Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Bikes Of 2019 - Ti Muk 2

Salsa Cycles Ti Mukluk, or "Ti Muk 2", as I call it.
This bike makes its first appearance on the "Bikes of....." list as I just received it this past Spring. This bike has a very special story attached to it.

So, as most of you long time readers may remember, I have had a titanium fat bike, the original "Ti Muk", since about December 2011. I rode that bike on all sorts of adventures, fat bike races, gravel rides, slogging through mud in the Green Belt, and more.

And you longtime readers may also recall that I had mentioned that, in my opinion, the Rohloff internal geared hub on a Ti Muk might be the perfect fat bike. Of course, the getting of a Rohloff hub, shifter, lacing it into a wheel, and all would easily eclipse the 2G level, and I was not prepared to make that kind of an investment into my Ti Muk. Not only was the money a barrier, but since Salsa Cycles ill-advisedly stuck to a straight 1 1/8th steer tube format for the first titanium Mukluks, my bike was essentially out of date. I was pretty much stuck with rear brake format, 135mm spaced, straight steer tube front forks. And if you keep up with fat bikes, you know those forks are rare. So, upgrading an off-the back standard titanium frame seemed rather ill advised. I would need the second gen Ti Muk, or equivalent, and that needed to be single speed compatible. Again, not a common frame. Oh......and Rohloff only does 170mm spaced rear hubs. Not the 190mm rear, and its through-axle variants, as is most common today in fat bikes.

For a while I thought about getting the new Pugsley, with its updated geometry, and wider tire clearances. However, I didn't really need the offset wheel thing, and I am not sure Rohloff advises one do that with their hub. Also, while steel is okay, in my neck-o-the woods, titanium is best for dealing with corrosive environments as we have with city streets and the chemicals that are used in Winter to treat the roads here.

The recent addition of a Mucky Nutz fender to the seat tube has worked to perfection.
Well, it was all on the back-burner for me for those reasons until this past March when my friend Sam had decided to part ways with his Rohloff equipped 2015 Ti Mukluk.

The backstory on this bike I am familiar with. The bike started out life as a frame/fork which former Milltown Cycles owner Ben Witt purchased. (He may have been with Salsa Cycles by this time, I cannot remember.) At any rate, I stayed with Ben at his home for the 2017 Fargo Reunion Ride, where I saw this frame built with a Rohloff hub, Whiskey 70mm rear carbon rim, and nothing more. Ben said it was a project that he was probably going to sell off. I was quite tempted at the time, but going into Winter is the worst time for me traditionally to buy big bike purchases. So, with prudence in mind, I passed. Sam was the eventual buyer of the bike. He finished out the build.

Sam, being a huge fan of dynamo hubs, got the Schmidt SON 150mm disc front hub, and had it laced to a Whiskey carbon 70mm rim I had procured for him at a fantastic deal, since it was a replaced rim due to cosmetic damage. So, my story was loosely wrapped up into this bike from the get-go. But it got completely entangled in a way I had not foreseen.

On Sam's Facebook page advertising the sale of this bike, I stated that "....someone should get this as it is the perfect fat bike build!" That caught the notice of MG. Later, he asked me in the midst of a text dealing with a bunch of other stuff if I really thought that Sam's bike was the perfect fat bike. I answered that, for me, yes- it was. We moved on, and I forgot all about Sam's bike and MG's question.

Some weeks later, MG got a hold of me to let me know that he had raised some crazy amount of cash through pledges he drummed up to contribute to a "fat bike fund" for me. Wow! I am still blown away by this gesture that 21 people contributed to, which defrayed the costs to me to a mere pittance for this bike. Thank you could never say enough! So, yeah......wow. 

Obviously this is a very special bike to me. While it may not reflect the "perfect fat bike" for many, I cannot think of any major changes I would make to this bike. I have made a few additions, and they include accessories, for the most part.
  • Mucky Nutz fenders- One under the fork crown, the other behind the seat tube.
  • Modified Dave Grey Mud Shovel rear fender.
  • Salsa Cycles Alternator Rack 
  • New Schmidt rear dynamo light and wiring mods.
  • Bike Bag Dude frame bag, Garage Top Tube Bag, and Chaff Bags in purple, (originally meant for the Ti Muk 1)
  • Terrene Cake Eater 26 X 4.0 stud-able tires
  • Temporary "top secret seat post" with WTB Volt saddle.
  • Pogie Lite handle bar pogies by BikeIowa.com
Plans are to run this rig most of the time through Winter and for appropriate adventures, which will hopefully include some Sub-24 bikepacking and gravel next year.

Once again- My sincere, heartfelt thanks to those who made my getting this bike a reality, including my brothers MG and Sam who I love dearly.


graveldoc said...

What a blessing!

MG said...

It was an honor to be able to make that Ti Mukluk happen for you… and for Sam. It was a win-win-win.