Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Skating on Thick Ice

Last Saturday, we headed north to visit our future homestead. Our neighbors now have a big hole for their basement, but we still have just an empty lot. We still managed to entertain ourselves on the frozen pond next door:

Kate is talking about buying ice skates for next winter. We'll see!

I also kept busy in the cold with a bit of work in the garage. I sold the Camargue; I'm a bit envious as it's off to warm Arizona. That let me build up the Privateer with the front bag and rack from the VO:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January Fleet News

I braved a windy, 25 degree January morning to take some of my bike fleet out for a spin. After being sick, then cooped up inside for the last few weeks, it was good to get out for an hour or so.

First up was my Monkey. I bought this frameset on a whim, but it's quickly muscled its way to the top of my mountain bikes:

As I described in my last post, the KM is most things I want in a bike: simple, steel, big tire clearance. Add in a low Q, vintage Suntour XC Pro crank, and it will be hard to top this combo:

It has already pushed the Mukluk out the door--it was sold last weekend, and the Ritchey is on the chopping block.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Fat B Nimble, Fat Be Quick

Just a few days after I built up the 29+ wheel set for my Mukluk, I got my Christmas gifts to myself in the mail. Two updates for my KM:

- a vintage Suntour XC-Pro crank I found on ebay. Now I have two of these as I circle back to 94BCD for my ideal cranks. I love the thin arms and low profile of these cranks--I dropped my Q factor an inch when I changed out the Shimano Deore crank (179mm to 154mm)

- a Panaracer Fat B Nimble tire. For a nominal 29+ tire, this has a smaller casing and is only lightly knobbed. I figured it could fit in the rear of the Monkey, and I was right:

This combination of a steel frame, fat tires, and sharp handling will likely spell the end of my fatbike ownership. The KM is everything I want in a mountain bike right now. Let me explain.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year and New Wheels

One of my long running projects has been to build a set of better 29+ wheels for my Mukluk. I've been running the fat wheels on regular 29er wheels, about 20mm internal width:

Both Surly and all the punters on the internet say this is a no-no: mid fat wheels should be on a rim of at least 30mm internal width, such as the Blunt 35 rims I have on my Karate Monkey. I haven't really had any issues with the narrower rims, but I wanted to see what a bigger rim would do.

Several months back, I picked up some 44mm Sno Cat SL rims off the iBOB list. A few months ago, I won some Schlick Northpaw fatbike hubs off ebay for a very good price. Finally, I completed my parts inventory by ordering some very reasonably priced double butted spokes this month. Add some beer and afternoon NPR on the radio, and I was ready to get building:

Billie Bar Review, with bonus Pine Tar Soap review

I placed a Rivendell order the other day to try out a few new products. My main purchase was a new bar for my Fuji. The Billie bar is an evo...