Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bike and Hatchet Update

So I've been riding my NiKnard around, managing three off road trips over Christmas break here.

As a recap, I have a 3" Knard on the front and a 2.4" Vee Rubber Mission on the rear, both mounted on 35mm Velocity Blunt rims. I'm trying to decide if I like the front end handling with the Knard, and what the impact of the mismatch in tires sizes is. So far, it's a bit inconclusive: with the trails either hard frozen and rutted or snowed over, I'm finding it difficult to push hard enough to really get a good feel for the bike. The shock absorption feels pretty good on both ends, possibly because I'm running low pressures to match my slow winter speeds. However, the front of the NiKnard also feels a bit squirrely. Of course, partly this is due to riding snowy trails, but I wonder if I'm also drifting into the slack camp? This would be a big change from my previous experiences. The Krampus, which I enjoyed quite a bit, has a head angle about two degrees slacker than my NiKnard. Another cause could be the short (70mm) stem I've recently installed, to make up for the long top tube of the Niner. After typing that, I'm thinking stem length might be the issue...

 As a side note, the rear is also a bit squirrely, but that's clearly due to the low knobs on the Mission tire:

But it's the fattest non-Knard tire I have right now. I need to pick up an Ardent at some point.

The upshot is that I'm not willing to commit to a full 29+ frame yet. If I can get away with a 2.4~2.5" rear tire, that will really open up my frame choices beyond the Krampus or a Chinese Ti. I'll have to put some more miles on the NiKnard on drier trails before I can decide. It's a bit tough to stick with the Niner right now, since I have a couple of people interested in buying it off me, but I want to get a clearer vision of its replacement before I jump.


In household fleet news, after Christmas I found a "new" 24" Hotrock for Henry at the Grandview re-tag-it store. He got another "new" Hotrock at the beginning of the summer, but he's already outgrown that one, at least in capability--he's often topped out on his single speed. This one should last at least a summer or two, with room for Henry to grow and learn more about riding bikes:

Those orange pants go well with the red frame, don't they?


I've had my Novara Buzz halfheartedly for sale on our local Craigslist. With no serious offers, I transitioned it back to my family bike over break (which also let me move my Crosscheck back to a fixed gear, as it should be). At the same time, I ordered a new Selle AnAtomica saddle for it so I could easily carry a saddle bag. Kate helped me in the shop:

So now my saddle + saddlebag combo is worth about 85% of what the entire bike cost me.


We had a bit of warmer weather today (36F) before our much-reported brutal cold snap hits tomorrow. The boys and I spent about 2.5 hours outside, playing in the snow and hanging out. Henry got me a new hatchet for Christmas (not a Rivy $110 Swedish heirloom thing that you would be scared to use, but a Coleman type hatchet from Target). He's quite proud of the idea that we take it with us camping, so we had to practice in the backyard with it:

Sam used Henry's newly shortened sticks to bang on the ice in the creek:

But we found the hatchet much more effective for breaking ice:

Probably, this is not the best position for chopping ice when over deep water!


  1. Awesome! What a grand time in the woods with the lads! That's time they will always remember, and may one day appreciate.

    "Probably, this is not the best position for chopping ice when over deep water!"

    Och! Blood and hypothermia are great teachers. Grin. I just asm mine questions that make them think for themselves. "If you miss the ice, what's going to stop the hatchet?" "If you crack the ice, what are you going to stand on?"

    With abandon,

    1. Anything that gets these boys away from Minecraft is OK by me!


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