Surly Pugsley in the Rivendell Reader circa 2007…

7 06 2013
Click to jump to Rivendell bikes...

Click to jump to Rivendell bikes…

I found this 2007 Rivendell Reader article about the Surly Pugsley floating about the interweb. I figured it was worth archiving and reposting for historical interest.

You can read it in higher resolution at these links:

If you think it’s cool Rivendell was hip to fatbikes back in 2007 jump to their website and see what cool gear they have that might be of interest to you.

BTW – if you are from Rivendell Bikes and want these scans pulled down to protect your copyright just drop me a comment and I will do so.





Sharon’s First Bike Tour…

22 05 2013
Sharon on the move...

Sharon on the move…

After a lot of tries to get out on a bike tour the stars aligned so Sharon and I hit the road this past weekend for some bike camping. We fitted Porcelain Rocket bikepacking bags to her Surly Pugsley and head up the Galloping Goose MUP towards the Sooke Potholes Campground. This a 50km dirt ride which is challenging enough on a loaded fatbike to be interesting without being so hard it might deter a novice bike tourist from going on a second tour. The scenery is nice and it’s 99% car free.

Sharon carried her own sleeping bag, pad, food, water and clothing. I carried all the group gear [tent, stove, cups, tools, spares, F/a kit etc..]. I ended up using rear panniers on my Pugsley to carry the extra group gear. It worked just fine, but the whole time I wished I had Porcelain Rocket softbags on my bike. Riding rough terrain with panniers is not a lot of fun.

We stopped on the ride out for a bite to eat at the 17 Mile House Pub which is perfectly situated about an hour from the campground. I wanted to reinforce all the good things about bike touring so stopping to eat, drink and relax seemed important!

I was a bit worried that the campground would be full of party animals as it was a holiday weekend in Canada. Happily we found a whole section of the campground unoccupied and the rest of the campers were chill. Some hot tea, a campfire and a chill session rounded out the evening.

My 2 person bike touring tent is cozy, but once Sharon got the hang out climbing in a out she had a good nights sleep.

The next morning we fired up the stove for tea and oatmeal before checking out the potholes down by the Sooke River.

The ride back was pleasant if repetitive. – sadly there isn’t a good loop route from the potholes back to Victoria that doesn’t involve significantly longer distances and a lot of climbing. We stopped for some Thai curry on the way back – again to emphasize that every good bike tour is an excuse to eat well!

By the end of the ride Sharon had enough energy to beat me to the top of a few climbs while smiling. That was a great sign that we had picked an appropriate route for her first tour. I’ll post something about using a Pugsley as a touring bike separately, but let me say that if you own a Pugs and you want to tour don’t think you need to buy another bike or even another set of wheels.

All in all the tour was a success. I’m sure Sharon will want to head out again once she’s recovered from knee surgery over the summer. The trick will be to pick routes that offer the most smiles for the least gnarliness.

Trip photos are here.

Click for detailed map...

Click for detailed map…

Enjoying the sunshine...

Enjoying the sunshine…

Corn dogs?

Corn dogs?

My Pugsley...

My Pugsley…

Where is the pub?

Where is the pub?

Lazy pulling up the rear...

Lazy pulling up the rear…

Beer!

Beer!

Great reason to bike tour - no traffic jams...

Great reason to bike tour – no traffic jams…

Strait of Juan de Fuca...

Strait of Juan de Fuca…

Rest stop...

Rest stop…

Barnes Station Shelter...

Barnes Station Shelter…

We made it!

We made it!

Our camp....

Our camp….

Getting a fire going...

Getting a fire going…

Where are you sleeping?

Where are you sleeping?

Let's ride!

Let’s ride!

Where did the trail go?

Where did the trail go?

The mighty Sooke River...

The mighty Sooke River…

I think I can ride this!

I think I can ride this!

Bridge to somewhere...

Bridge to somewhere…

Back at the water...

Back at the water…

Let's get 'er done!

Let’s get ‘er done!

Still smiling...

Still smiling…

Watch out for falling rocks!

Watch out for falling rocks!

Almost home...

Almost home…





Q-Tubes…

12 05 2013
Lightweight tubes for my Pugs...

Lightweight tubes for my Pugs…

Folks are using these light tubes instead of the “normal” Surly fat bike tubes to drop some weight from their fatties. I may try these in my Pugsley. I’m just bookmarking them here for easy reference later.





Surly Pugsley – Amazon Tree Frog Edition…

8 05 2013
Red is faster...

Red is faster…

I’ve been working on some born again Pugsley wheels since January. First I bought some Rolling Darryl rims and got them powder coated red.

My inspiration...

My inspiration…

Then I overhauled my Alfine 8 IGH. Finally I got the new rims swapped into the old wheels at the Fairfield Bicycle Shop.

The Pugsley ready for action...

The Pugsley ready for action…

The new wheels are wider and lighter than before. They should improve my sand floatation. If I am lucky they’ll never seen any snow! ;) I’m not sure if I will notice much difference in bikepacking mode.

Alfine 8 and Rolling Darryl - what a team!

Alfine 8 and Rolling Darryl – what a team!





The Girlz ride Terra Nova Trail…

15 04 2013
Dead fall...

Dead fall…

Last time I went riding with Sharon and her friend J [fall 2012] we left with J having two broken hands and Sharon could barely walk. That was an easy paced chill ride… ;)

One of many water crossings...

One of many water crossings…

So when we all went riding again last week our mission was clear – everybody comes home in one piece!

I picked a trail that is as close to XC as I have near at hand to our home in coastal BC. Sadly that doesn’t mean buff endless singletrack. But it does mean you can ride your bike a bunch of the time without facing a techy obstacle at every turn and when you do face an obstacle you mostly have to get off your bike and walk. Walking may not be as fun a riding, but it’s safer…;)

Here is a solo ride report from the same trail last August when it was much much drier.

Sometimes you gotta push in the bush...

Sometimes you gotta push in the bush…

Our typical MTBing trails are what the kids call “all mountain”, which translates to steep and techy. I’d call it “Costal BC all mountain” which in my mind denotes a higher than normal density of the tech and often slippery conditions”. So although this isn’t a Colorado Buff trail this is a chill safe-ish MTB option around here.

Sharon riding her Pugsley...

Sharon riding her Pugsley…

I suggested that Sharon ride her Pugsley instead of her 6″ travel FS bike. Partially because this trail didn’t really need tons of travel and partially because I want her to get comfy doing easy MTBing trails on the Pugs to facilitate future bikepacking adventures.

J still smiling...

J still smiling…

Although Sharon has turned into a decent shredder she’s only been riding MTBs for 3yrs. Has really only ridden 1 MTB [Santa Cruz Nomad] and 95% of her MTBing has been in 1 bike park. So her skill set is good, but not broad.

She also has a lot of Baja sand riding experience, but that’s a pretty niche skill set not much use most other places.

Team effort...

Team effort…

For the first hour I got flack about suggesting the Pugs because she got pounded on a rigid bike trying to ride it like a long travel FS bike. Her FS bike has a dropper post so I setup her saddle at 70% normal height which she thought was too low when it was chill and too high on the few steep sections.

So she walked her bike a bunch when she could have ridden and complained a lot. I just told her that the bike she had at the moment was the Pugs and to get on with riding it…lol…tough love!

The mighty Krampus...

The mighty Krampus…

It would have helped morale if I was riding my Pugs as well, but it was at the LBS getting my Rolling Darryl rims built into wheels. I was riding my Krampus which was rigid and semi-fat so I didn’t feel guilty for flying along on a cloud of high-tech suspension!

Gloomy forest singletrack...

Gloomy forest singletrack…

The good news is that after an hour the complaints went away and Sharon started shredding the rocky climbs and other challenging sections. Then she even commented how easy it was to climb the Pugs on rough or slippery terrain and how it rolled over river rocks like they weren’t there.

Mission accomplished! :)

Splish Splash!

Splish Splash!

I’m not one of these guys that thinks fat bikes are the best MTBs for just about every kind of riding. I like my other MTBs plenty and for a lot of the riding I do they are miles better than my fatty…BUT…for ‘xploring poorly maintained trails in wet conditions big fat rubber is pretty sweet and the Pugs has a great geometry for this kind of riding.

I’m glad Sharon came to that conclusion on her own. Especially riding an unloaded bike on a short trail ride. This will make the leap to carrying some camping gear and having to mountain bike a lot easier.

J charging the creek...

J charging the creek…

I’m happy to report J made it back to the car un-broken and smiling. :cool:

Racing the setting sun back to the car...

Racing the setting sun back to the car…

Of course Sharon did have some criticisms of the BB7s for MTBing compared to her Nomad’s hydros as well as a few other upgrades. I pointed out that the Pugs was a bike worthy of upgrading and when she wanted to spend some $$ we could tackle anything she liked…:D;):thumbsup:





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.





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…