For the past year I have ridden with my Pugsley I have had constant problems with my shimano deore front derailleur. It seemed that I never got it tuned just right. Maybe it's got something to do with weird fatbike chain lines or just with my bicycle repair knowhow. Anyway I got pretty bored with listening the chain rub the derailleur chain guide and got very pissed after breaking the chain twice last winter. First time it happened I was luckily pretty close to a bicycle shop and I got a new chain within an hour. Second time was worse, I was in the middle of our central park maybe 15 kilometers from home. Well not excatly a live threatening situation but atleast uncomfortable. And believe me it was a very nasty case of chain-suck witch left permanent scars to my poor pugsley's frame. It was totally my own fault though. I was riding happily one moment on a hard packed snow then suddenly got on a soft slush and desperately tried to shift on a lower gear. And the result: Frozen fingers, lots of nasty words but luckily this time I was armed with a multitool and I did got to pedal home.
So I started searching for more reliable options. 1x9 seemed like proper solution since I'm still not anti-gear by no means. After a lot of googling I discovered that single front ring in mountain biking seems to be the new black. Finally I have a chance to be on a front row of a fashion movement.
I came up with the widgit thingy, basically a chain ring protected by two metal plates on both sides to keep the chain from falling off.
|Come with all you need, chainring and two spacers.|
Not the cheapest option at 139 australian dollars but it seemed to be excatly what I was after. Simple, yes. No extra pieces like chain guides. Reliable, can't think of a way for it to fail. And light option too but not a big issue in this case as we are still talking about a fatbike and the rider ain't the skinniest dude around the block either. Also it should be simple enough to install but this didn't really go as planned. And the biggest bonus was the possibility to choose a new chainring with a new gear ratio as it is possible to choose from 28t, 30t, 32t and 34t.I went with 28t option. I know it's very close to a granny ring but I'm no super athlete. Anyways the biggest chain ring has rarely been used anyway and I plan to ride where Pugsleys were ment to ride, on snow and mud. As you can see from the from tables stolen from the widgit site I basically lost three biggest gears and two small ones. Fair enough.
After customs and taxes the price went up quite a bit but I was ready to put it in use. As it says on the widgit site just 15 minutes is enough to install it... for everyone else I guess.
Things didn't go like in Strömsö though and my installation project took closer to three weeks. Lacking a correct crank puller I searched through maybe five local bicycle shops but none had one. I guess they don't want you to do your own repairs so I had to turn chainreaction cycles. Once the crank puller came I was once more ready to get my hands dirty but darn, I just couldn't get the crank puller to fit. Maybe threads on my cranks were err... well, screwed. Next logical step was of course a rubber mallet. I banged the crank as hard as I dared but it wouldn't budge. Buggers! Finally help came in a form of Eppu from hi5bikes, thanks a bunch.
|Not much extra space between frame and widgit, maybe more spacers are in order.|
Now my new widgit was ready for a test drive and it seems that the new gear ratio was spot on. More about that later...