Showing posts with label titanium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label titanium. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MRP Fat Fork vs On One Fatty Fork

The One One Carbon Fatty Fork
If you own one of the "first wave" fat bikes that have only an 1 1/8th compatible head tube, like I do, your fork options besides the stock fork that came with your rig, are limited. If you were like me, it was hard to find any good information on such forks, because most folks are all buzzing about "the next shiny object" and not some antiquated 1 1/8th steer tube fat bike fork option. Hopefully this will help correct that for someone out there......

So, before I get any further, here's my standard disclaimer, with an addendum...

 NOTE: Large doses of "my opinion" will be handed out in gloppy dollops today. You've been forewarned..... And: Both forks mentioned were purchased with my own money. I am not being bribed, nor paid for this post. 

(sigh!)...Okay then, with that outta the way, here's the way I see these choices for your fat bike. First up, the On One Carbon Fatty. This fork is, as the name implies, carbon fiber and surprisingly enough, so is the steer tube. It comes in black or white and has some ridiculous clear coated graphics. Price from On One direct is $248.46, give or take a bit depending upon currency exchange rates. 

  • 470mm Axle To Crown length
  • 55mm offset
  • 590 grams cut to fit a Large Mukluk
  • Rear Standard Brake Mount
  • 10mm QR axle only
  • 135mm OD
Notes: The Fatty fork is pretty much a direct replacement for an Enabler fork. Similar axle to crown length, offset, and brake mounting standards mean you just install the fork, swap over the brake and stem, and you are ready to ride. Well, that is if you have a carbon steer tube plug to take the place of a star nut, which cannot be used "no how-no way" on a carbon steer tube. (Or at least, it shouldn't be.) The Carbon Fatty does have a bit of a protruding "shelf" at the crown race seat, but this is so it matches up with the larger bottom part of On One's fat bike head tube. Mukluk owners will have to just put up with the eyesore. Note: You could use this on a fat bike with a tapered steer tube fork by replacing the lower head set with an 1 1/8th compatible reducer. This means the fork will swap over to your next fat bike too.

MRP's Fat Fork
The next contender is MRP's Fat Fork which is quite a bit different than the On One fork and has more options available. The MRP fork is the evolution of the White Brother's SnoPack fork. With the change in name of the company, the fork was dubbed the "Fat Fork" going forward. This fork is available in aluminum or aluminum crown, steer tube, and drop outs with carbon fiber legs. Both versions have 34mm diameter legs. The fork is also offered in two axle to crown lengths, and one would work with Pugsleys at 450mm. MSRP is $449.00 for the carbon legged versions and $339.00 for the all-alloy ones. 

  • 468mm Axle to Crown length
  • 43mm Offset
  • 990 grams cut with star nut (Carbon is 910gm uncut)
  • Front Standard, post style brake mount
  • QR axle only
  • 135mm OD
Notes: The Fat Fork transfers over well to a Mukluk, but the fly in this ointment will be the front brake standard that MRP uses. While I have seen a creative kludge to adapt a rear standard brake mount front hub to a front brake standard fork, it isn't easy, and it isn't commercially available. Most will be best served by swapping over to a more "modern" front standard hub. Yes.....a new wheel build. But look.....everything going forward is front brake standard, so why not? The other thing of note is the offset, which is shorter. This means more stability. Well......theoretically it does, and it probably will in practice. What does this mean for you? A "slower" handling bike. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe not. I like it for softer conditions. Note: This fork would also be swappable to another fat bike regardless of headset/head tube sizing with the correct head set. Front brake standard hubs are plentiful now as well. 

Comparisons: The On One fork seems to win on paper with its direct swap-ability, lighter weight, and lesser price. However; that is tempered somewhat since your hub choices are limited going forward and you need to deal with a carbon compatible pre-load plug to adjust your head set. (These can be a bit frustrating depending on the style, plus they cost more than star nuts do.) The MRP fork doesn't have hose guides, which is unforgivable in 2014. Both forks do not have any provisions for bottle cages or Anything Cages, which may be a negative for you. The MRP's price is 100 bucks more, and that's hard to swallow, but it does get you into the modern world when it comes to hub/brake standards, and it isn't carbon, which for some folks is all they will need to know to choose it. 

Okay, so how do they ride?  See Part 2 HERE.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

MukTruk Update

Handles sand okay.
The MukTruk has been ridden pretty extensively since I got it together about two weeks ago now. Here's a bit of an impression of what it is like to swap fat bike wheels out for the "plus sized shoes" that I have on my Mukluk now.

It Is Not A Fat Bike:

While three inch wide tires can do a lot, they don't have quite the float of 3.8"ers or wider. Sand traps, while eminently more "doable" than on a 29"er, are still a chore on 29+ tires, while your fat bike would simply laugh and roll on. Still, your traction and roll over are tremendous with 29+. Definitely a "plus" over any 29"er set up and better in many ways than a fat bike set up.

You also have a lighter weight than a full on fat bike set up, and less rolling resistance with a better turn in than fat bikes have. If you can live without the flotation factor, this set up really rules.

Higher Bottom Bracket: Probably the biggest negative here is the higher bottom bracket, which makes dismounting and mounting a chore. If your fat bike has a dropper post, or can take one, get one if you go 29+. It will definitely enhance the ability to get going again off road, not to mention getting down steep stuff will be easier. I'd say the 29+ set up on the Ti Muk sent the BB height up at least by an inch, although I haven't actually measured the difference.

Smoove: The combination of a slightly bigger diameter wheel, tubeless, lower pressure tires, and the titanium frame, seat post, and aluminum MRP fork all add up to a much smoother ride than this bike ever had before. I sometimes forget to unweight the saddle when I hit sharper bumps since this set up simply erases small chatter. The fork has been particularly revealing in this manner.

So far I am really liking this set up. Of course, when Winter comes in, I will be swapping out wheels to fat bike wheels and tires again. The plan is to swap wheels with the boy's bike which has Rolling Darryls and to not use a front brake in Winter, since the fork and hub are not compatible. Until then, this bike will be getting the call a lot in the coming months for more adventures and for just cruising around.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Riding In The Broomwagon For Now

Ti Muk wheels
This has been a tough week. I think my friend Mike Johnson said it best when he put it this way: "Stress to the body comes in many forms and is often delayed." He's right on in my case. 

Monday I got right back on the bike after resting hard all day Sunday. Sure- I had aches and pains, but it ain't no thing with me. I always have aches and pains. I was cooked by the end of the day though. Tuesday I rode back and forth to work again. Feeling "okay", but still worked, still achy. Then Tuesday night I knew something was really wrong. I got a feeling that I was sick. By Wednesday morning I was really hurting. It was flu. I had a temperature of 102°F most of the day. Sweating, pain, aches. It was awful. Thursday saw my wife put me on a regimen of Ibuprofen and Tylenol, with plenty of fluids and rest. No bicycles, no alcohol. 

Thursday night I decided to not take the Ibuprofen before I went to bed. I was feeling really good, and I wanted to know if I was over it, or was it just being managed by drugs. I found out Friday morning it was "managed by drugs". I hurt all over and had a slight fever again. Not to mention a stuffy head and cold now. So the "No bikes-No alcohol" rule is still in effect. Mrs Guitar Ted says until Monday at the earliest. Boo. 

The Slender Fungus sent me a Get Well Package.

Oh well. I suppose this getting bounced off a Silverado thing will take time to get around. I better just be patient. In the meantime I got a nice "get well" package from the Slender Fungus Friday. (Thanks Crew!) I'll have to wait to use the koozie though. Under orders and all.....

Then there are the new wheels for the titanium Mukluk/ I got some purple anodized Salsa Conversion hubs some time ago now, and finally had Velocity lace those up to some Dually rims with purple nips. These are the 29"er Duallys, so they will be getting some Knard 29 X 3" tires soon, and yes- tubeless. That will be a set up then that will get these special Alternator style drop outs that will push the wheel back as it relates to the frame, so the rear 29+ will clear the brace across the seat stays better. (Thank you MJ & DG!) I now will have to get a fork that fits the 135 front disc standard so I can have a brake and I also need the tires yet. Baby steps. I'll get this done soon! I definitely have the time to do that now!

The Odin's dirt still needs cleaning away.....
I also need to attend to the Fargo Gen I rig. It hasn't gotten a proper clean up post Odin's Revenge, (I know! It's been too long) Then I need to pick up a proper granny ring for this rig as well. The 22T that is on there now chain sucks and I don't need anything that low. I have seen where I can get a 24 or possibly a 26T granny, which would be ideal and less likely to chin suck, if it fits. Maybe the 24T then! 

The tires need a sealant recharge as well. Then I think everything will be good to go, despite it having gotten thrashed in the dirt and mud to the point I figured the entire drive train would need to be replaced when I was riding Odin's. Beyond the obvious maintenance, I would really like to get a hold of a nicer seat post for that bike. The test post from Cirrus Cycles was sweet. I may have to save up for one of those. It really made the Fargo Gen I a better bike. 

I've professed my love for the Fargo Gen I here before, and I am hoping that some tweaks to the Ti Muk will come to fruition that will make it as much a "go-to" bike as the Fargo is now. If it all works out, I think a Luxy Bar of mine may find its way over to that Ti Muk and with its titanium seat post, bigger 29+ rubber, and new drop outs, it will be that sort of a bike for me. We will see.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Friday News And Views

The Germans do Fat!
Fat Bike News:

Seems like everyone is getting in on the fat biking bandwagon these days. Now I see that German brand Canyon Bikes is doing a high end offering dubbed the "Dude CF".

Canyon bikes are highly regarded and, unfortunately, unavailable in the U.S. However; I suspect folks connected with the Topeak-Ergon team might just be sporting these, since they are sponsored by Canyon Bikes.

No hard details yet on this other than it is a 190mm spaced rear that is said to fit the biggest available tires. Note the DT Swiss branded rims. Schwalbe tires too. Think fat biking is a fad now? No, it isn't, and if you want to know, the fat bike genre has a lot more going for it than the 27.5"er craze. My opinion is that the fat bike will gain more sales than the 27.5"er, "enduro" bikes, and if you exclude the move by many companies to simply convert all their 26" stock to 27.5"ers, (to simplify and streamline their bottom line more than anything else), fat bikes will easily outpace the "mid-sized" wheels soon. Well......maybe not in Europe.

Twin Six: METAL
Twin Six "Standard Fat":

Twin Six, (yes.....the cycling clothing folks), are busy bringing some "hardware" to the table for all you bikenerds out there like me. This is a bit of a peak at a titanium frame/carbon fork fat bike set up that Twin Six designed and tested in house. The company line is as follows.....

"Operation Ride Metal stems from our pride and dedication to the sport as well as our cycling heritage. With an everything you need and nothing you don't philosophy, the Standard Fat is inspired by our hunger for precision and drive for classic aesthetics. The result is a lean T6 titanium machine weighing in at 4lbs 2 oz (medium frame & fork). The chassis boasts competition driven geometry, Twin Six engineered dropouts, covert cable stops, a 100mm bottom bracket shell, 170mm rear spacing, and clearance for five inch rubber. The 44mm head tube is paired with a svelte carbon fork and adorned by a Twin Six silver plated brass head badge. Target price point for frame, fork, seat collar, and T6 designed top cap is $2200 and will be available late fall."

The "Standard Fat" sports typically sano T6 graphics and classy looks. 
T6 designed drop outs
 The "Standard Fat" also sports an interesting drop out, as mentioned- designed by T6,-and it looks pretty clean and elegant. One has to wonder if perchance that a "swinging" type drop out, or other modular bits might be in the future since the drop is a bolted on piece. 

Removable cable stops.....because you could go single speed? It would make sense. However it goes, this is a decently priced offering that looks great. Oh! And did you catch that it fits big tires with a 170mm OLD rear end? Don't you have to have a 190mmOLD rear to do that? Well, I asked about that and T6 responded that it can fit a 4.8" tire on an 80mm rim with their manipulated seat and chain stay configuration. 

While carbon is all the rage for fat bike frames, I can tell you that titanium rides super smoothly on fat wheels. Better than most rigs. It really makes a difference and of course- it is METAL. What else would Twin Six make a bike out of? 

The GTDRI set up: The bike survived!

 Gear Assessment From The GTDRI:

Well, if you've been reading along this week, you know all about the ill-fated GTDRI event. Now I want to talk about the gear I used for this ride. 

I decided to take the Tamland Two out, and besides the cassette gearing being woefully over-geared for the hills and my fitness level, it was a great rig for the task. I could go on in minutiae about what I liked, but I'll just hit the highlights. If you have specific queries, just hit me up in the comments section and I'll be glad to answer you. 
  •  Geometry: The downhill performance at speeds of up to 40mph was stable and I felt that I could totally trust this bike. 
  • The TRP Spyre brakes: Both Dan and I were using these brakes with different levers and we both agreed that the modulation and power was better than BB-7's. Oh.....and they were quiet the entire ride. 
  • Challenge "Gravel Grinder" tires: If these tires were going to blow apart on me, they would have by now and particularly on this ride. On wide rims they are fantastic on loose gravel. if a tad "loose" feeling, to borrow NASCAR terminology. 
  • Ergon SM-3 Saddle: I wasn't 100% sold on this perch at first, but it has become a favorite now. Zero saddle issues- no numbness, and it has a perfect "sweet spot", but the other positions are fine and comfy as well. 
  • Bike Bag Dude "Chaff Bag": Instantly turns a two water bottle cage bike into a 4 bottle cage bike, and having two bottles on the bars is awesome. Those old Euro racer dudes were on to something with that idea. 
The bike was great, and the gear worked very well. As far as the crash goes, the bar tape got nicked- that's it. 

Bike Bag Dude Chaff Bags work great as food holders, bottle cages, or for smaller items. 
These tires really are great for gravel. Fast, wide, stable.

My Oakleys got trashed.

 There was one item that got totaled in the wreck and that was my Oakley shades. Near as I can tell my helmet, which the Oakleys were perched in, went flying off my head when the truck hit me, (I didn't have the helmet buckled yet, as I was walking the bike), and it smashed glasses first into the gravel or something. Anyway, they are a total loss. If that's all I lost in this, well then I count myself very fortunate. Shades can be replaced. Bodies? Lives? Not so much. 

New Raleigh Willard Two
New Gravel Rig From Raleigh:

Finally, I have known about this rig for a bit, but I saw where it had been talked about on-line now, so I feel free to say a thing or three here. 

The Raleigh guys were the ones that picked my brain on gravel specific features for a bicycle's design, and they did everything I advised them to with the Tamland. Now they have done similar geometry with an aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork and dubbed the bike "Willard". I instantly thought of that rat based horror flick when I heard the name, but apparently, that wasn't the inspiration for the rig's name. (I asked) Anyway, this is supposed to be lighter and it will come in two flavors- The Willard Two, a 105 equipped rig, and the Willard One, a Sora 9 speed rig. The retail prices are a step lower than the Tamland's are, so they should find a good audience out there. 

The only thing I am a bit wary of is the aluminum frame. I might be pleasantly surprised, if ever I get a leg thrown over one, but I just don't know about aluminum on gravel roads. Maybe I could use some enlightenment there? Maybe I could. At any rate, the good stuff is there, like Shimano components, TRP Spyre brakes, and Clement MSO 40mm tires. They claim it will tip the scales at 22 or so pounds, and I bet with a judicious choice in wheels and a few component swaps it would easily dive under 20lbs, if that is a goal.

Okay, I am going to be out for the weekend again taking my son to the last events at Iowa Speedway for the season. Back on Sunday at the earliest. Meanwhile, ya'all have a great weekend and get yer ride on!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Getting Ready To Go (Again)

Shoes fer goin' places
A couple of years ago now I was just starting to assemble some stuff to go do a "sub-24" and possibly more on my Ti Mukluk. Then I ran into some road blocks. Some self induced, some not. Gear "paralysis analysis", "tyranny of choice" issues, and my wife going back to school all conspired to push me off course with that plan, and I decided to move in other directions.

Now my son is old enough to make some shorter rides to do sub-24's and my wife has finished school. Not only that, but I decided to do more "jumping" and less "looky-looing" at gear. Some things have been sorted that have now brought me to the brink of really being "ready to go". Those things were major hurdles to me mentally two years ago, but now they have been put behind me.

One of those things is my cooking kit. I made a pretty decent alcohol stove from a pop can last Fall, and then I picked up a nice titanium cup, stove stand, and wind screen about a month ago. Along with my Ti Spork and another folding titanium spoon, I have stuff enough to get my son and I out for an overnighter.
My son and daughter are in there.

 Last week I picked up a two man tent. I had a bike packing tent, but it was more of a glorified bivy and it required a bicycle tube and wheel to make it stand up, which is a pain, and heavy to boot. I had all these wild ideas of getting alternative poles and what not, but in the end, it was just a dumb idea and my son wasn't going to fit in there either!

This Seirra Designs Lightning 2 is perfect though. It isn't the lightest, smallest tent going, but it is simple, roomy, and has features I appreciate in a tent. In other words, it will get the job done just fine and it didn't cost me some enormous amount of money. Realistically- I am not going to be camping in cold, inclement weather, so ya know......I don't need this epic gear. I just need a decent tent to have some fun, right?

I'm took the same idea with me when I chose my sleeping bag. A lightweight, 40-50 degree bag will do me just fine and I can score a decent one for well under $100.00 that will get me outside and sleeping just fine. I already have a Thermarest pad, and orders have been placed for our bags now, so it's just a matter of waiting for that stuff to appear and then........

We'll pack up his fat bike and one of my rigs and off we'll go to test our mettle over night someplace. We've also got a date coming up in July when we have to overnight for the NASCAR/Indy races at Iowa Speedway near Newton. So now we'll be ready, and we'll really be "ready to go" after all!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday News And Views

The map of the Trans Iowa Masters Program course
Back when I proposed the Trans Iowa Masters Program idea, I figured that some folks would give it the cursory, "oh....that's cool", and then that would be it. You know- no one was really going to be excited about this idea. Once again, I was proven totally wrong about that. In fact, not only was I wrong, but two fellows have already successfully navigated the entire process. They rode the course, wrote up their individual tales and submitted them with photographs. So, I had to own up to my promises after all! Here is the TIMP Ride Report site. Under the header you will see the two gentleman's names and you can click those to take you to their reports. It's good stuff, really.

The Certificate
Also, I am sending these certificates of achievement out, which are mostly hand drawn, cause that's how I've always rolled. No, they aren't "perfect" and neither is TIMP or anything I put my hands to, so I think this reflects the nature of the whole deal. Obviously these are based off the design I came up with for the t-shirts for T.I.V10. I didn't simply just copy and paste that though, this is all new. Again- it's how I like to do things.

In other TIMP news, the weather of late has severely flooded the Big Sioux River on the South Dakota/Iowa border, so the start line for the TIMP is not accessible at this point. When it will be again, I do not know, but the next scheduled ride is June 27th, so it may affect that starting point a bit. I have word that the rest of the route is unaffected, so that was good to hear. There is one more ride scheduled in July and I am hearing that another is pending. We'll see how many end up actually pulling the trigger on this, but it only runs through to the end of August, so time is limited. After August 31st, I will pull down all the info on TIMP located on the T.I.V10 site and it will not be offered again. The Ride Reports will be up on the other site I announced this week indefinitely.

2015 Specialized Fat Boy Pro
Fat Bike or MTB?

With the announcement earlier in the year of the long rumored Rock Shox Bluto suspension fork, the push to make a fat bike an "everyday mountain bike" is full on. Take a look here at this leaked shot of the 2015 Specialized Fat Boy Pro. You can see a dropper post, and obviously, the original Fat Boy has a different geometry that promotes better trail handling, eschewing the previous fat bike grail of ultimate soft conditions stability. Now the rage is to get these bikes to be more playful and fun to "shred on" than the earlier fat bike types were.

While I have advocated all along that fat bikes are indeed a great choice for fun all year long, I hesitate to say it could replace your mountain bike. I find that one a bit tough to swallow. Here's why.....
  • Wheels: While carbon fiber and materials technology is ever advancing to lessen the load we humans have to try to spin around on our bicycles, fat bikes will always have much heavier wheels and tires than any other mountain bike. How much "playfulness" and mtb shredability can be squeezed out of a fat bike will probably always pale in comparison to a "mid-fat" "plus sized" wheel, (think 29+ and the upcoming B+ wheels), and there will never be any comparison to "normal" mtb wheels in any of the three sizes still available. 
  • Price: To get closer to a lighter weight, more maneuverable mountain bike with fatter, 3.8"-4.8" tires, one will necessarily have to throw large wads of cash at the project. Could less money get you into a similarly shred-able mountain bike with slightly less corpulent wheels? I think that answer will always be "yes".
However; having all this "trail bike" innovation is still cool, and I am liking what I see. I just don't advocate for something like this as being "better" than having a regular mountain bike, or that it is a mtb replacement. Surely, there will be many that go that route, but I think the vast majority of folks will see the "fat bike as trail bike" movement as a supplemental rig to their regular mountain bikes. That or replacement 700c wheels built on fat bike hubs that can be mounted with 29 X 3" tires will start to become a thing. I could totally see that. Fat bike tires for when conditions are soft, then swap out to the lighter weight, faster, mid-fat wheels for drier conditions.

Calling up the reserves?
More Contemplating Madness:

By now you regular readers have figured out that all these "Contemplating Madness" posts are about my run up to this year's Odin's Revenge attempt.  I have been focusing on using my Titanium Mukluk in this pursuit, and I have been refining the set up into something I'm pretty sure would work really well, but then......

Walking up the stairs in the house Thursday morning, my right knee went sideways all of a sudden and I felt a sharp pain underneath my knee cap. I've felt a dull sensation there at times after riding the Ti Muk in its current form, and I figured it was likely the wider bottom braket raising a little cain with me. This is why I haven't tried clipless pedals on that bike, since I can kind of move my feet around to optimize my comfort in my joints when I need to. Being locked in would not allow for such tweakage. It's worked for me in three Triple D attempts and finishes and countless long rides outside of that. However; this Spring and Summer I've noticed a change in that and it has been just an annoyance and never has been anything even worth mentioning.......until now! 

The Fargo Gen 1 was used last year, and honestly, it was just geared too high, and that torched me out sooner than I probably needed to be, since I could not spin the cranks on that set up. It was mashing gears all the way! I have a triple crank on it now with much more reasonable gearing, and  otherwise it stands ready to go as it is. I'm going to go for a short ride today, and if the knee starts to hurt, I'm cutting the By-Tor from the roster and going to go back to the Fargo Gen 1 rig. Stay tuned.......this could get interesting!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Contemplating Madness: Part 5

Last time I mentioned that my cassette had come loose. Well, it is a SRAM 10 speed cassette and the shim doesn't work with that cassette on the Salsa hub, at least it wouldn't the other day. I got the lock ring to tighten down further, and everything seemed to be very solid. I threw it back together and did a couple commutes with it with no issues.

Yesterday on my day off I decided to wait until the rain had been over for awhile before heading out. It was pretty humid, but it wasn't very sunny, with all the cloud cover, it was sort of odd. The wind was pretty stiff out of the Southeast, which were the two primary directions I was going to start out in as well- South and then East. That's okay if you make it to the tail wind section though!

The roads were packed and not too wet. There was hardly any dust. The gravel was messed up, for whatever reason, and there weren't very many "good lines". It didn't seem to make much difference with the GEAX AKA's and I rolled everything just fine. It was just the wind, really. To give you something of an idea, it took me two hours to get to the halfway turnaround and an hour to get back home from there!

There was nobody ho......right! The home is gone!
So, a bit over three hours yesterday and it turned up two issues. One is a bit frustrating. I heard the clanging noises about the time I got out of the wind, so who knows how long it had been going on, but the cassette is loose again. Just slightly loose, but loose enough to make noise. I'm just about ready to toss all my SRAM garbage and go with a complete Shimano set up. My feeling is that this SRAM cassette is goofy.

The other issue is with the saddle. During the Winter, when I am doing shorter rides and am dressed differently, I guess I don't notice, but the Ergon saddle isn't doing the trick after a few hours. Maybe it's too wide, (I think this is the trouble), or whatever, but it is too close to Odin's to do anything with an untested saddle. That is why the Ti Muk s getting the WTB Pure V off the BMC for the time being. That saddle I know and it is comfy. Maybe when Odin's is over I will look into something different for the Ti Muk so I an put the Pure  V back on to the Orange Crush rig.

The last thing I need to do is get some bar ends on this rig. I really need some different hand positions! I may have some old Ergon stubbies around, but the shop also has BioKork grips with the longer "L" shaped bar end which might prove to be the best bet. I've gotta get this dialled in a few days because next week is the run up to Odin's and a week from Friday we're off to the hills of Nebraska!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Contemplating Madness: Part 4

B Level Maintenance road rest stop
The test of the brake went well. No rubbing, no noise, and consistent, good braking power. Essentially, it is just like new, but I will switch back to the Ashima rotor I was going to use. It's got the same level of performance, but it is lighter.

I loaded up the Bike Bag Dude Chaff bags and custom frame bag with most everything I think I'll pack for Odin's Revenge. The only thing I didn't have on board was food, but I did pack four full water bottles and a external battery LED light. I also had two tubes, a multi-tool, and a mini pump. There was a packable rain jacket in there, but I had no fear of needing that on such a beautiful day. There is a first aid kit and wet wipes as well. I think that's about it. Basically everything but the food.

The purpose of this ride was twofold- One reason was to determine if not having a bigger than 32 tooth ring on the crank was going to be an issue, and the other was to see how the GEAX AKA 2,2"ers would deal with powdery dirt, which I have been informed that the Odin's course is capable of having a lot of. There was only one good option to find out both things- A trip out to Petrie Road and the mile of B Level Maintenance road out there.

Plenty of "cocoa powder" and sandy dirt ahead!
So I headed out that direction via the Sergeant Road bike path until I could hop off onto gravel at Aker Road and start checking out how the bike would do on gravel. I may have ridden the Muk in this configuration on gravel before, but I can't recollect when or how that went if I had done it. Basically, this was news to me with the 29"er hoops in the frame.

As you might expect, it wasn't bad at all. The frame is compliant, the titanium seat post is wonderful, and the tubeless GEAX AKA's are soaking up vibrations as well. I noticed how the slacker head angle and long wheel base were working to keep the bike from chattering sideways on the fresher gravel. Stability. I'd be needing that on the fast, ripping descents that the Odin's course will likely have.

The bonus find of the ride was that the B Level maintenance portion of Petrie Road did indeed have deep, powdery dirt. Just what I wanted to find. While a true fat bike 3.8"er would have scoffed at this pile of dusty dirt and rode rough shod over it, I wasn't sure that the "skinny" AKA's would hold up. I believe that they did as well as they did due to the stretched wheel base and stable geometry of the Mukluk. I could change lines, and the wheels didn't want to instantly wash out. Nice!

Barns For Jason- When was the last time you saw a load of "square" bales? 

I had an issue with the bike though. I heard a strange rattle in the back and I tracked it down to a loose cassette. The lock ring appeared to be tight, so perhaps I forgot that stupid shim that 10 speed cassettes are supposed to have behind them on the free hub body. Meh! I think Shimano does the best overall with cycling components, but sometimes the tiny details are just stupid or maddening or both. Really- you couldn't have just made the base of the largest cog a little wider? Lame.

No excuses though- I missed that spacer and that's on me. I'd get that after I got home and it was better to find out now rather than at Odin's! On the way home, I pretty much put myself into single speed mode so as not to exacerbate the issue. While nursing things along, I saw something I didn't take notice of at first, because in the depths of my memory, what I was seeing was normal. Then I realized that it was actually really an odd sight. A load of freshly baled "square" bales of hay on an old style hay rack. In a day where the round bales of hay have taken over, seeing this brought back many memories of helping relatives on farms bale hay in the hot Summer Sun.

It was a fantastic day out on the bike. Sunny, a nice breeze, and dusty gravel roads. It doesn't get much better than that!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Contemplating Madness: Part 3

That circular object inside the caliper is a stuck piston
With my test ride the other night of the titanium Mukluk set up for Odin's Revenge, I noted that the front brake was rubbing and making noise. No big deal, I probably just needed to recenter the caliper, right? Wait a minute there, Podner! it was more complicated than that!

Apparently fat biking on wintry city streets has its downsides, namely corrosion. I found a few washers were broken. Those "CPS" style concave/convex dealies? Those were broken and badly corroded. I replaced all the broken and suspect ones and tried again. No go! Still rubbing.

Upon further inspection, I noted that one pad was not moving. Yep! A stuck piston. Great! I did some online research. (It is the "information super-highway", after all!) I found out how to treat the problem and then I found out my pads were shot. Dang! Stopped again. I ordered a new set of pads which showed up yesterday and I continued to move forward again with repairs. Hopefully it would be a simple fix.

I didn't have the proper brake block!
In the meantime, I had bled the brake, since it had not ever been done since the bike was built up. I happen to have the proper bleed kit and a fresh bottle of DOT5 fluid which I used to purge a bit of air from the system. After I was satisfied that I had all the air out, I looked for an Elixir 9 brake block in my kit, but I didn't have one! So, I fashioned a wine bottle cork to do what I needed and that worked really well.

The new pads came and went right in with no issues. I was hopeful that this would solve the issue, since I wasn't about to have to buy new brakes or mess with this anymore this close to Odins. I'd just ride a different bike instead of dealing with this and wasting precious time before the event. I grabbed the front wheel and battened down the quick release, spun the wheel and.......
New pads- Lookin' good!

It was better! Much better. I centered the caliper and tightened everything down. It should be good to go. The lever feels the same as the rear brake again, and there should be no noise. I'll know for sure later today.

This just raises awareness on my part for maintenance of fat bikes. If you go for the more demanding aspects of fat biking- snow, mud, and Winter streets treated with chemicals, you'll need to pay attention to corrosion and its affects upon your hardware. Fortunately my issues did not impact a big ride or cause a crash or injuries, but the damage could have, so I was fortunate to catch all this before it went pear shaped.

Now I just have to decide if I can live with the lower than normal gearing, and if I cannot, I need to make a chain ring change, or pass on the titanium Mukluk for another rig........ Stay tuned........

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Contemplating Madness: Part 2

Yesterday I detailed out my Pofahl single speed rig and mentioned that I was considering that bike for Odin's Revenge and why. Today I reveal "the other choice" mentioned and I will talk about why By-Tor the Titanium Mukluk will likely get the nod. (Hint: It isn't just because it as gears!)

When I purchased the titanium Mukluk frame and steel Enabler fork to build up By-Tor, I had in mind that this bike could be a "do everything" type of bike if that's what I wanted it to be. Certainly, it is a very fine fat bike. I know that is its main purpose, and that it does what it was designed to do well. It is stable, comfortable, and fits those crazy wide tires and rims. However; this bike has more than one trick up its sleeve. I won't get into all of what I feel it could be, but I do want to touch on the hard tail mountain bike transformation you see here.

Obviously, I have a different wheel set based upon fat bike hubs with the rear at 170mmOD and the front at 135mmOD. This makes for some stiff, strong 29"er wheels. They are a bit on the heavy side, but that is because of the hubs more than anything else. If I had the latest fat bike hubs I could shave a fair amount off and they would weigh about what a decent set of 29"er hoops do now. I have Stan's Flow rims on here and shod those with a pair of GEAX AKA folding bead tires. This makes for a wide, fast rolling, and grippy set of wheels for all the dirt and gravel at Odin's.

Fat bike mode- snowier times!
Comfort on a long ride is king, and the Ti Mukluk has that in spades. Is it really different than an aluminum frame? Yes. You really can tell the difference here. My Snow Dog is great but it rides much "stiffer" than the Ti Muk does. Of course, that smoothness is enhanced by the Salsa Ti seat post which is super nice to have for the longer rides. The combination of the frame and seat post makes this the smoothest ride in my stable suited for Odin's.

The Ergon BioKork grips and saddle round out the comfortable bits here. While I have flat pedals on it now, those will be swapped for SPD's for the event which will be the only contact point change on the bike. Bags will figure heavily into the plan and the main compartment will be the Bike Bag Dude frame bag and his super useful Chaff Bags, (not shown), which easily hold water bottles or gobs of trail mix! Inside the frame bag will be extra water, repair kit, and perhaps some food or rain gear, (depending upon the weather forecast for the event), and exact contents will be determined later. The Chaff Bags will hold a water bottle and grub. Two more water bottles can go on the fork blades as well. This set up will keep almost all the stuff I need on the bike and off my back. The Planet Bike Snack Sack you see will be primarily for my camera and smaller items.

Of course, By-Tor is a geared bike. That it also has really low gears doesn't hurt, as I found out at Triple D, and that will be useful at Odin's. However, it lacks a big ring for downhill cruising. I may see about fixing that issue soon. Otherwise, that dratted SRAM 10 speed chain is going away. The worst chain by far I have ever used. It has done everything bad short of breaking, and that won't be long at the rate it is corroding. I'm switching it out to a Shimano or a KMC real quick here.

More on the set up as it evolves running up to Odin's. As you can see, the titanium rig probably is the smarter choice here. So far, that is the choice. More soon......

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

A Different Kind Of Titanium

Hopefully the start of something......
I received a small box in the mail yesterday. It was light, and I was expecting it to be so. It had some nice titanium things inside of it. Not the cycling bits you might think of, but these things will be cycling related in this case.

I've always been envious of the guys I know that go out and have a breakfast or a coffee or both on their way to work in the woods using a camp/back/bike packing kit. I was introduced to the idea way back in '08 and since I am a slow learner it takes me a long time to get things together, I guess, but here I am getting a bit closer to the goal, at least!

So, no big, huge plans here, just baby steps and small goals at first. Then.......who knows? I do have a can stove and a bit of alcohol. I have some coffee I can grind, so the first thing on the menu is to just go somewhere quiet and have a cuppa joe, then ride back. We'll see where it goes from there.

I know I have a camping trip on the horizon in mid-July where I will be staying overnight with my son, so there's another opportunity to cook with this little kit. Hope he likes instant oatmeal! That will definitely be on the menu that weekend! Maybe we'll do something else as well, but that's awhile down the road just yet.

So, stay tuned. I hope to be having some "mini-adventures" soon enough, and we'll see how the kit does out in the field. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Randomonium: Fat Bike Thoughts

100mm of float foundation
Whelp.........I am wheeless. On the titanium Mukluk, that is. The Velocity Duallys had to return back home, and I had other ideas anyway. Big, floaty ideas.

Not that I didn't like the Duallys, because I did, but my priority wheel set has to be a big, fat, ridiculous one. Why? Well, I am tired of punching through and being in an unstable situation on the blasted, drier snows, like we had to ride at Triple D. So, I have this plan to set up some 100mm Clownshoes with some Vee rubber tires. But first, I needed to get some hubs.

Those hubs should show up today. Purple hubs. Salsa Cycles purple anodized hubs. They are convertible from quick release to through axle, so if these go to a different bike, it's no problem. You may say, but aren't those front hubs a front disc spacing?, and I would say, "Right you are". Still no problem, since I can get an adapter for my rear spaced front fork. Going forward, if I get another fork, it would most likely be front disc spaced, so I would be good there as well.

So anyway, the first piece of the puzzle arrives today and I will be slowly making my way toward getting a big, wide, expedition worthy wheel set up and running for the titanium Mukluk. Now if I were to be racing more, I would get a Dually wheel set. Those are sweet for that purpose.  The thing is, the Triple D, which is pretty much the only fat bike race around here I am interested in, isn't done on a groomed course. 100mm rims and big tires are overkill anywhere else races are held around here. The Triple D would be a suitable event for the big fatties, but otherwise I am not doing any super-groomed, fast, hard packed trail on my fat bike in a racing situation. Why? Because lap races on groomed courses is so 1990's. My opinion, and it isn't what I think of when I think of fat biking. Many of you might enjoy that sort of thing, and I think you should go do that then. It just is not for me, that's all.

To Carbon Infinity....and beyond!
Besides, I don't ride a fat bike to be out racing anyway. In fact, I like it for quite the opposite reasons. I do like lighter weight, high performance parts though. The thing is, I just don't see the value in going with carbon fiber rims for a bike I am not going to be racing on. The Clownshoes are fine for me. Yes......they are heavier, but they also cost a heck of a lot less money, and for the times I will want to be using them, cost is a consideration. Weight is way down the list of "needs" for this project. Besides, there are no 100mm wide carbon rims........yet. Sarma is coming out with them, but their 80's cost over a grand a pair already. Nope. Not gonna go there.

Now for tires I am going to probably slap a Snowshoe on the rear and a Snowshoe, or an upcoming Vee Rubber tire that isn't out yet, or a Bud on the front. We'll see there when the time is ripe. There may be an offering from Bontrager, or others, before Winter comes back around here and I need such monster tires. So, what will I do with the bike until then?

 Skinny set up
Why I will slap on the "skinny" wheels, that's what! I did this back in 2012 and I really enjoyed the Mukluk that way. It rode really well, albeit more like a "touring" set up. I don't mind that at all, and actually, for casual mountain biking, just to see the sights, it was fantastic.

This will make it so I have a good geared hard tail with a flat bar set up. I have the Fargo Gen 2 with the drop bar, but no other geared, flat bar hard tail. Ironically, back in 2012 I was trying out a bike packing set up, but now that I have the Bike Bag Dude's frame bag, seat bag, and Chaff Bags, I am set to go in that way. I already told my son that we're going camping this Summer, so we'll be taking his fat bike and mine will be there with the "Summer-set up".

So the Winter "big wheels" will be slow in getting put together. Winter is about shot here, (really......just you wait and see!), so no hurry to get them done just now. I figured I may as well get started on next year now though.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Thoughts On The Regulator

Salsa Cycles Regulator Titanium post
Seat posts seem to be a somewhat boring component, but ever since I have started up the Gravel Grinder News quest for the most comfortable seat post, I have learned that there are indeed many things to learn about such seemingly simple objects.

If you are riding a "proper" mountain bike which is sized correctly, you probably have several inches of exposed post out of the frame. Many folks probably do not consider that a seat post flexes, but they do, and that is a very good thing! However; now designers of seat posts are going further and using seat posts as a way to absorb vibrations on purpose, like the Ergon CF-3 post does. I had heard friends rave about how titanium seat posts rode as well, so I figured that since Salsa Cycles was now offering a version of a titanium post, I would jump on board one to see what all the fuss was about, and to see if the titanium post would perhaps mitigate some potential discomforts.

The Regulator was pretty convincing at Triple D
Of course, I used the Regulator at Triple D, and have done several shorter rides since that 67 miler over all sorts of rough ice, snow, and post holed, teeth jarring frozen trail. Here's my initial thoughts from the perspective of riding a fat bike.

First of all, I am very familiar with how my titanium Mukluk rides with a Salsa Shaft post which is made from aluminum. The Regulator post was a noticeable difference from that old post with the titanium bike. Much, much smoother over smaller chatter. In some cases, I couldn't feel many vibrations that I was feeling with the aluminum post in back to back rides on both posts. There is certainly an improvement to be had in ride feel with the Regulator post. No doubt about that.

Downsides? Yes- there are a few. First off, (and this may be okay for many riders), the springy action of this post is undamped. That means if the post absorbs energy, and flexes, it will return that energy and this is felt with a tendency to bounce a couple of times after bigger hits and when going through abrupt transitions in terrain. Like a "g-out", for instance. Think about a car with bad shock absorbers, and maybe that will give you an idea, but it wasn't that bad! However; it was definitely noticeable, and as I said, it did not bother me. That said, I never was bounced out of my saddle, so it was not severe like that in anyway. Lighter riders will likely never notice this, by the way. (I weigh 230lbs, for reference.)

Secondly, this post is not all that light. I weighed this in at 310 grams, which was 30 grams heavier than the Shaft post it replaced. However; the comfort factor increased by an order of magnitude with the Regulator post installed, so the weight penalty here is maybe forgivable. Consider that for heavier folks, or riders that carry a heavy backpack, the peace of mind in knowing that this post is made from metal, and can handle some abuse, well that weight may be seen as an asset in those circumstances. I've snapped off a carbon post before, and it ain't something I want to try again, I can tell you that much!

Thirdly, the post is expensive. No doubt about that. However; it's in line with a 400mm lay back Eriksen Sweetpost and Moots Cinch Post pricing, so the 410mm Regulator at $275.00 or so isn't bad. But that's still a lot of coin for a seat post.

 Again, I paid my own money for this post, and I am glad I did try it. It definitely has been and will be an asset in my fat bike riding. The next test will be on a gravel road bike set up where I will see how it does for mitigating the "paint shaker" effect of rough gravel roads. That will have to wait until the roads come out of Winter first though.

Stay tuned for updates.....

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Triple D 2014: Last Big Training Ride

ATV ruts, Leroy & his dog's tracks, and some melt/freeze cycles get you this.
Wednesday, the day off work, and a chance to get in a longer ride to ascertain whether or not I am recovering or getting worse off. First I had some erands to run, then a bit of lunch. When I hit out to ride, it was about 15°F with a light wind.

I headed on down to the Sergeant Road trail to see how badly it had iced over, or not. Much to my relief, the two plus days of warm weather had not ruined the snow here. For sure- it was icier and far, far bumpier. I liked that fact, because I certainly was looking for a test of my new Dually rim set up for Triple D. I wasn't disappointed, despite Leroy and his dog's best efforts to make the surface uneven and rough with their daily passing through here. Leroy is a local to my neighborhood, and he does a cracking job of taking care of his old German Shepard. He also is very "duck footed", and he tears up the trail like no other when it is snowed over! I didn't see Leroy and his dog on this day. I was too early for his circuit.

I decided to check out the Green Belt after a little traverse past a City Parks worker who was laying down rock salt to melt off some icy patches. He was rather taken aback by my bike and I, and did not return my greeting. Hmmm.....maybe he was having a bad day?

The Green Belt was ridiculously fast and packed in.

Well, I climbed the dike and descended it safely down into the wood, and I found a treat. The snow had been tamped down quite smoothly by prior traffic, and frozen like a rock with the recent melt then re-freeze. I was going as fast here in Winter as I do in summer. This was a lot of fun, and I didn't notice I was on fatter wheels at all. The ponderous, slower handling I was used to was lessened, and the bike seemed to spin up off of corners quite nicely, in comparison to how it used to be.

So far into the ride, I also hadn't noticed any odd traits from swapping wheels, only better feelings, like a snappier turning feel, and if anything, a less "planted" feeling when going slower. More like a 26"er hard tail, but without the negatives of the skinnier, smaller diameter wheels. That is not saying "it felt like a 26"er", it just says it moved toward feeling that way more than not, mmm-kay folks. Of course, the loss of weight in the wheels is most likely the reason for all of that. I mean, if you can shave a massive amount of weight off your wheels, it is something any rider would immediately notice, so this is not rocket science stuff here. (Keep in mind, these wheels are just shy of 3lbs lighter than the old set.)

Like riding on firm Styrofoam!
Then I made my way around toward the lake, as I was following someone's orange surveyor flags, and I wanted to see what the route was. Well, it was what I probably would have done anyway- Green Belt to a loop around the lake. The snow was perfect! Really fast here, and the snow was still lily white, packed in, firm, and sounded like crunchy Styrofoam under the tires. Lots of fun!

The Sterlings were getting a ton of traction out here, so this was a good little stretch to push up the speeds a bit. However; I had to throttle it waaaaaay back when I left through the parking lot, as it was a sea of glassy looking ice. I would probably avoid it next time if I see that it is still like this. It was by far the most treacherous ice of the entire ride.

Then came the bike path again to get back home, and to begin with, there was a modicum of traffic that had made somewhat of a rut/impression into the snow. Leroy and his dog do not venture out this far on the trail, otherwise it would have been as before, closer to my home. I got within 50-75 yrads of Ansborough Avenue, and free and clear tracks again, when all signs of any consistent track disappeared. It was essentially snow that hadn't been walked on for a long time, if ever. I could not see evidence of a foot print, at any rate.
Rut-ro! Fat bike, comin through!

 So I kicked the front derailluer down to granny gear, (literally, it had been so long since I had used it, the mech was frozen!), and spun away in a low-ish gear with not much of a problem. The searing, tearing sound of the snow was amazing. It got real loud!

I noticed that I was getting into some deeper stuff, so now I click down a couple more gears, power down, and it keeps on moving! Fun, but a lot of work. I noted that I was spinning pretty fast for my forward speed, and then I noticed the rear tire was actually spinning faster than I was going! Don't stop now!

As I got closer to the Ansborough bike path, I saw a set of tracks made by a walker, but I steered clear and made my own way. Sometimes a single set of post holes will kill your mojo. Not this time! I was going to clean this section! I kept churning, and eventually, I popped off onto the cement path and stopped to catch my breath.

So, the Sterlings still have that tractability, and they "floated" me as well as I have expected so far, with a better spin up due to the lighter weight. In the high output section I had just cleared, I wonder if I would have been able to keep a heavier wheel going like I did. It's hard to say, but I bet that the lighter wheels helped a lot here. The rest of the ride was a piece of cake, and I returned home after two hours of pedaling.

That was a good test, and I am confident in my tubeless set up with the Duallys, as well as being very impressed with how they performed with the Sterlings. This should really help out with saving energy during Triple D, and I really need that this year, as last week's being very sick has been a blow to my fitness, and recovery is not complete yet.

Onward and upward........

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Triple D 2014: Modifications Part 2

Wheels go roundy-round, but not all are created equal.
As promised yesterday, I did get something else in to modify my set up on By-Tor for this weekend's Triple D attempt. A bit of an opportunity to try out a wheel set temporarily from the good gents over at Velocity USA presented itself, and I availed myself of the chance.

They sent over a set of Dually 26 inch rims laced with DT Swiss Competition spokes and brass nipples to Hope "Fatsno" hubs for me to race on Sunday. I had decided to retain my Fatback Sterling tires and stay tubeless with these wheels, and I am happy to report that the swap over was easy. The tires actually fit more snug to these rims than they do on the Fatback Uma II rims I have.

Two things were affected by this swap, and both for the good, at least I think, considering what the conditions should be like. First of all, the 45mm wide Dually rims are 25mm narrower than what I was using. The Fatsno hubs are lighter as well. This significantly affected weight. I lost almost 3lbs switching over to these wheels!

Secondly, those narrower rims did affect the tire's width. Here's the thing: First of all, most of the width lost was in the casing as it is being pulled in at a more acute angle from the tread area on the Dually. Note- the side of the casing doesn't hit the trail, so that width is superfluous, really. The tread area did "crown" up a wee bit, which makes the tires have less self-steer, as predicted by my friend, MG.

Looks like a 29"er tire and rim!
Two odd things I noticed: One was that these tires seated into their bead seats very easily and very evenly on the Dually rims. I had issues with this on the Fatback rims. I credit the slightly tighter fit for this.

Secondly, I noticed that the tires felt great at a lower pressure. I started out on my initial test ride at 10psi, and the tires felt wonderful at that pressure with these rims. Again, the more crowned profile of the tread area is probably helping here, as is the narrower rim, which is making these tires work differently now.

Those are initial impressions. I will refine my thoughts after today's longer test ride. I need to shake everything down and as long as I do not have any issues, this should be the set up for the event Sunday. I think it will be spot on for a few reasons.

The snow around here has taken a major hit with over two days worth of temperatures over the freezing mark with no dips to re-freeze. This has made for some slicker, harder snow and really crusty snow where it is deeper. Wider rims and tires are of no real benefit with these conditions. Added to this, we got a spritzing of freezing rain recently, and that has only added to the slick, icy factor. Skinny tires, (as in 29"er rubber), isn't the greatest idea then either. The stability of a "mid-fat" set up makes more sense. You might say, "Well then, what about a 29+?" makes sense, if... The big issue here is that currently there is one tire, and it is a highly crowned tire on a 50mm rim and has shallow, squarish knobs tightly packed on the casing. Not at all ideal for these conditions. A better tire, or a wider rim, or both, would necessarily have to be available to outdo the 26" fat tires out now.

Pay no mind to that measurement on the tire!
Another reason I think this set up will be good is not only for the high possibility of seeing some icy sections, but for the high possibility of seeing some sloppy conditions as well. The latest report on the Heritage Trail was that it had very hard packed, slicker snow on it and that it was fast. With temperatures slated to remain cold for a while, that should not change, but on race day, it is supposed to warm up.

They are talking something like mid to upper 30's for the daytime, which may increase the chances for some softer snow, and it definitely will produce some softer sections off the trail in the afternoon coming back into Dubuque. A wider than 29, voluminous, tractable tire may win the day, and if things remain solidified, no harm, no foul.

Finally, comfort. I will have a very comfortable set up for the several acres of farm fields we will be traversing within the first 25 miles of the event. Those fields are sure to be bumpy with a thin coating of snow and ice on them.

So, that's the story and I am sticking to it! I will now refine my food and water set up, and then hope that I am more fully recovered for this weekend's 65 miles of Triple D fun. That's really the bottom line, isn't it? Ride a bicycle, have fun doing it. No matter what the conditions, it should prove to be another memorable time in Dubuque with a slew of like-minded individuals who all will be shooting to have fun as well.

Now, off to make a few minor last minute adjustments!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Triple D 2014: Modifications

SKS Grand MOM Fender mods in progress
The Triple D forecast has been vacillating back and forth from being over freezing to below freezing. In the case of an above freezing event, I have come up with something to keep my arse dry while traveling across the open farm fields and on the Heritage Trail where water could easily soak my backside and may end up making me freeze to death.

I have an SKS Grand MOM fender that's been on the Fargo and I pressed it into service on the Ti Mukluk. I knew it would be a bit shy of doing what I wanted, but I figured I would give it a shot regardless. Hey- maybe I might be wrong! Turns out I wasn't- I got my backside wet despite having this clipped to the Mukluk.

My buddy, MG, also has this fender and he showed me an image of what he did to his and reported to me that it worked great. He simply extended the coverage by adding layers of Gorilla Tape. I was looking for something a bit more permanent, since if this worked out, the fender would live on a fat bike the rest of its useable life, and not on the Fargo anymore.

I thought that a "skeleton" of some sort would maybe give the Gorilla Tape some structure and may last longer than MG's admittedly temporary set up for his rig. (A gorgeous Singular Puffin, by the way.) So I gave thought to doing something a bit different than MG had done. Now when I "give thought" to something, it may appear that I've gone into a trance, and when Mrs. Guitar Ted saw me in the Lab staring at By-Tor, she was taken aback by my statuesque appearance, but I assured her I was okay, "just thinking! Visualizing, actually would be more accurate. I had an idea and I had to wait to get to work to act on it.

Finished project.

I used some stainless steel spokes, a couple of nipples, and a vise to help me bend things rightly. Then I used the old Hozan spoke threader tool to do a bit of thread rolling and there you have it. A skeleton waiting to be "fleshed out"! I also drilled and punched out four small holes in the SKS fender to mount the "skeleton" and used the J-bend of the spokes to keep the ends from pulling through.

My Gorilla Tape was at home, so I had to wait to get home to start taping it up. I imagined myself doing a "poor man's carbon layup" as I was applying the tape in sections both on top and underneath the fender. I used several small strips and patches to make it have the best structure and retain a modicum of decent looks. My symmetry was off a bit, but at least it isn't totally atrocious!

I figure I gained about an inch in width on each side and about an inch and a half- two inches out back for extended coverage. Now all I have to do is test it out, but with all the remaining days up to Triple D forecast to be below the freezing mark, I am not sure that will happen. However; if Triple D does get warmer and things look to get sloppy, I'll be ready. It's a two second job to take it off or install it, and I'll have peace of mind for the event, and a fender to keep me cleaner if I ride By-Tor to work and back during wetter times.

There's one more modification coming. It is a major one, and given the conditions on the route of Triple D are now "hard as concrete", as described by the promoter, this mod may be a really smart one. That might show up tomorrow or today. Stay tuned for that big switch........