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




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.





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…





Chromag 29er Love…

15 10 2012




North Shore 29er Porn…

6 09 2012

Photo: Mark Woods – Click for more pics over at NSMB…