One of the things I got done on Wednesday was to get my old 18 tooth Tensile free wheel back together. It went on the Karate Monkey, and today I rode it into work.
The ride in was punctuated by an axle slippage causing a bit of a mechanical session alongside Highway 63. Good thing I had the ol' Jethro Tool in the bag! I forgot to replace the chain tug somewhere along the way. Bad me! Well, I got it going again, and soft pedalled into work.
I found another cheapo chain tug and installed it to give me some insurance there. I also noted that on the way to work that the chain was crunching and munching the winter grit and DOT sand on the side of the road that is as thick as a Sahara dune. I didn't like the sound of that!
Thanks to the good ol' "inner-webs", I found out something worth knowing about the other day. One of those bits that you think is a good idea, makes you go "huh!" and you file away for later. Well, Thursday was that "later". I had seen a bit about this fellow named Geoff Apps. He had fashioned himself an off road rig that featured a "mud guard". Not any ol' mud guard, mind you, but a mud guard for the chain. Protects the chain from the downward dump of crap off yer back tire.
Well, that crunching and munching gave me an idea to pursue that was directly influenced by this fellow. As you can see in my image, I fashioned a bit of a "mud guard" for my chain that connected to the Planet Bike fender, the chain stay, and the seat tube using zip ties and an old Tyvek race plate. I cut away what wasn't necessary and it worked great! Kept all that muddy crap and sand off my chain and it was clean when I got home. Obviously quieter too. Now it's time to pursue a more permanent fixture!
Another thing that was experimented with and failed was that Tensile free wheel. I can't keep the bearing cover on it, which pre-loads the free wheel bearings. I Loc-tited it, and it still backs out. Good thing I had a fender mount bolt that happened to keep it from coming all the way out and causing a disaster. I won't be riding that rig until that freewheel is disposed of! Oh yeah, this is the same free wheel I mentioned before that froze up on me due to moisture intrusion. I've used it three times with two failures. Not cool.
Now the Woodchippers, well they are stellar. Salsa Cycles did a great job with these. See how the brake levers stay fairly vertical, yet the lower extensions have sweep? This keeps those that love the hoods riding position happy. Believe me, it's the best off road drop bar out there in that regard. The favorite part for me is the extended drop sections with the sweep. Spot on and very comfy for switching up your position with. Thanks Salsa Crew! Mondo control in sketchy conditions while in the drops. Plus, you have that hoods position, and the tops are perfectly spaced and shaped for grinding out climbs on.
You know, you could even hack off some of that lower extension, if you wanted to. That is a great option, and is a heck of a lot easier than trying to make them longer! All in all, it has eclipsed anything out there for off roading, to my mind. I'll have to give the single track action some time, obviously, but I am thinking Salsa has a winner here.