Friday, December 21, 2018

Friday News And Views

Barren trees and tons of leaves. Fat biking conditions have been unusual here.
Weather Making For Unusual Conditions:

 As you will see in tomorrows "Minus Ten Review", it used to snow here. A lot. Now in recent times that doesn't seem as likely. Winter now means sporadic snows, maybe it will be cold, and lots of brown scenery.

In fact, my latest fat bike rides have been over grounds that are muddy, soft, and increasingly messy. We had a spate of really cold weather here that did freeze the ground back in late November, but since then things have actually been thawing out. It is really weird. It also is really tough on anyone wanting some off road bicycling around here. Either it is certain trails which we want to keep off of or it is the constant sticky mud that fouls up everything. Ice was an issue, but even that has disappeared lately with several days of 50's in a row, and now upper 40's.

I have been fat biking the last couple of weekends as an alternative to my gravel road stuff. I just needed a break for a bit. That said, the rides have been not anything like what I would expect for December. I ended up doing some trail work on various bits of the Green Belt. I also cleared up my old trail, "Marky-Mark", and ended up rerouting about ten yards of it to get around a knot of dead fall and vines that had blocked a portion of that trail. So, on one hand, this weird weather has allowed for some trail maintenance.

It isn't supposed to get really cold, snowy, or anything like Winter for at least another week. Looks like it'll be a "Brown Christmas" around here.

Shifty bits be gone!
As Promised- Gears Removed From The "Orange Crush":

As many of you long term readers know, I had threatened to make my BMC "Orange Crush" rig into a single speed once I had the pink MCD up and running. Well, last weekend I took an afternoon and did the deed. No more gears!

Yes...... it took an entire afternoon to strip off components and replace them with single speed stuff. Why? Wouldn't that be a simple job? Well, you'd think so.

There is a bit more to it than meets the eye though. Both in the bits needed to convert to single speed and the finding of those bits! Having been a single speed aficionado for the better part of my cycling career, I have accumulated a lot of single-speedy stuff. I have a drawer dedicated to bits for single speed. Stuff like cog spacers, cogs, free wheels, and the elusive single speed specific chain ring bolts. I've got crank sets, and I've got chain rings. I even have spare White Industry chain rings that are specific to their crank.

Weird, huh?

Well it is weird until you need the stuff! Then you are glad you have it. But even though I have a drawer full of the bits, you still have to "spec" correctly. So, in the case of the Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross conversion, I had a set of 180mm cranks from, (I think), an old Specialized Sequoia touring bike from the early 80's. It was ginormous in size, so it had been spec'ed with these old Sakae 180mm cranks. Of course, back then everything was square taper, (check!) and took a long spindle, (also Check!), so that bottom bracket had to be tracked down, (UN-52, natch!), and then I had to find some crank bolts, and then....... Well, you get the picture. Time consuming, it was. Nuff of that, here's the pic......

There she is!
I'm running a 40T steel chain ring I got........somewhere. I cannot recall now, but the last time I used this was on a single speed 29"er ten years ago. The crank is the aforementioned Sakae unit in 180mm length. Those old components have an ano process that left a pearlescent glow that I miss. Man is that pretty! The rear cog is an 18 tooth Boone Titanium cog with the matching titanium spacers. I just recycled the chain I was using, an old 9spd SRAM unit, shortened to work with the set up.

There is one minor thing I may do yet and that is to get some standard aero brake levers, so I can get the Gevenalle mounts/levers off the bike to clean things up a bit more. That'll require new brake cables, so I may wait on that till Spring.

Donnelly's new "EMP" tires
Donnelly New "EMP" Tire, Now On Test/Review:

A week or so ago I posted about this new tire from Donnelly. It is the new "EMP", named after Emporia, Kansas, which is, as Donnelly states on the tire's hang tag, "Home of the world famous gravel roads that reach out to the sky."

No mention of Dirty Kanza? Yep..... You know why, right? Licensing agreements. Meaning that to use the name in Donnelly's marketing, they probably would have to get a license to allow that from DK Promotions. I'm assuming that this is the case, so don't take that for gospel, but I would be willing to bet that is the case here.

Anyway...... I just found that interesting. Nothing to do with the tire, per se', but it is designed with the DK 200 in mind, so it has a tough, aggressive looking tread and a puncture protection belt too. I put up an introductory post on hereCheck that out for details. I will say that for now, it looks like a good tire for packed snow, which we should have now........ Bah! Anyway, I'll likely get these on the single speeded Orange Crush soon enough and start trying them out. I figure it can't be long before fenders and aggressive tread will be necessary! And if it continues as it has been, well, I'll have "hero gravel" to ride, most likely. That isn't all bad.

Fyxation's new through axle fork for gravel/adventure bikes.
Fyxation Announces New Gravel/Adventure Forks:

Wednesday news came down about Fyxation's new gravel/adventure forks, dubbed the Sparta FCR and Sparta QR. The FCR variant is your typical through axled, tapered steer tubed, three boss on a side fork with full carbon construction and a pretty light weight. But it is the other fork I am thinking is pretty cool.

The "QR" model is what you think- a quick release model. A straight steer tube, QR wheel fork with carbon blades and an aluminum steer tube. Why? I saw a lot of commentary saying it should have had a through axle. Not QR. Hmm......

Well, it turns out the fork asked for already exists.  Thanks to a commenter on the Riding Gravel facebook page for pointing this out.

  Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


Greg said...

That chain you removed from the Orange Crush is cringe worthy! (my OCD kicking in I guess). Also, looks like Fyxation and Lynskey are using the same Chinese mold for their forks. My new Lynskey gravel fork looks exactly the same - minus the exterior mounting screws.

Guitar Ted said...

@Greg D- Glad to now that my chain caused you to have a reaction. it isn't often that one's chain can be so subversive. :>)

Blame it on me not liking to see things not used up.

Greg said...

Oh, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!

Skidmark said...

GT, I thought frugal bike mechanics all used STI levers w/broken shifter mechanisms for singlespeed brake levers.

jdc said...

I am absolutely going to borrow that idea of running a twin tri-cage setup on the downtube. Never thought of it but that will come in mighty handy come the dog days of summer! Also a great way to run a tool keg without sacrificing a bottle in order to do it.

kimberleyturtle said...

would love a closeup of that Boone cog, they were such pieces of art

Guitar Ted said...

@kimberlyturtle- I'll see if I can't work that into a post in the first part of 2019. :>)

Scott said...

I absolutely love the SS Orange Crush build. I find it incredibly satisfying to re-deploy old parts from the parts bin to create a "new" bike. I've got a new BMC Road+ and it's a great bike for me, but I've always wanted to build up a SS BMC Monstercross.

Quick question regarding fenders + gravel. I know fender manufacturers typically list a minimum clearance amount for installation, and I know your BMC has loads of clearance, but do you have any concerns about riding loose gravel with fenders? Any close calls ever? I figure if theres a remote possibility for locking the front wheel at speed due to debris jamming between the tire and fender, riding for miles on loose gravel would be the most likely scenario for this to happen.

Thanks, GT!

Guitar Ted said...

@Scott- Fenders and gravel can be an issue, but if you use a quality fender and mount it solidly, it will be okay. I've used Planet Bike fenders on the BMC for years with no problems. The aluminum core/plastic outer fenders were good, but they rattled and subsequently were noisey. This mostly due to excess flexibility which no amount of washers or what have you can cure. Ultimately I ended up with their metal fender, which has no flexy noise issues, and has a pop out front fender "safety" feature which releases the mount at the drop out if the fender gets jammed, which can save you from a crash. The fender is easily reattached after the fact, by the way. I have had this happen on a couple of muddy Level B road excursions.