Friday, February 04, 2011

The Snow Dog Update

<===Rolling along with a wheel on loan from Ben.

A while ago, I wrote about how my own Phil Wood hub  blew up on me and how Ben Witt of Milltown Cycles bailed me out with the loaner Phil hubbed wheel shown here.

How's it been going? Well, so far so good. The first thing I did was to remove the end cap on the axle and slide the free hub off to expose the pawls. I de-greased these and replaced the Phil grease with some red Tri-Flow grease, which is somewhat thinner in consistency. As I said, so far, so good.

Yesterday's slog was a good test. It was just above zero, and I ran into a couple of places where the torque was high, and no issues at all. Even the hint of failure was not present. In fact, it is feeling perfectly normal.

Now it is just a wait to see what Phil Wood & Co. does with my wheel. I haven't heard a peep yet, and they were to have had the wheel in hand by Tuesday. Hopefully it will hit the door here before Frostbike, because that's when I am scheduled to return the wheel I have to Ben. Hopefully his Pofahl fat bike will be readied by then, and he can start rolling on his slightly used, broken in rear wheel.

Notes From A Fat Bike Noob: So, what's the deal with these rigs? Well, first off, they are not a magic bullet for deep snow travel. Not even close. These bikes do have some amount of "float", but they have to have a compacted surface, or terrain that holds together, to traverse over without a lot of wallowing, or front wheel wash-out. Post-holed pedestrian paths through the snow, which are nigh unto impossible on any other bike, are sneered at by The Snow Dog. Not only that, but the suspension in those tires actually helps keep you from getting bounced off-line or sideways, which is what usually happens with a 29"er.

Other types of surfaces I have found working well for The Snow Dog are snowmobile trails, half-heartedly scraped sidewalks and bike trails, and "car-snow", which is easily dispatched by The Snow Dog's massive "Larry" 3.8"ers. My favorite thing to do so far is to ride in alleyways, since they usually have more fun "features" to launch off of and plow over.

<==Check out how Ben's furry rim strip sticks out of the Rolling Darryl's "windows". 
The "Larrys" sound like 44" Swampers on a '77 Chevy 4X4 when you run fast over pavement, which just adds to the "monster truck" feeling you get when floating down the road. Making child-like "V-8" sounds is purely optional, but adds a lot to the ambiance and experience. I recommend it!

Oh yeah- and you will get worked over riding one of these. That weight takes energy to get it moving, and then when you get into the fun terrain and situations, it only adds more rolling resistance, which burns even more cals. I suspect it will be the best early season training I've had in years, just poking around on this thing for even short rides.

The plan is to do some more poking around this weekend, and it should be good, since the temps are forecast to be pretty reasonable for this time of year.

Have a great weekend, ya'all!


Joe said...

Hard to believe that such a heavy bike as my Pugsley never fails to leave me ginning. And yeah, I can't help but make BRAAP and hot rod noises out loud while riding it. The neighbors thought I lost it years ago anyway ;)

Bill G said...


You are right on about the workout aspect of pushing the snowbike around. 1.5 hours on her compared to the road is like 6.0 hours. But it is so much fun who cares - just bring fuel with you if you plan on going long.

Have a great weekend!

Vito said...

Set one up as a single speed and you really get one hell of a workout. Like Joe said, "It will leave you grinning."

Mike Johnson said...

Nice Rig! Somethings I have learned but not applied on the snow conditions in which one rides is the lower the pressure for the deeper the snow. Makes sense and saw guys at Triple D running less than 5 psi. One thing I want try is switching the direction of the Larry front tire. The tire bites in the depper snow with the sides knobs and wants to throw you to the side. Something Lance A. mentioned he has tried with success.

Guitar Ted said...

@Mike Johnson: On pressures: I have been running no more than 10psi, and today, the flotation was amazing. The pressure was so low that our gauges at work wouldn't read it! (I'm guessing 5psi or less)

I gotta get one of those digital, low pressure gauges for sure!

The Front tire hasn't caused me an issue, but it would be an interesting experiment to turn it around. I am running the back tire "backwards" and it really digs in, but I have not tried the back tire the "right" way yet to know any difference.

Steve Fuller said...

GT - Any comments or thoughts on the unique cable routing for the rear brake? Obviously it works, but I'm wondering about reasons for it.

Guitar Ted said...

I'm not sure why Salsa did what they did with regards to the brake routing. I can only guess that keeping the caliper at the highest point on the rotor keeps the snow and ice off better than if it were mounted on the chain stay. Icing of a brake is reduced, or eliminated, but cable routing is compromised.

I thought I could do something a bit better with two V brake noodles and a bit of Nokon housing. Ideally, I would use automotive brake line to route the entire brake with and eliminate the housing altogether except at the bendy points at the handle bars.

Steve Fuller said...

GT - I was doing some more looking around last night, and found an article on Salsa's site that specifically addressed the "why" of the cable placement. Gotta love the thought process that goes into something as boring as cable routing.

details are down in the comments section in a post from JK