Well, I haven't sold it yet, so I might as well ride it for a bit!
Like superstrong (except I've got no hopes of a result) I've entered the Bec CC Hill Climb on White Lane this coming Sunday. I did it last year, it was extremely painful - but amazing for the loud cheering crowds that had come in huge numbers despite the horrendous weather - just like riding the Tour in the Alps. So I signed again for this year. Was planning to do it on the road bike, then "someone" on the road clubrun on last week told me there was a prize for first mtb. During the ride I started thinking about turning that '92 Klein frameset I got a few months ago into a fixed-gear hill-climb machine.
I'd take off any unnecessary parts like rear brake and derailleurs and find the perfect ratio for White Lane, and people would surely cheer twice as loud when they would see that crazy bike with its orange/purple fade paint. I remember finding on mtbr a website about a Swiss guy who was turning Klein mtbs into climbing machines, they were crazy light - can't find it now though.
After enquiring with the organiser I found out that it was actually the Catford climb (held the same day earlier) that had mtb prize. I was really disappointed but decided to go through anyhow with the build - I was halfway down the field of results last year so it's not like I'd be messing up a chance of doing well on the road bike.
I worked out that the gear ratio I run on my singlespeed mtb - 36*17 would be ok especially with the reduced diameter of the wheels with the 1" slicks. Built the bike and took it out to Titsey for a trial. If you know White Lane you are aware it starts out with a gentle slope then gradually builds up to super steep. I was ok at the start, just about able to stay in the saddle. But as it got steeper and I got out of the saddle, slower and slower I went, coming to a crawl on the steepest part. Even though I was taking it fairly easy I was hurting and puffing. The gear was waaaay too high.
So I went back to the drawing board and looked at what other chainrings I had (only have one fixed sprocket for the rear). 34 would not make much difference, and to fit a 32 I'd have to swap the standard-sized cranks to a compact model. But I did have a 26 granny gear so went for the "spinning" option. Have only tried it out on a steep hill just down my road so far, not quite as steep as the top of White Lane but still decent. Was able to get to the top in the saddle, not too out of breath. Bike felt good with wide handlebars and bar ends to use a bit of upper body. The gear is equivalent to the 39*27 which is the bailout gear on my road bike, I'm sure I used it last year by the time I came to the top of White Lane. I will probably lose a bit of time at the start, but hopefully might make up for it on the steep part at the top. A friend has also lent me a 16t cog last night so I might try it out on 26*16.
I think I'll need a good warm up before the race on Sunday to bring the heart rate up for that frantic spinning. Trouble is I won't be able to ride the bike to the event (16k with that ratio on a fixed not good), so might take another one in the car. Or, just run up Titsey Hill. We'll see.