Saturday, December 23, 2017

Minus Ten Review 51

Back when we used to actually get snow.
Ten years ago on the blog I was talking about the year in my now annual "Rear View" posts. But besides all that, I also was talking about commuting to work in ice and snow on my old Raleigh 29"er with what was then the widest, burliest tire we could get then.

Two things struck me as I went back to recap this week on the blog. The first was that I sure wished we had easy access to fat bikes back then. I sure could have used a Pugs or Mukluk with 3.8"s for Winter commutes back then.

But that said, I did get a long way with tires like the WTB Stout which had great traction on snow. I just lacked float, obviously. The Schwalbe Racing Ralphs from this period also were great in that regard. A pair of 2.4 Ardents on Blunt 35's was also one of the better snow tire set ups I used on a 29"er. I could imagine 29+ being really good at this as well.

The other thing I noted about things ten years ago was that Winter was actually a thing. We had snow, ice, and cold all at the same time! Amazing, right? I mean, the past several inters have really been kind of messed up as far as snow goes for the season. I kind of gauge this off how the shop I work at rents skis. Cross country skiing needs a good base of snow, so if the shop doesn't rent many days then it is indicative of a poor Winter, and we haven't rented a lot of skis the past several years.

Hmmm........ Thinking about these two things I wonder whether I shouldn't sell my fat bikes and just get a decent 29 plus rig and call it good!


Bob said...

I'm sitting here drinking a hot cup of tea after moving 5 inches of new snow. Pushed the banks back, too, to make room for the 8-12 inches arriving Monday. I''m so happy we still have real winters.

For where and how I ride fat bikes rule, one could say I'm enamored with them. In fact, the new Blackborow frame arrived last week and I plan to build it over the holidays into my around town cruiser.

But I'm curious, what makes for a decent 29 plus rig?

Guitar Ted said...

@Robert Jones- My take is that 29+ has, for the most part, been dominated by trail bike oriented designs and conversions of fat bikes. Both have their places. That's not what I want.

I like the Jones take on 29+. It may be what Jeff Jones says it is,the best evolution of the bicycle. Then again..... I just don't have a good feel for what Jones has done, enough so to pop for one of his creations, which are expensive. But that idea of his is intriguing.

I've ridden a Surly ECR once. Very nice, but very over-built and over-purposed, as is Surly's way. I am not thinking I want a super-versatile 29+ bike, or even one that is designed for bikepacking.

So that also kind of rules out the Trek 1120. That bike also is limited to a 1X drive train and would have a very limited gear range due to the fact that it cannot take a very big drive ring. (Info provided to me by a shop that had a customer with one. ) I would require a good range including a decent gravel road cruising gear.

So, I am left still looking. So far a Jones bike seems to be the best option I've seen without going full custom.