Saturday, February 18, 2017

Minus Ten Review- 7

Karate Monkey in '07 "perfection mode".
On the blog ten years ago I had plenty of images! Hooray! I think the deal was that I was not well versed yet in how to get files uploaded on Blogger, so until I figured that out and was comfortable with that, I went a few times without images. From this point on though, things like that seem to be rare, if not non-existent.

Anyway, here is a shot of my Karate Monkey from February of '07 right after Planet Bike sent me some Cascadia fenders for 29"ers. I mounted those up on my Monkey, which as I posted earlier this week, was dialed to perfection at that point for gravel travel. You can see the Cooks Brothers crank set and the disc brake set up which I no longer am using on this bike.

I was deep into getting bikes ridden and components tested at this time. I was fiddling with the XXIX+G, which I had the good sense to have sent to me in a size Large. The medium XXIX single speed was a medium, and it didn't fit as well, so that bike already was languishing in the basement unridden and would eventually get sold off later in '07, I believe it was. The Haro Mary was also a medium, but seemed to fit a little better. So that was still in play yet and I had wheels and tires being tested on that bike. Plus I had other pet project bikes I was dealing with which included a vintage 650B Raleigh mountain bike.

Another interesting development was that I had tried some DuMonde Tech lube at this point based off of an experience I had with Mike Curiak, who was using that lube at Trans Iowa v1. Later on when I told the DuMonde Tech rep about that, he contacted Mr. Curiak who then, (according to the DuMonde Tech guy) denied that he had ever used the stuff, or at least he couldn't remember ever having used it. Whatever. I saw what I saw, and it influenced me to try it. By the way, it was as good then as it is now. You should try it out too.

Now those are some REAL wagon wheels! Image courtesy of Ben Witt
Then also on the blog ten years ago- I was forwarded an image of what I thought was, (and very well could be), the first 36 inch wheeled mountain bike. It was a collaboration between Mike Pofahl and Ben Witt. Ben owned and operated Milltown Cycles then and Mike Pofahl is a custom frame builder from Northfield Minnesota.

In this image there is also a Salsa Cycles El Mariachi 29"er. You can see how those 36" wheels really dwarf the 29"ers!

This is the same 36"er which Ben had painted a maroon color later on. (Note- It is in a raw, unpainted state in this image and remained that way for several years) This is the very same bike I had here for several months on loan from Ben to use. I mostly did commuter rides on it. Oddly enough, it never did draw any attention as I rode it. People hardly noticed that it had gargantuan hoops.

Weird that.

Anyway, this bike caused quite a stir, and Ben and Mike later on collaborated on another version of this bike with some big improvements in the design. I reckon this first one is the stone that kicked off the entire 36"er bikes for off road niche as it stands today. I don't think Ben and Mike get any credit at all for doing this and being innovators. They should be recognized as such, in my opinion.


Unknown said...

It seems like I remember Brian Keener building a 36er a little bit before that time,though it's possible my recollection is impaired

Guitar Ted said...

@Unknown- Yeah, Keener's was after this one. I remember that a few guys were inspired to build one or two up directly after Ben Witt's was done. In fact, many of the ones that followed were seeking advice from Ben at the time on how he got the knobby tires he did. He actually cut his own tread with a tread knife. At that point there were no knobby 36"er tires.

David Folch said...

Hi @guitarTed, David here. I did a feature for a French mag collecting all info about the creation of 36er bikes. I remember talking to Ben. It's here
I later created the DirtySixer :-)