|"Crudflap"- Not Mud Flap!|
Okay, so I got the green light to let the cat out-o-the bag here by "Mr. K", the inventor of this lil' gizmo dubbed the "Crudflap". "What the heck is a Crudflap?!", you ask? Well, maybe I should start with the reasons why, then it will make more sense.
Mr. K sent me an e-mail several months ago asking for my assistance in prototyping an idea he had that would "shield" the chain and chain rings from the near constant dumping of "crud" off the fat bike's enormous front tire. His idea was that if the dirt, spooge, and slush generated by the front wheel could be kept off the chain and chain rings that the drive train would work better, longer, and maybe shifting performance at the front derailluer could be enhanced. I agreed and soon we were sending measurements and images back and forth along with plastic molded bits for me to try out.
|Piles of broken dreams|
There were several failures and near misses, but eventually we hit upon a couple prototypes that worked well enough that I have field tested them and, in my opinion, the ideas actually do have some merit. First off, it is nice not to hear that "scrunch-crunch" of grit on the chain after running through dirt, mud, and sand on trails or slush infested streets. I also think that this device does indeed improve chain life and shifting quality.
Right now it is still an idea in its infancy, but you never know. I think it's something worth pursuing. It isn't without its faults, (fitment for various bikes/drive train set ups would need to be figured out, for one thing), but it is a viable idea that I feel improves the fat bike riding experience.
|Dunderbeist- New Fat Rubber from 45NRTH|
Also from Frostbike 2015- New weirdly named fat bike tires from 45NRTH. Two new "tweener" sized tires dubbed "Flowbeist" and "Dunderbeist" have emerged and I got a really close look at them. Think widely spaced knobs, really open tread patterns here that are optimized for front and rear specific duties.
My impressions are that these are really for snow or soft conditions. Maybe small, rocky stuff, if it is loose. The lateral side knobs are impressive and look to aid in stability in cornering and for just keeping a bike on the line you want to be on. I saw these tires mounted on 70mm rims and on Clown Shoes. The tire takes on a really crowned, rounded look on the 70's and on the hundies they flatten out noticeably. The volume of 4.8's is not there. Not even close, but these tires should fit a wider variety of bikes than Bud and Lou does.
Of course, these are tubeless just like the Vanhelgas are. When I suggested that these might really be best suited to snow, the fellows of 45NRTH shot right back with "All our tires are best on snow." Going further, they seemed to think that none of their tires are really very well suited to "normal single track", which kind of took me by surprise. Take that for what it is worth.....
|The Blackborow DS dominates in the deep stuff|
Winter was kind of.........not Winter for the longest time, but February came and it kicked in. First we got about ten inches on the first day of the month, then that kind of, well.....evaporated, for lack of a better explanation for it. By the time it snowed again the day before yesterday, the old, ten inches of snow was a sparse, barely there three to four inches, and with a lot of bare ground showing. Now we're back up there again. Maybe to about seven inches, or more, but the biggest difference is the moisture content of this snow, which is a lot higher than it has been in a long time.
The nicer snow consistency means that I have been riding into and through stuff that has been really surprising me a lot. I expect to wash out, get bogged down, or knocked off line, losing my momentum, but many times I just keep going! A good example was yesterday when I traversed a good section of deep snow that had been post-holed by ped traffic and I was expecting to lose it and have to push. I went right through the entire section instead, and the Lou tires just tractored on through. I had to keep a steady cadence, but it worked and it was fun to be able to clean these sections that have always thwarted me before.
Okay, that's a wrap for today. Get out and enjoy the end of Winter or beginning of Spring, wherever you are in the Northern Hemisphere!