2yrs of Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL Riding…

29 03 2013
Sharon eager to ride...

Sharon eager to ride…

It’s been a little over 2 years since we took home our Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL. It’s 20″ wheeled travel tandem that packs into a suitcase and a half for travel or storage. This is our first tandem bicycle so our opinions are based on lots of Bike Friday riding, but near zero “normal” tandem rides.

I’m going to tackle 3 issues that were of concern when I was doing my pre-purchase research for this bike and discuss them now that we have some time under our tandem belts. If you want to read my previous tandem posts just click here and my tandem Flickr photos are here.

Maintenance

When I asked around in tandem forums about Bike Friday tandems I had several people tell me they required tons of maintenance to stay functional. That the shifting and braking would go out of whack and the frame needed to be checked and adjusted frequently. I’m lazy and I wasn’t super excited to spend a ton of time working on this bike. Since it’s a tandem it often sits all week and then gets pulled out last minute on the weekend when we decide to do something in town. Not having a reliable bike we can just jump on would curtail a lot of our tandem riding.

I’m happy to report that the tandem has been utterly reliable for us. I built it up following Bike Friday’s owner’s manual. It was my first Bike Friday build as my other Fridays came professionally assembled from the factory. So this bike was built up just like anyone who landed at a touring destination would build up their new tandem. The only maintenance I’ve done to it so far was adjusting the tension of the timing chain last week before the Victoria Populaire. That took 2mins and I took care of it outside a coffee shop while Sharon procured some java.

Handling

I was prepared for a significant learning curve when I got the tandem. I didn’t want to crash and kill Sharon’s tandem stoke. So I had a bunch of Sunday empty parking lot training sessions planned to ease into it. Our enthusiasm got the better of us and we ended up spending 3-4hrs on our first ride going into downtown to run errands. Perhaps it was my years of cargo bike experience, but the tandem was a no brainer to ride. We mixed it up with heavy car traffic that first ride with total confidence.

This spring we dusted off the tandem after a 3 month layoff and the first few pedal strokes were tentative, but after 30 seconds we felt right at home and started bombing around at full tilt. That gives us a lot of confidence when starting off a 100 person group ride in the middle of the pack where holding your line and reacting to other riders’ goofiness is a requirement.

Performance

Having owned a number of small wheeled recumbents and folding bikes I know that small wheels don’t equal slow, but that said they don’t automatically equal fast either. Combine that with the unknown performance just due to the fact it’s a tandem and I had some concerns we wouldn’t be satisfied with the bike’s performance for demanding rides.

As it turns out our speed over a significant distance [50-100kms] is a respectable 20kph which includes traffic lights and stop signs, etc… That’s with no training and we definitely have some extra power we could generate by syncing our pedal strokes better. During groups rides we end up right where we should be in terms of the riders and bikes we finish with. For a fully equipped touring bike powered by some middle age recreational cyclists our Bike Friday tandem isn’t letting us down.

For comparison my solo high performance rando bike average speed is ~25kph for longer rides.

I have no doubt that we could design and build a performance oriented tandem that would be faster, but for our current needs the ease of storage and touring capabilities of our Bike Friday are a better fit than a tandem designed to ride faster. We could also do more targeted training to get faster, but we prefer to blame any lack of speed on the bike, hills and/or wind! ;)

Seems like we have a winner...

Seems like we have a winner…

Sharon has been through a number of stoker bar options on the tandem. She couldn’t adapt to drop bars and she tried some flat bars with better results, but not total satisfaction. So we are now using some Thorn comfort bars with Ergon Grips that have built in bar ends. So far Sharon’s been happy with them and I think we’ll be sticking with this setup for the foreseeable future.





Victoria Populaire 50K…

28 03 2013
Team Raspberry Rocket mid-ride...

Team Raspberry Rocket mid-ride…

Sharon and I tackled the BC Randonneurs Victoria Populaire last Sunday on our Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL. We decided on the 50K route because Sharon is scheduled for knee surgery this spring and we didn’t want to push things too hard and cause her any issues. With the ride to and from the event we racked up 70kms.

Click on map for more details...

Click on map for more details…

The event was well run as per the usual high standards of the BC Rando Club. It was a cold, but dry day with around 100 smiling riders. The course is easy to follow and has some nice scenery with enough hills to be interesting, but not punishing.

Ride pin...

Ride pin…

We racked up 50.85kms in 2:55 and finished with a Bike Friday Pocket Llama and a Cruz Bike recumbent. That seemed fitting. We had a great day out on the bike and we’ll be back next year to tackle the 100km course once Sharon has new bionic knee… ;)

Our beast of burden...

Our beast of burden…

Our Bike Friday tandem continues to impress with its ease of use and solid performance.  =)





Pannier Plus…

27 03 2013
Couldn't get it all in the Ortlieb...

Couldn’t get it all in the Ortlieb…

I frequently head out on an errand run with a single pannier. It’s actually a smaller Ortlieb front pannier that I keep loaded with tools/pump and locks. More often than I would like I collect enough stuff on my ride that I can’t fit it into my single pannier so I have to get creative.

A jacket and some bungees...

A jacket and some bungees…

On this particular day it was getting warm so I took off my extra jacket that was necessary when I headed out into the chilly morning air hours earlier. I wrapped it around my extra items and used a couple small bungees to strap it to the top of my rack.

It wasn’t the most secure way to carry cargo, but it held together for the bumpy ride home.

I really should start out with 2 panniers, but then I have to carry them around when I lock up my bike which is a drag. My ad hock cargo solution may not be elegant, but it’s low hassle!





Crank Brothers Joplin Maintenance…

26 03 2013
Crank Brothers Joplin 3...

Crank Brothers Joplin 3…

Sharon has been happily using the Crank Brothers Joplin 3 height adjustable seatpost for the last couple years that started life on my Nomad. On the weekend the seatpost wouldn’t work reliably and Sharon had to struggle a bit to get the post where she wanted it.

Joplin installed in her Nomad...

Joplin installed in her Nomad…

Having a key part of your bike work inconsistently is frustrating so I pulled the cable and housing from her Nomad and replaced them with fresh ones. As soon as I did the Joplin was working perfectly again. I was glad the job was so simple and didn’t require any futzing with internal components.

Joplin remote lever...

Joplin remote lever…

Although both Kurt and I had to send our Joplins in once for warranty service Crank Brothers gave Kurt a free Joplin 4 upgrade and serviced mine for free. In the years since they have been working like champs without complaint and without any servicing of the internals.

I don’t regret buying the Joplin at all.





Girls & Dirt…

25 03 2013
Sharon rocking and rollling...

Sharon rocking and rollling…

My wrist is back to 100% from my OTB mountain bike accident and I was ahead of schedule on a report I was working on so I decided to tag a long with Sharon and her Dirt Girl buddy Bev.

Bev and her puppy...

Bev and her puppy…

Having learnt from my previous Dirt Girl MTB experiences. I just hung at the back and did not set the pace. I didn’t have any input on which trails we would ride and I didn’t give out any tips or suggestions for improvement.

Sharon in the trees...

Sharon in the trees…

My only 2 jobs were:

  • don’t fall off my bike and get hurt!
  • take pictures of the ladies in action
Bev on a roll...

Bev on a roll…

My rebuilt Nomad has a 1″ shorter TT and the shorter wheelbase. 1″ doesn’t sound like a lot, but the bike rides noticeably differently. It’s not as stable as the bigger frame, but a lot more manuevrable. In our tight twisty forest trails that’s not a bad trade off.

Moving on up...

Moving on up…

So I used the ride to play around with the bike and get to know it all over again.

On a bridge...

On a bridge…

The ride was a success. I didn’t get hurt and the ladies appreciated having a personal photographer along on the ride.

Dropping the mossy rocks...

Dropping the mossy rocks…

It’s nice to see the trails drying out and to get out into the dirt with some friends.

Proving I was there... ;)

Proving I was there… ;)

I’m looking forward to another summer of Vancouver Island mountain biking.

Bev and Worsti...

Bev and Worsti…

If I play my cards right I may get to do more Dirt Girls ride as the token Dirt Hombre and photographer.

Dirty Girls...

Dirty Girls…

Life could be worse… ;)

Time to pack up and head home...

Time to pack up and head home…





The more purple Pugsley…

22 03 2013
After som DIY rim painting...

After some DIY rim painting…

Sharon’s Pugsley has some wheels that need love. The aluminum spoke nipples are corroded to the point of nearly not existing. The old Large Marge DH rims are heavy even with the DIY cut outs I drilled. Plus I damaged some spokes when I did the drilling! :(  So at some point in the next couple years we’ll replace the rims with Surly Marge Lites and rebuild the wheel with fresh spokes and nipples.

Before painting...

Before painting…

I figured since the wheels were not keepers I might as well experiment with some DIY rim painting.

Primer first...

Primer first…

I really liked the look of the white primer and if it was my bike I would have stopped here, but I don’t argue with a lady about style. ;)

Then Sharon selected a shade of purple...

Then Sharon selected a shade of purple…

I masked off the spokes with electrical tape. It worked fine at controlling most of the overspray. If you aren’t lazy you should probably cover the disc rotor with plastic or remove it.

Looking good...

Looking good…

The purple Sharon chose for the rims looks good with the frame in an understated Osmond Family sort of way.

The whole enchilada...

The whole enchilada…

The whole process cost me $10 for paint and $12 for beer. The result isn’t as pretty or durrable as powder coating, but it’s cheap and fast. If we get sick of purple we can change the colour anytime we want.





BC Rando Recruitment Poster…

21 03 2013
BC Randos need a few good cyclists... ;)

BC Randos need a few good cyclists… ;)





Looks like fun…

20 03 2013




Toronto Tidbits…

19 03 2013
NHL Hockey...

NHL Hockey…

Not a ton to report from Toronto. I’ve mostly been hanging at one or the other of my parents’ apartments. That means I had a rare opportunity to combine TV, cable and lots of time with not a lot to do. I have to report TV still sucks – so many channels and so little on. I mostly watched sports. I have a slight addiction to any sport that’s televised and is holding some sort of championship tournament. Tennis, curling, hockey – whatever…if it’s a best of the best tournament I can get into it….problem is I can’t easily get out of it! Luckily the only championships I could find was in figure skating and they didn’t get out of hand. I also watched a bunch of NHL games. It’s a novelty not to have to head to a pub to watch a game. Of course not being able to buy a pint of beer was a clear downside to the home viewing experience.

iPhone internet...

iPhone internet…

Sadly both my parents have crap internet connections and neither has WiFi…how can they live??? ;) Happily I was able to tether my laptop to my iPhone so I could work and surf the net during the trip. I haven’t used that feature much before, but it works great.

Jun...

Jun…

I did get out on my own Friday for a bit of a jaunt downtown. I met up with biker, blogger and all around nice guy – Jun Nogami for lunch at Sansotei Ramen. I’m not a ramen expert, but the meal was fresh and tasty. The place was bustling so they are clearly popular and worth a try if you are in downtown TO and have a hankering for ramen noodles.

A Rocking Lobster...

A Rocking Lobster…

Jun was riding a cool pink Rock Lobster. He’s an uber commuter and cargo biker. He was on his way to a human powered helicopter record attempt and invited me along. I was interested in checking it out, but I had to decide if I wanted to spend a few hours travelling around the city to see the helicopter or spend the time chilling in downtown.

Since it was my only day “off” on the trip I decided to roam the core on my own.

Bike crime scene...

Bike crime scene…

I headed over to The Urbane Cyclist LBS. It reminds me of a much bigger version of The Fairfield Bicycle Shop in Victoria. They both specialize in practical bikes for getting around with a nod towards the funky end of the bike spectrum. Quite a few years ago I bought my first folding bike [a Dahon Speed D7] at Urbane so we have a bit of history.

Water bottle cage budget bling...

Water bottle cage budget bling…

It was quite cold outside so I spent a lot of time just geeking out on bikes and chatting to the staff. I left with a cool metal bottle cage and a 2013 Ortlieb catalogue. Yes I am a bike nerd and I like my Ortlieb porn! ;)

Cool design...

Cool design…

I saw some cool architecture near Urbane and really enjoyed tromping along the busy streets with music pumping in my headphones. When I was young that was how I spent a lot of my free days and something I rarely do anymore. Having a soundtrack to your aimless wanderings is fun. My ears are probably happy I don’t use headphones a lot anymore.

Magazine porn...

Magazine porn…

I’m not a huge magazine reader, but when I am travelling having a few mags in my backpack makes the inevitable waits, planes, trains and buses more enjoyable. My iPhone is an older 3GS version with a limited battery so I can’t really expect it to entertain me on the move too much if I want it working for navigation and other mission critical tasks when I need it. There are a few magazines I really enjoy so I scored copies of: Bicycle Quarterly, Surfer’s Journal and Dirt Rag. I also grabbed a Mountain Bike Action and a Bike Magazine – neither of which are on my A List of sports journalism, but like a donut the occasional empty calorie is fun as long as you don’t go nuts! ;)

Surfer’s Journal and Stand Up Paddle Journal [sadly I had already read the current issue of SUP Journal] are truly excellent magazines with quality writing combined with stunning photos. You only get halfway through an issue before you start thinking about your next surfing trip. I’d love to find a mountain bike equivalent.

Jun made me a member of Tarik's Bike Club...thanks! ;)

Jun made me a member of Tarik’s Bike Club…thanks! ;)

With some reading material in hand I cruised the core stopping at a few gear stores to see the latest shiz and warming up. I’m well stocked on camping gear and clothing so I kept my wallet safely stashed in my pocket. I’ll save my gear fun tokens for travelling this year and wear out some gear.

I found myself in a nice pub for a couple hours to beat the cold and enjoy some draught beer in a comfy setting. Once again the iPhone and laptop came to my rescue as I was able to get some work done while relaxing for a bit.

to9

Jun and his daughters make these ribbons…

Eventually my free time ran out and I joined the throng for a Friday rush hour commute to the burbs where my dad lives for more family time.

I can’t say I really like Toronto. I’m not a big city guy, but it is fun to visit for a change of pace. :)

Ortlieb 2013 goodness...

Ortlieb 2013 goodness…





MEC Ace Sunglasses Review…

18 03 2013
MEC Ace Sunglasses...

MEC Ace Sunglasses…

I’ve been an Oakley sunglass whore for a couple decades. I love them, but they are expensive so as my Oakley lenses got scratched up and downgraded for more and more abusive use I decided to try some cheaper sunglasses as replacements.  I was at MEC.ca so I looked at what they had and these Ace sunglasses fit me pretty well.

I’ve used them for 6 months so far.

What I like:

  • optics are nice and clear
  • great for driving
  • they look a little nicer than my typical plastic framed sporty sunglasses
  • they fit my face
  • at $32 the price is reasonable
  • they come with a bag that doubles as a cleaning cloth
  • MEC is great about warranties and customer service
  • polarized  version available for $60
  • thin arms work well with most retention neck bands

What I don’t like:

  • frames are very flexible and small impacts bend them
  • lenses are heavy and glasses want to fly off my face if I’m making quick moves
  • starting to get scratched [about average in this department]
  • can’t really pack them in a bag unless I use a hard case or they will get bent

These sunglasses are working great for casual use. I like them a lot for driving my truck. They live on my face or get stored in the truck’s sunglass holder. I don’t like them so much for sporty use as they are not secure on my face due to the heavy lenses and not so grabby arms. Worse once you no longer need them on your face you have to be really careful or they be badly bent. They have been fixable every time I have bent them, but it takes a long time to get them back to a comfy shape.

For the price I would recommend them as a fashion sunglass or for driving. For active use I’d give them a miss.

I may buy a polarized pair to keep in the truck once I wear this pair out.





Chilcotin BC Bikepacking Videos…

15 03 2013

The map shown in yesterday’s post is for the Spruce Lake area of the Chilcotins in BC. These videos do a great job of showing the bikepacking potential there. Thanks to Doug aka Cold Bike for sending me the links!

I haven’t spent time in the Chilcotin area since my days in the army. It will be nice to go back with a bike and nobody shooting at me! ;)

Thanks to 2xNomad for taking the time to film, edit and post these videos. Getting to see a lot of the area from the comfort of a warm house is ideal for stoke building in the winter!

The plan will be to travel light so as to enjoy the mountain biking as much as possible.

Bike Geek Alertthese guys are riding FS bikes and using Old Man Mountain rear racks and panniers.





Route Planning…

14 03 2013
Now is the time to plan...

Now is the time to plan…

With spring and summer heading our way March is a great time to spend a few hours indoors planning trips. Electronic maps and GPS receivers are amazingly useful tools, but I like to have paper maps to start my trip planning process. They are a nice way to avoid even more computer time. You can use them with a friend to share the planning experience and on a trip if your GPS dies it’s ideal to have a battery-free back up for navigation.

Paper maps require some old school skills like reading elevation profiles and they don’t tell you route distances automatically, but you can get by with some string! Eventually I’ll program the route into my electronics mapping software and download a route to my GPS.

On the bike following the GPS is easier than pulling out a map frequently. On the other hand when the planned route turns out to be impossible a paper map is convenient to work out a detour rather than trying to assess the situation on a small GPS screen.

If you made me choose between GPS or paper maps I’d take the paper maps every time, but I’m glad I don’t have to leave either one at home.





Catching waves with a SUP…

13 03 2013
Every wave is fun...

Every wave is fun…

I found a really useful article posted online that gives you some advice how to catch waves on a SUP more easily. I’ve tried the paddle like a MoFo technique and it works, but it’s tiring and lacks elegance! ;)

Click on the image above to read the article.





Scott in AK…

12 03 2013
Photo: Scott Morris...

Photo: Scott Morris…

Scott Morris posted a two part report on his recent Alaska fatbike tour on his blog. It’s well worth a read. Click on the top image for Part 1 and the bottom image for Part 2.

Photo: Scott Morris...

Photo: Scott Morris…





Addicted to SUP…

11 03 2013
Dedication to surfing...

Dedication to surfing…

This weekend wasn’t the ideal time to head to Tofino for some surfing adventures since my wrist was still buggered, but our friend Dionne was celebrating her 40th birthday there so we couldn’t skip it. If I was smart I would have stayed out of the water and rested my injury, but once I was on the beach watching the waves breaking my resolve faded quickly.

I gobbled an Advil and taped up my wrist as best I could. The waves were a great size for SUP surfing…small enough to be chill and not attract the hardcore surfing crowd, but energetic enough for some fun rides. I spent 3hrs paddling my SUP until the pain in my wrist couldn’t be ignored and the cold North Pacific Ocean seeped into my summer wetsuit. I was pretty stoked that I had retained a lot of the surfing skills I learned in Baja. I’m no pro, but I was stable on my board and got most of the waves I paddled for.

That night my wrist let me know it was unhappy and I medicated it with numerous beers. I definitely should have skipped day 2, but my surf stoke was in full effect. Sharon decided to take a 3hr private lesson so she dropped me off with my SUP and was going to collect me later in the day.

I realized that was a mistake about 15mins into my session when my wrist was very painful from the efforts of the previous day. So much so I couldn’t really get my shit together to catch waves as I was so worried about protecting it. I considered getting off the water, but without a car, cellphone or wallet all I could do would be to sit on the beach and wait 2.5hrs+ for Sharon on to arrive. If there had been a fire going I would have given in and warmed up there. Without any way to stay warm I figured I was best off to paddle around gently to kill time.

That might have worked ok…except I started to get excited about catching a wave and tried for a few without success. Then I caught one and was super stoked. I paddled right back out to the line up without a second thought. While I was waiting for the next set to arrive my aching wrist let me know it wanted to stop. So I decided one more wave and I would call it quits.

Of course right after catching a great ride on a wave I was so stoked I wasn’t feeling any pain and I paddled back out forgetting my wrist was injured. Once out there with some time between waves to think I would always decided the sensible thing to do was head to the beach and rest. And every wave I would paddle right back out.

It was silly. I was having fun and in a ton of pain. I should have stopped and I never wanted to stop.

Finally the cold water and the pain had their way with me and I did pack it in. I didn’t have a watch so I had no idea how long I would be waiting for Sharon. As I walked back towards the parking lot with my SUP I saw her coming back the other way in dry clothes.

I checked the time and I had been in the water 3.5hrs! Yikes…I was definitely addicted to SUP surfing… ;)

For what it’s worth I did skip day 3, but by that point I couldn’t lift a cup of tea with my bad hand so the decision was pretty easy. The good news is I am going to Toronto for a week to visit my parents without a bike or board. So I’ll have some enforced rest!





Pugsley 29er Wheels…

8 03 2013

I love my Surly Pugsley and I have considered building up a 29er set of wheels for it a few times over the years. The Pugsley has a 17.5mm offset of the rear wheel to the right so the chain clears the big fat tire. That works great with the wider fat rims out there as they have enough real estate to offset the hole over to the right so that the end result is a strong wheel with reasonably even spoke tension on both sides. My Large Marge rims [shown below] have the spokes offset ~13mm to the right for example.

Note offset spokes...

Note offset spokes…

With narrower 29er rims you can’t move the spoke holes over as much so there are some compromises to be made that are worth looking at.

What’s normal?

Standard rear MTB wheel...

Standard rear MTB wheel…

I like strong wheels with even spoke tension, but most mountain bikes roll along just fine on rear wheels that are tensioned at 100%/60%. So that’s worth keeping in mind.

Offset Fork + Zero Offset Rims

Zero offset rim in the rear of the Pug...

Zero offset rim in the rear of the Pug…

If you build a Pugsley a set of 29er wheels using standard zero offset MTB rims [spoke holes centred in the rim] you get the spoke tension shown in the images above and below.

The rear wheel uses a SRAM X9 hub and the spoke tension is 100%/45%.

The front wheel uses a Surly 135mm SS hub in the Pugs offset fork and the tension is 100%/30%

Neither of these options looks that great, but I know folks that have built up 29er wheels for Pugsleys using zero offset rims and they can work if the rider isn’t super heavy and/or the use is gentle [ie. road commuting vs. loaded dirt touring].

Surly SS hub in Pugs offset fork...

Surly SS hub in Pugs offset fork…

Offset Fork – 4mm Offset Rims

Velocity Synergy OC 4mm offset rims with SRAM X9 rear hub...

Velocity Synergy OC 4mm offset rims with SRAM X9 rear hub…

Nick over at the Gypsy By Trade Blog posted about building a Pugsley 29er wheelset using 4mm offset Velocity Synergy OC rims. As far as I know these offer the most offset in a “standard” 29er rim.

The rear builds up with a tension of 100%/62% – so that’s essentially the same as our “normal” MTB rear wheel at the top of the post. Although this wheel has slacker spokes on the driveside vs. the “normal” MTB wheel which has the slacker spokes on the disc brake side. I’m not sure if that matters a lot – anyone have a comment on that?

The front builds up with a tension of 100%/40%. A normal MTB front wheel is around 100%/70%. But the front wheel sees less abuse so perhaps this is just fine as long as you aren’t on the really heavy/rough end of the use spectrum. I’m keen to follow Nick’s blog and see what happens.

Surly SS hub in offset fork with 4mm offset rim...

Surly SS hub in offset fork with 4mm offset rim…

Offset Fork – 7mm Offset Rim

7mm offset rim in rear of Pugs on SRAM X9 hub...

7mm offset rim in rear of Pugs on SRAM X9 hub…

Surly has released a 50mm wide Rabbit Hole rim that takes 29er tires as well as their new Knard 29 x 3.0″ uber wide rubber. It has a 7mm offset and fits into a Pugsley frame/fork no problems. I wish Surly has pushed those spoke holes out another couple mms to get better tension with the Pugsely offset frame/fork. It looks like there is enough real estate on the rim to do that.

The rear builds up with 100%/78% spoke tension which is nice.

The front builds up with 100%/48% spoke tension which is better than the 4mm offset rims, but still quite a bit short of the 100%/70% tension of a standard MTB front wheel.

So you are getting a more balanced build with these wide rims, but they are heavier [~200g/rim compared to the Synergy OC rims]. OTOH – they are wider so if you want to run wide 29er rubber including 3.0″ wide Knards the weight penalty may be worth it on that count.

Surly SS hub in Pugs offset fork with 7mm offset rims....

Surly SS hub in Pugs offset fork with 7mm offset rims….

Zero Offset Moonlander Fork – Zero Offset Rims

Moonlander symmetrical fork with zero offset rim...

Moonlander symmetrical fork with zero offset rim…

If you have a Necromancer Pugsley you have a symmetrical Moonlander fork that takes a 135mm front hub. I don’t have the specs on Surly’s 135mm front disc hub so I used the same Surly rear hub as the other examples. It gives you a pretty good idea where things are headed although the spoke tension with the front 135mm hub may be a bit worse since the right flange doesn’t have to make room for a cog.

For a zero offset rim I got 100%/89% spoke tension which is great. You could use 4mm or 7mm offset rim to get an even stronger wheel.

Pugsley 100m Symmetrical Fork – Zero Offset Rim

100mm front hub in Surly Pugsley 100mm symmetrical fork...

100mm front hub in Surly Pugsley 100mm symmetrical fork…

Surly sells a 100mm symmetrical fork for the Pugsley at a cost of ~$99. That would allow you to use an existing standard 29er MTB wheel which you may own or can buy pre-built for a lot less than a custom wheel build. You can also swap this wheel into another MTB you own. The spoke tension is 100%/70% – which what most MTB front wheels would be.

Note this would be the same result as using a 29er suspension fork with your Pugsley.

IGH + Pugsley Offset – Zero Offset Rim

Alfine 8 in Pugsley offset frame with zero offset rim...

Alfine 8 in Pugsley offset frame with zero offset rim…

If you are like me and want to use an IGH with your Pugs you find out that it’s a challenge with 29er wheels. As you can see from the example above of an Alfine 8 in the rear of a Pugs with zero offset rims the spoke tension balance is poor at 100%/30%. It’s essentially the same as the tension achieved with the Surly SS hub in all the examples above so your best case using a 7mm offset Rabbit Hole rim is ~100%/50% tension balance.

Some Other Ideas

Here are some additional things to consider:

  • a wider flange to flange spacing will make for a stronger more stable wheel all other things being equal
  • it may be possible to drill new spoke holes on Surly Rabbit Hole rims further to the right than the stock ones
  • you can use two rear cassette hubs in your Pugs to avoid the funky spoke tension you get with a SS/FG hub up front

So what should you do?

The very first thing I would do if you are going down this road is to evaluate how tough you are on wheels. That will let you know how important getting strong wheels should be to you.

  • how much to do you weigh?
  • how much gear do you carry?
  • how rough is the terrain you ride?
  • are you a finesse rider or a smasher?
  • how much do you ride?
  • how well do normal MTB wheels last under you?
  • how much attention do you want to spend on your wheels?

Next up you need to consider some of the other factors like:

  • how frequently do you plan on swapping wheels?
  • how far from help do you ride?
  • do you have an existing 29er front wheel you could use?
  • do you want to ride narrow 29er rubber? [less than 2.4"]
  • do you want to ride uber wide 3.0″ 29er rubber?
  • do you want to use a suspension fork?
  • what is your budget?

There is no set answer.

  • The more abuse you will dish out the stronger your wheels need to be.
  • If you want to swap wheels once a season a fork swap is no big deal.
  • If you want to swap wheels twice a week swapping forks will get old fast.
  • If you own an existing 29er front wheel you like getting a $99 Pugsley 100mm symmetrical fork is a great idea.
  • If you ride far into the backcountry you won’t want to take a lot of risk.
  • If you are never more than a few miles from the car you can afford to have a wheel failure.

Don’t use a Pugsley

If you haven’t got a fatbike and using a 2nd set of 29er wheels is important to you than you may well be better off buying one of the symmetrical rear end fatbikes being sold. Without the offset rear end you can build up some 29er wheels without much trouble although you will need the correct size hubs for your frame so an off the shelf 29er wheel set won’t work.

What would I do?

Well I’ve talked myself out of a 29er wheelset for my Pugs. Using an IGH doesn’t get me a good wheel build even with a Rabbit Hole rim. I don’t feel like swapping wheels and the fork every time I want to run 29er wheels either. So that sort of leaves a whole bunch of not so great options on the table.

I think the better plan for me is to have a dedicated 29er MTB and leave the Pugsley on fatbike rubber. I have a garage and I have the existing 29er parts to outfit a frame at a cost that wouldn’t be much more than a custom set of wheels.

Having said that if I was a one bike guy and owning/storing a second bike was out of the question I’d switch my Pugsley over to a 1 x 9 derailleur drivetrain and use a Moonlander fork upfront. I’d run Rabbit Hole rims because I’ll either run a 2.4″ or 3.0″ tire. I like wide rubber.

Comparison to my existing Pugsley wheels…

Alfine in Pugs with Large Marge rim...

Alfine in Pugs with Large Marge rim…

Since we are going to town on wheel calcs the images above and below show my current Pugsley wheels. The rear Alfine has a spoke tension of 100%/92% with a Large Marge rim that has 13mm offset [same offset as Rolling Darryl rim]. The front Surly FG hub in my Pug’s offset fork has a spoke tension of 100%/69%. Both ends are pretty strong in theory and that’s backed up by a lot of abuse with zero issues.

It’s nice to be able to ride your bike as hard as you can without having to give a second thought to your wheels.

Surly SS rear hub in Pugsley offset fork with Large Marge rims...

Surly SS rear hub in Pugsley offset fork with Large Marge rims…





Chromag Collectors…

7 03 2013




Ortlieb Repair…

6 03 2013
Buckle tear...

Buckle tear…

I had my first real Ortlieb failure. The buckles that close the roll top on my rear Ortlieb panniers both started to tear. I noticed it at home so it didn’t cause a problem.

Fresh buckle...

Fresh buckle…

I emailed Wayne at The Touring Store where I buy all my Ortlieb panniers and he mailed me some replacement parts for free. Thanks Wayne! :)

It's an easy fix with 2 bolts holing the buckle...

It’s an easy fix with 2 bolts holing the buckle…

Swapping in new buckles took a few minutes with a multi-tool. I checked the edges of the plastic frame to make sure they weren’t sharp. These are from the set of Ortliebs I lend to folks I tour with so it’s possible one of my friends got overly enthusiastic about tightening the buckles.

Ready to roll...

Ready to roll…

My Orlieb products have been virtually trouble free which is great, but it’s also nice to know that when stuff does go wrong I have a solid dealer to support me and that the product is designed to be easy to repair in the field.





Urban Adventures…

5 03 2013
The Selkirk Trestle...

The Selkirk Trestle…

Being banged up means I have to give the dirt a miss for a while, but it’s not so bad when you have a road bike you like to ride.

Ducks were MIA from the pond...

Ducks were MIA from the pond…

Luckily Victoria in winter offers some great urban riding options. Not only is the scenery nice, but there is excellent coffee along most routes… :)

Urban art...

Urban art…

We got caffeinated, did our errands and got some riding done. Another good day in the books.

Sharon looking Surly...

Sharon looking Surly…





At the start of the Chili 200K…

4 03 2013
Bikes arriving at the start...

Bikes arriving at the start…

Brynne manning the registration...

Brynne manning the registration…

There is always paperwork to complete...

There is always paperwork to complete…

High visibility...

High visibility…

Control card...

Control card…

Croy HQ getting busy...

Croy HQ getting busy…

Mike pumping up morale...

Mike pumping up morale…

Guido, Jim and Phil...

Guido, Jim and Phil…

One less car...

One less car…

Eager to start...

Eager to start…

Lots of neon...

Lots of neon…

Excellent turnout...

Excellent turnout…

Mike giving out last minute instructions...

Mike giving out last minute instructions…

and they are off...

and they are off…

happy to be rolling...

Happy to be rolling…

ch26

Heading north on Milgrove…

They keep coming...

They keep coming…

and coming...

and coming…

and coming...

and coming…

and coming...

and coming…

and the last of the pack...

and the last of the pack…

My bike feeling lonely at the start...

My bike feeling lonely at the start…

Steve showing off the 200K pin...

Steve showing off the 200K pin…





New Canfield Brothers Nimble 9…

1 03 2013
New and improved...

New and improved…

I test rode Grant’s N9 in 2011 and liked it a lot. In retrospect the geo was probably better suited to my riding needs [HA of 68/69 depending on fork] than the Scandal I bought [HA ~71]. One issue I had was the heel to chainstay clearance for my big feet and it looks like they have fixed that.

Here is the Canfield spew:

The Canfield Brothers 29er revolution continues with the ALL NEW Nimble 9. From the start of the redesign of the current Nimble 9, we wanted to give the bike a distinctive look different from what is currently available in chromo hardtails. We wanted to incorporate a hydro formed toptube and a 44mm head tube. New innovations include a removable front derailleur block that allows the frame to look super clean when setting it up as single speed. We also designed new sliding dropouts that are reminiscent of something seen on a custom motorcycle. Lastly, we gave the new Nimble 9 the innovative Canfield Brothers 29er geometry.

We will be releasing the new Nimble 9 in nine colors, Canfield Glow in the Dark Sparkle Blue, Sparkle Orange, Sparkle Green, Matte Black, Gloss Black, Deep Red, Midnight, Forest Green and Limited Edition Chrome.

The Nimble 9 is currently in production with an estimated ship date of May 2013.

Features:

  • 4130 chromoly steel
  • 68° head angle with a 120mm fork
  • Adjustable 16.25“ – 16.9” chainstays
  • Lower toptube for increased stand over height
  • Custom sliding 135mm x 10mm rear dropouts for geared or single speed options
  • ED Black treated for corrosion resistance
  • NEW hydroformed toptube
  • Removable direct mount front derailleur block
  • Improved chainstay heel clearance
  • Two water bottle bosses
  • 6.5 lbs (estimated)
  • $750 US retail, ($800 Limited Edition Chrome)

Build Specs:

  • Recommend fork lengths – 100mm – 120mm
  • Headset – 44mm upper and lower cups
  • Front derailleur – Shimano direct mount – top pull, single bolt, or Sram HO series
  • Bottom bracket – 73mm
  • Seat post – 30.9mm
  • Seat clamp – 35mm
  • Rear dropout spacing – 135mm
  • Post brake mount

Click on the image above for more info and discussion over at MTBR.com.