Got Standover?

30 11 2011

I'm still smiling!

One issue I don’t really understand is the obsession with standover clearance. On quite a few of my bikes [both Surly LHTs,  my Pugsley & my Boulder Bicycle All Road] I have no standover clearance at all. When I straddle the bike with both feet flat on the ground I get light contact with “my boys”. In years of riding, crashing and falling off my bikes I’ve never hurt my groin due to smashing into my TT. In particular I ride my Pugsley on soft sand/snow where, in theory, I should have a ton of standover problems as my feet would sink in to the ground reducing standover even more. Yet it just never happens no matter where I stop or how I crash – and I do crash on my Pugs – a lot!

Now you might say standover can’t hurt so why not make sure you have a bunch of it just in case?:

  • People buy frames that are too small for them to achieve the stand over they feel is essential when really the effective TT of the bike they are looking at is what’s important.
  • In order to achieve standover designers have to make frames very small with sloped TTs.
  • Small frames mean loads of seatpost stuck out which leads to other problems and much less space inside the frame if you want to use a frame bag or if you want to carry large water bottles.
  • With 29ers and full suspension the efforts to lower the TT start to drive bike designs to the point of compromising them.

Okay let’s say you must have 2″ of standover clearance on a bike:

  • Look at the geometry charts for bikes you are interested in and find the frame size that gives you the effective TT you need with a 100mm stem.
  • This will give you +/- 1cm of TT adjustment when you actually get the bike while keeping the stem at a reasonable size.
  • Check the tires they used to measure the standover clearance and adjust the stated TT height depending on what tires you would like to run.
  • Measure yourself by sliding a book up between your legs until you get light contact – don’t jam it up into your groin or you’ll be cutting down the standover you’ll actually experience on the bike.
  • Measure with your feet about 18″ apart….like you were straddling a bike…not with your feet together or you’ll get less standover than you expect on the bike.
  • Add 2″ or 50mm to the measured value and check that you have that mid-TT on your bike of interest.
  • If yes you are solid.
  • If not don’t buy the next size down as you’ll mess up the more important TT dimension. Instead skip that bike as the design doesn’t work for you and look for one with a more radically sloped TT.

Following this approach I couldn’t ride an 18″ Pugsley and a 16″ Pugsley would have a TT that was too short. I could fit on a medium Salsa Mukluk though. After all my fun adventures on the Pugsley I am glad I didn’t let standover clearance drive my decision process.

That’s not to say I don’t care about standover at all. I find light contact with my boys the practical limit for TT height. Not because I’m worried about injury, but because that’s how high I can swing my leg over my bike without too much trouble.





Hope to Homer Bike/Raft Trip…

29 11 2011

Looks like a great time…=-)





Cyclist killed down the street…=-(

29 11 2011

Click here to read the whole story...

I don’t generally post cyclist accident reports. This one happened in my neighbourhood so I figured I would share it. It happened on a busy road I rarely cycle on, but at an intersection I cross a lot. I use some quieter secondary roads that are parallel to Burnside Rd if I need to head in that direction. It’s definitely a road that needs a bike lane if cyclists are to use it safely. As it stands I’d advise any local cyclists to avoid it when it’s busy at rush hour. Other than stating the obvious – cars/trucks shouldn’t hit cyclists – there isn’t much to say about this accident. The road in question is 4 lanes across and too narrow for bikes and cars to share the right most lanes. In theory vehicles should give cyclists the lane or cyclists should take the whole lane, but it’s so busy at rush hour that in practice that isn’t possible without sparking a road rage fuelled riot. It’s one of those roads that has been designed to kill cyclists unfortunately.

My thoughts go out to the family of the cyclist….=-(





How to manual…

29 11 2011




Fatties flip fine…

28 11 2011




Da BOMBer!

28 11 2011

Red for speed...

When suspension forks started becoming popular reliability wasn’t great. Blown up oil dampening cartridges were a regular affair and it really made you love/hate your forks. The Marzocchi Bombers were the first forks I owned that were, well – bombproof. Their open oil bath coil spring design meant they needed very little maintenance and didn’t fail nearly as often as the stuff by other companies like R*** S***. I had two different flavours of Bomber forks on my MTBs back in the late 90′s and they left me smiling. Eventually the lightweight of air springs took over and these forks became obsolete. I never had a good experience on modern Marzocchi products and pretty much have ignored them since my Bomber days.

I can't wait to drop a Bomb or 2...

As I built up my Surly 1×1 MTB recently I pondered the idea of adding some front suspension to it. I’m no stranger to riding rigid MTBs. I pounded stiff framed fat tire rigs up and down the trail for the better part of a decade. Having said that I am not a luddite. Suspension is popular for a reason – it lets you ride faster, with more control and better comfort. Checking the specs of my 1×1 I found it is suspension corrected for an 80mm travel fork which is really short travel these days for a 26″ wheeled MTB. I regretted not keeping any of my old forks around and figured I’d troll EBay and the LBS to see if someone had a decent old skool fork I could have cheap.

This was my only bike for many years...

Then it occurred to me that I overhauled a Santa Cruz Heckler for my buddy Sean and pulled an old Bomber from it. I couldn’t remember if I had kept it or passed it on at the time. So I went hunting in the garage. I was really happy to find it leaning against the wall in a dusty corner of the garage. A quick inspection revealed a well used, but seemingly still serviceable 75mm-80mm fork with disc brake tabs as well as v-brake posts. Score!

7" of steerer tube is enough for the 1x1...

I’m going to ride the 1×1 rigid for the next while until I head to Baja for X’mas. That will give me an opportunity to experience the 1×1 the way Surly intended it to ride. While I am doing that I’ll see if I can find someone who can service the Bomber for me. In the new year I’ll install the Marzocchi on the 1×1 and ride it as a hardtail for a spell. I’m guessing I’ll like it better with some squish up front, but there’s no way to know without trying.





Velocity Rims Made in the USA…

27 11 2011

The colours of velocity...

In contrast to the trend of moving manufacturing to Asia Velocity rims is moving rim production to the US. Starting Feb 2012 they’ll be the only US made aluminum bicycle rim. If you like to support domestic business you’ve got a great rim option now. If I am buying bike rims my first choice is always velocity since they have so many nice rims to choose from and they’ve never let me down.





Rigid Inspiration…

26 11 2011

Skinny up top….fatty down below…

…and one more..





Thanks Oak Bay Bikes…

26 11 2011

Fox DHX Air 5.0 rear shock in my Santa Cruz Nomad...

One of my concerns with suspension in mountain bikes is that it needs a lot more maintenance than a rigid bike. In the course of my squishy MTBing career I’ve had my share of poorly performing components. I won’t name any names, but they’ve almost all come from 1 company R*** S***. When I was shopping for my last full suspension MTB I decided I would buy something top of the line and not try and save $$$. I bought a Santa Cruz Nomad MK2 with a Fox Float fork and a Fox DHX Air 5.0 rear shock. The price was north of $5000, which frankly still blows my mind, but in its defense that bike has been totally solid for me for several years of moderately hard use.

Most importantly it hasn’t been a bike that’s needed a lot of attention to keep it performing well. Most of the time I can just grab it and ride without a  second thought. Given how complex the suspension is that’s cool. However, lately the rear shock has not been holding air 100% or performing as well as it once did. It’s still been fully functional and I haven’t been denied a ride due to equipment failure, but I couldn’t ignore a decline in awesomeness. Until this week my sum total expenditure on my Nomad’s suspension has been $0.00. So I figured I should take care of the rear shock.

I have a few LBS’s I use in Victoria. I’m lucky that we have so many great shops and I go to the specialists in whichever area I need help in at the moment. Oak Bay Bikes [OBB] is the local Santa Cruz dealer so they work on a lot of Virtual Pivot Point [VPP] rigs and they seem quite dirt-centric so I trust them with suspension maintenance. I dropped off the Nomad to have the rear shock overhauled and the rest of the suspension checked on Monday and got the call to pick up my bike on Wednesday.

My bike had been quite dirty when I dropped it off - embarrassingly so! I would normally clean a bike before leaving it at a LBS for service, but I forgot so I hastily wiped down the affected parts with a rag before rolling the cruddy Nomad sheepishly into OBB. I had a chat with the mechanic and told him that besides the rear shock work I wanted my rig’s suspension inspected and any problems serviced while I had her in the shop.

I didn’t need the bike back so fast, but rapid service is one of the great features of getting your bike worked on in the winter when all LBS are quiet. I was surprised to get back a squeaky clean bike and I was surprised how different my rear suspension felt on a test ride near the shop. Stuff degrades slowly sometimes so you don’t appreciate how far gone it is until you hit the reset button.

I’m stoked to have my Nomad back in tip top shape for a modest service charge. OBB were fast and they were friendly. Thanks OBB!

Notes to self:

  • appreciate the rocking local bike shops I have access to
  • don’t skimp on suspension components
  • don’t make a bike mechanic clean your bike for you – shameful!…=-)




Selle Anatomica Sale…

25 11 2011

The colours of SA...

Rob turned me on to a SA Black Friday saddle sale. Steel Titanicos are 50% off. Not sure how long the sale will be on for.





Touring SA on a Pugsley…

25 11 2011

Photo: Joe Cruz

My CDN GDR tour really opened my eyes to bike touring on a Pugsley. The big tires weren’t slow on dirt roads/trails and they provided some appreciated passive suspension over the bumps. Joe Cruz is a bike tourist, writer and philosopher who is touring South America on his Pugsley. That unusual combination makes for some very interesting blog posts illustrated with nice photography.

Photo: Tom aka Bicycle Nomad

The great thing about touring on a Pugsley is that it really encourages you to seek out the more adventurous routes where it performs better than any normal touring bike. It’s also a guaranteed conversation starter…=-)

Thanks to Aaron for sharing this link with me and thanks to Joe for demonstrating fat is where it’s at!





Surly Black Ops 1×1 Mountain Bike…

24 11 2011

It's rigid and black and beautiful...=-)

Riding with Scott and Aaron on their hardtail MTBs has shown me that my XL sized Santa Cruz Nomad isn’t the best weapon for tight twisty singletrack where the speed never climbs to warp levels. I love my Nomad and won’t be getting rid of her until she dies of natural causes, but I wanted to try something more nimble that better suits the realities of mountain biking in the Forests of Endor.

Shimano XT + Mavic XC717 front wheel...

Thing is I didn’t have any desire to buy a new MTB so I looked around the garage and decided I’d try franken-building something. I stole the front wheel from my Surly Big Dummy as I had a dynohub wheel I had planned to install anyways.

160mm disc up front...

Avid 160mm disc rotor from the Big Dummy. Shimano SLX hydraulic brake that I bought for my CETMA cargo bike, but never installed. I was going to use it on my Pugsley, but stuck with the tried and true Avid BB7s on the fatty. So that freed them up for this build.

Jonny Tomac pro-model rubber!

Kenda 2.35″ Nevegal with stick-E rubber compound to get some traction in the slick forest.

Lots of room in there...

If this experiment proves successful I’ll be looking for wider rubber to add some float to this rigid frame…something between 2.5″-3.0″

38T x 16T...

The Shimano Deore BB/crank from the fixie build lives on with a Thorn 38T chainring. I may go lower in terms of my gearing, but I had the 38T ring so we’ll start there and stay legal!…=-)

IGH bling...

Of course having a spare disc ready Rohloff IGH built up into a nice Velocity Aeroheat wheel from the CETMA was the critical element in the whole plan. I had a spare Rohloff disc rotor so I was golden. Note the Surly Tugnut to keep the wheel from sliding in the horizontal dropouts due to my massively powerful chicken legs. No need for a chain tensioner on the 1×1.

Slick Rohloff setup...

I used a Monkey Bone disc adapter & Rohloff OEM2 axle plate to keep the IGH from spinning. 160mm Rohloff rotor and external gear mechanism is normal fare for a mountain bike. I used a Nashbar allen bolt semi-QR skewer so I could tighten the wheel up better than a QR. We’ll see how this works.

Where did I go?

I see some night winter MTBing in my future so I left one light on the 1×1.

Right hand control setup...

I had a previously hacked set of Ergon Grips I threw on the bike with some rubber bar ends and the SLX levers. I managed to cable the Rohloff backwards so gear #1 is the hardest and gear #14 is the easiest. Since it works fine I’ll just use it like that.

Time to break you in!

I kept the very very very hard narrow Brooks B17 saddle from the fixed 1×1 build. I figure I’ll break it in MTBing or die trying…=-)

Black is back...

You’ll notice in the top photo I’ve added a rear clip on fender to the downtube mounted splash guard. This should keep the Brooks from self-destructing and keep my back from sporting the brown MTB strip of shame.

My plan going forward is:

  • ride the 1×1 rigid and see what I think
  • consider a short travel suspension fork if I can find one that’s reasonably priced [EBay?]
  • try some wider rubber
  • try some lower gearing

Is that all the rubber you got?

If I’m happy I’ll keep tweaking and riding her. If it’s not a fun setup I’ll probably strip her down and return the parts to the spares bin.

You might be thinking what about the Pugsley as a rigid MTB? I’ll be testing out the fatty this winter as well. I’ll end up using whichever one makes me smile the most.

This was what the 1x1 looked like when started the MTB build...





Offset Fatbike wheel analysis…

23 11 2011

A little to the right please!

Update: upon further investigation I believe the calcs on the blog post I link to are in error or at the very least they don’t apply to the offset Large Marge rims I have. The offset of my LM rims is ~13mm [measured hastily so it could be +/-1mm] this should be entered in the wheel calculator as +/-13.0…the Phat Divide Blog uses +/-6.0 which would be correct for a 6mm offset rim. I have redone some calcs using what I think is the correct offset LM value and published them in them in this post. If you are motivated look at this and confirm I’m correct.

If you ride a Surly Pugsley or an offset 135mm 9:zero:7 fat bike your rear wheel uses a standard 135mm wide MTB hub, but it’s moved 17.5mm to the right to clear the big fat tires you ride on. This is an unusual situation for wheel builders and worth considering as you plot your next wheel set. There is a great post over at the Phat Divide Blog discussing this exact topic that is worth a read.

Large Marge Offset Rim with Alfine 8spd IGH

Since we are on that topic Joe over at the Pedaling in Place Blog has an interesting post about experimenting with Pugsley wheels/tires trying out a number of “What If?” scenarios you might have been pondering, but like me been too lazy to actually try out. 

Offset LM with an XT hub...

Above and below are offset and symmetrical Large Marge rims with XT 135mm hubs – which demonstrates why you’d want to use an offset LM on a Pugs with an IGH or a normal MTB hub.

Symmetrical LM with XT hub...

Sorry for not checking these calcs out before linking. Everything looked good until I punched in an offset LM with Alfine and the results didn’t match my wheel so I went out and measured the offset on my LM rims.

170mm Mukluk hub with symmetrical LM...

Above you’ll see the results for a 170mm fatbike hub with a symmetrical Large Marge rim. I also tried an offset LM rim with this hub with the offset going left and right – neither option was as good as using a symmetrical rim which makes sense

Symmetrical LM rim...

Just an observation if you look at the symmetrical LM rim shown above the spoke holes are actually offset to both sides of the rim. This needs to be entered into Freespoke as +3mm/+3mm [I'm guessing as I don't have a symmetrical LM to measure]. I used +0/+0 which gives the same % spoke tension results, but the spoke angles will be different so if you have symmetrical LM rims measure them and use the actual value.

Overall Results:

  • 135mm IGH in Pugs with offset rim provides most even spoke tension
  • 135 MTB hub in Pugs has approximately the same spoke tension as a 170mm MTB hub with symmetrical LM in a non-offset fatbike
  • flange spacing is also a factor in wheel strength [170mm MTB hub has widest spacing followed by 135mm IGH]
  • offset spoke holes may not result in as strong a wheel a symmetrical rim, but this doesn’t seem to be an issue in practice
  • measure any spoke offset of your rims to confirm these results apply
  • if my calcs are correct than an Alfine offset LM Pugsley wheel is stronger [better spoke tension balance] than a normal Alfine MTB wheel with a symmetrical rim.




Victoria Cyclocross…

22 11 2011

Generally speaking I have a limited interest in racing, but this video of local cyclocross action is quite entertaining. A friend of mine races and let me know the beginner category is free so I may consider trying one race next year – on my Pugsley of course!…=-)





OR Dunes Video Porn

22 11 2011

Ward shot this video at the Oregon Dunes on his Pugsley. It’s long and there isn’t much going on besides rolling over the sand, but I love it! I’ll definitely get my butt down to OR for a dune trip this winter and hopefully something in the summer with a few more people.





Victoria Winter MTBing…

21 11 2011

This is how I was feeling!

You can mountain bike all year round in Victoria [without a Pugsley!] if you take advantage of the nice weather when it arrives. Now keep in mind “nice” is relative and for this past week Sunday was a “nice” day with sunny skies and +1 deg C temperatures. Given the 90% humidity on the coast it felt a heck of a lot colder than the same temperature back in Calgary, but since we don’t live in Calgary we can’t dwell on such details. I got up early to have my ritual 3 cups of hot tea and blog a bit before Scott aka Porcelain Rocket-man aka Bag Man showed up to go mountain biking.

I never get tired of riding on these amazing leaves...

We headed to Partridge Hills hoping that some riding would warm us up.

Note the snow...

I didn’t bring my new camera along figuring 1) we wouldn’t stop that often in the cold and 2) I’d be falling a lot and didn’t want to smash it. Turns out we took a decent number of snaps as the snow and leaves made the trails very pretty.

Scott following what he thinks is a trail...

Scott is a better mountain biker than I am…hmmm…I guess that’s true of most people! So I saw a lot of him disappearing up a crazy climb or hunting down the gnarliest trail. That’s okay – I ride better when someone else is cleaning everything as I get inspired to throw my old decrepit body at techy section with less caution than normal.

Scott loves to bushwack...

I also learned that Scott’s idea of what to look for in a trail is more….ummm….flexible than mine! At one point after hike a biking for a while down a mountain side I asked him if there was a plan other than to scramble downwards carrying our bikes? His puzzled look told me that he didn’t understand what the problem was. The crazy part is does this in hard soled SPD MTB shoes and I was struggling in my 5.10′s with their climbing rubber soles!!

Eventually we found a way back to the trails...

On the bright side hike a biking is great for warming you up and I got to experience a whole different kind of being lost at Partridge Hills than normal!

Leaf porn...

I was surprised how well we were getting traction on the leaves this ride. In the past the leaves were the slippery zone – not this time. The challenging parts were the rocks, roots and muddy sections. I basically would plot a line down and techy sections guesstimating where my bike was likely to slide to and trying to bounce of obstacles on either side of the trail to keep me from crashing. I was mostly successful..=-)

The dark side?

Scott rides a sweet Hunter 29er hardtail with Rohloff and he rides it well. I got him to try my full-suspension Santa Cruz Nomad so he could see how the other half lived. He did talk a bit about getting a FS MTB so maybe my cunning plan worked…=-)

Man and Machine...

Watching Scott ride all day from my position panting like a porn star in the rear of the dirt paceline I started jonesing for a Rohloff MTB. Having a spare Rohloff built up into a nice 26″ MTB rim makes that plan reasonably easy. I may rebuild the Surly 1×1 as a Rohloff rigid MTB and see what I think. In the tight trails around Victoria my XL Santa Cruz is hard to throw around – especially going uphill so the medium frame 1×1 could be the ticket!

The Snowman rips...

Between the leaves on the ground, the green moss and white snow – it was a spectacular visual feast on this ride.

We actually met other riders!

Strangely we met more riders on today’s cold damp ride than I’ve ever met at noon on a sunny warm summer weekend…go figure!

Scott trying to find the trail out to the car...

As per usual we got lost trying to find the parking lot – even with a rider stopping to point us in the right direction! At least we are consistent…=-)

He loves to push...

I was puzzled when Scott started pushing my bike on rideable terrain, but he informed me he loved to push so no test ride was complete without seeing how a rig would hike a bike.

Bird's eye view...

Although I’ve known Scott for a few years now we’ve never lived in the same city and never ridden bikes together. So it was nice to actually ride with him instead of just talking about bikes! Scott works at home making Porcelain Rocket bike bags so he’s got a flexible schedule like I do and with Victoria winter MTBing being an opportunistic affair during windows of decent weather I predict lots more riding together…=-)





Surly Nate 3.7″ Tire…

20 11 2011

A fat MTB tire for your Pugsley...

The existing fat tires from Surly [Endomorph & Larry] are great snow/sand tires, but their tread pattern isn’t ideal for straight up trail riding. So Surly offered up a new fat tire, called the Nate, in a knobby pattern for times when you really want to get traction.

Check out this review of the Nate over at Fat-Bike.com.

Photo: Motorman posted on Singletrackworld.com...

Here is Surly’s marketing spew:

“We named this tire for our friend Nate, who is himself large and aggressive. A major departure from Endomorph and Larry’s more shoot-n-drift tread characteristics, Nate is a shred-your-face-off, run-over-anything, kung fu grip knobby tread pattern. The casing is round and supple at 120tpi. Tall, widely spaced knobs are siped for added grip and compliance, which optimizes their grip. The knob’s wide spacing means they dig deep and still shed the crap you’re riding through. The tread is wrapped around the sides of the tire some, providing good knob contour even on very wide rims, which in turn allows good off-camber traction. Available in wire or Kevlar bead.”

Photo: Chronism posted at MTBR.com

I’ve asked the Fairfield Bike Shop to bring me in a set for my Pugsley MTBing adventures. I’ll swap in the Larrys/Endos for beach/dune riding and give the Nates a shot for trail riding in our damp slippery winter conditions.





New Surly Evil Rack…

20 11 2011

Enough with the Surly Nice Rack..time for an Evil Rack!

I guess with Surly’s move to the darkside following the unleashing of the Necromancer Pugsley it makes sense they wouldn’t expect you to put a Surly Nice Rack on an undead bike so the fiendish minds at Surly came up with the Pink Devil Horn Pentagram Rack for Necromancer owners. That was too hard to type/say so they’ve called it the Evil Rack.

I’m not sure when they’ll be for sale, but their going for $333 each.

If this sounds too bizarre to be true it’s because I made the whole thing up. Click on the image to read the real story behind this cool rack, but don’t let the internet get boring so please spread an interesting story!





Crazy Canadian Tandem Team…

19 11 2011

Green, but cold!...

It’s getting down below freezing at night in Victoria which combined with the humidity means it feels insanely cold and black ice/frozen bridges are a problem. Naturally when Sharon and I needed to get across town to have dinner at Aaron & Laura’s place last night we took our Bike Friday tandem. Wearing our parkas and lobster gloves we were plenty warm. We slowed down for all bridges as our slick tires don’t deal well with ice. Happily there were no issues.

Sharon getting excited about the gas fireplace...

Aaron & Laura made a lovely dinner which was consumed with a few glasses of wine. Their apartment has both light and heat – something our cottage is lacking in! I was a bit worried Sharon might get too attached to such luxuries…=-)

Laura wondering if there is any pie left...

After several hours of great company in a warm cozy apartment we had to face the daunting task of bundling back up and heading back out into the cold night. I had debated bringing along sleeping bags, but I wasn’t sure how A&L would react…=-) The ride home was chilly, but fun. No black ice to contend with although there was frost on the wooden bridge we have to cross. We were very happy to see our little cottage and throw ourselves into bed!

Thanks to Aaron & Laura for being such wonderful hosts…





FatBike Outdoor TV…

18 11 2011

Click on image to watch video....





Hammerschmidt All Mountain – SOLD!

17 11 2011

It's Hammer Time!

Update: The HS is sold and off to a good home.

I’ve got a SRAM Hammerschmidt All Mtn 2 spd BB/cranks for sale. They give you instant shifting derailleurless 2 speed [high & low range] up front. You can shift while you are coasting or while backpedaling. You can also shift under full power.

My HS has been used lightly [less ~300kms] – never used for rain rides. It’s never been power-washed or anything silly like that! It’s in perfect condition other than a few cosmetic scratches.

Installed in my Santa Cruz Nomad...

You get: 

  • 170mm HS cranks
  • BB
  • shifter w/ cable and housing
  • original packaging & instructions

Cost is $450USD for everything ready to install + $25 shipping. I have the original packaging and instructions. Ordering new from the US this will cost you $800+….I bought it in Canada where MSRP was over $1K…ouch!

You can run a short cage rear derailleur with the HS...

I’m only selling so I can buy some new bike bling and I need to free up some $$$ to do that. If you’ve been interested in trying out a Hammerschmidt, but didn’t want to blow $800-$1000 this is a great deal.

Here is a link to the User’s Manual PDF.

Note – your bike will need ISCG tabs to work with the HS.





ExOfficio Boxer Briefs 6yr Review…

17 11 2011

Click here to jump to the ExOfficio Site...

I posted a 3yr review of some ExOfficio boxer briefs on my old blog here. Since everyone most people need comfy underwear for sports and travel. I figured it was time to update the review with a longterm perspective.

These are some very lightweight and breathable boxer briefs. They keep you cool and dry when you are hot and sweaty. They dry fast when you wash them in the sink or in a river on tour. They have few seams and don’t irritate your butt after 14hrs in the saddle. At around $25/pair they are not cheap, but not expensive in my books either given their performance & service life. They pack very small so you can carry some spares if you don’t want to wash ‘em every night. I’m not a diligent enough gear tester to conduct a snif test on day 4 of a summer bike tour to evaluate how funky these boxers get vs. a wool pair…hahaha.

Overall they get an “A” from me based on how they perform – especially for cycling.

The downside:

  • as noted they aren’t cheap, but you can get them on sale if you are diligent about bargain hunting
  • they are very form fitting so they can’t be worn as shorts for the ultralight tourist unless you are very comfortable with your anatomy…=-)
  • they do make a looser fitting fitting boxer, but I’m not sure if they’d be as comfy for all day cycling YMMV
  • after 6yrs of regular use [incl machine drying on low] the elastic waist band has worn out and they cannot be trusted to stay on when you dive into the ocean…=-)
  • they after still functional, but only if you really need to make ‘em last…I’d probably call their service life 4-5yrs of regular use
Nothing lasts forever and these boxer briefs are made of exceptionally lightweight material. which is why they dry so fast and breathe so well in hot weather. If you need new sport/travel underwear I’d recommend them. I’ll be buying a few new pairs next time I am at REI.




Undead Pugsley

16 11 2011

Black Ops Pugs has died...

The Surly Black Ops Pugs is dead…behold the Necromancer is born!

Behold the Necromancer!

Same bike, same fun, new name…

I was able to wrangle the exclusive interview with ES from Surly that explains everything you need to know about the name change…;-)~





Adjusting Santa Cruz VPP Bearings…

16 11 2011

Click here to jump to Pinkbike and watch the video...

If you ride a Santa Cruz VPP bike this video is a must watch to ensure you know how to adjust your pivot bearings when they develop some play. I recently had some play in the rear of my Nomad Mk2 and a LBS recommended I buy a $120 bearing kit to rebuild the bike. My bearings are fine I just needed to adjust them properly. The more I appreciate some of the design elements [ie adjustable pivot bearings, grease ports on lower pivot, etc..] that went into making my Santa Cruz bike the more impressed I am.

That’s a good thing because I was playing around with a MTB builder program recently and it spat out a $6K price tag – yikes! I’m going to keep my Nomad rolling for a while longer. I’m glad I bought a quality bike to start with…=-)





Pugsley Redux – Part 4…

15 11 2011

It's back and big as ever...

I’m happy to report that my Pugsley is back on the road. I got the rebuild finished this weekend.

Rustproofing the Pugs...

The rustproofing process was a messy affair, but I figured it’s worth it.

My Phil Wood BB looking good...

I realized I needed new bearings for my Phil Wood BB. I was lucky that the Fairfield Bicycle Shop had some in stock so that my rebuild wasn’t delayed.

Measure twice - cut once!

I managed to cut the cable housing I had bought too short the first time and needed to buy more. Which reminds me to measure twice and cut once!

My Alfine 8 - clean...

As I was installing the disc rotor on my Shimano Alfine 8 I noticed several millimeters of lateral play in the axle. A little research and a couple cone wrenches later I had the hub adjusted properly.

The green turned out nicely...

I’m keeping the racks off for now and using the Pugs as a MTB. A stripped-down chubby mean dirt biking machine…=-)

The scrawny Larry...

With the Pugsley rebuild complete it was time to test out the beast.

Finding some dirt in the city...

I don’t want to find out my cranks are going to fall off 10 miles from the parking lot so I figured some dirt testing closer to home was in order.

It may be a Pig, but it can fly around the curves pretty well...

Nothing fell of at the MTB park which was nice…=-) Next up some real dirt trails…





MEC Deal Alert…

14 11 2011

MEC Deuce MTB Top...

Just a tip for blog readers – especially Canadian ones. These MEC MTB tops are on clearance for $9. I bought one at full price [$36CDN] a couple years ago and thought it was a great deal at the time…for $9 well hard to beat that! My Deuce has proven durable, wicks well, great for rides where the temps vary a bit and it fits over elbow armour nicely. In theory it’s a MTB specific top, but you can wear it for anything sporty if you like the style. I wear a medium and it’s a loose relaxed fit – think hockey jersey.

Rolling with my Deuce...

I ordered 3 more at $9. I’ll put another one into service and keep 2 as spares/gifts. Just thought I’d share the info if anyone wants to score one.

BTW – MEC has a bunch of other stuff on clearance including tops for the ladies [Sharon ordered a couple for herself].





Big Fat Gary Fisher Build…

14 11 2011

Photo: Kencamp @ MTBR.com

I found a cool thread over at MTB.com showing how to modify a Gary Fisher HiFi Deluxe to run fat bike tires/rims. Click on the image above to jump to read more. I should note that the rear triangle is heavily modified and the fork was replaced so this is a significant project for someone who’s ready to do some major rework, but the result looks great.





Phil Wood Bottom Bracket Review…

14 11 2011

What it looked like new 3yrs ago...

I put a 100mm Phil Wood square taper bottom bracket into my Surly Pugsley 3yrs ago. Then I abused the bike a ton including saltwater, sand, winter slush and corrosive playa dust. Most BB’s would have just been thrown in the garbage after that sort of use.

3yrs later...

The BB and spindle looks fabulous despite the condition the rest of the frame was in. The bearings were serviceable, but notchy enough I sprung for the $25 to put new bearings in the BB since I had everything out of the bike.

$25 of new bearings and we are ready for 3 more years of smiles...

Phil has come out with some mudguards for their BB’s which I’ll probably get to extend the service life of the bearings.

Phil BB Mudguards...

So if you need a durable BB and don’t want a throw away unit consider a Phil Wood.

Great cranks for $35...

BTW – I should give some love to these $35 Shimano Alivio cranks. They were cheap and work great.





Weekend Mash Up…

13 11 2011

Scott, Ben & I...

I had hoped to be surfing this weekend in Tofino, but Sharon’s got ankle & knee injuries from playing squash and I wasn’t motivated enough to spend the $$ to drive up alone. Ben was visiting Victoria so I went out with him and Scott for a few beers while we discussed world domination plans.

Ben and his Surly Big Dummy...

Ben rode his prototype Surly Electric Big Dummy Black Ops Urban Assault rig over to the island with some help from the ferry. He’s got a sweet bike with a Rohloff, e-assist and general awesomeness…=-)

What a sad day!...=(

I rode my Bike Friday NWT to the pub to meet Ben and Scott because it has a dynohub to facilitate lighting up the road. Sadly my 4yr streak of never having a flat on a Greenspeed Scorcher tire came to an end due to a beer bottle shard…=-( These tires have performed extremely well for me over the years and are all I use on my Bike Friday folders, but it was nice being able to proclaim a zero flat record despite so much urban riding. I was too lazy to actually fix the flat so I just pumped the tire back up and rode towards home – repeating that process 3 times until I got to my driveway. I’ll get around to fixing it on a sunny warm day.

Rustproofing my Pugs...

Friday was a rain-fest so I rustproofed my Pugs which was a very very very messy job!

Ben and Aaron at Fairfield Bicycle Shop...

With the weather looking grim I met up with Aaron, Ben and Scott down at Fairfield to get some supplies for my Pugsley rebuild. I must give the Fairfield Bicycle Shop big props for always having all the odd little bits and pieces that are a pain to stock, but vital to my bike needs. This time around they had a set of bearings in stock for my Pug’s 100mm square taper Phil Wood’s BB and installed them for me without hassles. They also had a Shimano 9spd barcon lever so I can complete a missing shifter set I had. Thanks Fairfield you rock!…=-)

Sharon sold her Mini Cooper and wrangled with local Honda dealers for a new CRV.

Goodbye little red buddy!

The Mini was a fun car to drive, but it didn’t really fit our lifestyle all that well or my tall frame for that matter. I called my position in the passenger seat The Praying Mantis…=-)

She looks so nice in white...

The Honda CRV will offer a bit more traction, ground clearance, leg room and cargo space without a punishing fuel bill.

Scott and Sharon trying not to buy any new bike bling at Fairfield...

We had a tasty lunch on Cook St at a Thai place Aaron suggested before heading home to wrench some more on my bikes and settle in for some Netfilx in the PM.

New flaps!

I put some Buddy Flaps mudflaps on my 26″ wheeled Long Haul Trucker which completes the Velo Orange fenders nicely while expressing my pro-pirate sentiments….=-)

Seriously?

Once we got on the pirate tip I had to explain to my cat why parrots riding on a Pirate’s shoulder worked so much better than a cat.

Whatever!

She didn’t believe me so she jumped off my shoulder in disgust and went on a nap-strike. Her “no cuddles for you!” message was received loud and clear.

What would Gary do?

I started the order process for a set of bags for my Surly Pugsley from Scott at Porcelain Rocket. Trouble is he has so many options that I tried to skype with the always fashionable Gary Fisher and get his take on what colours/options would best suit my fat bike. Unfortunately Gary was getting his goatee styled all weekend so he wasn’t available. I may just get on the Devo train and go camo for my bags….not sure yet????

I wish I was there...

This morning I’m drinking my 3rd cup of tea thinking about the beach in Baja while I try to decide if I am going MTBing or if I want to brave the cold water and kiteboard.





Photo Ride…

12 11 2011

Fall has fallen on Vancouver Island...

Aaron and I headed up to Partridge Hills to check out the trails and to try and up the ante on our MTB photography.

"How you doing?"...

We used my new Canon S95 and a small tripod to take some shots deep in the gloomy rainforest.

A-Man ripping...

The results were much better than we normally are able to achieve with our usual point and shoot cameras.

Those leaves are beautiful and slippery!!

It’s nice to have a bunch of decent photos to choose from post-ride rather than making the best of the least blurry snaps.

A-Man dropping into the shot...

Having said that we did run up against the limitations of the S95′s lens on a number of occasions where we either needed a faster lens or a flash. However, there is only so much a camera that can fit into your pocket can do. I’m impressed with the S95 so far and happy to have a better weapon in the quiver.

A-Man pondering his next awesome run...

Of course the nicer shots in the forest came at the cost of far more setup time and messing with camera settings and reshooting the same image a bunch of times. I’d guess we spend 4 times as long taking photos and got in 50% of the riding we normally would have in the same amount of time.

Feeling golden...

We’ll have to find a balance between taking great shots and getting in as much riding as possible. It’s nice to have more low light photography options though. So if we really want to get a particular shot we can do it at the expense of some extra time.

Aaron heading back into the trees...

I didn’t ride my MTB much last winter so I didn’t realize how early it got dark on the trails. With the time change it’s getting gloomy by 4pm and dark by 5pm – especially in the trees. Typically Aaron and I have been heading out on our MTB rides at 2pm or 3pm. That’s going to have to change or we are going to have to bust out some serious light firepower.

Aaron was kind enough to bring snacks...

It’s been raining a fair amount in Victoria lately. Not enough to mess with our riding time, but the trails were damp and the leaves all over the ground were quite slippery so we had to ride with care.

Time to head back to the car...

We are getting the hang of the unmarked trails at Partridge Hills. We don’t know where are exactly all the time, but we were able to make it back to the car reasonably easily. Which was good as the light was fading fast!

Chasing after A-Man...

I’m not holding my breathe for Bike Magazine to to offer us a gig as professional MTB pornographers, but hopefully we can entertain our loyal blog readers with finer fat tire images from here on in…=-)