Spider Porn…

31 12 2011

The action outside my door...

Lunch...

Spider's version of a ziplock bag...

 





Sharon’s a Commutinator!

30 12 2011

Nearly home...

2011 was Sharon’s first full year as a bike commuter. She started cycling in the rain and dealt with a fairly serious accident caused by another cyclist.   Through all the challenges she kept smiling [mostly] and has remained a dedicated transportation cyclist. Awesome work! Keep the blue Surly a rocking in 2012…=-)





2012 Project Bike?

29 12 2011

Made in the US steel Trek...

I found this made in the USA steel Trek frame down in Baja. I’m thinking of bailing on my 29er hardtail build plans and dedicating 2012 to this fine bike.

Made in the USA...

The plan would be a Johnny Tomac inspired pre-Y2k MTB with drop bars and one of those Tioga tensioned disc wheel. Fully rigid belly on the top tube riding position.

Assume the position...

I just need a 160mm negative rise stem and some drops to get real low and stretched out like Tomes was back in the day.

The man and the rig...

I can’t wait to start dropping some steep techy goodness on this baby and pretending I am JT.

Steel is real...

What a score!

29ers are for sissies!

If anyone has a line on some purple Nike SPD bike shoes I’m in business…=-)





Merry Christmas to myself!

28 12 2011

Porcelain Rocket bling - that's how I roll!

Scott’s blog has the details…=-)





G-Form Pads…

27 12 2011

G-Form knee pads...

I wear knee and elbow pads on most MTB rides since buff singletrack is a thing of the distant past for me. My goto pads are taking a beating just from regular wear and tear of the elastic sleeve. They’ll need replacing in 2012. I found these G-Form low profile pads online and given the modest cost I may give them a shot. They don’t offer as much protection as my other pads, but for a lot of the riding I do which is just rocky/rooty techy XC stuff they may be perfect. They also look like they’ll keep my joints warm which in BC is another great reason to wear pads!

These pads got a Best Product of 2011 nod from PinkBike. So they probably don’t suck.

Photo: Wired

The SixSixOne pads I am currently using are shown below back when they looked nice and new. They are a great pad with a decent amount of protection for their size and don’t really get in the way when I ride, but at the same time you can’t help feel a little gladiatorial with them on…=-)

What I wear now...





Kiting amongst the palms…

26 12 2011

Greg passing the palm tree hammocks...

Crazy world. I took this photo of Greg after coming in from the water kiting with him. I downloaded it from the camera on to my laptop, processed it and put it up online before he got in from his session.





Merry Christmas!

25 12 2011

Lazy and the Blog Elf wish you the best for the holidays, 2012 and beyond!





Another day in the Baja…

24 12 2011

Greg heading out...

Kill shot...

Fish tacos in the making...

Cerveza, hammock and drum!

Action on the water...





Way Back Home

23 12 2011

Worth a second viewing over the holidays..=-)





Sooke Bike Club

21 12 2011

SBC jersey in action...

I’m the newest member of the Sooke Bike Club…=-) Lorien from Sooke Mountain Cycle tells me I’m probably #30 of that elite group of cyclopaths. Sweet! To be honest I joined for 3 reasons:

  1. Sooke riders would take pity on my poor navigational skills and show me around
  2. the sweet club jersey that Lorien is wearing in the video you can watch by clicking on the image above
  3. Sooke Search and Rescue would work harder to locate my body if I go missing on a ride




One last session…

19 12 2011

P-Rock demonstrating 29er dominance by crushing a parked car...

We’ve been having such a great winter MTB season here on the South Shore of Vancouver Island that I’m sad to be leaving even if my destination is a beach in Mexico. I’m sure I’ll get over it once I drown my sorrow in hot juicy tacos, ice cold beers and flying 20′ over the ocean swell under my kite. Anyways I wanted to make the most of my last week in Victoria so after 2 great rides I managed to get out one last time with Scott [aka Porcelain Rocket aka P-Rock]. You’ll note 3 rides last week and 3 different ride partners. I’m such a chicken legged MTB monster nobody can survive more than 1 ride per week with me…hahahaha! When summer comes I’ll get Sharon in the mix so I can rip 4 times a week and maybe go solo [gasp!] for a fiver!

P-Rock and I headed to the Hartland MTB Park as it has trail signs which make a night ride so easy. Ripping around in the dark chasing pools of bright light to all sorts of techy goodness was great fun. Our night riding skills are improving to the point that we are riding at daytime speeds now. That’s easy when the trails are so twisty and techy because bombing at 50kph is out of the question. I’ve at least done some daytime riding this winter, but Scott commented that he couldn’t remember what it was like to ride under the sun…=-) You see how he suffers so you can have bags for your bikes!!

I'm so fast I'm a blur...=-)

In our mild nocturnal confusion we turned down a trail we didn’t know existed and found some cool new singletrack to plunder. It was headed way downhill from where we needed to end up so we got smart and backtracked. We’ve made a mental note and will explore all the way to the end when we have more time. It was a nice surprise on what we expected would just be a routine ride.

As I unpacked my MTB gear for the last time in 2011 I was happy to have finally found my groove in the local terrain. I’ve got no illusions of grandeur about my skills I just want to feel competent and be able to ride my bike more than I walk/fall. Everyone keeps telling me how gnarly the trails are on the South Shore and that it will make riding anywhere else seem tame. I hope so! I’m planning to head south to the desert this winter to ride some familiar trails and binge on Mexican food. It would be great if my dedication to winter MTBing on Vancouver Island paid off by making me a desert rockstar…I’m not holding my breathe…hahaha…=-)





For Sale – Aaron’s Kona Honky Tonk…

18 12 2011

Aaron's sweet Kona Honky Tonk...

My buddy Aaron is selling his lovely Kona Honky Tonk road bike. It’s a sweet ride, but he’s been seduced by the lure of the 650B wheel size and by the tempting plumpness of the Pugsley’s 4″ rubber. His GF is a reasonable lady, but she won’t let him bring any new rides into their apartment unless something leaves first.

Brake porn...

  • 2009 Kona Honky-Tonk 56cm Robin Egg Blue w/ pearl $999 obo
  • Completely custom build.  19 lbs. w/o pedals
  • 9spd Campagnolo Daytona groupo(no longer made)
  • Campagnolo Daytona Cranks 53-39t 172.5 length
  • Campagnolo Daytona Dual-Pull calipers front & rear
  • Campagnolo Record 9spd chain
  • 13-26t Campagnolo Centaur Cassette (new)
  • Campagnolo Daytona Shifters
  • Campagnolo Centaur BB (new)
  • Shimano Pro Stem 100mm x 31.8 bar. 0/+6 deg. rise
  • Kona Alu-lite seat post 27.2
  • Kona standard-drop h-bars 44cm width
  • Shimano 520 SPD pedals
  • Mavic Kysirium SSC – SL wheel set, Rr has been recently re-built with all new spokes & freehub body has just been overhauled with new ratchet pawls
  • Brand new Continental Ultra Race 700×23 tires, no kms
  • Brand new FSA Orbit headset
  • Easton EC30 Carbon fork
  • All cables/housing are new & tuned
  • Frame matched bottle cages
  • 13-23 9spd Campagnolo Centaur cassette included (still in it’s box)
  • SKS Thermo plastic fender set included if desired

Wheel porn...

Aaron is a professional bike mechanic and general bike nut so you can be sure this bike is well maintained and nicely setup.

She's fast and pretty...

Aaron will professionally pack the bike at no cost and ship the bike to you for a reasonable approximation of actual shipping costs. Please leave a comment for Aaron if you are interested and he’ll get back to you rapidly.





Baja A Go Go!

18 12 2011

Another Baja trophy sized catch!

I’m headed to Baja today for a 4 week work-cation. I’ve been slacking on my quality management certification studying so I’m bringing a bunch of books down south with me to read on the beach in the AM before the wind picks up. I’ve got a project I’m managing as well, but there is nothing happening over the holidays and I’ll coordinate the early January tasks remotely via email.

I’ve got my gear packed – finally! I had to really cull the herd to make everything fit. Unlike previous trips I’m flying down to Baja rather than driving. I have mixed feelings about this as I enjoyed the long drive south as a way to unwind and get into the zone, but with a 4 week window of opportunity it doesn’t make sense to spend 1 week driving each way. It will be a little strange leaving Canada in the AM and setting up my tent on the beach that evening in Mexico. I’ll also miss my traditional stop over in Pasadena to visit my good friends there…=-(

The biggest challenge has been streamlining my gear down to the minimum so I can get it on the plane. I would normally have a pick up truck’s worth of stuff with me for a month in Baja. This time I’ve got 1 kite gear bag, 1 duffel bag, a surfboard bag and a daypack. I will miss my camp furniture the most as I’ll be sitting on the ground  on an old tarp. I’ll also miss my Pugsley. Sharon is coming down for 2 weeks in the middle of my trip and she’s rented bikes. During my time alone I’ll just walk. My days in Baja aren’t too ambitious so I can get everything I want done on 2 feet.

I hope everyone out there has a great holiday season and gets a little love from Santa or the UPS man – whichever you believe in more…=-)





Ride Your Way…

17 12 2011




The Quimper-Thunderbird Supremacy!

16 12 2011

Aaron and Lorien @ Sooke Mountain Cycle...

I’m heading south on a jet plan Sunday so I’m trying to jam pack as much dirt riding as I can between finishing up my packing and other errands that need doing. Yesterday I twisted A-Man’s arm and he agreed to go out to Sooke BC with me for a ride. The day started off with steady rain in the AM, but like so many similar days out on the South Shore of Vancouver Island once we gave it a couple hours the water stopped and it was a great day to ride. Our initial thought was a 3hr XC ride on Terra Nova Trail between Victoria and Sooke, but we changed targets and drove all the way out to Sooke to check out the trails at Harbourview. We stopped in at Sooke Mountain Cycle and chatted with owner and all mountain/DH guru – Lorien for a spell. Lorien is one of these guys that’s forgotten more about mountain biking than you know. He’s also super nice and happy to share his knowledge with other riders. If you are going to ride in the Sooke BC area stop in at Sooke Mountain Cycle and get the South Shore 411 from him. After marking up our Harbouview map with a nice set of trails Aaron scored a slick jersey and I grabbed a Kenda Excavator 26″ tire for the Nomad. Lorien’s suggestion of running winter tires and summer tires made a lot of sense so I’ll probably save the Specialized Chunder Control rubber for May and use something with a more grippy open tread pattern during the moist winter riding season.

Cranking to the top...

To get to the top of Harbourview you spin up a steepish fire road for 60mins and then hike a bike to the Ranger Station at the very top before bombing down the trails.

and we cranked!

For a bike with 6″+ of travel at either end my SC Nomad handles long climbs just fine. My MTBing fitness is starting to kick in so I never left the middle ring all ride which means a reasonable pace on the climbs.

A-Man double checking his cartographic memory...

What was so sad about this part of the ride [in retrospect] was that we tried really hard to follow Lorien’s directions. We even rode uphill an extra kilometre to reach the washed out section of the fire road so we could backtrack to the correct trail up to the top. With that kind of navigational diligence how could we go wrong?

We made it...!

I didn’t mind the fire road grind, but I was glad when it was over and singletrack awaited.

Time to get dirty...=-)

So we started up the narrowing trail.

Very narrow! - A-Man on the Edge..

And the trail indeed got narrow and sketchy. Little did we know this would be the easy part of the ride.

Mashing the big ring...

We were riding [mostly] and smiling. New terrain is always fun and we figured the Grade A Top Choice trails were just around the corner.

A-Man on point doing some recon...

It was around this point that we lost the plot. I mean clearly someone had come this way so it wasn’t total crazy talk, but by the time we were well and truly committed to our path it was clear that nobody had biked this trail in a year or two. In our defense the other option was to push up a rocky creek-bed so the way we choose made some sort of sense.

"Must see a lot of traffic!??!?"

Now we aren’t idiots – well not total idiots anyways. The overgrown vegetation and lack of tire wear made it clear this was not the trail we wanted to be on. However, it’s a small mountain and somebody had been this way as evidenced by some old flagging tape and the odd chainring bite into a fallen log. So our assumption was if we followed this old trail to the top we’d find the Ranger Station and reorient ourselves. It was a reasonable plan.

It's all gone green...

And although we weren’t where we had wanted to be the scenery was spectacular, we were riding our bikes [when we weren't carrying them!] and it’s not like a ride starting just after lunch could end up with us lost in the rainforest at night without lights…could it?

Leaving the bikes to rest while we scouted ahead on foot...

With all the recon and hike a bike I’m glad I ride in walkable shoes with sticky climbing rubber soles. I don’t know how A-Man and P-Rock do it in plastic SPD shoes.

We don't need no stinking trail!

When we finally made it to the top we were a bit disappointed to see no signs of life or fresh mountain bike tracks. It’s possible we weren’t even at the top of the right mountain at this point, but we still clung to the hope of reconnecting with the main Harbourview trails. I mean there is a freaking fire road down the middle of the trail system so all we have to do is keep riding until we cross it and then recalibrate – right?

Veggietrack...

As we descended the mountain on the most well used trail we could find I started to understand that we had gone quite far astray from our planned route. I also started to appreciate that we might well not get back on track before sunset at ~4pm. What could we do other than head downhill staying on a path men had once trodden or ridden and hope to hit civilization again at some point?

Worth a second look!

To keep myself amused I started naming the various bits of trail we were riding:

  • moss-track
  • veggie-track
  • creek-track
  • snot-track
  • chunder-blunder-track
  • lost-track

As it got darker and the possibility of trying to ride out of the forest in the dark without bike lights, no [useful] map, no compass and no iPhone/GPS I renamed all of the sections to Terror-track!

A sign - thank God!

Then we found a sign. Awesome! The name on the sign was even on our map. What a relief! I wasn’t going to have to kill and eat Aaron to survive…;-) In theory we should have been able to use our map to ride back to the main Harbourview fire road and be back at the car in 15 minutes. Too bad that’s not what happened.

WTF?

On our map Quimper should have been a main trail back to the fire road, but instead it ended. Now consider the level of trail we had just ridden for a hour+ so when I say it ended I mean there was no sign of it at all. Our choices were slog down a creek or ride a branch trail that was not on our map. We figured it was best to stay on trails with signs so our families could at least find out bodies and get some closure!!

A bridge to nowhere...

Some more gnarly lightly used trail riding we came to an old bridge. That was a good sign, but it looked like it hadn’t been used in a while and the blow down trees across the trail backed this up. Still it was an indication of human activity. As we rolled along we came to a lake. There were two lakes on our Harbourview Trail Map so we assumed we could simply recalibrate and hit the fire road. Confusingly the Lake we found was called Glinz Lake and that wasn’t on our map. A bit further on we found a shuttered Boy Scouts facility called Camp Thunderbird. That led to a road which we bombed downhill at Mach 4 to the highway which we cranked at Mach 2 to get back to the car.

Harbourview/Glinz Lake Map...

Looking at the map above we should have been riding trails on the left and right of Harbourview Road. Instead we ended up way to the east riding to Glinz Lake and bombing Glinz Lake Road to Highway 14 and then back up Harbourview Road to the car. We made it just as it was getting dark. Tired, wet and dirty, but happy with our Terror-track ride…=-) Lorien suggested we join the Sooke Bike Club – that sounds like a good idea. We could use some local guides to keep us on track! Even though we didn’t go where we had intended we got a taste of the terrain in the Sooke area and we’ll be back for another assault on Harbourview.





Top 10 Things I love from 2011…

15 12 2011

Best new addition to our toys of 2011...

Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL

By far and away the best thing to happen to us in 2011 is this Bike Friday tandem. It has radically changed out bicycle reality. We used to struggle to ride together on single bikes trying all sorts of strategies to make it work and neither of us being satisfied with the result. From our first ride on this tandem we’ve been all smiles and never looked back. It’s a very rare day when we leave our house for a road ride and we aren’t on this bike. The small size of the Bike Friday means we store her inside the house and we can transport her more easily than a conventional tandem. We haven’t flown with her yet, but that’s only a matter of time as Sharon is keen on some touring.

If you are a couple of unequal riding speed give a tandem some serious thought.

Dinotte mountain bike lights...

Dinotte Mountain Bike Lights

I fell back in love with these Dinotte LED lights this winter. The symmetric light beam that’s so annoying on the road/MUP is awesome for trail riding at night. They are powerful [relatively given they are 3-4yrs old], rugged, waterproof and lightweight.

Winter riding!

Winter BC MTBing

Riding my mountain bike all winter has really changed my perspective on the seasons here. We aren’t just making the best of a bad situation. The fact is winter riding conditions are awesome and it’s a great time to spin some knobbies. With trails close to my house it’s so easy and fun to ride that I’m boggled why I didn’t get on it last year! The only problem is you need some reasonably powerful bike lights to ride weekdays when it’s dark at 4pm – hence my love for the Dinottes above.

Let's go rando!

BC Randonneurs

I had a lot of fun riding brevets with the BC Rando Club this spring. I’m slow and unremarkable on these events, but I have fun and completed the rides in the time allotted. For me that’s all that matters and I wear the badge of The Lantern Rouge Club with pride…=-) Sharon asked me if I would be training more [ie. at all] for rando events in 2012. My reply was no – unless riding my mountain bike counted. I’m lazy – what can I say?

She's a Green Machine...

Surly Pugsley

Rebuilding my Surly Pugsley after getting it powdercoated really made me re-appreciate this bike. I’ve got some fatbike trips planned for 2012 and hopefully Aaron will get fully infected with big tire stoke so he gets one as well. Scott from Porcelain Rocket is building me a set of bikepacking bags for the Pugsley so I can roll down the trail and across the sand in style and comfort…=-) My Pugs will be sitting in the showroom of the Fairfield Bicycle Shop while I am gone to Baja. The plan is to demonstrate the latent fatbike enthusiasm in local riders by exposing them to 4″ of rubber! Devious I know….=-)

Thin for the Win!

MacBook Air

Although I didn’t post about it I upgraded my 1st generation MacBook Air to a 4th generation model. I do a decent amount of blogging on this computer as well as a ton of research for the blog not to mention working to make $$ to fund this blog. So it’s fair to say this little computer is an essential tool in my life. The size, convenience and pleasing interactive experience of my old MBA was enough to sell me on a new one. Especially as the price had dropped from $1800+ to $1000+. What’s really great about the new MBA is that with a solid state HD standard and enough power to really crank up my applications it has become a fully functional computer that can do everything I need to rather than simply a travel/convenience computer. I’ll be buying another one in 3yrs most likely!

Fox just keeps on going and going and going...

Fox Suspension

The Fox Float 36 fork and DHX Air 5.0 shock on my Santa Cruz Nomad are ending their 3rd year of MTBing with me and have needed an amazingly small amount of maintenance [new air sleeve in the rear shock only - fork's never been serviced at all] while performing better than any other suspension I have tried. Lots of buttery smooth travel and they rarely need to see the inside of a bike shop…what more could you ask for? Okay they aren’t cheap, but well worth the $$. Some additional props to Santa Cruz’s VPP pivots for also being extremely maintenance light.

650B - low trail goodness...

650B Low Trail Road Biking

My Boulder All Road 650B rando bike really opened my eyes to some new possibilities for what a fast efficient road bike could be and the 42mm Grand Bois Hetres made me smile on every ride. I doubt you’d see me riding any brevets in 2012 if it wasn’t for how much fun this bike is to pedal. Given my propensity to tweak and tinker the fact I won’t be changing a thing on my rando bike setup for next season should say something. I think this is my first rando season where I haven’t swapped whole bikes in the search for a better experience on brevets. Two thumbs up…=-)

I love this place!

Vancouver Island

Sure having to ride a ferry or take an extra flight is a pain when you want to leave the island, but in exchange you get a huge under utilized year round playground for so many great sports.

  • world class kitesurfing [lake & ocean]
  • world class surfing
  • world class MTBing
  • world class road and dirt touring
  • world class sea kayaking
  • year round bicycling and motorcycling
  • easy access to Seattle and Olympic Peninsula
  • relatively few people using the various recreational resources
  • only rains 25% of the time in the winter leaving loads of mild sunny days to be outside
I’m not sure what the future will hold as I will be searching for more work in 2012, but I don’t see myself leaving Vancouver Island unless it’s for points south that are warmer and even mor recreationally bountiful!

Thumbs up for good friends...

Friends

The best gear and the greatest spot on the planet aren’t that much fun without some good friends to share the experience with. Sharon and I haven’t been making friends at a brisk pace here in Victoria [which by all accounts is normal], but on the plus side all the people we’ve gotten to know well have become quality friends – you know who you are!. In that department I’ll take quality over quantity any day…=-)





29er Hardtail IGH MTBs…

14 12 2011

Surly Karate Monkey...

Update: added a bunch of new frames in this post based on readers’ comments. Read the comments section for even more options. I’m too lazy to post ‘em all!

I’ve been looking at 29er hardtail mountain bike frames that would accept an IGH without using a chain tensioner. That means either an eccentric bottom bracket [EBB], sliding dropouts or horizontal dropouts. Since I’ve gone to the trouble to root out some interesting options I figured I’d share it so the other 4 guys on the planet who are interested so they can find this post with Google and perhaps find something they’d like…=-)

My Criteria:

  • must accept a Rohloff or Alfine without needing a chain tensioner
  • readily available as a frame
  • reasonable cost [under $1K- ideally under $500]
  • work with a suspension fork [I made one exception]

BTW – if you click on any image in this post you can jump to the info page for the frame shown.

Surly Ogre...

Surly Karate Monkey/Ogre

The Ogre is just a a Karate Monkey with touring attitude so I lumped them together.

  • cost ~$600CDN for frame and fork
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • you get a fork which is nice if you want the option to ride rigid
  • fairly standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 71-72, 17" CS, suspension corrected for 80mm fork]
  • horizontal dropouts on both
  • Ogre has Rohloff OEM2 plate bolt designed into left dropout
  • frame weight 5lb 15oz
  • fork weight 2lb 10oz
  • KM probably a touch lighter than above
  • KM comes with lighter disc only fork
  • Ogre comes with old KM fork with disc/v-brake option and touring brazeons

Canfield Nimble 9...

Canfield Nimble 9

  • cost ~$650US + shipping for frame only
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm-120mm fork
  • slack all mtn 29er MTB geometry [HA 68-70, 16.25" 17.15" CS]
  • short adjustable sliding chainstays
  • frame weight 5.5lb large
  • slack 70 deg seatpost to allow for ultra short CS
  • gorgeous powdercoat

Voodoo Bokor 29...

Voodoo Bokor 29

  • cost ~$350-$400US + shipping for frame only
  • aluminum
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 100mm-120mm fork
  • standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 71-72, 16.75" CS]
  • short adjustable sliding chainstays
  • frame weight 4.4lbs @ 18″

Voodoo Soukri 29er...

Voodoo Soukri

  • cost ~$525US + shipping for frame only
  • steel [Reynolds 681]
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 100mm-120mm fork
  • standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 71-72, 17.9" CS]
  • short adjustable sliding chainstays
  • frame weight 5.2lbs @ 16″

Niner SIR...

Niner SIR

  • cost ~$899 for frame only
  • steel [Reynolds 853]
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 100mm-120mm fork
  • standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 71-72, 17.3" CS]
  • special eccentric BB
  • frame weight ??

Niner One...

Niner One

  • cost ~$899 for frame only
  • aluminum
  • tapered internal headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm-100mm fork
  • standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 71-72, 17.3" CS]
  • special eccentric BB
  • frame weight ??

Kona Unit...

Kona Unit

  • cost ~$949 for complete bike [I'm pretty sure you can order just a frame/fork]
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 100mm fork
  • standard 29er MTB geometry [HA 70-72, 17.1" CS]
  • sliding dropouts
  • frame weight ??

Kona Honzo...

Kona Honzo

  • cost ~$1899 for complete bike [I'm pretty sure you can order just a frame fork ~$1K]
  • steel
  • tapered internal headset
  • suspension corrected for 120mm fork
  • all mountain 29er MTB geometry [HA 68 deg, 16.3" CS]
  • 31.6mm seatpost fits dropper
  • ISCG 05 tabs
  • sliding dropouts
  • frame weight ??

On One Scandal

On One Scandal

  • cost ~$399 for frame only
  • aluminum
  • internal tapered headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm-100mm fork
  • XC 29er MTB geometry [HA 72, 17.4" CS]
  • sliding dropouts & vertical dropouts provided
  • 31.6mm seat tube accepts a dropper post
  • tire clearance for 2.5″ 29er tires
  • available in raw, black anodized and racing green paint
  • frame weight 3.5lbs

On One Inbred...

On One Inbred

  • cost ~$350 for frame only
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm-100mm fork
  • XC 29er MTB geometry [HA 72, 17.4" CS]
  • vertical dropouts provided with horizontal dropouts available as an option
  • large tire clearance
  • frame weight ~5lbs

Photo: Shiggy

On One Lurcher

  • cost ~$800USD for frame only
  • carbon
  • tapered internal headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm-100mm fork
  • XC 29er MTB geometry [don't have geo details yet]
  • vertical dropouts and horizontal dropouts are both available
  • large tire clearance
  • frame weight TBD
  • 18″ Lurchers are arriving in US shortly

Jeff Jones diamond frame 29er stock frame & fork...

Jeff Jones Diamond Frame

  • cost ~$750 for frame and fork
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • no designed for a suspension fork – although you can run a 3.7″-4.7″ Surly Fat Larry tire for faux suspension if you like…=-)
  • fork takes a 135mm front disc hub
  • proprietary Jeff Jones geometry
  • vertical dropouts provided with eccentric BB
  • large tire clearance all around
  • frame weight ~5.7lbs
  • fork weight ~2.9lbs

Soma Juice 29er...

Soma Juice

  • cost ~$450USD for frame only
  • steel [Tange Prestige main triangle]
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm fork
  • standard 29er XC geometry [71-72 deg HA, 17.6" CS]
  • horizontal dropouts
  • v-brake and disc brake tabs
  • 2.4″ tire clearance
  • frame weight 5.05lbs 16″ frame

Salsa El Mariachi...

Salsa El Mariachi

  • cost ~$600-$500USD for frame only
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm fork
  • standard 29er XC geometry [71 deg HA, 17.5"-18.2" CS]
  • swinging adjustable dropouts
  • disc brake tabs
  • 2.4″ tire clearance
  • frame weight 5.31lbs medium frame

Singular Swift...

Singular Swift

  • cost ~$680USD for frame only incl shipping from UK
  • steel [frame treated with rustproofing from Singular]
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm fork
  • standard 29er XC geometry [71.5-72 deg HA, 17.7" CS]
  • vertical dropouts & EBB to adjust chain tension
  • disc brake tabs
  • 2.4″ tire clearance
  • frame weight 5lbs+ [don't have specific weight]

Vassago Jabber Wocky...

Vassago Jaber Wocky

  • cost ~$499USD for frame only
  • steel [frame treated with rustproofing from factory]
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm fork
  • standard 29er XC geometry [71 deg HA, 17.8" CS]
  • horizontal dropouts with adjusters to dial in chain tension
  • disc brake tabs
  • 2.3″ tire clearance
  • frame weight 4.9lbs 18″ frame

Redline Monocog 29er...

Redline Monocog

  • cost ~$949USD for complete bike
  • steel
  • 1 1/8″ headset
  • suspension corrected for 80mm fork
  • standard 29er XC geometry [71 deg HA, 17.5" CS]
  • sliding vertical dropouts to adjust chain tension
  • disc brake tabs
  • 2.3″ tire clearance [not confirmed]
  • frame weight 5lbs+ [not confirmed]




Tweak your ride…

13 12 2011

Winter mountain biking on Vancouver Island...

My Santa Cruz Nomad mountain bike is about to wrap up its 3rd year of trail riding under my butt. I got the bike back in Calgary and immediately took a long road trip down to Moab & Sedona. I setup the  bike nicely for fast chunky desert riding and left it like that for a while since that suited the smoother, but equally fast riding around Calgary pretty well.

Kurt rolling some moss...

When I got to Victoria I struggled to make my XL sized bike work in the tight twisty steep techy forest trails. For a while I just suffered. Then I started working on the skills I required to make the most of my bike in these conditions. What I was slow to do is to accept that I needed to alter my bike [as much as is practical] for riding on Vancouver Island.

Enjoying the green loveliness....

A big part of that hesitation was due to my lack of Jedi MTB adjustment skills. Modern full suspension bikes are complicated and it’s a bit daunting to mess with them. Once I got over my initial concern and started tweaking things I realized it’s not too bad as long as you only change 1 thing per ride. That way you know what you did to get the effect you experience and if you didn’t like it you can always move back to the previous settings. It takes quite a bit of time to make progress 1 tweak at a time, but at least you know you are making progress and what it was you did that got you there.

What goes down must go up...

So far I have changed my stem/bar position, my saddle height and fore/aft positioning, my rear shock pressure and tire pressure. Some of these adjustments took a couple iterations until I got a positive result, others were great right off the bat and one resulted in a positive, but unexpected change in how my bike rides. Beyond the instant gratification of having a bike that performs better for me on my local trails I’m slowly, but surely learning how my Nomad works so that when I head to some new trails I can adjust the bike to suit those conditions betters.

It looked steeper when I was riding it!

Another benefit is that I’m paying more attention to what is happening with my bike which has allowed me to alter how I am riding it to help my adjustments along. Front wheel not digging in on a corner?…a little body shift forward to add weight to the tire’s knobs lets them bite in better. Rear tire spinning out wet roots?…a bit of a lunge when my tire touches the root gives me enough momentum to roll over it. Combine some tweaking with some riding skill improvements and you can really amp up your riding.

I love my bike...=-)

So far it’s been a viciously positive cycle as I have more fun on my MTB I want to ride it more which lets me learn my local trails better which makes me want to ride them more and so on. It doesn’t hurt that winter MTBing on the South Shore of Vancouver Island rocks so much. Mild weather. Limited rain. Trails that soak up any precipitation that does fall and stay rideable all year round. And some good friends that like to ride. Simply awesome!

Our ride was golden!

Sure I’m still a little jealous of folks who live in Sedona that commute to work on red desert singletrack, but at the same time I’m pretty stoked to be living in a mountain biking mecca as well. South Shore Style baby – that’s how we roll…=-)~

Of course it's about the bike...

As I prepare for my Baja kiteboarding get away I’m trying to fit in as many rides as I can before I leave. Flying high over the Sea of Cortez and slashing the swell on my surfboard will be super fun, but I will miss the dark, moist South Shore forests and their deviously cunning trails.

Good friends = Good times....

At least I can rest easy knowing the South Shore Noctural Missions Crew will be Shredding The Gnar while I am gone. Keeping the animals wondering what all the bright lights and whooping/hollering in the forest is all about…=-)





How to pack a kiteboard golf bag?

12 12 2011

My kite gear...

Flying with your kiteboarding gear for free inside a golf bag is awesome. The only trouble is you have to get quite a bit of gear in there and transported to your destination without damage. Here is how I packed my Naish Golf Bag for a 4 week trip to Baja coming up this winter.

Tried kites loosely rolled, but the bag's not big enough!

Gear List

  • OR Mako 140
  • OR Mako 150 [had to drop this as my golf bag isn't long enough!]
  • 8m & 10m OR Rise kites + bars
  • kite pump
  • Promotion wetsuit
  • impact vest
  • harness with spreader bar and leash
  • Vibram 5 fingers water shoes
  •  helmet & gloves
  • water sunglasses
  • screwdriver
  • wind speed meter

2 bars with lines in an external pocket...

Get Organized

  • find all your gear and golf bag
  • inspect for damage and repair before you leave
  • clean your stuff getting rid of sand and rock that’ll wear at your stuff in transit

Board underneath & soft goods on top...

Boards

  • pull fins off all boards
  • if you are carrying two boards pull straps/pads and handle off bottom board
  • place bottom board in bag
  • pad top of board lightly with something [I use a 4' x 4' piece of fabric I take with me to sit on]
  • put smaller board on top
  • strap down if your bag has internal straps
  • layer soft items under and on top of your boards to pad them and make best use of your space

I found out that my golf bag is too short for the Mako 150…=-( Damn! No problemo. I’m just going to have to live without. I actually wanted to take my Slingshot Tyrant surfboard so this might motivate me to pay the extra baggage fees and have it down there for the trip.

Kite laid out for inspection then rolling up small...

Soft Goods and Small Items

  • pack your wetsuit, impact vest and other soft items on and around your boards
  • get creative and put sunglasses and wind meter under the binding straps to protect them a bit
  • the goal is to get a soft level surface about even with the top of your bindings
  • I had some extra room so I grabbed 4 pairs of surf shorts I’d otherwise pack in another bag and found room in the golfbag

On a roll...

Kites

  • pull the kites out of their bags
  • strategize how they’ll fit best in the golf bag
  • I tried rolling them long and skinny then I tried folding them in half after rolling them
  • I went with the later option, but there is no wrong answer as long as they fit
  • you might have to roll them up a couple times to get the air out and make ‘em nice and small
  • have some string handy to tie them up once you get them packed down
  • fit them into your bag
  • my kite bars have their own pocket on the outside of the bag

Rolled up and folded small then tied...

Closing the Bag

  • be nice to your zippers and don’t get too aggressive closing them…if you break ‘em you could be screwed just before your trip
  • as you are slowly closing your bag look for any sharp edges or empty spaces you can throw some extra stuff into
  • I ended up adding another towel at the end of the bag since I had some space
  • I used a TSA approved lock on the main bag to keep the airline folks from looking inside the bag and finding my kites [security doesn't care what's in the bag if it's not a threat to flight safety]
  • I used a black ziptie on the external pocket that is holding my bars and lines for the same reasons

Closing the zipper gently...

Stuff Leftover

  • I didn’t fit my pump, harness/spreader bar/leash or helmet in the golf bag
  • I didn’t want any sharp/hard edges damaging my kites or boards so I stuff soft items in the golf bag
  • I’ll find room for the leftover items in my duffel bag which is my second luggage item

Golf bag packed with kite gear...

Now do it again!

  • if you are motivated unpack most of the bag and start again
  • you’ll figure out ways to better use the space
  • you can probably roll your kites tighter
  • I’m done for today, but if I have time later in the week I’ll repack this bag and see if I can get a few more items inside

TSA approved lock...

I generally don’t lock my luggage when I fly. I’m not particularly paranoid about anyone wanting my dirty underwear and kite gear is next to impossible to sell for cash if you aren’t a kiter so the baggage handlers don’t want it. On the other hand I don’t want a snoopy airline check in counter staff member finding out I have kites in my golf bag so I use a TSA approved lock. Security can get inside, but that’s after I checked in and paid any baggage fees – plus they don’t work for the airline so they don’t care what’s in the bag if it’s not dangerous. You can use zipties to achieve the same affect if you don’t have a lock handy.





Cane Creek Adjustable Headset..

11 12 2011

Cane Creek Angleset

If you bike has a 1.5″ of tapered headset you can use an adjustable headset like this one from Cane Creek to adjust the headset angle. You can make it steeper for sharper handling or slacker for more relaxed steering.

I love it!

It’s an expensive [$200+] and esoteric way to tweak your ride, but I think it’s great. You can really fine tune a mountain bike for every trip you go on which is amazingly sweet. Add in a travel adjust fork and you are dialing in your bike’s handling in a way that riders never dreamed of.

Cane Creek Angleset in action...

“The all-new AngleSet threadless headset makes it possible to change the game. With AngleSet the head angle of a mountain bike can be transformed with ease, as the low-stack-height AngleSet offers up to six offset angle adjustments. With steeper or slacker adjustments from 0.5 to 1.5 degrees, dialing in the perfect geometry to attack the trail is a breeze. The design of AngleSet is head-tube length independent and fits most popular head-tube standards. A self-aligning feature between the bearings and the steerer-tube ensures a perfect fit and makes fork installation a snap.”

Cane Creek Angleset product Info Page [click here]

Cups & Covers 7075 T-6 Aluminum
Head-Tube Length Design is head-tube length independent
Alignment Bearings self-align with steerer-tube under compression
Offsets Steeper or Slacker +/- 0.5, +/- 1.0, +/- 1.5 & Neutral 0.0
Crown Race Fully face-sealed crown race
Bearings Dependable black-oxide, sealed cartridge bearings
Interlok® Interlok® spacer compatible
Manufacturing Cut in Cane Creek’s Fletcher, NC machining facility from U.S.- made aluminum




Just Another Night Ride…

10 12 2011

Install your lights and charge your batteries!

Night riding is becoming pretty routine these days. I start by charging up 3 sets of 4AA NiMH batteries to power my Dinotte 200L lights [~200 lumens each]. I check my bike over during the day [this time the borrowed Canfield Nimble 9] and install a Dinotte 200L on its bars. Then around mid-day I gather my gear, pack my hydration pack with essentials and dig out some riding clothing. Scott and/or Aaron usually arrive around 3pm-4pm. We BS for a bit about the latest bike porn we’ve been collectively eyeballing online and figure out a plan of attack for the ride. Then head off into the hills.

Scott Hunter-ing the nearly full moon...

One goofy issue we discovered is that all the parking lots where we usually leave the car are closed after sunset. In the summer that’s no problem, but at the moment we are just arriving as the sunset. We almost got towed on our first night recon mission at Partridge Hills. The park security guard said another 5 minutes and we’d have been pedalling back into to town [with dead lights and no cellphone/wallet!]. So now we have to scope out a spot to leave the vehicle on a public road near the trailhead.

Me moss hopping on the Canfield Nimble 9...

I really enjoyed my test ride on the Nimble 9. If you want to read my post ride impressions jump here and scroll down to the same photo as shown above. Bottom line I enjoyed the 29er hardtail ride. It seems to blend the speed/efficiency of a more road oriented bike with the bump eating prowess of a short travel FS rig without the weight/hassle of rear suspension. It climbs efficiently and was just as maneuverable in the tight stuff as my other MTBs. It slotted in right between the gnar crushing power of my 6″ travel Santa Cruz Nomad and the rock crawling monster trucking Surly Pugsley. I’m not sure I’d get a Canfield Nimble 9, but I’m going to keep checking out 29ers.

A-Man shredding the Gnar with Volcanically Explosif power!

Riding the trails at night is a blast. I’ve smartened up and left the warm clothes at home so I don’t get sweaty and have to stop to shed layers which are then stuffed into my small hydration pack. I’m chilly at the car, but after 5 minutes it’s totally comfortable. The woods just don’t seem as cold as it is in the city at night. We’re not complaining! I’d love a few more lumens of light power out of my lights, but for 4 year old technology they do their job pretty well. I get around 2hrs on high with 4 AA batteries so once my first light dies and I pop in a spare set of batteries and I start to think about riding back towards the car in case we experience a major light failure.

Scott lofting his wheel up onto a tall ledge...

We’ve been lucky here in Victoria lately with dry cool and sunny weather. The trails are in primo shape – a little damp, but not wet so we can ride reasonably hard and still hook up our tires. Part of winter mountain biking here on the Island is learning how much traction you have in various situations and maximizing the potential. After a winter of slick riding we’ll be rock stars in the drier summer conditions!…=-)

Rolling over the top A-Man eyes his line into the darkness...

I’m sure I’ll get sick of night riding at some point, but that will probably coincide with the arrival of spring and day light until I want to crawl into bed. For now I charge my batteries and ride off into the darkness with a smile on my face.





Fat Cat Rubber…

10 12 2011

Cat - "...Dude get a Big Fat Larry already!.."





Nate’s a stud!

9 12 2011

Photo: Caminoloco @ MTBR.com

There is a great post over at MTBR.com’s Fat Tire Forum on installing studs on your Surly Nate fat bike tires. Just click on the photo above to jump there.





One More Session…

9 12 2011




Whistler Freeriding…

8 12 2011

Awesome Photo: Robin O'Neill - click image for story...





Canfield Nimble 9…

8 12 2011

Grant's Canfield Nimble 9 - 29er MTB...

The Canfield Nimble 9 is a boutique bike that is rare by any standards. Scott is my local 29er guru and he turned me onto this frame, but I didn’t expect to actually get to ride one. As it turns out Grant from the Fairfield Bicycle Shop had one in my size that he wants to sell and offered me a test ride. Sweet! Getting to try a unique bike like this very cool so I said I’d love to.

Nimble, but deadly!

The Nimble 9 is a burly 4130 steel frame with sliding dropouts for a clean SS/IGH chainline. There is room for 2.4″+ 29er tires and can be run with 80mm-120mm suspension forks. The short 413mm-429mm chainstays are supposed to make it very maneuverable.

She's got big wheels...

Features:

  • Ultra short Chain Stays for the fastest turning 29” wheeled bike.
  • Adjustable Chain Stay length so you can run single speed or geared.
  • Radial Bent Seat Stays for an extra smooth, comfortable ride.
  • 4130 Cromoly Steel construction: strong, compliant and lasts a life time.
  • Disk Brake compatible only for the best stopping power possible.
  • One water bottle boss for the epic long rides or night riding.
  • Full length seat tube with a 35mm forward offset to give a 73 degree effective seat angle.

Tight rear end...

Frame:

  • Head Angle – 70 Deg. (480 fork w/ 16mm headset)
  • BB Drop – 70mm
  • Chain Stay Length – 16.25-16.9″ (412.75mm-429.26mm)
  • Seat Tube Length – 20” (Lg), 18” (Med.), 16” (Sm)
  • Top Tube Length (effective at full extension) – 24.5 (Lg), 23.75” (Med.), 23” (Sm)
  • Wheel Base – 1093mm (Lg), 1074mm (Med.), 1055mm (Sm)

Sliding dropouts...

Build Specs:

  • 4130 Cromoly
  • Recommend fork length(s) – 3,4,5″
  • Front derailleur – Shimano direct mount
  • Bottom bracket – 73mm x 41mm OD
  • Seat post – 27.2mm OD
  • Seat clamp – 29.8mm ID
  • Rear dropout spacing – 135mm QR
  • Rear Disc Mount – IS (51mm)
  • Headtube – 1 1/8″ x 120 (LG) / 1 1/8″ x 115 (MD) / 1 1/8″ x 110 (SM)

Squishy Manitou Minute fork...

So why would I be interested in this bike other than just straight up bike geekery? Well my riding in the Victoria area features lots of techy sections and twisty turns. I rarely get out of the low range of gears so the awesome bump eating prowess of my Nomad isn’t being well utilized. At the same time what slows me down is my inability to clean techy uphill sections. If I could ride more uphill bits folks would have to wait less for me and I’d feel less gimpy! So that’s my general motivation to try a hardtail and my last Pugsley ride showed definite improvement in that area. I could tweak my Pugsley to be a better mountain bike, but the lack of any suspension would be its limiting factor. Rather than mess with Pugsley success I’ll keep it sand/snow/bikepacking focused and look towards a dedicated MTB.

What is this obsolete technology?...=-)

My Pugsley MTBing experience and riding with Scott has shown me that big wheels roll well over our local rooty/rocky terrain. So a hardtail 29er is going to be my first avenue of attack. The Canfield fits that bill and has sliding dropouts so I can repurpose my 2nd Rohloff to this project. I think the ability to shift instantly without pedalling will be key to conquering some hard uphills.

This saddle is following me around!

Normally if I wanted to try a frame like this I’d have to just order it up sight unseen hoping it fit and that I liked how it handles. With a demo option I can ensure it’s going to work for me and it will be way cheaper buying used than new. Best of all if it doesn’t end up being awesome I can just give it back and I haven’t spent a penny.

The juicy details...

Update with ride review below:

The Good:

  • fast and efficient non-technical climber
  • rolled well over our rooty/rocky terrain [I didn't miss my 26" FS rig]
  • was indeed nimble [sliders set about middle of travel]
  • confident descending
  • easy to get front wheel up over obstacles

The Bad:

  • slack head angle and long fork gave me a lot of wheel flop going up steep climbs
  • hard to keep weight on front wheel [100mm travel fork]
  • 70 seat tub angle meant when I dropped seatpost in techy terrain the effective TT shrank a ton
  • lots of pedal strike on lumpy terrain [175mm cranks]
  • my size 12 feet hit the chainstays a lot [BMX pedals & 5.10 Impact Low shoes]

Feeling Nimble on a 29er at Partridge Hills...

I’m really glad Grant let me have a test ride. You just can’t tell what a bike will be like until you ride it a bunch. He had someone interested in it so I returned it to him. If it’s not sold I may grab it back for another ride and try a lower stem as well as pushing the dropouts all the way back and see what I think. I’d probably run it with an 80mmm fork to get the front end down a bit more.





Night Mission…

7 12 2011

A few changes to the Nomad...

Before our nocturnal assault on Hartland Mountain Bike Park last night I tweaked my Santa Cruz Nomad a bit.

I flipped the stem.

I’ve been wanting a better position for climbing so I flipped the stem to lower the bars a bit. Surprisingly I didn’t find the techy climbing any different, but I did really notice a difference on tight twisty descents. I could plant the front wheel and carve turns more aggressively. It was an excellent modification which I will keep. I think the solution for the techy climbing is twofold:

  1. I just have to attack things more aggressively and use the momentum generated to get me up the first part of the section plus work on my body position more so I maximize traction at the mid-point to generate the power to pop over the top
  2. at some point get an adjustable travel fork so I can drop it 2″ for techy problems and raise it back to a full 6″ of travel on a fast DH run
The cost of an adjustable travel Fox Talas 36 is prohibitive [over $1K] at the moment given that I’ve got a fully functional high end fork. So I’ll work on myself first and upgrade the gear at a later date.

Brooks B17 Narrow with cut out...

I tried a Brooks saddle on the Nomad [sold the Surly 1x1] so I didn’t need it over there. The saddle itself was plenty comfortable for MTBing, but I can’t get enough setback with the seatpost I am using so I’ll be fitting the Selle Anatomica back on it. I’m going to build up a hardtail MTB of some sort in 2012 and this saddle will find a home there most likely.

Scott on his custom Hunter 29er...

Scott has rigidified his custom Hunter 29er just to emphasize how weak and unskilled I am at MTBing…=-)

Sexy steel fork...

It’s crazy how fast and smooth Scott is on this beast.

Worth another look...

His Hunter fork was so pretty I nearly had my VISA card out and cellphone in hand to order up my own custom Hunter.

Der Rohloff!

He’s even got a lovely Rohloff on the back end of his rig.

Up up and away!

He’s a beast once he gets those big 29er wheel up to speed…=-)

Log ride...

In fact he’s so fast I have to fight back by setting his lights to low power so he can barely see where he is going.

Grand Pa dropping a gnarly 1' hump...

We ended up at Hartland since we’ve been to Partridge Hills something like 10 times in a row and needed a change of pace. For night riding Hartland has the advantage of being mapped and having reflective trail markers so we always had a reasonable idea of where we were. We hike a biked up to the top of a downhill run which made Scott happy and was pretty fun going the other way for me. I can’t believe how warm it is in the forest at night lately. I’ve been stripping off layers after the first 5 mins and end up riding in the same gear I would in the summer just with a long sleeve shirt in stead of a T-shirt. Awesome!

Scott racing for the car - luckily I had the keys!

Another great night ride in the bag!…=-) Thanks to Aaron for loaning Scott a set of lights and that’s to the folks that designed and built us a fun MTB park to play in.

BTW – I should once again say that my Dinotte lights rocked. They take a beating and keep on lighting a fun path down the trail…=-)





Yoga Girl…

6 12 2011




Pugsley vs. Regular MTB…

6 12 2011




Jeff Jones Spaceframe Semi-Fat…

5 12 2011

Click here for more info...

Jeff Jones is making some beautiful spaceframe 29er MTBs that have room up front for a fat tire so you can go semi-fat and enjoy a mildly suspended 29er without a squishy fork. They look like works of art for sure. I found some sweet owner photos of these bikes over at MTBR that is worth a look – very drool worthy.

Frame details...