Seems like technical/equipment questions get buried in other threads, like the RTT. I have a question to ask and it seemed like this could be a good catch-all for mechanical (or electronic, these days) questions for racers.
I've got a mass start uphill race -- one of few where weight actually matters. I'll show up as lean as I can be and with as much training as I can. This one is "all-in" for me.
I'm planning to run a single chainring setup on my road crankset (SRM spider). I know I'll need some single-ring bolts. I'll run gears in the back, but I plan to ditch the FD.
* Should I go steel or aluminum? For a true single-speed or a track setup, with standing sprints to 1500W, I'd think one should go with steel. Do I need it for a more steady-state effort? Based on last year's data, I'll have a few out of the saddle surges to 550W, but it will be mostly steady. Are aluminum bolts OK? (Yeah, the weight savings is tiny but it all adds up; I don't want to take undue risk.) Thinking guys like @Hida Yanra may have ideas here.
* Can I just run my DA 7900 34T or 39T inner ring or should I get a dedicated single ring? I'll mostly be in the 19-23 sprockets, but for a few dips in terrain instead of shifting to 50x19 I can simply go to 34/39x14. I think chain line with the inner ring would be preferable to outer ring only. I'd prefer not to run a chain guide. Is this risk worth any thought? (Before someone digs up the David Millar prologue thing, that was a sing
* Should I bother to shorten the chain? Not thinking so much in terms of weight savings (few grams), but if it will materially reduce risk of a dropped chain I should probably do it.
All this may be for naught as I'm facing some other setbacks, but a 250g savings (FD + big ring) on this climb = about 5". If all goes well -- including the weather -- I'll be coming really, really close to my (totally arbitrary and only meaningful to me) goal; seconds may count.
Thanks for the thoughts.