Big Dumb Pugsley

29 09 2009
Photo: Mauricio Babilonia on Flickr

Photo: Mauricio Babilonia on Flickr

Although not the first custom longtail fatbike [check out the Chupacabra] this bad boy from Banjo Cycles is the most refined.  I don’t have much in the way of details yet, but thought I’d share these photos for the fat tire freaks out there.





Quiet Disc Brakes

28 09 2009
Photo: Velonews.com

Photo: Velonews.com

From Leonard Zinn’s colum on Velonews.com:

“Swiss trains are always on time, and their brakes don’t squeal when they come into the station, thanks to a special spray technicians apply to their brake pads that smoothes the friction surface with sliding platelets of molybdenum and graphite. Swisstop is sending the stuff over to the USA in large containers and having it canned in Georgia in aerosol cans so you, too, can quiet your bike’s disc brakes.”

If it really works this new spray for disc brakes made by Swiss Stop could be a big hit.  I hate brake squeal and on some bikes nothing I’ve tried got rid of it [and yes I tried every trick in the book!] so I’d be happy to have a can of this in my bike tool box.





Weekdays @ Castle Mtn

25 09 2009
Steep and deep @ Castle Mtn

Steep and deep @ Castle Mtn

I had so much fun at Castle Mountain Resort last year snowboarding [first season back after several years off] that I couldn’t resist the urge to jump on the early bird special they were offering for weekday season passes – $399cdn.  I’ll go a minimum of 10 times so that’s less than $40 per day…hopefully I can kick that up to 15 visits and get the cost per day down to $27.  My goal is to wear out my snowboard and have a blast!

I’m stoked that Sharon is keen on taking snowboard lessons [she's a skier with knee issues].  Once she has some professional lessons it will fun to explore the darkside of snowboarding with her.

I used to dread winter, but with a renewed interest in snowboarding and a Pugsley I’m actually excited for the white stuff…=-)





My new truck…

24 09 2009
My new F-150

My new F-150

My new Ford F-150 showed up weeks early with no warning.  I suspect they had one on the production line already that was similar to what I wanted and just made it mine. That’s cool, but due to the early arrival I didn’t have the money or insurance ready to rock when I got the call.  I couldn’t resist taking it out for a test drive though.  Compared to my current truck it’s a Cadillac.

I need to get a few things done to it next week:

  • brush guard up front
  • running boards
  • commercial cap with built in heavy duty roof rack
  • spray in bed liner

…after that she’ll be ready to roll!

The new truck is huge!

The new truck is huge!





Rohloff Security Tip

23 09 2009
Put the shifter into 14

Put the shifter into 14

I’ve been riding my Rohloff equipped Thorn Nomad around town a fair bit lately.  Often I have to stop at a shop and grab something quickly.  So I leave the bike leaned up against the store window where I can see it. This still leaves the possibility someone jumps on my bike and rides away with it.  You can’t catch up to someone stealing your bike if you are on foot – trust me been there and it’s a bitch watching your bike rolling away on you like that…=-(

One option is to lock it to itself so it can’t be ridden.  That works, but even a simple cable lock is a pain to get out, put through the front wheel and frame – plus you gotta unlock it and take it off the bike.  When all you need to do is run in for 60 seconds to grab some milk that’s too much overhead.

Well I’ve come up with a strategy that’s super easy and much faster than locking your Rohloff bike, but almost as secure for short dashes into a shop.

  1. put the Rohloff in 14th gear [hardest] = 1 second
  2. unscrew thumb screw on external shift box pull off of hub = 5 seconds

Your bike is now in the hardest gear and if some punk gets on it and tries to ride away he’ll get all of 4ft before you deck him.  Nobody who doesn’t have a Rohloff will know what to do and even if they did it would take them a lot longer than an experienced Rohloff owner so you’d have time to notice someone messing with your ride.

If you are the paranoid type you can make this even more secure by rotating the Rohloff shifter back to 1st gear once the external shift box is off.  This way even if somebody manages to reinstall the shift box the shifter will be maxed out and they won’t be able to get it out of 14th gear.

External shift box removed from hub.

External shift box removed from hub.

Don’t worry if I leave my bike for any length of time and/or it’s out of my sight I lock it to something with an uber beefy lock.





Surly Larry Fat Rubber?

22 09 2009
Photo: MTBtires.com

Photo: MTBtires.com

This photo over at MTBR.com and this thread are suggesting this is a new 26 x 3.7″ front tire from Surly called the Larry.  I really like the Surly Endomorphs on my Pugsley, but they do have a bad habit of washing out sideways in soft wet snow or soft sand.  If this tire is confirmed it will hopefully track straighter on the front of my Pugsley due to the long pointy knobs.

Cross your fingers!





New Tikit Seatmast

21 09 2009
Photo: Bike Friday Walter

Photo: Bike Friday Walter

I stole this photo from Walter’s latest Tikit blog post. Jump to Walter’s blog by clicking here.  This new seatmast design will not require any brace.





Live More…

20 09 2009
Canmore, Alberta Mural

Canmore, Alberta Mural

I saw this as I was riding the last km at the end of my overnight tour today.





Do Pugsleys float?

18 09 2009
...yes!

...yes!

I love it!

...who needs a raft when you own a Pugsley?

...who needs a raft when you own a Pugsley?

- photos from Coast Rider Blog.





Canmore – Lake Louise 24hr Tour?

17 09 2009
Got panniers?

Got panniers?

Anyone in the Calgary area up for a fast overnight tour?  I’m thinking of starting in Canmore or Banff riding the Bow Valley Parkway.  Maybe hitting Lake Louise and then back.  I’m open to sorting out a route and pace that will work.  We’d leave Calgary Saturday afternoon and be back within 24hrs.  We’d eat in towns and just carry minimal gear.





Carbo Loading…

17 09 2009
My kind of fully loaded bike touring...

My kind of fully loaded bike touring...





Tikit Aardvark Crack

16 09 2009
Tikit Porn

Tikit Porn

So a while back I posted a safety notice from Bike Friday regarding a potential problem with some Tikit seat masts [called aardvarks in BF lingo]. When I inspected my Tikit it did indeed have a small crack in the area in question.  The Season Tikit that has essentially become Kurt’s daily ride has no such crack even though he rides his Tikit 10 times harder than I do mine…oh well who said life was fair?…=-)

Because my Tikit is nearly two years old it’s not made the same as the current model and so I have to send it back to Bike Friday so they can build me a new aardvark.  Since my Tikit is my “go to” bike for daily rides in downtown Calgary I’ll miss the little guy a lot, but the nice thing is he’ll be better than ever when I get him back.  Plus he’ll get to visit all his buddies back at Bike Friday HQ in Oregon. So all in all not a tragedy.

There has been lots of chatter online about the safety notice from Bike Friday and what it means for people thinking about buying a Tikit.  I haven’t posted my thoughts until now because I wanted to mull things over as well as see how everything played out.  It’s been a few months so I thought I’d post something from the perspective of a long time Tikit owner.

First off how has the crack in my Tikit’s seat mast affected me so far?  Not at all.  I’ve just kept on riding the bike and keeping an eye on the crack.  It isn’t propagating noticeably and I had a busy summer so I wasn’t motivated to do anything about the problem.  I will be sending my Tikit off to Bike Friday soon and I expect I’ll lose it for 3-4 weeks including shipping time.  That’s really the only downside to the whole situation.

How do I feel about the fact my Tikit has a design issue?  Well the biggest factor contributing to my decision to buy a Tikit was the cutting edge design.  I own a Dahon and have friends with Bromptons.  Compared to these folders and any others I’ve been able to get my hands on, the Tikit is at a completely different level of performance.  It fits better, it rides better, it folds faster and it rolls better when folded.  To put it even more plainly my Tikit changed my life and how I move about town on a bike.  I love my Tikit and I would love it to be perfect.  I would love for it to be a flawless design.  But, it’s not.  Bike Friday tested the Tikit and decided at some point it was ready for production and sale.  In retrospect there is a small, but serious issue that needs attention.  I have to ask myself would I rather have been riding a Tikit for 2 years and having a blast or would I rather Bike Friday had tested it for two more years and found this issue?  That’s a no brainer – I’m stoked to have had my Tikit all this time.  In fact I knew as an early adopter of the Tikit that one of the risks was a design flaw cropping up.  In balance I feel I came out way ahead by getting a Tikit back in Dec ’07.

I’m a big believer that you really only get to know people when they are faced with a crisis.  It’s easy to be friendly when everything is going well, but when the chips are down you get to see who your friends really are.  Well in this respect the crack in my Tikit’s aardvark has shown me Bike Friday’s true colours.  For a small company in the midst of a difficult recession having to spend a lot of money resolving a defect on a popular model is a huge challenge.  I’m impressed that Bike Friday didn’t try to shirk their responsibility on this issue.  They did the responsible thing and notified owners that could be affected.  They also provided a free solution to prevent the problem from happening in the form of an aardvark brace.  Cracked aardvarks are being repaired.  It would be nice if everyone could be perfect, but since that’s not likely to happen anytime soon I’ll happily take proactive and responsible. I understand that a new aardvark design is in the works and should go into production shortly.

I’ll be cleaning up my Tikit today and getting it ready to ship back to Bike Friday for repair.  I’ll have it back in time for the two us to celebrate our 2 year anniversary…=-)  At some point Bike Friday will do a major revamp of the Tikit making even better than it currently is.  The new design will get tested before it goes into production, but there will still be a chance something might crop up in the first while.  And I’ll be lining up to get one of the first Tikits that rolls off the line because I know it will be an amazing ride and that Bike Friday has my back.





New Rohloff USA

15 09 2009
Rohloff Porn

Rohloff Porn

So apparently Rohloff Germany [the mothership] is working out a new distributor agreement for USA and I presume Canada. I don’t know who the new Rohloff USA will be, but I did find out that Cycle Monkey in the US was and still is the authorized Rohloff repair company.  So if you have any warranty work or non-warranty repairs required on your Rohloff give Cycle Monkey a ring.  It also sounds like they have a good stock of small parts and complete hubs if you are trying to get something Rohloff related.  Until the North American distributor issue gets sorted out they may be the easiest source for all things Rohloff.

For Canadians it may be just as expedient and cost no more to order Rohloff parts from SJSC [Thorn] in the UK.  I’ve had fast service from them on a number of orders.





Help me!

14 09 2009
Surly 26" Conundrum

Surly 26" Conundrum

I need some group support to help me avoid adding one of these to my stable!  I keep checking these fat tire unicycles out online when I have an idle moment and thinking what a lot of fun they’d be after the hospital visit phase of the learning curve is over!  Luckily I think my healthy fear of being hurt will be my best defense against getting a unicycle…=-)  That and massive monthly payments on my new truck…lol!

Maybe someone else could get one and blog about it?  That would give me my fix without the actual buying of a unicycle cost…=-)

Surly’s seductive marketing spew:

“The Conundrum. It’s our unicycle frame for those wanting a Large Marge/Endomorph 3.7-compatible unicycle.Why would anyone want to ride a unicycle? What’s the point of riding one wheel, when riding two wheels is arguably faster and easier? There are lots of reasons; here are a few: 1. The pure challenge and satisfaction of learning to ride make it enjoyable. Once you’ve experienced the feeling of accomplishment from riding 3 meters on your own, you’ll be pushing yourself to ride 5 meters, then 10, then 30, then around the block. Pretty soon, you’ll be measuring your goals in kilometers instead of meters. And once you learn to ride a uni, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever lose the skill. 2. It is great exercise. More muscles are used for unicycling than bicycling, because of the inherent balance elements that are introduced. Spinning one wheel across town, or over your favorite single-track, is going to give you a good workout. 3. It’s very portable. The weight of the heaviest production unicycle is rarely over 8kg (17.6 lbs). It will fit in a car without disassembly. And it can fly with you as checked luggage without incurring extra charges if it’s packed correctly. 4. Generally speaking, unicycling is not equipment-intensive and, therefore, not expensive compared to bicycling with the same quality of components. 5. It’s a complement to other physical activities that you participate in. Your balance and coordination will definitely improve as you spend time on one wheel. This increased control translates to bicycling, snowboarding, skiing, skating, etc.

If you open your mind to possibilities and put aside common stereotypes, you’ll realize that unicycle riding is for all types of people…not just jugglers, acrobats, and clowns. Unicyclist come from every age group, every social, economic, and racial background. Most unicycles get used for cruising around the neighborhood, but many have toured the globe, while others have rolled over some extremely technical off-road trails and stunts…stuff that most bicyclist wouldn’t attempt to ride. Unicycles are ridden on pavement, dirt, slickrock, and snow. Most types of terrain and trails explored by bicyclists have also enticed unicyclists. That being said, we thought it would be appropriate to offer a one-wheeled vehicle that can provide the fat-tired stability and durability that Surly bicycle framesets are known for.

The Conundrum will be offered in two sizes: 24″ and 26″. Both are designed to use a Large Marge rim with a Magura hydraulic rim brake. You don’t have to use our rim; rims from other manufacturers will certainly work. But the dedicated Magura mounts are spaced to accommodate a 65mm-wide rim. You don’t have to use a brake; some riders like ’em—some don’t. We simply give you the option. Of course, we made room for the widest production bicycle tire on the market…the Surly Endomorph 3.7. The Endomorph is only offered in the 26″ size at this time, but the 24″ Conundrum was designed to accept a 24 x 3.7″ tire when this size becomes available. A 24″ x 3.0″ DH tire is recommended in the mean time.

The Conundrum was designed with the same functionality and durability criteria that we use when bringing any of our frames to life. The frame is constructed from 4130 CroMoly, of course. The legs were formed, to our specifications, to fit into our own investment cast bearing clamps. The seat tube will accept a 28.6mm seatpost, and we’ll include seatpost shims to accommodate 27.2mm and 22.2mm seatposts as well. Our bearing clamps have a 42mm I.D. that work with stock Kris Holm hub bearings. We’ll include the appropriate shims for 41.28mm (1-5/8″) O.D. Profile hub bearings and the 40mm O.D. bearings used on many brands of hubs. By including a number of seatpost shims and bearing shims, we give you the freedom to use many brands and sizes of components to build up your Surly rig. That’s the Surly way. Like our frames and forks, the Conundrum will be powdercoated \to protect it from abrasion and corrosion. We’ll even include a 31.8mm Surly Constrictor seatpost clamp to keep your perch in check.

Are you intrigued? Do you have what it takes to roll some some solo fat rubber? Do you want to try something new? Do you want a uni that will go where others can’t? Yes? Well, it looks like the Conundrum is the vehicle for you.”





HPVelo Grasshopper For Sale [Calgary, AB]

14 09 2009
Celine's 2009 HPV Grasshopper

Celine's 2009 HPV Grasshopper

This nice looking bent is for sale in Calgary.  Please note I am not the owner [Celine is] and I am not familiar with this bent.  Please contact Celine at her number below if you are interested or leave a comment on this post and I’ll fwd it to her.

“2009 HP Veloteknic GrassHopper FX for sale
It is brand new. I have only used it few days.
Price: 3,900

Details
GrassHopper fx complete bike above seat steering, SRAM DualDrive, AVID V-brakes
transport cover with carrying strap for GrassHopper fx
airflow seat cushion air permeable fabric, sewn, for BodyLink seat
light system SON-dynohub for disc brake
rear rack 10mm tube, black powdercoating, max. load 25 kgs / 58 lbs
lowrider rack 10mm tube, black powdercoating, max. load 25 kgs / 58 lbs
mudguards SKS Bluemels 20″, black
kickstand HEBIE for mounting at the rear swing arm, black
bar end shifters in combination with SRAM DualDrive / USS, XT rear derailleur, XT cassette
drivetrain SHIMANO XT 27 speed, 60-52-40, 11-34 teeth
short cranks 152 mm, recommended for riders under 5’7″ (175 cm)
suspension fork SPINNER Grind AL aluminium stanchion tubes

Link

http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/ghp/index_e.html

THANKS

Celine
Contact phone number: 403-993-9982″





Rohloff Shifter on Thorn Accessory Bar Update

14 09 2009
Rohloff Shifter mounted on a Thorn Accessory Bar

Rohloff Shifter mounted on a Thorn Accessory Bar

As I mentioned in my previous post I like the Titec H-bar a lot.  I have one on my Surly Big Dummy with a Rohloff shifter mounted next to a cut down Ergon Grip on the right side of the bar.  This works well, but I thought I would try something a bit different when mounting the Rohloff shifter on my Thorn Nomad S&S touring bike.  Thorn sells a small Accessory Bar that can be used to mount Rohloff shifters and/or other components that you don’t want on your main set of bars.  In fact on my Nomad I have two Accessory Bars mounted one above the other.  The lower one holds my Ortlieb handle bar bag and the upper one holds my Rohloff shifter.  By angling the Accessory Bar back and to the left the Rohloff shifter is relatively easy to get your hand to.  The result is a very clean Titec H-bar with loads of room for a variety of hand positions.

Top View

Top View

I’ve been trying the Rohloff shifter setup this way since spring.  My conclusion is that this setup works fine, but I don’t love it.  I don’t shift particularly frequently when I ride, but I still find taking my hand off the bars and shifting to be more effort than I like.  I also think in tough conditions [really bad road, downhill with full touring load] I’d have to just give up on shifting until things calmed down or risk a crash….not a great situation for an expedition touring bike!

Since I’m not embarking on a tour imminently there is no rush to sort this out, but eventually I’m going to setup this bike the same as the Big Dummy – with Ergon Grips and the Rohloff shifter mounted on the right side of the bars.





Titec H-Bar Update

12 09 2009
Titec H-Bar on my Surly Pugsley

Titec H-Bar on my Surly Pugsley

I’ve got 3 Titec H-bars in play at the moment.  My Thorn Nomad S&S, Surly Pugsley and Surly Big Dummy all sport H-bars.  My initial setup on the Big Dummy was with just some rubber grips and the rest of the bar bare.  This worked fine for shorter rides in town, but proved uncomfortable on longer rides – particularly long cold rough rides that beat up my hands.  So I replaced the rubber MTB grips with Ergon Grips [shown above on my Pugsley] and wrapped the rest of the bar with a double layer of cork tape.  I liked this so much when I got my Pugsley I did it up the same way.  The only downside to this setup is that the brake levers are a bit far from the Ergon Grips when riding technical terrain.  My Big Dummy doesn’t see this sort of action so I’ll leave it alone.  My Pugsley does see some technical riding [although not a ton] so I think my long term solution will be to replace the current levers with some that have adjustable reach and maybe lever arms that are a bit longer.  It hasn’t bothered me enough to do anything about it yet, but occasionally I want my hands at the ends of the bars for more leverage and my hand firmly on the brakes at the same time.  I do have some SLX hydraulic brakes that are looking for a home so maybe these will find their way onto my Pugsley.

Titec H-Bar on my Thorn Nomad S&S

Titec H-Bar on my Thorn Nomad S&S

When I built up my Thorn Nomad S&S touring bike I wanted to try a different Titec H-bar setup.  Reading Jeff Jones’ comments, the designer of the H-bar, he recommends you have a seamless transition from the grips to the rest of the bar.  The idea being your hands can move around as you ride finding the optimal position for any given moment.  That made sense and Jeff Jones is clearly a switched on guy when it comes to bikes so I decided to give it a shot by wrapping the whole bar in a double layer of cork tape. I’ve had my bar setup as shown in the photo above since the spring.  I have to agree that there is something to be said for not having a specific “grip” position and I have enjoyed moving my hands around the whole H-bar as I ride.  Having said that I don’t find the H-bar without Ergon Grips as comfortable as with them. I’ve been using my Nomad for shorter around the town rides since there are no big tours on my agenda at the moment.  For this use the double wrapped tape is excellent, but after about 2hrs of riding I start to wish I had my hands on some big flat Egron Grips.  This is another one of those projects I’ll eventually get around to and I’ll swap in some Ergons…no major rush though.





Burning Man 2009 Photos

11 09 2009
My Pink Hippo Pugsley!

My Pink Hippo Pugsley!

I’ve posted some Burning Man photos on Flickr here.  Overall we had a great time although conditions were more challenging than when Sharon and I had been to the event in 2006 and 2007 respectively.  Our bikes worked flawlessly and made getting around Black Rock City a lot of fun.  I’ll post some tips on what worked and what didn’t when I’ve had a chance to recover from the trip!

Sharon's Frog Bike - thanks Jeremy!...=-)

Sharon's Frog Bike - thanks Jeremy!...=-)





New Surly Pugsley

10 09 2009
Photo: Peter E

Photo: Peter E

Besides the new colour the Surly Pugsley will be sporting a lowered top tube for more crotch clearance.  This will be particularly handy in the smaller sizes.  Apparently the rest of the bike remains unchanged.





Surly Eurobike 2009 Tidbits

10 09 2009
Photo:TFJ77738 on Flickr

Photo:TFJ77 on Flickr

Looks like the Pugsley is coming out in a new colour.  I kind of like it, but I’m happier with my gray Pugsley.  Both are much nicer than the original purple colour.

Photo: TFJ77 on Flickr

Photo: TFJ77 on Flickr

Looks like the LHT has a new colour in the works.  I don’t mind the bright blue as long as there is a more subdued option available.  If Surly stays true to past practices they’ll keep the newest LHT colour [Truckaccino] and replace the current green with this blue.  Also note it appears that the larger LHTs are going to be available with 26″ wheels.  That will make some people happy.  I hope they keep the 700c option alive for folks who prefer it.

The red Karate Monkey shown above has gears.  This may replace the single speed KM complete or be a new complete bike option from Surly.

Of course all of this is conjecture from some photos so don’t get too attached to any of this until it gets confirmed by Surly.  If you’d like to check out all the Eurobike 2009 photo click here.





A new project…

7 09 2009
Photo: Tristan Savatier - Flickr

Photo: Tristan Savatier - Flickr

I’m going to start looking for free windsurfing gear that I can use to build one of these.

Photo: Drew Noakes

Photo: Drew Noakes

Without the long kite control lines I could use this all over Black Rock City at Burning Man.

Photo: Tristan Savatier - Flickr

Photo: Tristan Savatier - Flickr

I have a couple mountain boards so all I need is an old windsurf boom, mast and sail.





CGOAB is Riding a Fargo!

4 09 2009
Photo: Neil Gunton

Photo: Neil Gunton

Neil G of Crazy Guy on a Bike fame just got himself a new Salsa Fargo.  This thread on his site discusses his purchasing process as well as how he is setting up the bike.  From the photo above it’s clear he has a very purposeful build going on.  Congrats on the new ride Neil!





Salsa Fargo Bikepacking Video

3 09 2009
Image: Bike Radar

Image: Bike Radar

Click here for a cool video of a Salsa Fargo bikepacking in Europe.





Fatter than Large Marge?

2 09 2009
Graceful Fat Sheba - Offset Drilled Rims

Graceful Fat Sheba - Offset Drilled Rims

I just came across these 80mm wide [compared to 60mm Surly Large Marge rims] Graceful Fat Sheba rims from Vicious Cycles.  They come in offset drilled [for Pugsley] and centre drilled versions.

Specs:

  • Offset drilling [for Pusgely] or centre drilled
  • single wall construction
  • 80mm width
  • disc only
  • presta valve
  • weight – 1310 gm
  • 32 hole
  • ERD – 539
  • $99USD

Very cool!  Since I’m running disc brakes on my Pugsley I doubt I’ll be needing new rims anytime soon, but for someone building up a Pug from scratch who wants even more float than a Large Marge these rims could be just the ticket.





Burn Baby Burn!

1 09 2009

Photo: Tristan Savatier - Flickr

Photo: Tristan Savatier - Flickr

Photo: Tristan Savatier - Flickr

Photo: Tristan Savatier - Flickr

Photo: Tristan Savatier - Flickr

Photo: Tristan Savatier - Flickr

Photo: TxByteBear - Flickr

Photo: TxByteBear - Flickr

Photo: Rahav Segev - Flickr

Photo: Rahav Segev - Flickr