Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Winter Prep

I pretended I was a meteor and left this crater in the Earth Friday
First......Some catching Up:
I'll get to the gist of the post today in a minute, but since I haven't been talking here about the day-to-day stuff, I wanted to get a couple of things out there. Friday after we had copious amounts of rain here I decided to ride the 1X1 to work. In an effort to take a mud puddle at slow speed which was at the bottom of a short but steep embankment, my rear tire cut loose on me. The back end of the bike washed out and down I went.


It was a right side hit this time. I fell hard on my hip and my elbow and right hand were kind of stuck out like a kickstand when I fell to the Earth. That was a mess, with mud all stuck on me, but it was my hip that really got me. It hurt a lot. I sat there for several minutes before I got up and gingerly washed off in the very mud puddle I was trying to slow roll and stay out of. Irony. It's what was for breakfast.

Well, that made Friday night a nightmare of sorts. I couldn't breathe right, I couldn't get comfortable, and I was a wreck. Saturday was "tax free" shopping weekend for the kid's school stuff, and I was in no mood or shape to ride. Sunday I took off the bike as well, since I was still not right. Things got a lot better with a regimen of "Vitamin I", water, and rest. By Monday I was at about 80%. So, that's a great lead up to Gravel Worlds in a little less than two weeks, right? Yeah........

Working on the tools of Winter Domination!
So, that all actually segue ways in to what I did over the weekend, which was that I worked on the 1 X 11 conversion of the Ti Muk. This rig originally was a 1 X 10 set up, so I am very familiar with how that works, and this time I wanted lower gearing. I ended up using the same wheel with the Shimano cassette body. So......you may be wondering how I got that big 42T low gear? Well, welcome to SRAM NX folks.

You are going to see a ton of NX stuff on new bikes for 2017. It is far, far cheaper than GX or the premium 1 X 11 or Eagle stuff from SRAM. Plus......you can buy a straight up 11-42 cassette. No, you do not get that ridiculous 10T cassette cog, nor do you need that goofy driver SRAM uses on all the other 1 X mtb stuff. Besides......this is a fat bike. Do I really need a 10T cog? No. I do not.

I decided to go all NX with a derailleur and shifter. All the NX stuff besides the shifter is what you might expect. It is mostly stamped steel and plastic. Sure, there are a few aluminum bits in the derailleur, but this is el-cheapo construction here. It's okay. It wouldn't matter if it was SRAM Eagle, I would roach it in one Winter of use anyway, so why not sacrifice the cheapest option to the Winter roads and trails? Hopefully, it actually lasts one Winter!

The NX rear derailleur and cassette. Same top end design in cheaper materials.  
I left the shifter out of that discussion on purpose. That is because it actually is surprisingly nice for a shifter that costs around $20.00. The inner workings feel crisp and smooth. Far better than a shifter this cheap should feel. The plastic levers are actually a good thing. Winter makes metal cold, and anything you touch on a ride that is metal sucks heat from your body. It may seem like a tiny thing, but plastic levers on shifters are actually a good thing for cold weather riding. Even if I were to go with a GX cassette and deralleur or better, I would use this shifter.

Plastic levers- A Good Thing In Winter.
I have intentionally gone with carbon bars, cork grips and carbon brake levers for this very reason. It all makes a difference when the thermometer dips down around zero degrees. Same goes for my pedals, which are Mesa MP's on this bike.

I have to convert the Blackborow DS over to some items like these yet, but I can tell you it all is a noticeable difference when I go ride the Blackborow. The aluminum bars, rubber grips, and metal pedals, not to mention the aluminum brake lever blades, all feel colder and are making it harder to stay warm than it needs to be. So, the point is that now with the plastic levers on the NX shifter, it is one less contact point with metal in the cold of Winter. Let's hope that these actually work well and hold up in the cold weather once we get there.

The final piece of the puzzle was the Surly chain ring. Surly? Why yes.....Surly. You see, the OD Crank I have uses an old BCD for the chain ring bolts. (That's "bolt circle diameter" for you folks that don't speak "bike mechanic".) So, in order to keep using the crank, I bought the Surly, SRAM approved, wide-narrow toothed chain wheel. It is a 28T chain ring, (the only size Surly offers with the X-Sync tooth profile), and it bolted up to my OD crank perfectly. So, there I was this weekend, all ready with these bits, but no chain! I had not remembered to get an 11 speed chain!

Well, I had the old, 10 speed chain laying there, and it wasn't worn beyond spec yet, although it looks atrocious from the "whatever they use on the roads" stuff I ran it through while commuting last Winter. I figured, why not? So, I slapped it on there and what do you know? It works just peachy. That said, I brought home a proper 11 speed chain to put on there so everything will be new, but that was good to find out. You know. Just in case I am in a pinch and the only thing I can get is a ten speed chain.

Lots more to do here yet before Winter, but this takes me a long ways toward the goal of being ready when the snow flies.


Doug Mayer said...

Not sure about cost difference or availability, but Shimano also makes an 11-42 SLX cassette now.

Guitar Ted said...

@Doug Mayer: I was aware of an 11-40 cassette, but not anything with a 42. I'll look into that if this NX cassette seems to be a good idea, but wears out fast. I should have said it in my post, but I may even truncate this cassette by removing the 11T cassette cog so I can gain more chain clearance to the tire in the 42T.I'm sure the Shimano cassette cogs are loose on the first several smaller cogs, but the NX is as well, which allows for this idea.

Andy said...

Well let's hope we get some dang snow this year in Iowa eh?! I had a new Blackborow ready to go last year but never really used it. I decided for as much as I'm out in the winter (just a little bit), I'll be better off trying to build up a mid-fat bike for dual use summer singletrack/winter commute. Glad mid-fat is the newest "fad," so I will have options. I've had the idea for years, but unfortunately with all the talk in the market, now I feel like a band-wagoneer.