Racing this year on the Cross Check was a blast and confirmed for me that a monstercross setup can hang on the faster, less technical courses at most endurance MTB races, but with Leadville and Xterra on the schedule it's time to get a hardtail in the stable (for Xterra drop bars are a no go anyhow). By no means is this bike getting retired though, with the Cross Check being such a versatile frame I decided to explore the other end of the spectrum from long distance MTB, SSCX. The conversion to singlespeed is pretty easy on this frame since it has horizontal dropouts, and the parts list was minimal.
-Cane Creek SCR-5 Brake Levers
-Endless Kick Ass 16t cog
-Endless Fibonacci spacer kit
-Profile Chain Tensioner
-Surly Tugnut 3/8 to 5mm washer
-KMC X8.99 chain
-Origin Single Ring Chainring bolts
I went out and rode before switching over so I could try some different rations, for cyclocross 2:1 seems to be the basic recommendation, I found that it was a tad on the easy side and was able to push the 15t on my cassette up a decent climb so settled on 16t. The Kickass cog is very stout, and the spacer kit was quite really easy to get a perfect chainline with, it's 10 bucks more than other kits I found but worth it to avoid the headache. The levers are a lot thinner than the 105, Ultegra, and Force shifters I'm accustomed to but comfy enough.
I went with the Profile chain tensioner since I knew I would need a double bolt style with the rounded rear of the Cross Check dropout, I did have to modify the tensioner as it has a block on the back to center it in a standard rearward horizontal dropout, I flattened it with an angle grinder. The Surly Tugnut adapter washer fit in perfectly.
I spent a few days commuting on the bike after the conversion to get accustomed to it, I feel like the bike much better fulfills my original vision of a jumbo sized BMX bike, I found my self aiming the bike at any curb cut, roller, and drop I could find in short order, with the bike so solid and quiet the feel is quite different from the geared setup. After a few trips to the trails to see if climbing was reasonable with the ratio I headed towards Mt Tam. It wasn't the most fun way to climb that mountain but it does feel a bit more rewarding to make it to the top. I tend to zone out a bit while climbing anyway but the constant slow RPM at max effort is a very unique feeling, gave me an insight into the minds of those nuts you see racing singlespeeds at races with monstrous elevation profile. Will I turn into one of those nuts? If I sold all my shifters, derailleurs, and cassettes I could build another bike...