Thursday, September 30, 2010

Drakkar redo.

With the Rawland Gravel Road tour coming up on Sunday, I thought it fitting to get going on some long awaited changes to my Drakkar Build.  When I originally built the bike up I set it up with a traditional triple touring drive train.  While this did work well with the bike, for my purposes I wanted something a little more elegant with a more usable gear range.  The older set up had too much low gear, and too much high gear.  I spent very little time in either side of the gearing chart.  I wanted something much more in the middle, with closer set rear cogs as well.

My White Industry wheels I built will be switch hitting for this bike and my Fargo.  I will eventually have a set of White disc hubs built on Hed rims for this build, but that will have to wait a bit.  I'm being fiscally responsible while planning a kick ass Mukluk build in November.

The crank set up will be a Shimano compact double with 44t-34t gearing.  I don't use my 46t on Fargo all that much, so lightly lower on this bike makes sense.  I will likely run smaller tires in this bike than in my Fargo, so I plan on being in the big ring more.  The 34t is just a bit lower than the 36t middle ring on my Fargo, which should balance out the smaller 11-28t Ultegra cassette in the rear.  I love the way this set up looks. 
I will be using this bike as my road bike for a while as well, and the 44t shuold be just about perfect for my kind of road riding.  I found the 50t ring to be yet a bit too high for my tastes and speed, and the 44-11 is a pretty high gear.  I find myself much more efficient while spinning, so this should play right into my strengths.  My favorite "road" tires are also 35c, so that ups the overall gear range compared to a traditional 23c or 25c tire.

The front derailleur clamp needed a little gunsmithing to fit the much smaller ring.  The derailleurs will be Shimano's new 6700 Ultegra outfits with Dura Ace barcons.
 It should be a really good set up for how I'm going to use this bike.  The bike deserves such nice parts, and it should go like a scalded cat. I'll have full build pictures tomorrow when the last parts arrive. Happy Thursday all.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Morning gravel with Boucher

I met up with Jason this morning for some cool weather gravel.  We left dark and early from Dunn Brothers on our usual roads northwest towards the smokestacks. There was little wind, and the gravel was not a bit dusty due to recent rains.  For the most part is was smooth and steady riding mixed with great conversation.  I think we both needed it.  Here are some obligatory snapshots from this morning. Check out Jason's blog in the next few days for far better pictures than these.  It was an awesome morning in that regard!

Old and new Fargo at rest.  The new color is really classy.  I immediately liked how the new Fargo handled, and Jason's set up is almost spot on for me, (fancy that.)  I will likely be getting one of these when they are available, and we will have both completes and frame options available in the shop for sale.  As will a lot of Salsa completes this year, these will be in very large demand.  If you are interested in ordering a complete Fargo or a frameset it would be prudent to place a preorder for one.  Feel free to contact us with any questions you might have about the new bike, or if you'd like to get one coming for yourself.

Here's a quick shot of the man himself at work.  Looking through the photos over coffee afterward it was obvious Jason caught some stunning images.  It was a truly gorgeous morning.

A quick reminder about the Rawland Gravel tour on Sunday.  We plan to leave Dennison MN at 10 am.  I hope you all can make it.  The day promises to be really good time!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

For your viewing pleasure.

Here she is.  After years of wanting one of these Meg and I have taken the plunge.  As with many things such as these, I figured I shouldn't do it half assed.  Without further ado I'd like to introduce you to our tandem.  
 The bike is a MTB Tandems Fandango 29er with a White Brothers 100t fork.  It is driven by a set of ISIS Race Face Turbine tandem cranks through a Rohloff 14 speed internal hub. 
 The wheels feature Sun's MTX 33 free ride rims laced to the Rohloff out back and a White Industries Venti in the front.  Spokes are tandem weight from Sapim. 
 All in all I couldn't be happier.  I'm terribly excited to get out on it with Meg and just cruise around.  If the rain here relents anytime soon we may make it out on Monday.  For those of you wondering, it weighs 47 lbs as pictured.  Figure it'll be closer to 50 lbs with rear pedals, flat pack and cages.  Not too bad really.
Please excuse the poor photos.  It's been pouring rain, these are the best I can do for now.  I will be posting further on specifics as we dial the bike in to our needs.  Stop by the shop and check it out for yourselves, this one you have to see to really appreciate! 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rolly Rear End

Here's the last teaser shot of the new bike you're going to get. The frame set should be shipping to me as you read this, hopefully for a late next week build. The bike will feature the amazing Rohloff Speedhub. Other details of the build can be inferred from the parts shown.
Happy Saturday, have a good weekend all.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Trip to Willow River

I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week on a little overnight tour with my friend Ben Oney. Ben was kind enough to let me tag along. Our ride started in Northfield riding to Cannon Falls on gravel roads through Sogn Valley. It was a gorgeous 50 some, sunny degrees when we left Goodbye Blue Monday at around 7am. The morning light made for really nice long shadows on the well packed gravel.The crops are getting really close to being harvest time. The light did wonderful things through the gently swaying fields. Road conditions at this point were next to perfect. A lot of the roads we were on are the north east part of the upcoming Rawland Gravel Tour, so it was a good opportunity to check out what's coming. Depending on the rain we get in the next few weeks, these roads should be really fast come tour time. Guys and gal who did the Rawland ride last year may recognize this shot. It's at the crest of a fairly large hill opposite of the radio tower coming into Cannon Falls. I love old farm structures. This one is in really good shape save for the missing top. For the trip I had my Fargo loaded up. Ben road his trusty Cross Check since his Long Haul Trucker is down needing some repairs. We had a great ride of a little over 80 miles to get to Willow River State Park outside of Hudson WI. We took a route from Cannon Falls to Red Wing, then north on the WI side of the river through River Falls. Tomorrow I'll post up some more info on the gear I took, and how I had it all loaded. I definitely learned a lot from just one night, and there will be some changes to my kit soon. Overall I think I had the majority of stuff set out properly. Now it's time to just refine and figure out what works best for me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Bike Teaser

Front wheel. Hehe.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

2011 Surly Line Up

Surly has decided to show a lot of their new products early on their blog today. I'll let them tell you about them first, and we will have more detailed information as it becomes available.

The Surly Blog

Enjoy. Have a great weekend.

Friday, September 10, 2010

St Olaf hill loop.

I've been off of the bike for over a month now due to a rather painful wrist injury. It has largely healed, which means it's time to put some serious riding in to try and salvage the fall season. On of my favorite short workout rides is to ride hills at St Olaf College in Northfield. It's close to my house, the climbs are brutal and regular, and I can pretty much shred my legs in less than two hours.

I have become accustomed to riding a particular loop around the college grounds. On each loop you hit five of the best hills on campus. These hills are connected by fun little descents and even some small bit of single track trail. There are slow tech sections, washy, sandy corners, and a lot of energy sapping grass. I do enjoy riding it, but it is pretty much a pure workout loop. Riders who have done our Back to School Cross race will undoubtedly recognize the first hill. Thorsten hill is one of the hardest on campus. It has several pitch variations, and being full sun the grass is almost always long. I start the loop with this hill. Once on the top you follow the woods around the back side of the adjacent dorm to a really fun little descent. There is a nice little place to air out half way down, and it ends in a nice S curve with a big sand trap at the bottom.

From there you pass along the baseball fields up a small hill to the soccer bowl. You can just see the small trail behind the scoreboard leading up and to the left out of frame. This is a hugely washed out technical climb. there is usually only one line that is ride able, and there is no run up to carry momentum into it. It's a slow grind picking your way up it. If you stop at all you're done, start walking. After this hill there is an easy hill up to a parking lot on tar. This leads to a little rocky, rutted, tight trail through the trees back down the hill to the side entrance of the athletic center. Once there you head back up the grass bowl shaped hill adjacent to the large path down from campus. There is a nice little steep lip right up the center of the bowl that I like to head for. It's a increasing pitch hill right up the the top. The grass is also usually pretty long here. The finish is the St Olaf ring road, just in front of the building you can just see top center of the frame. From here you make your way down the road leading to the athletic center parking lot to the cross country running trails. Heading towards the main entrance to the college you ride through the frisbee golf course towards the center of campus again. Here's your hill. I usually head up the center of the bowl shape to get the most out of it. Up the hill you proceed towards the woods and hit some nice single track around the city water towers. There are some nice dead fallen logs to run over, and on the major downhill there are some fun erosion boards to navigate. Watch out for the really low bridge around the last corner or you'll be feeling it!Those trails empty out below the new science center into this parking lot. You can carry quite a bit of speed into the last steep hill up to the left. This is the hill running up to Old Main and the traditional sledding hill. From here you descend back across campus past the running track to the bottom of the first hill. Do as many laps as you can and there you go.

St Olaf is about 2 miles from my house, so I have a really nice warm up/cool down ride to get home. The first two laps are usually the worst. After that I tend to settle down into a pretty steady rhythm. I'll be doing a lot of these loops interspersed with some nice long gravel miles to get ready for the Rawland Gravel Tour coming up in three weeks now. Let me know if you'd like to check out my little loop. I'd be glad to show anyone around that would like to come.

Happy Friday all.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Rolling Darryl

A few really cool things are popping up from Eurobike, which was held last week. I think this particular new offering takes the cake for me so far. I am pleased to see this finally coming to fruition, I was told it was in the works last February at Frostbike. Allow me to introduce you to the new Surly fatbike rim, the Rolling Darryl.The rim width looks to be at least 70mm wide, and the weight was said to be just 740 grams. This is a lot of rim for being so light. When I last talked to the Surly guys, they said one of their main goals was straightness and overall roundness as well as being light and wide. Will these be as strong as their Large Marge rims, no way. They should cut almost a full pound of weight off of them though, and they will give the tires a wider area of support. I'll likely use these for my Mukluk build if they are around in time. I can't wait to see these in person.

Photo credit to Rene Fischer. See the rest of his Eurobike photos here.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

White wheel building week.

It's going to be a week of White Industry wheel building here at the shop. For the money I'll go on record saying I think these are the best hubs you can buy. They are made in the US, are built of really quality materials very well, they have amazing customer service, and yeah, they look real nice. This is the first set of 7 wheels I'll be building this week with White hubs.

This pair will be laced up to a pair of Hed's stellar C2 Belgium series wheels. For a great looking, durable, traditional performance wheelset these will be hard to be beat. You can get a set for yourself for the reasonable price of $675 built with DT Competition spokes. I will be building the near identical set to this later in the week, with the exception of black hubs and black nipples.

Assuming all components are in stock, a build like this can be had in about one business week. Give us a call and see what we can build up for you!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Fast wheel building.

Once upon a time I had a set of go fast wheels for my Fargo. They were light. They were tubeless. They rolled really well. They ate up gravel roads like cookie monster ate up cookies. They were flexy.

Plans have changed a bit from my late summer wheel swap up. I had originally planned on putting my Rohloff hub in my Fargo. Since that has now been changed around due to the soon to be announced mega bike project, I have no wheels for my Fargo. Because I've been laid up with a good wrist injury for the past five weeks this hasn't been an issue. Now that I'm back on the mend though, I want to ride.

Here's the start for the new wheels. The 355's are only fractionally heavier than the Crests, but they should be just enough stiffer to make the handling better. I am still deciding on tires, but I will likely shod these in another set of Race Kings. I am just loving the set on the Potts.Have a great weekend all, take care.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Garbage Can Cruisers.

Occasionally people leave little tidbits, odds and ends, and junker bikes at our backdoor. While mostly they consist of true junker Huffy bikes and other Walmart big box fare, every now and then something surprises you. Tuesday brought a few of those.

As seen as I walked up, not a bad little present really.
The red bike is an older 24" Road Master in pretty rough shape. The fork is bent pretty badly on this one, and there are the remains of ape hangers and a banana seat strut hanging off of the rear axle.
The darker colored one is a really Wards Hawthorne with really nice surface patina.
I really like the lines on this one. I'll probably search for a similarly patina bar and a suitable saddle for the bike. The rear hub needs addressing, as well as some crank adjustment issues. The tires appear to be close enough to original, and they are in ride able condition. The tubes will need to be replaced.
Both bikes have New Departure rear hubs, with matching fronts. Both bikes have the frame mounted, downward facing horizontal dropouts with adjusters. They are both skip tooth drivetrains and those are in working order, albeit a little rusty. I am very glad that someone thought to bring these in. I'll have fun over the winter figuring out exactly what to do with them. The Hawthorne will likely be done up as a survivor rider. I don't want to do anything to it other than make it safe to ride and cruise on it. The Road Master may be beyond help at this point, we'll see though.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Someone left me a few presents.

They both have these. More to come once I've sorted them out.