Beer Can Stove…

24 06 2013

Rivers pointed me at this stove. The simplest DIY beer can stove I’ve ever seen. ;)





Bikepacking Cooking…

28 05 2013
The cooking gear...

The cooking gear…

Here is the latest iteration of my bikepacking cooking setup:

  • 700 ml MSR pot w/ lid
  • Trangia stove
  • stove stand
  • MSR windscreen
  • spork
  • small lighter
  • 30 ml alcohol fuel x 2
  • 125 ml alcohol fuel
Carried inside pot...

Carried inside pot…

The stove, lighter and 60 ml of fuel fits inside the pot. The stove is typically wrapped in a small cloth that doubles as protection from the pot’s handles that get hot. For longer trips where I might cook regularly vs. boil water for a camp meal I would add in a small bottle of dish soap and a cut up scrub pad.

Weight with 60 ml of fuel...

Weight with 60 ml of fuel…

I’m not trying to go ultralight here. I just want the weight to be low enough it’s not a major burden and I also want the packed shape to work with my bike bags.

125 ml of feul...

125 ml of fuel…

Each 30 ml bottle will boil 500 ml of cold water. I carry two 30 ml bottles inside my pot and the Trangia can hold a lot of fuel in the stove body itself if you want to pre-load it before you pack it. If I need more than that I have a bunch of 125 ml bottles like the one shown above that I can carry.

Trangia and stand...

Trangia and stand…

I love my little Trangia stove. It heats water well. Is easy to use and very reliable. It can be used to simmer food unlike a lot of lightweight alcohol stoves. The stand is very strong and stable.

Stove ready to rock...

Stove ready to rock…

I use a MSR windscreen to keep drafts at bay. It’s a bit large and I’m going to downsize it a bit so it fits better and packs smaller.

Stove in action...

Stove in action…

With no moving parts and constructed of brass the Trangia is a bombproof piece of gear.

Ready to light...

Ready to light…

You can see in the picture above that 30 ml of fuel is just a dribble at the bottom of the Trangia. I purposely spill some fuel on the top of the stove to make lighting easier.

Let's boil some water...

Let’s boil some water…

I timed boiling 500 ml of cold tap water using the Trangia in 8 mins. The 30 ml of fuel burned for 10 mins before running out.

Pot inside my framebag...

Pot inside my framebag…

The shape of this pot fits nicely into my Porcelain Rocket framebag. It also works great in my bar bag or seatbag – just depending where I want to carry it.

Methyl Hydrate...

Methyl Hydrate…

I use methyl hydrate to power my Trangia because it’s easy to find locally. I’ve spilled this fuel in my bike bags and unlike gasoline or naptha there is no horror show. It just evaporates and no damage or smell occurs. I like that!





Downtube Water Bottle Cage…

16 05 2013
1.5L water bottle...

1.5L water bottle…

I wanted to see how well a downtube mounted water bottle cage would work on my Krampus. I didn’t love the fork mounted cages I tried on my Scandal 29er. Plus if the DT cage worked I could always add fork mounted cages later if I needed a ton of water on a trip.

Two bottle cages...

Two bottle cages…

I just used two hose clamps on the Topeak cage and them a velcro pant strap at the top of the bottle. It seems pretty secure, but only time will tell.

kb4

Stem mounted bottle cage…

Combined with the stem mounted bottle that gives me over 2L of water.

Just enough tire clearance...

Just enough tire clearance…

Here are a couple close ups.

The magic of hose clamps...

The magic of hose clamps…





Shimano Alfine 11 IGH Oil Change…

15 05 2013

It’s been over a year since I started running an Alfine 11 IGH. First off in my On One Scandal 29er MTB and now in my Surly Krampus. Shimano wants you to do an oil change after the first 1000kms and every year or 5000kms after that. I was putting off my first oil change since I hadn’t acquired the supplies I needed and I know oil change intervals are conservative.

Alfine 11 cleaned and oiled...

Alfine 11 cleaned and oiled…

On my last tour I made a poor decision to ride across a washed out trail which submerged my Alfine 11 at least partially. IGH seals are not designed to keep water out when the hub goes under so I assumed I had at least a little water in the hub. While I might push the limits of bike maintenance sometimes I also know when I am fooling with an expensive repair. Leaving water inside an IGH for any length of time can lead to a hub failure that could necessitate a total factory rebuild.

So I got my lazy ass in gear and figured out an oil change plan. Since I own a couple Rohloffs I have used several of that brand’s oil change kits. I kept all the old parts for re-use and they conveniently fit my Alfine 11. Stocking two separate sets of expensive IGH maintenance supplies seemed like too much of a PITA. So I decided to stick with Rohloff products.

The Fairfield Bicycle Shop kindly sold me 300ml of bulk Rohloff cleaning solution and Rohloff hub oil. You need 25ml of each fluid for an oil change so I’m good for 12 IGH services. That’s a lot of years of IGH maintenance.

Rohloff Bulk oil and syringe...

Rohloff Bulk oil and syringe…

Just for the IGH Geeks here is why Rohloff says you should use their oil:

“The SPEEDHUB requires a pressure resistant oil with the correct viscosity so as to ensure this works over a vast temperature range (making the SPEEDHUB suitable in all climates) whilst not increasing friction/decreasing transmission efficiency or escaping under the special seals. For this reason we insist that only original Rohloff oils be used.

It is incredibly important that the oil does not react with the hard-nylon components within the gear-unit. Our early tests proved that various different oils reacted with hard-nylon components within the gear-unit. These components would sometimes swell and increase friction to the point where the SPEEDHUB failed to operate correctly. The sheer number of different percentages and types of additives used in oils is so vast, that we were forced to produce our own oil so that we can safely offer and uphold a warranty on our products.

The use of non-original oils is easy to detect after opening a SPEEDHUB transmission and in every service case where this is apparent, we are unable to offer warranty repairs.”

Now it would be legitimate to ask why a Rohloff product would be good for a Shimano IGH? I don’t know that it is for sure, but I’m willing to take the chance that an oil safe for a Rohloff is safe for a Shimano hub. If something bad happens I’ll let you know! ;)

BTW – the Rohloff syringe and injection tube fitting work on the Alfine 11 perfectly.

Here is my Alfine 11 oil change process:

  1. clean outside of hub shell
  2. open hub via oil plug
  3. inject 25 ml of Rohloff cleaning solution
  4. pedal hub through all gear combos for 5 mins
  5. let drain for 30 mins
  6. suck out any remaining cleaning fluid and old oil with syringe
  7. inject 25 ml of Rohloff hub oil
  8. seal up Alfine and ride
  9. dispose of dirty oil/cleaning fluid responsibly

The oil change went without a hitch and took about 45 mins including the 30 mins of draining time for the old oil.

Dirty oil...

Dirty oil…

Tip – there is a tiny o-ring on the Alfine 11 oil plug. Don’t lose it! ;)

Here is what you need for an Alfine 11 oil change:

  • Rohloff 25 ml cleaning solution & 25 ml Rohloff oil
  • or 50 ml Shimano hub oil
  • syringe with injection tube and hub fitting
  • 3 mm allen key
  • paper towels
  • ziplock bag to collect dirty oil
  • electrical tape to attach ziplock to tube while it drains
  • 2 cold beers




Replacing Rohloff Hub Oil Seals…

9 05 2013
Leaky Rohloff...

Leaky Rohloff…

The Rohloff IGH in my Surly Big Dummy has been leaking oil for a while. This doesn’t really matter a whole lot as the Rohloff continued to work just fine, but I knew it was something I should sort out. So I collected the parts I needed and specialized Rohloff tools last year and finally got around to making it happen last week.

Most of what I needed...

Most of what I needed…

Here is what you need:

  • Hub oil seals x 2 = #8244
  • Tools for mounting hub seals = #8503
  • Paper gaskets = #8710
  • Loctite = #8347
  • Oil change kit = #8410
  • Sprocket removal tool = #8510
  • Rohloff instruction manual
  • Torx 20 driver
  • 3mm, 5mm & 8mm allen keys
  • large adjustable wrench
  • chain whip
  • paper towel
  • q-tips
  • rubbing alcohol
  • beer x 6
  • music

Before getting started wash your hub/rim/tire and let dry. You don’t want to have chunks of dirt fall into the open hub and it will be nicer to work with a clean wheel.

Axle side oil seal removed...

Axle side oil seal removed…

Like all Rohloff projects I’ve embarked on it was much easier than I had feared, but complicated enough that I ran into a couple glitches. Here are some instructions on how to replace the hub oil seals.

You will also need to read up on:

  • removing/installing the disc brake [assuming you have one]
  • removing/installing the shifting mechanism
  • removing/installing the drive sprocket
  • how to do an oil change

It’s worth reading all the way through so you can be sure you have all the parts and tools you need.

Staying organized...

Staying organized…

I started on the axle side where the shift box attaches. Pulling off the disc brake rotor and the shifting mechanism was easy. The hub oil seal was in pretty tight so it took me a few tries to get it out. It helps that you can destroy it in the process since it’s headed for the bin anyways.

New hub seal...

New hub seal…

With the Rohloff tool installing the new hub seal is dead easy. Just make sure you clean out the old seal mating surface before installing and don’t get crazy with the Loctite around the new seal. You don’t want to contaminate the hub.

Seal installed...

Seal installed…

Once the hub seal is installed just reassemble the axle side of the hub. It’s a bit fiddly so read the instructions first and then tackle it.

Paper gaskets...

Paper gaskets…

It was about this point that I realized I was missing 2 small paper gaskets I needed to reinstall my shift mechanism. I was a bit bummed because I didn’t think I’d be able to source them locally and figured I might be waiting 2 weeks for mail order parts to arrive. Happily I went down to the Fairfield Bicycle Shop and they had exactly what I needed in stock. Awesome! :)

It’s really nice to have a LBS who services Rohloffs in town. If I ever have questions I can talk to them and they carry the parts I need for any projects.

The video above shows how to remove the sprocket from a Rohloff hub. These sprockets are threaded onto the hub and continuously tightened by your pedalling action. So they are a bitch to get off.

I tried....

I tried….

I tried to loosen the sprocket at home, but failed. So I carried the hub down to the kind folks at Cycles West my neighbourhood LBS. They used their bench vice to hold the hub and spin off the sprocket with a chain whip. Thanks guys – you rock! :)

The video above shows how to replace the hub oil seal on the drive side of the hub.

SLX brake parts...

SLX brake parts…

I cleaned the brake rotor with rubbing alcohol to remove any traces of hub oil that may have gotten on to it. I sanded down the pads and then set them ablaze for a while in a pool of rubbing alcohol to clean them up as well. I probably need new pads, but I’m a bit lazy so I’ll use these for now until I get some freshies.

My Big Dummy repair stand... ;)

My Big Dummy repair stand… ;)

With the hub back together I pumped some cleaning solution into it as the first part of an oil change.

The video above explains how to do an oil change.

Time to haul...

Time to haul…

I needed to work the cleaning solution all through the hub so I figured I might as well go get some groceries.

Checking everything out...

Checking everything out…

The ride let me check that the hub was working correctly in case I had goofed something during reassembly. As it turns out the IGH was purring like a kitten! :)

My buddy Steve...

My buddy Steve…

I ran into my buddy Steve so we talked cargo bikes and he checked out the passenger deck.

Fresh oil...

Fresh oil…

Once home I let the dirty oil drain out and then I injected 25ml of the clean stuff and buttoned up the Rohloff.

See you in 5000kms...

See you in 5000kms…

Since my Big Dummy doesn’t see big mileage these days and lives inside I won’t be messing with this Rohloff for a few years.

Ready for summer...

Ready for summer…

Now that I have been through it all once I could replace a set of Rohloff hub seals in 1hr – assuming I had the parts and a bench vice at home. Sadly I’ll probably forget everything I just did by the time I need to do it again! ;)





Bike Condom…

3 05 2013

Kinda ugly...

Kinda ugly…

Hauling your expensive MTB around on the back of your car across the continent gets a little depressing when it starts to rain and your bike is coated in the nastiest road spray. Not only do you have to wipe the bike down just to ride it without getting filthy, but all that water and grit aren’t doing your components any favours.

So like they taught you in high school when in potentially dangerous territory protect what’s between your legs! ;)

Bikes ready for the drive back to Canada...

Bikes ready for the drive back to Canada…

We use whatever falls to hand readily. Usually garbage bags or plastic sheeting from Home Depot and duct tape to secure it. I only cover the drivetrain, brakes, saddle, suspension and handlebars. That leaves the wheels mostly open so cars following you can see you taillights.

One advantage to doing this beyond keeping your bike clean is it obscures your bike’s true value making it less attractive to thieves. 

bb2

Clean bike at end of road trip…

It takes about 10mins to wrap the bike and another 10mins to unwrap it. Not a huge deal, but I wouldn’t bother if I was just doing a day trip. I have used leftover mattress covers and bungee cord to cover bikes before. This has the advantage of being very fast. Just drop the cover over the whole bike and wrap with bungee cord. The cover can be removed and reused a few times. The downside is that the cover quickly gets dirty and obscures your taillights. I had a cop pull me over and make me remove the mattress cover for that reason. :( If you have a wide vehicle you might get away with it.





Mountain Bike Pack Load – Heavy…

2 05 2013
My MTB backpack load...

My MTB backpack load…

Some people worry about gaining or losing 100g off their mountain bike. I ride with the equivalent of a small child on my back and my bike is heavy as well! I just keep telling myself it’s a great training aid and some day this will all pay off when I am sponsored by Santa Cruz and living the dream. ;)

Rear view...

Rear view…

The pack is a 15yr+ old Camelbak Transalp. At the time this was heinously expensive and I had doubts about buying it, but once I actually started using it I fell in love and it’s only costs me a couple quarters a month to own.

Side view...

Side view…

I’ve tried a bunch of newer uber packs over the years, but nothing has displaced the Transalp from my regular rotation. It carries its weight well and is comfortable for all day efforts. It has something like 30L of capacity split up between a few storage areas and has lots of external temporary storage if I need to really haul a ton of stuff.

A little saggy in its old age...

A little saggy in its old age…

Despite loads of use it hasn’t let me down yet. There are some areas of minor wear and tear, but nothing that has compromised its functionality. Besides being a bit faded and dirty it still looks pretty good.

It can get sweaty...

It can get sweaty…

If I was going to complain about it I would tell you that my back gets sweaty and that the waist belt is unpadded. I’ve tried some of the new packs with mesh backs and space between the pack and my body to let airflow between them. I haven’t come across one that was comfy and that airflow space takes away from the pack’s storage space. The unpadded belt means this pack is happiest with a medium load. You can carry lots of heavy stuff, but you’ll know it’s there.

What you can’t see is a rain cover tucked into a small pocket on the bottom of the pack. Very handy when the rain starts to fall unexpectedly.

It's all about the DSLR...

It’s all about the DSLR…

The main reason I carry the Transalp on trail rides is so I can haul my DSLR. It’s bulky and a tad heavy so I need something bigger than your typical hydration pack to bring it along. The DSLR stays inside its padded case in the main body of the Transalp. That gives it a reasonable amount of impact and vibration protection.

I usually also carry a small point and shoot on the waist belt in a padded case. Sometimes I don’t have time to stop and deploy the DSLR, but I want to document something. I have fallen onto my small camera during some crashes. So far I haven’t broken one. **fingers crossed**

H2O and tools...

H2O and tools…

I use a 100oz Nalgene bladder for most rides. The Transalp can fit two of these bladders for epic camel capacity, but I can’t recall ever needing that much water.

I carry the following tools and spares:

  • Topeak pump
  • shock pump
  • multitool w/ chain tool
  • tire levers
  • patch kit w/ 2 tubes of glue
  • spare tube
  • tubeless tire plug kit

The ziplock bag holds an ultralight Patagonia wind shell and a LED headlamp for emergencies. I try to remember to recharge the headlamp batteries every 3 months or so.

If I am going on a really long really remote ride I would add in some zipties and a small roll of electrical tape. Possibly a couple kevlar emergency spokes.

F/A kit...

F/A kit…

I carry a small first aid kit for repairing any human crash damage. I got to use it in Moab when one of the guys I was riding with punched a tree during a high speed crash and received a partially severed tendon for his trouble. The 4 ER doctors I was riding with didn’t have a bandaid between them so this kit came in very handy 2hrs from help [with a car pick up].

This all goes in the small pocket...

This all goes in the small pocket…

In the smaller pocket on the back of the Transalp I carry:

  • map
  • cellphone in waterproof case [assuming there is any hope of getting service to call 911]
  • some snacks
  • wallet [assuming there is any place to use it]
  • eye drops [if it's dusty]
Hauling the Transalp and smiling...

Hauling the Transalp and smiling…

Although I can’t say the heft of this pack is unnoticeable. It’s mostly when I pick it up after a rest break or photo session that I’m aware of how heavy it is. I can ride technical terrain with it and still smile and I never feel like I’m being held back terribly. The DSLR photos are so much better than my point and shoot cameras that I am always motivated to carry it after processing images from both types of cameras.