Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dingle Cross

The dingle is a rare breed. This bike I saw was an Independent Fabrication cross bike with horizontal dropouts and S&S travel couplers. Sub note here, if you can race cross on a bike with travel couplers, they should be pretty much bomb proof. Anyway, this bike is a double gear ratio single speed. Hence the dingle name. You can rig it up in either of two gear ratios, one being lower than the other, but both requiring more or less the same chain length. It does require you to loosen the axle nut to get some slack on the chain, so I don't think this guy is shifting during races. Why build a dingle bike? I read an article by one guy who had to ride downhill to work and uphill and into the wind to get home. This reminds me of my bike commute in Boulder which was East (downhill and down wind) in the morning and West (uphill and into the wind) in the afternoon. Why not put a shifter on you ask? Well, winters in Boulder are kind of hard on drivetrains, and I'm sure the East Coast or central Europe is worse. Also, you get rid of cables which really do not like gritty road spray. Could be of benefit to single speed racers too. It allows you to pick the better drivetrain for the course once you get a chance to pre-ride it, unlike a true single speed setup that requires a tool-intensive cog change or money-intensive rear wheel change.

On as historical note, this reminds me of the original Campy suicide shifter:
picture from Rock The Bike
How long before we see the re-introduction of the seat stay mounted quick release?


Mark said...

I might have seen this on MTBR but there was a guy who had a Dingle on a 29er so he could ride to the trail head with a road ratio and then switch when he got there to the mountain ratio.

Not sure I see much value in that. My longest road ride till I hit a dirt road that leads to the trail head is half a mile. I guess if you had to ride 5 miles then it would make sense.

Might be worth trying some time just to say that I did it.

-d said...

Wow. I looked on your "Rock the Bike" link to learn more about the suicide shifter. It's scary! The longer lever is a quick release that, when disengaged, lets the axle float with only those little dropout notches for a horizontal constraint. If you hit a bump while shifting, there could be a catastrophe! (Hence the name...)

-p said...

Mark, I guess that's another good application for a dingle. I still have to say, I like the luxury of shifting without wrenches, especially in the slightly more mountainous west. I could see myself going to a 2x9 setup though.