a HT and a FS, the later was preferred.

    dovebiker
    Member

    In the same way a SS is “too-little” a full-suss is probably “too-much” but as you’re doing over 2 days, you’ll have plenty of riding time / recover time.

    trebord
    Member

    I used a 100mm FS 26er and remember thinking how glad I was I opted for that over rigid!
    It slows some of the climbing but a number of the descents are very ‘lumpy’..

    Premier Icon mechanicaldope
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    How lumpy can it be? It’s south!

    Premier Icon Cheezpleez
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    Lumpy? Really? There’s plenty of climbing and some potentially rapid descents but no rock gardens or unavoidable drops. I’d take a rigid 29er with a 3in tyre up front. Or a cross bike if I was in a hurry.

    oldnpastit
    Member

    I’ve done it on a rigid 29er single speed. Never again. Rigid is fine but I’m nowhere near fit enough to get away with only one gear. But there are people who are.

    Premier Icon w00dster
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    Done it on a road bike with 33mm CX tyres, brutal. I’d never do it again. But I do have old injuries that I suffer from and my body ached something rotten during and after this ride. Lots of people do it on CX and gravel bikes with no dramas, I just wouldn’t do it again.
    Also on a Marin Pine Mountain rigid plus bike with 3” tyres and a fair amount of bikepacking equipment. Both times was in a single day.
    The Marin was comfiest by far. Good on climbs, but I was carrying to much weight with me. The last 20 miles was tough. There’s nothing rocky or technical, but it is up and down all day.
    I’ve always thought for me a super light carbon hardtail with 100mm travel would be ideal. Wouldn’t want to do it on my 130mm 14/15kg full sus.

    Premier Icon senor j
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    I would like to do it on a hard tail next time. Did it twice (in a day)last year on a cx bike. First attempt my wrists were sore & I bonked! Did it many years ago on a sub 5! Much slower!
    Mr Colliver did it on an e bike recently.

    Premier Icon winston
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    We were walking on the SDW this afternoon near Firle. Saw about 20 bikes go past of which at least 15 were gravel bikes! Never seen so many before.

    Plus one idiot on a fs who gave my 75 yr old mum a close pass – thanks mate and don’t bother coming back.

    Winston, you’ll have missed me and my gravel bike, went past Firle transmitter about 10:00. I’ve done SDW on a averagely light full suss that climbs nicely, however if I try it again I’d seriously consider the gravel bike as it’s so much faster 🙂

    dovebiker
    Member

    My fastest SDW was on a SS CX – but not really the bike to take for a steady bimble when riding with others. Whilst there are a few chattery descents, nothing I’d class as “technical”. Having ridden it on everything from a full-on carbon CX race bike with 33mm tyres to a fat bike in winter with 5″ tyres, I would say for summer use, gravel bike with 45mm tyres and super-compact / MTB double chainset would be ideal – low enough gears to allow you to spin up the scrabbly bits.

    Premier Icon winston
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    @spooky_b329 Oh I totally agree. A gravel bike is a pretty good tool for the job as long as it has big tyres! I commute over that Firle section – mainly on a road bike with 28c tyres as the other 15 miles is road. Its a bit underbiked in some places but hones your skills picking through the stones. I would get a gravel bike for the commute but I bought a fatbike just before xmas and another bike in the garage so soon might disrupt the marital harmony a bit….

    Premier Icon convert
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    There a few sections where friends with low bottoms brackets have come a cropper – you find yourself riding in deepish ruts/trenches where the gradient means you have to pedal but risk pedal striking on the tops. Much worse with an on trend low BB bike. They were either being bucked off, half pedaling or trying to find lines avoiding the ruts and I was just about getting away with pedalling as normal.

    Premier Icon blanklook
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    Thanks for all the comments. Sounds like the lack of suspension is as much of an issue as the lack of gears…alphine not even worth it? Seems like you can pick up an 11 spd on 26 rim for <£400 but that sounds a lot for sub optimal solution.

    Premier Icon Wally
    Subscriber

    You will want really low gears towards the end, lower than you think and normally use, just to winch up the last couple of hills.
    I found silly low gear less pain than walking towards end.

    corroded
    Member

    I do sections on a gravel bike with 35mm tyres and while the climbs and flats are fine and fast, I’m a bit slower on descents. A friend did it on a CX bike and swore never again. My carbon Highball 29er is probably the perfect bike for the job (and currently in the classifieds).

    At the moment th tap at QECP is out of action. It was nestled by the back door of the visitor center but thats in the middle od a rebuild
    i do not know if there is a stand pipe available in the park, so its the farm at Exton or the Woodyard at Cocking , not too far apart but I would be looking at both if running with a 750ml bottle

    Try the ss and stick a bigger cog in your bag if it gets too tough.

    Premier Icon wynne
    Member

    I ride on my cross bike and fully rigid 29er. If your rigid bike was geared i’d say go for that. One thing to look at is your tyres – make sure there’s a decent amount of tread on them. I’ve destroyed four tyres this year on the flinty middle section of the SDW.

    hopster
    Member

    Did the SDW last Sept on a gravel bike with 650×42 tyres, I thought it was the perfect bike to ride it it on. It was dry but can see how it would be much tougher if the trails were wet.

    birdage
    Member

    Done it a few times on a Tripster ATR, great on some sections but really leaves you beat up and sketchy on some of the long, flinty downhills. Was perfect on a drop bar 29er with 2.3 tyres, wouldn’t want any more than a rigid 29er. Most important to me are good sidewalls and lowish gearing!

    four
    Member

    I admire the guys who are doing the SDW on gravel bikes and rigid hard tails.

    I’ve done it on a trail FS over two days and a steel HT in a day – both in summer, I’ve also done many days on the hills there on shorter routes, winter and summer.

    I’ll stick my neck out here and say for most ‘average’ riders doing the SDW on a gravel bike etc will shake the bollox off you and not be very pleasant! It can be and is done on many different types of bike from SS to enduro FS but are they optimal for the job?

    The ‘best’ bike for the job IMO would be a short travel, light weight 29er FS.

    I’ll be up there next Saturday on my Whyte T130 which while not the fastest tool for the job, it does mean I can spend the day with some comfort.

    Personally, unless you are an experienced cyclo cross type of rider I’d forget about doing the SDW on a rigid gravel bike – otherwise you’ll be aching from arsehole to breakfast time.

    Just my opinion.

    I live close to the SDW and commute over it some days.

    I ride it sometimes on the gravel bike, but it’s always faster, comfier and easier on the 120mm full-sus. Thats deffo what i’d take if doing the entire thing. However, i’m unfit, 40 and overweight.

    The chalky descents are rock hard at the moment, very bumpy and very fast.

    avdave2
    Member

    I shall be giving it a go on my rigid 27+ bike this year, it’s a great bike for the SDW, You still have to look where you are pointing it but it doesn’t leave you utterly battered like my rigid bikes of the past did. I’ll be starting at the Eastbourne end as it’s a short drive to the start for me and just waiting for a day without wind or an easterly.

    Premier Icon mccraque
    Subscriber

    When I did the way in a day, I did it on a 100mm 29 HT….which was fine. My friends all rode similar bikes apart from one who did it on his Tallboy FS.

    We’re going to attempt the double this year. Am thinking of the Solaris in plus mode. But I have to say I tried a 70 mile slot on Good Friday (Ditchling to Eastbourne and back) and felt properly zonked by the end!

    DrP
    Member

    I’ve done it on a rigid 29er single speed. Never again. Rigid is fine but I’m nowhere near fit enough to get away with only one gear. But there are people who are.

    Waves….

    The fastest I did it (about 8hrs 45) was on my rigid SS with a 2.4 bonty XR4 up front…
    I’ve upgraded that to a Travers angus SS (ti) and want to give it a bash again this year.

    So I’m a huge SS/wrist breaking fanboi…

    However, if you’re doing it with a group over 2 days, then for 50 miles of plodding per day, a geared FS would be the better bet.
    Basically, you need to keep up the speed on the SS to even get up the hills, and in a group this would be antisocial and would wear you out too quickly….

    DrP

    Edit:

    I’ll be up there next Saturday on my Whyte T130 which while not the fastest tool for the job, it does mean I can spend the day with some comfort.

    This.

    avdave2
    Member

    Ditchling to Eastbourne and back) and felt properly zonked by the end!

    Hardly surprising given the climbing in that section.

    Premier Icon blanklook
    Subscriber

    Thanks all – looks like it will be the FS then. Now to just work off a bit of the Easter choc.

    Yeah I’d think FS for a group ride. I only ever ss when riding solo. It’s fast in all the wrong places assuming you keep it going all the way up the hills.

    I’ve done it on a short travel FS 26er, short travel HT 29er, very rigid carbon forked 29er, and rigid steel forked 27.5+. This year it’ll be short travel FS 29er.

    It’s painful no matter what, but I no longer bash it out as quick as possible and tend to stop and look at the view or eat cake a fair bit. So I’m going comfort from now on.

    Although I’d like to give it a go with a steel 29+…

    hopster
    Member

    I can’t recall any sections that required a mountain bike. I ran 650×42 tyres with 26/28psi in my tyres. Was lots of fun and I’m planning to do it again with a bivi or tent and spend some more time riding the area. I’d personally wouldn’t choose a different bike other than my gravel bike.

    I’d go as light a possible and wouldn’t bother with a full susser. There just isn’t enough truly rough stuff to justify the extra weigh in my opinion.

    Premier Icon Poopscoop
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    I’ll be riding it again on my 29ers Jeffsy this year.Lol

    Might also give it a bash on the Bizango I’ve been using for winter. I’ve really enjoyed riding a ht again…. Albeit with a suspension seat post for my back.Lol

    blanklook, the full susser I used had an Alfine 8, 34t oval x 20t with 26″ wheels. Low gear was 23.2″ which was a bit hard to be honest. Normally I’m OK pushing that gear as I also ride SS, but with all the climbs I was missing a nice spinny bailout gear.

    Premier Icon TimP
    Subscriber

    I did it on a HT (Soul Mk3) a couple of years ago and was happy enough with 9sp and didn’t feel the need for rear suspension.

    Was going to have a crack at it on a rigid 29er this year but the last few rides have made me wonder about putting some suspension on. Its fine, but you have to concentrate a bit more on the bumpy downhills and it does take its toll on wrists and shoulders. It looks good at the moment though imo (particularly as its SS at the moment).

    I was looking at weight saving and rolling resistance so I’ve taken off my dropper, swapped from 27.5+ to 29, and gone from lardy sus forks to the original steel rigid forks, but I have some Fox Factory forks that shouldn’t weigh much more than the rigid ones. I will be looking at steerer lengths this week and having a think…

    I’d say a 100mm full suss 29er would be ideal.  Just enough cushioning without too much of a weight penalty and without having to line pick too much on the descents (valuable when knackered at the end).

    I don’t think my wrist with its Ti screw would like a rigid, even with a fat tyre up front.

    Last time I did it was on a 26 race alu hard tail and I was rinsed at the end.

    Premier Icon Painey
    Subscriber

    I can’t recall any sections that required a mountain bike

    Probably true in that you could ride it on a Brompton if you were mad enough, but right tools for the job and all that. I did it on a carbon 29er HT and that felt perfect. If I did it over 2 days instead of one then I might be tempted to use my fatbike.

    Premier Icon mccraque
    Subscriber

    and rigid steel forked 27.5+.

    How painful was it on this set up @theboyneeds ??

    avdave2
    Member

    How painful was it on this set up

    I’m within a mile or so of the SDW at the eastern end of Brighton and bought a Ramin 3+ last year and it’s a fantastic bike for the South Downs. Steel forks and a 3″ tyre up front running at 9psi. Plenty comfortable enough for long rides. I’m 53 and 4 hour rides don’t give me any issues. The difference between it and my first rigid bike, a 1986 Rockhopper are huge. That would leave me feeling beaten up and hurting all over. I remember my thumbs being so knackered I’d end up changing gear by grasping the thumb shifters with my whole hand. I’m planning to do the whole thing on it this year and I don’t think it’ll be down to comfort if I fail more the engine.

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