30T Andersen’s Machine Chainring…

29 10 2012

Extralite 30T ring on left and Anderesen’s 30T ring on right…

On a few of my bikes I am already running 1 x 8/11 drivetrains with an IGH. Typically the smallest chainring you can get for 104mm BCD cranks is 32T which limits the lower end of your gear range on this common crank type. So I was interested to try out the two 30T rings I found for 104mm BCD cranks. Extralite.com makes the one on the left and Andersen’s Machine makes the one on the right.

Extralite ring on the left is much thinner and lighter…

I decided to install the Andersen’s ring on my Nomad turning it into a 1×9 with a 30T x 11-34T cassette. The only reason I selected the Andersen’s ring is it looked more robust than the Extralite ring. I don’t care about weight on my Nomad, but it gets abused a lot so beefy is good. I should be able to flip the 30T ring around once it’s worn and wear it out going the other way to double its service life.

Filing of the crank arms is required…

The reason 30T rings are not common is that you get physical interference between the chain and crank on such a small ring. The solution is to file away a bit of the ring’s arms to create the needed clearance. This only takes a few seconds with a flat file. Don’t get carried away!

Clearance achieved!

The 30T ring bolts up in seconds and you are ready to rock.

Shimano 28T inner ring and Andersen’s Machine 30T ring mounted…

Shimano sells a 28T inner ring which can also be used to move your single ring drivetrain’s gear range around as required. Having a 28T/30T double is probably pointless as there isn’t enough difference between the rings to bother. The 30T ring is also spaced inwards a bit more than normal to help with chain clearance. This buggers up your indexed shifting setup with a granny.

30T ring installed on SLX cranks with bashguard…

Once installed on my Nomad the 30T ring provides a very useful low gear with a 34T cog on the cassette. Low enough to climb just about anything while still providing a reasonable high gear. With the uber wide range 11-36T cassettes available a 30T front ring makes a single ring drivetrain feasible for a lot of MTBers.

1×9 and loving it!

For my needs there is no reason not to go with a 1 x 8/9/10. Ultra low gearing results in too much torque which spins the rear wheel on techy climbs and the gear inches are too low to get me over the gnar in the one to three power strokes my puny legs have. By using a higher low end gear I can maintain speed as I approach some tech, I can’t break the back wheel free as easily and I can usually power over the tech before I lose steam.

I never need a big ring on my MTB. I’m riding fairly steep terrain so when I point the bike downhill I’m not looking to go any faster than gravity is powering me!

Funny thing is that 5yrs ago I would have told you that not having a triple on a mountain bike was crazy! 3yrs ago I would have said the same thing about a double ring setup. 😉

How to pack for a trip…

29 10 2012

“Anyone seen the tent???”

Getting out the door on a trip with everything you need is harder than it seems it should be. I’ve ended up out on the road or trail more than once only to find I or one of my party has left something vital back at the ranch. That can be just inconvenient or it can be a trip killer depending on what it was. I think we’d all agree that it’s best to just take everything you need with you and head out the door with confidence. Here’s the only way I’ve come up with to do that.

Santa’s hot the only one with a list…

Make a List

Every significant adventure I go on starts with a list of what I need to bring with me and any key tasks I need to take care of before leaving. I keep my old trip lists in a computer folder so I can hack and paste. I’m currently working on packing for a couple months in Baja this winter and I just modified a list from two year’s ago since a lot of the stuff I need to bring is the same.

Once I have the list mostly ready I print it and put it on my desk in a clipboard. That way I can grab it any time I want to spend a few minutes packing and I can make notes on it for things to add or delete.

I mark up the list in three ways:

  1. pink highlighter means I found the item and placed it with the other similar gear in its category
  2. black sharpie through the item means it’s no longer needed
  3. green highlighter means I need to buy it
  4. pen through the highlighted items means they are packed in a box/bag

The truck gets packed one box at a time…

Pack a Box/Bag/Pannier at a Time

I’ll be taking a lot of gear to Baja for a multi-month trip with kiteboards, surfboards, kites, bikes and SUPs. I need all the camping and cooking items to have a comfortable beach camp. Trying to deal with all the stuff I need to pack in one go would drive me mental and I never seem to have a free block of time before I leave on a trip.

So I work on one box/bag at a time. Today I grabbed my box of cooking gear [pots, back up backpacking stove, plates, bowls, cups, utensils, etc…] I made sure everything was there and in good condition. I checked stuff off my list and since I had everything I closed it up and put it in a corner of my garage where I’ll be storing Baja gear until I am ready to load the truck.

I never pack a bag until I have everything that needs to go inside. That’s a sure way to forget stuff and you either have to unpack it to double check or go from memory. The list should be accurate, but it never is 100% so the best way to ensure you have everything is to confirm it all at once and then load up your box/pannier.

Piles work…

Piles are for Stuff that Needs Work

When I’ve got a bunch of stuff that needs to be packed together and I know items need cleaning/repair or need to be purchased I get the ball rolling with a pile. A pile says “I need some love!”. I either can keep adding to it or I can take care of items that need some work.  I can see most of the stuff in a pile which is handy for getting a quick idea of where I am at with a glance.

I’ve been cleaning and repairing my kiteboarding gear [harnesses, wetsuits, gloves. booties, etc…] lately. They got piled up in a corner of my office and when I needed a break from work I’d deal with something in the pile. If I was in the garage and noticed an item that belongs with my kiteboarding gear I’d grab it and move it to the pile in my office. Since I see the pile 20 times a day it reminds me I need to buy a wetsuit repair kit when I go to MEC for example.

At some point I’m close to having everything I need in the pile and I check stuff off my list and throw it into a box.

You can’t ride [comfortably] if you’re naked! 😉

Prioritize Based on What’s Mostly Ready

I don’t want to have a million piles of gear laying about so I try and prioritize by starting with groups of items that are mostly ready to be packed. That gets things done efficiently and frees up space for what needs to be dealt with next. Of course that means I’ll end up dealing with more and more time consuming items that need to be fixed/cleaned/bought. That’s okay as gear gets packed and the trip gets closer it’s easier to get motivated to knock down the To Do List.

“No seriously – you packed the tent right?”…

Don’t Mess with a Packed Box/Bag

Ideally don’t go and open a packed bag to use something out of it. It’s way too easy to forget you need to put that item back in. If you absolutely must plunder a packed container than move it back to the area where you have piles and bags being packed so you know it needs attention. I often put a sticky note on top to remind me what’s missing

I love it when the food gets packed…

Get a life!

If you are saying to yourself that this sounds incredibly anal – you’re right. I’d prefer to not bother, but it’s the only way I’ve come up with to ensure when I am down in Mexico I don’t go to setup my tent and realize I didn’t bring it along! 😉