Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday ride photos and a new Pofahl.

We had a great night last night for some riding. The weather was just perfect, 60 degrees and a light breeze. A cousin of mine came down from the cities for his first mountain ride ever. That's not to say he has never ridden on dirt before, but this was the first trail ride he's done on a true MTB. He's been looking at a bunch of entry level 29ers in both geared and single speed variants. I set him up on one of my Blackbucks with H Bars and normal SS gear such as BB7's.Beard needs to be trimmed.
Prison at sunset.
I decided to pull out the big bike for this ride. It's been a while since I rode the 36er, and this is the first ride since I swapped the drive train to a higher tooth count. It had been a 25-18, and I had problems with chain stretch and things just not playing nice together. Since then I've acquired the huge 23t freewheel from White. What a thing of beauty. It's just so damn big! This lets me run a normal 33t font chain ring up front. Combined with a KMC Kool Lite chain it should be a trouble free drive train for years to come. I also switched from the Profile Racing Cranks to a set of the Stronglight 94 bcd cranks I got a while ago. This dropped over a pound off the bike without any real discernible disadvantage in regards to performance.

Steeper than it looks.
I am continually amazed at how easy this bike is to ride. On steep climbs, you do feel the weight of the wheels. The funny thing is that it does not feel proportional. The wheels do not feel 3 times harder to ride, which is about what the weight difference is. Traction on this bike is great, the only limiting thing on climbs is the motor. On the SS, there are hills I can't make it up in this gear combo. It's geared to the flats and rollers, and I know it. The geared bike can easily go anywhere I can on my other bikes, and then some. For the most part of the ride, I was left with the realization that the 36er is easier to ride on a lot of the terrain. The tires just roll over the small irregularities so well, that there is a noticeable decrease in rolling resistance. I could just ease into the cranks and slowly pull away from the others without much effort. The short rollers are just crazy. By hammering hard, the momentum of the wheels just pull into the hill and over.

Coming into the park, we passed some local fire fighters cutting a few trees down. They have been doing some of the regular controlled burns for the grasses and wildflowers lately. Getting further back into the park, we passed a fire can and a big water cooler. It was already pretty late at this point, so I figured that they wouldn't get to burning that far. I was wrong. It wasn't a big deal, but it is a little disconcerting to come around a corner to a burning grass fire! We just turned around and took the other path home. It was pretty cool to watch though.
So the ride was great. Jesse had a great time and has decided on a Moncog Flight for his first MTB! What a way to start out. We're going to throw a set of J Bars on there and a set of Ashima rotors. With those couple of small changes, he'll be set for years.

I was over to Mike Pofahl's the other day to pick up a tandem. Meg and I are going to borrow one frmo him for a while to see if we like riding them. We'll go from there in regard to what we'll do for our big ride for the summer. Mike is just completing work on a pretty special tandem. This is a bike he's built for a blind customer. The gentleman loves to ride, and a tandem lets him get out and actually feel the ride while putting real miles on. This tandem is build to be as adjustable as possible for the captain position. This will allow him to have as many different people as possible ride with him. The bike is really good looking, and has some great lines. It's awesome to see custom bikes that actually solve real world problems for customers. This is a perfect excample of that.

Gotta love the fillets. There are at least three more bikes I need Mike to build for me. Oh for funding!
For a complicated bike, the lines on this are just awesome. The white is really classy as well.

All for now. Happy Friday.


Anonymous said...

I'll be that he 36er is really smooth down those steps, It makes me want one.

Ben said...

It is pretty damn smooth, certainly more so than the lesser wheeled bikes. Wait until I get the video of the bike riding UP those stairs. That'll really make you drool.

Anonymous said...

I got a Pofahl MTB for my wife in 1988 - I think it was one of his very first frames. It still rides great and my daughter gets a lot of comments when she borrows it these days.
David Strachan

Ben said...

David, great to hear those stories. I love his older bikes, they're a little bit of local history. Bring it by sometime if you're in town, we'd love to see it. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Pofahl's a genius.

Ben said...

He does nice work. It's cool to see custom bikes built for practical purposes, as opposed to the oft built fashion bikes. This one is pretty cool for many reasons though.