The recent Breck Epic Stage Race in Breckenridge Colorado had a race category for everyone. The jersey presentations each day took a long time, but there was so much good racing going on, it didn’t matter. Along with men’s and women’s paired and solo categories, open’s, age groups and clydesdale classes (not to forget the 3 day and 6 day options) there was the Singlespeed categories. The open men’s and women’s categories for the 6 day Breck Epic were also the (unsanctioned) Singlespeed Stage Race World Championships (SSSRWC). Throughout the 6 days of racing, these men and women redefined what I thought was possible on a singlespeed.
Brady Kappius (Clif Bar) was there to contest for the title. Normally running full SRAM XX on his Stevens Sonora SL team bike, it was stripped back to a singlespeed. Here is a quick run down on what he ran for the event, which had six quality stages laden with climbing and single track, and not a whole lot of oxygen available. Kappius ended up 2nd overall in the SSSRWC, behind Macky Franklin. The singlespeed racing was super fast, with the top placed riders often in the top 10 overall on each stage.
Getting his bike stripped down to a singlespeed isn’t an overly difficult task with the Kappius Hubs that he uses. A NoTubes Arch EX rear rim and Crest front rolled straight all week, and Specialized Fast Trak Control tyres also kept air in them through all the sharp rocks around Breckenridge.
Kappius is pretty tall. His Stevens Sonora SL 29er is an XL, with plenty of Easton Haven Seatpost and Fizik Tundra 2 Ti Saddle.
For controls, Kappius follows both the singlespeed and 29er trend of wide bars with an Easton EC70 bar (685mm), EA90 stem at 100mm, ESI Chunky Grips in go fast red, with an FSA headset. Running a full SRAM setup includes a Rockshox Sid XX World Cup suspension fork, running 100mm of travel. Extra stiffness comes via a tapered steerer and 15mm thru-axle. Brakes were SRAM XX World Cup, with organic pads for better brake feel.
The drivetrain on a singlespeed is pretty essential, and needs to be super strong and dependable. Kappius ran a Truvativ Noir 1.1 Single Speed Crankset with a 32t chainring. After testing out a red chain for colour matching, a gold KMC singlespeed chain made the final cut. Out the back, a 19 or 20t Niner cog slips right onto the Kappius Hub oversize drive system. For nice and tight pedalling Crank Brothers 11 pedals have been fitted with super short Ti spindles. Kappius fitted a Gammut Chain guide, although this did need a bit of assistance to stay in place partway into the week.
All in all, a pretty common sense build for the Breck Epic. The most interesting part of the bike would be the Kappius Hubs. With 240 points of engagement, their take up is almost instantaneous. Also, with the bearings being larger and further outboard than a regular hubs (especially on the rear) it makes for a very stiff power transmission. Quick take up and stiffness (and still with very low weight) is a huge advantage on any bike, especially with a singlespeed.