Got Standover?

30 11 2011

I’m still smiling!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to Homer Bike/Raft Trip…

29 11 2011

Looks like a great time…=-)

Cyclist killed down the street…=-(

29 11 2011

Click here to read the whole story...

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

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

How to manual…

29 11 2011

Fatties flip fine…

28 11 2011

Da BOMBer!

28 11 2011

Red for speed...

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

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

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

This was my only bike for many years...

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

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

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

Velocity Rims Made in the USA…

27 11 2011

The colours of velocity...

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