OTB Bitch!

28 02 2013
Roll down...

Roll down…

Sadly I wasn’t wearing a GoPro when I went over the bars on my mountain bike. I’m sure it would have provided some comical viewing.

Getting used to the red rocket...

Getting used to the red rocket…

I’m happy to report that the bike is fine! :)

Back in the forest...

Back in the forest…

I’m fine except for a tweaked right wrist. Nothing broken or too badly sprained, but I won’t be shredding for a week or so. :(

She didn't stay clean for long...

She didn’t stay clean for long…

I was at a hockey game last night with some local mountain bikers and the laundry list of injuries [broken wrists, blown up knees, severe tendonitis, sprained hands/wrists, etc...] made me feel like less of a klutz.

Little did I know of my impending doom!

Little did I know of my impending doom!

After riding in Baja for 2 months of blessed traction I guess I had to be reminded that traction in the BC rain forest in winter is a luxury you can’t take for granted!





From Fell to Forest…

27 02 2013




New Look…

26 02 2013
Gratuitous LHT porn...

Gratuitous LHT porn…

Update: looks like the old theme Freshly is working again so back we go.

The old blog theme on WordPress went all wonky on me so I grabbed a new one. I’m not sure this one will stick, but it’s working for now. My main complaint is that posts containing just a Vimeo or Youtube video don’t show any visual preview on the main page of the blog. So you have to click through to the post to see them – not ideal.

If anyone has any cunning ideas how to fix that let me know. I like the rest of the Oxygen Theme. :)





New improved Jones Diamond Frame + Unicrown Fork…

25 02 2013
Jeff Jones headtube badge...

Jeff Jones headtube badge…

Click on any of these images to read a post on Jeff Jones’ Blog about the new and improved diamond frame and unicrown fork he is selling. The attention to quality and detail is quite impressive.

EBB for clean SS/FG or IGH setups..

EBB for clean SS/FG or IGH setups..

Jeff also mentions in his blog that he is testing out a new prototype frame. From the photo below it looks like he has a new frame that can take Surly’s 29×3 .0″ Knard tires on 50mm rims – front & rear. That would be rad! :)

Jeff shredding a prototype...

Jeff shredding a prototype…

I’ve admired Jeff’s bikes for a while now, but I’ve been waiting on a full fat Jones before taking any action. A 29er+ Jones would probably be as good if not better. I hope we’ll hear some details on what Jeff has in mind and get an idea on the timeframe for seeing a production frame.

Stay tuned for some news as soon as I get it….





For Sale On One Scandal 29er MTB Frame and Fork…

23 02 2013
My On One Scandal 29er in bikepacking mode...

My On One Scandal 29er in bikepacking mode…

I’ve decided to sell my On One Scandal 29er frame and fork. This is an excellent XC 29er mountain bike. It’s well suited to a role as a bikepacking rig. It comes with SS/IGH dropouts and vertical dropouts so you can run a derailleur. The build quality, finish and attention to detail on this frame is outstanding. It puts my Surly frames to shame.

The fork and frame are in mint condition with very little signs of use and probably under 1000kms of riding on it. With a lot of that being non-technical bikepacking rides.

Scandal in Sedona...

Scandal in Sedona…

It’s a great bike so why am I selling it?

Our terrain around here is technical and steep. I’m finding the XC geometry of the Scandal isn’t ideal for mountain biking where I live. If I am going to have 2 mountain bikes I need to enjoy the second one on the trails as well as for bikepacking trips. My plan is to get another 29er with slacker geometry that will handle the steeps better.

Bikepacking with the Scandal...

Bikepacking with the Scandal…

Here are some Scandal features:

  • AL frame [no rusting] – 19.5″ frame with ~24.5″ effective TT
  • frame weight ~3.5lbs
  • sweet anodized stealth black finish with subtle laser engraved logos
  • tapered heattube
  • lots of clearance in frame for big rubber and mud [up to 29 x 2.5"]
  • swappable horizontal or vertical dropouts
  • accepts a dropper post
  • gusseted downtube for durability
  • large frame triangle for decent sized frame bag
  • rear rack mounts for touring or utility riding versatility
  • Rock Shox Reb RLT 100mm fork + spare seal kit [mint condition]
  • On One headset installed

You can see tons of photos of the bike at this link.

Downtube detail...

Downtube detail…

Price:

  • frame + Reba RLT + headset + BB = $600USD
  • shipping = $50USD anywhere in Canada/US
  • will pack the frame/fork very well for safe shipping
  • I will give preference to a local sale.
Dekerf style seatstay/seattube junction...

Dekerf style seatstay/seattube junction…

My experience with On One was great and I’ll certainly consider another one of their frames. The design details and build quality is one level higher than my usual affordable frame solution – Surly. In fact the only frames I have seen that are nicer are custom builds that cost 7 – 10 times as much.

Swappable horizontal dropouts...

Swappable horizontal dropouts…

Note the rear brake is mounted inside the rear triangle for a clean build.

Red rocking and rolling...

Red rocking and rolling…

Who should buy this frame/fork?

  • I’m 5’11” with a 33″ inseam and long arms
  • I wouldn’t recommend the Scandal for anyone smaller than me
  • someone larger can fit fine as I used a very short stem
  • this would be a very nice XC race bike or XC trail bike
  • it’s versatile so you can bike tour with it using a rear rack
  • or you can bikepack with a set of frame bags
  • setup with an IGH it’s very low maitenance
Headtube/top tube detail...

Headtube/top tube detail…

You can read my review of the Scandal 29er here and you can read another review of the Scandal 29er here.

Thumbs up for the Scandal 29er...

Thumbs up for the Scandal 29er…

There are a bunch of reviews of the Scandal 29er on MTBR at this link.

Alfine 11 IGH drivetrain...

Alfine 11 IGH drivetrain…

In its current build it’s a perfect bikepacking rig and a low maintenance XC trail bike.

Schwalbe Racing Ralph + Stans Flow rim + Hope Pro II hubs...

Schwalbe Racing Ralph + Stans Flow rim + Hope Pro II hubs…





All or Nothing…

22 02 2013




Shimano Zee Derailleur Review…

22 02 2013
Photo: Matt Wragg @ Pink Bike...

Photo: Matt Wragg @ Pink Bike…

Click on the photo above to jump to a Pink Bike review of the Shimano Zee rear derailleur. I’m going to try one of these on my Nomad to quiten my ride on our chunky/rooty terrain. The Zee is pretty affordable and seems light enough while remaining durable.





Scott’s new Rick Hunter Fatty…

21 02 2013
This rig is headed to NAHBS...

This rig is headed to NAHBS…

Scott from Porcelain Rocket has made peace with moving to a city with winter by scoring a slick Rick Hunter custom fat bike. ;) It’s got fat bike wheels [Rolling Darryls and Big Fat Larry tires] with an extended mini-cargo bike wheelbase for stability and hauling power. Naturally it sports a sweet set of Scott’s custom bike bags. :)

This bike is headed to NAHBS so you’ll no doubt see many amazing photographs of it in the coming days.

The bike without bags...

The bike without bags…

Update: there are some nice photos of the bare frame/fork at Rick Hunter’s Flickr.





Strappless On Shore Wave Kiting…

21 02 2013




New Santa Cruz Bike 1 April 2013!

20 02 2013
My guess 650B Nomad! :)

My guess 650B Nomad! :)





Pugsley wheel weight savings…

19 02 2013
Surly Rolling Darryl rims...

Surly Rolling Darryl rims…

I was curious how much weight my wheels would lose with my swap to Rolling Darryl rims and possibly going tubeless.

  • Rolling Darryl rims +890g [powder coating is ~30g]
  • Surly rim strip +95g
  • Stans 3oz +90g
  • split tube +175g
  • Surly fat tube -425g
  • Large Marge DH -1150
  • rim tape -50g

Net loss per wheel is 375g or 0.83lb if I go tubeless or 215g/0.47lb if I stick with tubes.

Some people are going fat tubeless without a split tube for even greater weight savings – maybe 475-500g [~1lb] per wheel assuming some extra foam/tape/sealant is required. I think I’d just use the split tube since it seems so easy/reliable.

For interests sakes I weighed an Endomorph and it came out to 1200g which is on the light end of the fat tire spectrum so I don’t see any weight savings available there.





Kiteboarding Peru…

19 02 2013
Peru...

Peru…

KSurf Magazine has a nice article about kiting in Peru on page 111 of issue 36. This e-zine is free if you want to check it out.





Stuff I am working on…

18 02 2013
My Nomad in pieces...

My Nomad in pieces…

Coming back from a big trip always seems like a let down. The realities of everyday life get in the way of non-stop fun. Catching up on work. Paying bills. Surviving a heinous cold. No drinking beer at 9am. The usual. =(

My biking has been limited to urban adventures of the errand running kind. Not exactly terrible, but I’ve been itching to get out in the dirt again.

Work has other plans for me. I’ve got to take care of a project out of town next week and this week has been insane getting ready to leave.

That’s just as well since my Santa Cruz Nomad is completely dismantled. I dropped it off at Oak Bay Bikes to get her put back together while I am away. By the time I get back she’ll be rolling again with some minty fresh parts ready to get dirty.

I realized that my interest in getting a 650B mountain bike will take some time to become a reality. The companies I am keen on haven’t put out a 650B model yet and I should hold off a year once they do to let any kinks get worked out. That means another year or two of rocking the Nomad.

That’s cool by me since the Nomad makes me smile. However, I figured there were a few upgrades worth undertaking if I was going to keep riding my trusty mountain bike. So stay tuned for some modest bike bling. :)

Red Surly Rolling Darryls...

Red Surly Rolling Darryls…

I got my fat bike rims back from the powder coater. They are shiny red now and ready to get swapped into my Pugsley’s wheels. My bike budget is tied up in the Nomad rebuild so these wheels will have to wait until March. That’s fine – I don’t have any fat bike missions on the books at the moment.

Slow and steady wins the race! ;)





Fat Sands Bikes…

15 02 2013
Fat Sands on the beach...

Fat Sands on the beach…

No walking in sand...

No walking in sand…

Going the other way...

Going the other way…





S&S Coupled Fatbike with Snowshoe Racks…

15 02 2013
Fatbike...

Fatbike…

I ran across this fatbike on MTBR.com. It’s S&S coupled and has custom racks made from snowshoes and poles. I figured it was ingenious enough that it was worth sharing. Click on either image to jump to the original post.

Now it's a sled!

Now it’s a sled!

“The S&S Fat Bike is the best thing I have ever purchased! With the trips all over the state of Alaska for work or fun this bike is the ticket! I have had it in a Super Cub,180, 207, Beaver, etc… and I have taken to the lower 48. I have saved over $200 (on Delta) per trip. The wheels are in a second bag.

The real reason why I had this bike custom made was for the conditions when you cannot ride. In 2009 during my ride to Nome, Mother Nature threw us for a loop & I pushed my bike hundreds of miles…during this long stretch of postholing, I decided that I needed a bike that could break apart. As soon as I returned to Anchorage, I talked with the guys at AK Chain Reaction to see if they could custom build one for me. Chain Reaction contracted the first S&S Fat bike through Litespeed. I then designed my own custom sled & modified my snowshoes to complete the package. It’s tested & proven & works great!

Billy Koitzsch

Arctic Cycles”





The making of a KS Lev seatpost….

14 02 2013
lev

Photo: Matt Wragg via Pink Bike…

I love my height adjustable seatposts. They are one of the best upgrades to any mountain bike that gets ridden on technical terrain. At least that’s my opinion! I can’t imagine going back to a non-adjustable seatpost on my MTBs. The Kind Shock seatpost on my Nomad has been going strong for a couple years now. I ran into this article over at Pink Bike that walks you through how they are made. If that sort of thing is of interest click the image above.

Ksi900r adjustable seat post...

My Nomad’s Ksi900r adjustable seat post…





Dirt Rag Arrowhead 135 Photos…

13 02 2013
Photo: Jeremy Kershaw from Dirt Rag...

Photo: Jeremy Kershaw from Dirt Rag…

I found these great photos via VeloDirt from the 2012 Arrowhead 135 race. Well worth a look if fat bikes and winter racing interest you. Click on the image to jump to the Dirt Rag site.

You can read an account from the 2013 edition of the AH135 over at the Salsa Blog:





Inspecting my Shimano Alfine 8 IGH…

12 02 2013
My Alfine 8...4yrs old and never maintained...

My Alfine 8 IGH…4yrs old and never maintained…

With some new Surly Rolling Darryl rims ready to be built up for my Pugsley I couldn’t put off inspecting my Alfine 8 IGH any longer. I bought it new over 4yrs ago and have never opened it up. To be honest I was a little worried what I would find inside and I was prepared to buy a new hub rather then spend the $$ building up a wheel set with compromised parts

A filthy Pugsley ready for some love after 9000kms on the back of my truck...

A filthy Pugsley ready for some love after 9000kms on the back of my truck…

Here is an outline of what my Alfine 8 has been through:

  • 6 months on the beach in Baja
  • 2 Canadian winters
  • bikepacking
  • winter mountain biking on Vancouver Island
  • 1 trip to burning man
  • 5 chains
  • 1 set of trashed Phil Woods BB bearings
Disc side of Alfine...

Disc side of Alfine…

My plan was to inspect the hub myself at home and then take it to the Fairfield Bike Shop for any maintenance it needed. If the hub was not worth a new rim I’d keep it built up with the Large Marge as a spare for our Pugsleys and buy a new hub.

I found the following useful guides for overhauling an Alfine 8 IGH:

Ready for surgery...

Ready for surgery…

Taking the IGH apart is straightforward – about a 15 min job taking your time. You’ll find the instructions in the links above.

This video will also walk you through it.

My Alfine 8 internals...

My Alfine 8 internals…

I was ready for all kinds of badness when I pulled the internals out. This hub has been used hard and didn’t owe my anything. So you can imagine my shock when the damn thing looked perfect.

Looking good...

Looking good…

And I’m not kidding about that when I say perfect. No rust. No dirt. No water. The factory grease was still clearly in place.

The empty hub shell...

The empty hub shell…

I was very impressed and changed my plans. I didn’t see any point in going through the cleaning and relubing process when the original grease was in such good shape. The oil lube promised even better hub efficiency, but when I thought about it ease of maintenance and reliability was more important to me than slightly easier rolling. Plus I can always strip the grease and relube with oil later now that I see how easy opening the hub is.

Non-driveside bearing race/inner lock nut...

Non-driveside bearing race/inner lock nut…

I cleaned the cones on both sides and made sure they were looking good. Everything was running great so I didn’t see the point in trying to break the hub down further. With my luck I would screw up a perfectly good hub trying to make it “better”!

Time to grease and reassemble...

Time to grease and reassemble…

I should have cleaned the driveside of the IGH before I cracked it open. Since I didn’t I was careful I didn’t contaminate the internals.

Alfine porn...

Alfine porn…

The only lubing I did was adding some grease to both outboard bearings to help keep water out of the hub.

Dropping the internals back in...

Dropping the internals back in…

I sealed the Alfine 8 IGH back up and ensured the locknuts weren’t too tight.

Time to deal with the external bits...

Time to deal with the external bits…

Next up was a quick clean up of the external parts of the hub.

Just a little bit dirty...

Just a little bit dirty…

Baja wasn’t kind to the drivetrain.

Time for chain #6...

Time for chain #6…

The cog and the chainring show some wear, but I figured I’ll get another year out of them. The chain on the other hand is trashed – another year – another $16!

Chain KIA - the rest is fine with some love..

Chain KIA – the rest is fine with some love..

I didn’t bother reassembling the hub 100% as its next move will be to a truing stand for the Rolling Darryl rim swap. Once clean I bagged all the small parts so they wouldn’t get lost.

The disc rotor looks good...

The disc rotor looks good…

For a final test I threw the rear wheel back in the frame and gave it a spin. It rotated for a long time confirming the axle wasn’t overly tight and that the new grease didn’t cause any significant drag. I also checked the hub for lateral play- loose is bad.

Back whens he was new...

Back when she was new…

I expected this mission to end with some saddness and possibly some $$ being spent on a new hub. I’m still amazed the internals are in such good shape. Perhaps not good as new, but certainly worth transfering over to the rebuilt wheels.

Nice one Shimano! :)





Velocity P35 Rims & Continental Trail King Tires Redux…

11 02 2013
Purple power...

Purple power…

I love the Velocity P35 rim and Continental Trail King 2.4″ tire combo. I was especially impressed how well the larger diameter tire rolled over chunky terrain and how precise the steering was with the wide tire and wide rim. For me there is no going back to “normal” MTB tires and rims. My next MTB will be a 650B rig with wide P35 rims and wide rubber. I suspect that will be the even better than my current setup.

Sharon's Nomad with my wheels...

Sharon’s Nomad with my P35 wheels…

Sharon listens to my gear babbling and smiles like she’s really listening, but I’m pretty sure it all comes across as “..blah blah blah tire blah blah blah bike blah blah blah traction…” However, just before I left for Baja I was so amped about how well my P35/Trail Kings were working vs. the “normal” rims/rubber combo she decided to try my wheels out on her Nomad while I was gone.

Old and new P35 wheels...

Old and new P35 wheels…

She went on her usual Dirt Girls rides with my wheels/tires. I didn’t really hear too much feedback on how it all worked for her, but as I was heading north I mentioned I’d need to swap my wheels back onto my bike and she’d be back on her old wheels. I was met with heavy resistance!!! Apparently she noticed the improved performance and didn’t want to go back to a “normal” setup again. I didn’t blame her, but I wanted my wheels back!

Rubber Queen 2.4" tires & Velocity P35 rims...

Rubber Queen 2.4″ tires & Velocity P35 rims…

So we compromised on the idea of getting her old wheels rebuilt with Velocity P35 rims and buying her some 2.4″ Trail King tires. In a hostage situation like this it is always best to give them what they want if you can. ;)

Sharon with her new bike bling...

Sharon with her new bike bling…

Since I was in the US at the time we were able to order rims straight from Velocity. That meant less hassles, cheaper cost and better colour selection. Getting Velocity rims in Canada can be a chore! I’ve got to say the anodized purple rims she got look super sweet – much nicer than my painted red P35s. Next time I need P35s I’ll be getting some of the anodized ones – they look better and the finish is more robust.

Pretty slick...

Pretty slick…

We got the rims swapped locally at Oak Bay Bikes and reused the old spokes. We grabbed a Stan’s Freeride Tubeless kit from the Russ Hayes Bike Shop. The tubeless setup would have been pretty straight forward like it was for my P35’s, but I didn’t read the instructions and relied on my faulty memory. Missing 1 small, but key step I struggled for a couple beers until I went back and read the instructions. After that it wasn’t very hard to get everything to seal and hold air. I would note we’ve always used the UST version of the Trail Kings. I’m not sure that’s necessary for a good tubeless setup, but it probably helps.

Rubber Queen aka Trail King tread detail...

Rubber Queen aka Trail King tread detail…

You’ll notice her tires are labelled Rubber Queen rather than Trail King. They are the same tire. For some reason in Europe they are called Rubber Queen and in North America they are called Trail King – perhaps the European name sounded to fetishistic for our prudish tastes?? ;)

Just enough clearance in the fork and frame...

Just enough clearance in the fork and frame…

All in all Sharon is stoked to have the new wheels/tires. She likes the way they look and the way they perform.

Sharon's Nomad ready to roll...

Sharon’s Nomad ready to roll…

BTW – Velocity P35 rims may now be called Blunt 35 rims. I’m not 100% on the name change, but that’s what I have heard and Sharon’s rims came labelled Blunt 35. It’s also possible it’s a Velocity USA vs. Velocity OZ thing and both model names may be in play.





Pugsley Frame Failures…

10 02 2013
Seat stays at seat tube...

Seatstays at seat tube…

Based on the reports of quite a few Surly Pugsley owners on MTBR.com there seems to be a problem with a fair number of Pugsleys made in the last few years. Cracks are appearing where the seatstays attach to the seattube and where the cahinstays attach to the BB. The cracks seem to all be on the non-drive side of the bike.

You’ve got a 3yr warranty on your Surly so as long as you keep an eye on this and report it within the warranty period Surly will give you a new frame. Not everybody is experiencing this problem so I wouldn’t panic, but it’s wide spread enough to warrant regular inspection of the affected areas.

Chainstays at BB...

Chainstays at BB…

Both of my 2009 Pugsleys have been used hard and don’t show any cracking. Surly has changed the way these parts of the bike are attached to each other for 2013 so the problem should be solved.

Trying to crack my Pugs! ;)

Trying to crack my Pugs! ;)

Update: apparently some of the new Pugsley frames are cracking as well. Not sure what to say about that. Yikes!

Update 2: Surly posted some info on their blog about cracked Pugsley frames.





Can a fat bike be your only mountain bike?

8 02 2013

Dropping in on the Green Machine…

Update: I’m reposting this from a year ago because I keep reading the same question from folks online. I figured it was worth putting out there again. Interestingly the 2012 new product cycle has come and gone without a reasonable cost production fat suspension fork being announced. That means for now most fat bikes will remain rigid unless you want to order a fork from Europe [ie. Sandman] or get something modified to work. So that’s really the question you need to ask yourself – Can a rigid bike be my only mountain bike?

If you are taking the time to read this post you probably already know that fat bikes are not just for snow or sand anymore. People are starting to ride fat bikes on trails that they could ride with a standard 2.1″-2.4″ mountain bike tire. Two questions I get asked frequently are 1) can a fat bike be my only mountain bike? and 2) why ride a fat bike on a trail that a normal MTB can ride?

Can a fat bike be your only MTB?

The short answer is yes.

The longer answer is yes, but you need to be realistic about what a fat bike can do well and what it’s not ideal for.

First off most fat bikes are rigid. Yes there are some niche suspension options, but nothing that I would say is reasonably priced, widely available and high performance. That will change in the next year or two, but for now you are most likely going to be riding a fully rigid fat bike. That’s good in that it will be low maintenance for harsh environments. Fat tires do provide some very limited suspension action all on their own when properly inflated. A rigid bike can be fast and efficient on smooth trails. However, as the trail gets rougher and rougher you have to slow down to maintain control plus you’ll have to stand a bunch to absorb impacts. The end result is a slower more tiring ride on rough terrain.

Secondly most fat bikes are heavy with slow rolling rubber. In order to keep costs low in a niche part of the bike industry companies are specing their bikes with heavy cheap parts and basic frame tubes. Given that wheels, tires and tubes on a fat bike are bigger than a normal MTB to begin with using heavy parts here exacerbates the problem. If you have the know how and $$$ you can put your fat bike on diet the same as any bike. Although if you are going to spend $4K on a light fat bike you might want to consider spending $2K on a stock fat bike and $2K on a light stock 29er hardtail to get more bang for your buck. Riding a heavy bike is tiring if your trails involve a lot of climbing and constant accelerations. OTOH smooth rolling trails don’t penalize a heavy bike as much.

Thirdly what do your buddies ride? The bike you ride will dictate the trails you prefer, the speed you ride and the distance you ride. If your friends are on rigid 29er single speed rigs a fat bike would likely fit into the mix a lot better than if they had uber light XC bikes or 6″+ travel all mountain bikes.

Fourthly how steep and techy are the trails you ride? Production fat bikes have pretty middle of the road MTB geometries that are good for XC riding and plowing through snow. They don’t have the super slack angles of an all mountain rig. As the downhills get steeper and rougher you won’t be smiling nearly as much as you could on a fully suspended MTB with really slack angles. The steering geometries of fat bikes are starting to vary a bit more from somewhat slacker snow friendly options like the Salsa Mukluk, to all rounders like the Surly Pugsley and dirt specific designs like the new On One dirt specific fat bike. So it’s worth doing your research before you buy.

How fit and skilled a rider are you? The better the engine and skill set the less of a handicap a heavy rigid bike is. In fact if you are the strongest rider in your posse a fat bike might be just the challenge you need to stay even with your friends. OTOH if you struggle to keep up with your regular riding partners as is do you want to make each ride more challenging?

Do you ride alone or will you be riding with other fat bikers? As soon as you take other bikers or other types of bikes out of the equation the unique capabilities of a fat bike really shine. As an exploration rig and a fun machine the big soft tires on your fat bike will let you go places and ride in ways you never thought about before.

So ultimately the answer is that a fat bike is a mountain bike and there is no reason you can’t ride it on your local dirt trails. Rigid is fun, simple and easy to maintain. Just don’t loose sight of the downsides.

Fatties – not just for snow!

Why ride a fat bike on dirt trails?

It’s not unreasonable to ask why bother riding a fat bike on dirt trails when the big rubber isn’t needed for flotation. Here are my top 10 reasons…

  1. you already have a fat bike and don’t want to buy a 2nd rig.
  2. you want an excuse to buy a fat bike, but don’t have snow or sand locally.
  3. you’ve ridden your local trails so many times on normal MTBs you are looking for a fresh perspective on the same dirt.
  4. rigid fat bikes provide an efficient semi-suspended ride that’s very fun.
  5. you want to explore your local area more and need fat tire floatation/traction at some points of your rides to do so.
  6. your local trails are only rideable year round with fat rubber.
  7. you are so strong and generally awesome that you need a handicap for rides with your friends/SO to be fun.
  8. your regular full suspension MTB is a maintenance hog if ridden in wet sloppy conditions so you want a rain/mud bike.
  9. you have no idea what’s going on, but you can’t stop thinking about riding a fatty.
  10. all the cool kids are doing it….=-)

The green zone…

29er Fatty MTB

Note that you can convert almost all fat bikes to standard 29er MTBs with a second wheelset and possibly a suspension fork. The 170mm symmetrical rear dropout fat bike frames work best for this conversion. Once completed you’ll have a 29er with a ton of tire clearance! This might be a good option if you want to use all your stock fat bike parts and spend your upgrade $$ on a light 29er wheelset. Setting up a fat bike as a rigid 29er is no problem. If you want to add a 29er suspension fork you’ll have to consider the stock fork length vs. the suspension fork length and determine whether the fat bike’s handling will be negatively affected. Keep in mind once you roll on 29er MTB hoops it’s really not a fatty any more!

Photo: It’s Time to Ride Blog

The Future

As fat bikes continue to gain market share and folks ride them more on dirt you’ll see lighter stock bikes being sold by the major players as well as dirt specific designs which will include hardtails as well as fully suspended fat bikes. Once we have light suspended fat bikes readily available the answer to these questions will change. If you can’t wait and have a lot of $$$ to spend you can get a custom built fully suspended fat bike from a number of bike builders.

Scott rocks my Pugsley…

My Reality

I ride my Surly Pugsley on our local trails as a straight up mountain bike. Not because I need to or I have any aspirations for a 1 bike fleet. It’s a great all around bike that puts a smile on my face when I throw a leg over it. With no suspension and an IGH it’s very low maintenance which is ideal for our sloppy winter conditions and the traction of huge 4″ knobbies isn’t a bad thing either when our trails are wet. I do get beat up a lot more on the Pugsley than on my 29er hardtail or 26er full suspension bike so I ride less aggressively and I don’t use it every ride. I’ve been keeping tabs on the current state of the art in fat suspension forks. I may well buy one at some point, but so far the cost/performance/availability curves haven’t hit a sweet spot for me. I understand some of the major players have fat forks in the works so I’m hopeful there will be something I’m stoked about out for the 2013 or 2014 riding season.

I don’t see myself getting rid of the Pugsley until the frame dies of natural causes. It’s a very versatile fat bike for XC riding, snow/sand missions and bikepacking. Once fat suspension hits the mainstream I could probably be talked into a new fat bike designed to work with a suspension fork…possibly even a full suspension rig. The Pugsley has a short stock fork on it which doesn’t lend itself to adding suspension without compromising the steering geometry. If I do get a hardtail or full squish fatty the Pugsley will get refocused as a soft conditions machine. A mission it tackles well.

Update: I’ve decided to give up on the Pugsely as a MTB. My Nomad does a better job and between full suspension and huge 2.4″ tires gets enough traction to ride our trails in winter. The maintenance issue is the only drawback, but riding a fully rigid MTB on our rocky/rooty trails wasn’t as much fun as I had hoped. I’m going to keep it for soft conditions use and for bikepacking.





Dinotte XML-3 & XML-1 Mountain Bike Light Review…

7 02 2013

I’ve been using a Dinotte XML-3 [~1000 lumens] and a Dinotte XML-1 [~400 lumens] for over a year now although only in winter as our summers feature uber long periods of daylight in Canada. They are great mountain bike lights and Dinotte has great customer service. MTBR.com did a review of these lights as well as a comparison with 48 other mountain bike lights so I figured I’d point you at that rather than reinventing the wheel. Besides it’s not like I can afford to buy 50 high bike lights to test and review! ;)

Dinotte XML-3 on my Scandal...

Dinotte XML-3 on my Scandal…

XML-3 LEDs...

XML-3 LEDs…

One thing I must point out is these are high powered mountain bike lights for use on trails or out in the middle of nowhere. They shine their powerful beams indiscriminately onto the trail, road and into people’s eyes if they are headed towards you on a bike or in a car. They are so powerful they will literally blind oncoming traffic. Just like driving around town at night with your high beam lights in your car is not cool – using these as commuter lights anywhere with other traffic is not cool. I suspect we aren’t too far from seeing these sorts of lights regulated for road/MUP use since the cost to lumens is so low now anyone can afford a devastatingly bright light. In Germany it would be illegal to use these lights on your bike on the road and I agree that’s the correct approach.

Dinotte XML-1 mounted to my helmet...

Dinotte XML-1 mounted to my helmet…

Here is my summary of what I like about these lights:

  • reasonable cost for brightness and quality
  • symmetric beam works well for mountain bike trail use
  • Dinotte provides excellent customer service
  • these lights are repairable if needed unlike disposal Chinese lights
  • my oldest Dinottes are 6yrs old and going strong with no repairs
  • all lights made in the USA
  • one of the easiest and best mounting systems I’ve used
  • available in both AA battery and L-Ion battery versions
  • small profile so they don’t look goofy or take up a ton of room on your bars if you have the installed day and night
XML-3 with L-Ion battery pack...

XML-3 with L-Ion battery pack…

If Dinotte ever made a light with a vertical cut off optic like the Edelux I’d buy one for city use.





Rene Herse Bicycle Show 23 Feb 2013 [near NAHBS]

5 02 2013
Click image for event details...

Click image for event details…

Rene Herse and Boulder Bicycle will be holding a large display of their fine bicycles near the NAHBS location in Denver on 23 Feb 2013. Click on the image above for all the details. It should be pretty interesting and if you are in Denver for NAHBS it’s well worth checking out.

I wish I could make it!





S’Up-date…

4 02 2013
Warming the body and feeding the stoke before hitting the waves...

Warming the body and feeding the stoke before hitting the waves…

My interest in SUPs hasn’t been as strong the last couple years as I had hoped it would be. Even when I showed up in Baja this winter I unloaded my two SUPs and they sat next to my camp unused for the whole time I was in La Ventana. I had actually begun to think I should sell them as they seemed one interest too far removed from the kiteboarding and cycling that got most of my free time.

I’m really glad I didn’t!

Heading out into the waves...

Heading out into the waves…

I decided to spend a week camped on a bluff over looking a point break on Baja’s Pacific Coast with a goal to dial in my SUP surfing. First chance I got I unpacked my SUP and headed out into the waves. The results were not pretty at first, but I stuck with it and by day 2 I was catching waves and having a blast. SUP surfing was super duper fun! :) After that I was SUP surfing everyday that conditions were suitable.

Paddling to catch a wave...

Paddling to catch a wave…

Looking back on the SUP part of my life what’s causing the lack of participation is that I have other interests in Victoria [mainly MTBing] that are easier to do and more satisfying than going on a flatwater SUP paddle. I guess that’s not terribly surprising since my interest in going for a chill road ride or a hike is also pretty much zero.

My buddy Clint showing me how it's done...

My buddy Clint showing me how it’s done…

I’ve tried my hand at SUP surfing before, but never quite gotten far enough along to really do it or enjoy it fully. Being a beginner who is just below the threshold for competence is frustrating and the surfing world [in general] does not make a kook feel welcome. Combine that with the logistics of driving to a surf break from my house and having my arrival coincide with suitable newbie SUP surfing conditions. The result was not enough traction to get over the “hump” so to speak.

More Clint SUP action...

More Clint SUP action…

Spending a week camped right at an uncrowded surf break that had perfect SUP waves was exactly what the doctor ordered. My buddy Clint who camped with me is an accomplished SUP surfer and he gave me the tips I needed to make a break through. By the end I was paddling around with confidence and catching a reasonable amount of waves. I feel okay calling myself a bonafide SUP surfer now – albeit a kooky one who still has lots and lots to learn. ;)

My new old surf SUP...

My new old surf SUP…

When I bought my first two SUPs used from The Easy Rider in Edmonton one of them was the 9’8″ surf oriented SUP shown above. I’ve never really used that board because it’s not suited for flatwater paddling and I was happy trying to surf on my bigger SUPs – not wanting to make things more challenging than I had to. Now that I can actually catch waves the smaller size and enhanced maneuverability of this SUP is appealing. In fact it’s the same board Clint was riding so I know it can surf really well. It’s nice to have paid off your next surfboard upgrade several years in the past!

Starboard Extremist 9'8" surf SUP...

Starboard Extremist 9’8″ surf SUP…

I’m going to take advantage of my less than full time contract hours and head to Jordan River this winter when conditions look decent for my skill level. I figure if I hit the break early on mid-week days I should have the place mostly to myself. Especially considering the modest swell size that I’ll be shooting for!

This is what it feels like to me even when the waves are only 3' high... ;)

This is what it feels like to me even when the waves are only 3′ high… ;)

I’m really glad I stuck with SUP surfing and dedicated a week in Baja to making it happen. :)





Naish TV – Hood River…

1 02 2013