Saturday, October 29, 2011

Curtis's Homie Rig.

Surly's Fall Color Tour, (aka Homie Fest,) is happening today.  Curtis will be representing the shop on his newly single-speed-ified Pugsley.  Having this shod with Nates around is not helping me on the SS fatty front.  Man I want one.  Looking good.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Planning the next build.

I mentioned on Facebook yesterday that I am going to be building a new Fargo for next year.  This is a from scratch build, something I've not done in a while.  My goal with this bike is to build a fairly lightweight, durable, and primarily comfortable bike with quality components.  I am pretty open as to what to use for wheels and drive train.  A lot of the bike is already set.  It will be built around a set of Salsa Woodchipper bars.  This means the bike will have to have Avid Road BB7's for brakes, and road shifters of some kind.  What shifters I use will be a function of which drive train I go with.

As with all of my bike builds, I am going to start with wheels.  All wheels start off with picking the right hubs.  I'm weighing a lot of things for these, but I know I want a few things.  First off I want these to roll.  These wheels need to just disappear under me.  When I turn the bike down hill I want to to run away from me.  This means more to me than sheer engagement, as the majority of the time I'll ride this on gravel and longer, easier mtb rides.  Secondly, I want these to be pretty.  I plan on having this bike for a very long time.  I want the hubs to last as long as the frame will.  Realistically every hub I am considering should do that, and they are from the usual suspects.  Chris King, White Industries, Phil Wood, and DT Swiss are all options as I'm concerned.  Thirdly, I want hubs that have easy to service free hubs.  All of those above meet these criteria to varying degrees.  Now the decision rests on weighing those.

These are in the shop now, along with a set of Chris King and DT Swiss hubs.  It's nice to have these on hand to play with and help make the decision.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New cold weather head ware.

It's that time of the year.  Heads and ears are cold, and soon faces and necks will need to be protected.  We recently got in two head ware pieces that everyone should own.  The first is a brimmed cap from Bontrager.  This has really nice flat sewn seams throughout.  They fit well, look nice, and the construction is great. The ear flaps can be flipped up, and is a slightly thicker material than the main head piece.  These are going to be great for running around town, longer rides, or just wearing around a cold bike shop!

The flap portion of the hat is really nice.  You can see the thicker bottom seam in this photograph.  It cups the back of your head really well.  This should seal things up nicely.  Reflective section on the back is a nice touch, though I don't know how visible it's going to be under a helmet.

The other piece we received is a really nice balaclava from Bontrager.  This is something everyone should own.  Not biking specific, I'll be using this as my basic layering piece for everything this winter.  Sharing similar construction to the cap above, this features flat sewn seams throughout.

The biggest selling point of this balaclava is the portion of the mask that covers your face.  Rather than being part of the larger construction, it is attached towards the back of the mask.  This allows you to adjust how much of your face is covered without stretching or pulling on the rest of the mask.  For those of you who have for years fought with that problem this is a godsend.

Shown below is the face mask portion pulled down over my chin.  Notice how the main seam of the upper part follows the brow line down under the chin.

Below the face mask is dropped completely under my chin.  In this position the mask is loose and in no way pulls on your neck, chin, or anywhere else.  This is unlike any other balaclava I've used.  It feels great.  I can't wait to use it this winter!

These are just two of the new winter and cold weather accessories we've gotten in over the last week.  Stop in and get ready for the coming cold!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Limited Edition Surly Rolling Darryls.

Surly released a very limited edition color run of powder coated drilled Rolling Darryls this week.  They are available in White, Red, and bright Green.  They look great, and would make a great start to any serious fat bike build.  We only have one set of each of these.  Give us a call if you'd like to talk about options on these for upgrading a current bike, or for building up a new wheel set.

The ride is a bright lipstick shouty color.  It's intense, and would add a huge pop factor to the right bike.  I'm thinking on a white Pugsley these would be look amazing.

The white is more versatile.  It would work well on just about any color of bike. Whether on a blue Mukluk, a Curry Squirt Pugsley, or even a original Barney Purple Sizzurple, these would look great on almost anything.

The third color is totally Surly craziness.  They call it Kawasaki Green, and it is all that load and more.  I've often said that small parts can lead to whole bike builds.  This rim could easily lead to a build of a super cool bike.

Give us a call if you have an interest in any of these.  We'd love to help you set up a gorgeous set of wheels, or to build a bike around these for you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Milltown Cycles Fall Gravel Tour: Rawland Ride Recap

We had a great ride on Sunday.  The weather cooperated with just a few sprinkles felt during the afternoon.  About 25 people showed up for the 12 noon roll out.  Folks from as far away as Brookings, SD and Fargo, ND made the trek down for the ride, thanks guys!  With a group start, people were free to ride the course at whatever pace they liked.  We marked all of the corners with signage, cue sheets were provided as a back up, but I don't think any one needed them.

Lots of smiling faces on the roll out.  The weather was really nice at the start.  Rain the night before really helped keep the dust down as well.

Rolling hills outside of Dennison and near hero gravel conditions kept the smiles going.

I love this shot.  Plenty of farm activity was happening all around the course.  Several people commented on how they thought it really added to the feel of the ride.  I couldn't agree more.

Many thanks for all the hours of work Jim put in on this and all of our Fall Gravel Tour rides.  He is the guy responsible for these routes, much of the cue sheet work, and the maps.  This is taken on top of one of my favorite hills heading towards Cannon Falls.

One of two fat bikes on the ride, Justus was riding this gorgeous Fatback.

He made me wish I was on my Pofhal, the hills made me glad I was on my Casseroll!

The other fat biker on the route was quite the inspiration.  He recently turned 60 and decided to start riding.  This was the first year he's seriously ridden.  It was impressive to say the least!  Photo headed up possibly my favorite road ever, Shady Lane Trail in Sogn Valley.

On top of the bluff, Shady Lane flattens out and winds along through fields and woods.  Only a lane wide, this road makes you feel like you're riding in the middle of no where.

A couple of Fargos headed towards County Nine.

After crossing County Nine the route swings south west and starts to head back.  This barn next on 330th street is a favorite of many riders.  It over looks a gorgeous little valley with oaks, cattle, and a spring fed stream.

Eventually we made our way to Boe Trail, the second Minimum Maintenance road on the course.  This was horribly washed out last fall and has not been repaired.  It is impassible by car for obvious reasons, but made for a killer highlight section on the back side of the course.  The line on the far right was about a foot ride, and was ride able for those who felt inclined.  Kevin rips it below on his great looking orange Salsa!

The home made road closed sign on Boe was a bit understated perhaps!

Despite the threatening skies we stayed dry for majority of the ride.  There were small drops occasionally, but the weather really cooperated for us.  The skies coming back into Dennsion were pretty amazing.

I had a wonderful time last Sunday.  Thank you to all who came and helped make the ride great.  We look forward to the next ride in a few weeks.  Take care all.  

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Milltown Cycles Fall Gravel Tour: Rawland Route Cues

Here are the cues for tomorrow's ride leaving from Dennison at12 pm.

These will be available at the start, and the route will be physically marked as well.

We hope to see many of you there!

Starting in Dennison take a Right on Goodhue
Right on 110th  turns back into Goodhue
Right on 350th
Stay left on 10th Ave
Right on 342nd
Right on MN 56
Left on 345th
Right on High Prairie Trail
Left on 30th Ave
Right on 345th
This turns left (north) and becomes 35th Ave.
Right on 330th which becomes Stanton Trail.
Right on Oxford Mill Road.
Brief Rest Stop at the Mill.
Right on Co. Rd. 24
Left on Warsaw Trail
Past 53rd Ave Warsaw Trail goes left (east)
Warsaw Trail veers south then left to Co. 14 Blvd.
Right on County 14.
Left on Shady Lane Trail
Right on Co. 9 Blvd.
Rest Stop at Urland Lutheran Church?
Left on 70th Ave.
Right on 387th St.
Left on 63rd Ave.
Becomes (Left on) 395th St.
Right on 63rd Ave.
Right on 400th St.
At Barn, right on Co. 49 Blvd.
Cross Co. 14
Continue (west) on Co. 49 Blvd
Left on Bow Trail
Right on Co. 44 Blvd.
Left on Bow Trail (minimum maint.)
Right on Co. 14 Blvd.
Right on 430th St.
Right on 20th Ave.
Left on 410th St.
Right on Lamb Ave.
Right on Co. Rd. 9 back to Dennison

Salsa El Mariachi Frameset Package

We like Salsa's El Mariachi.  It's reasonably light, rides well, looks great, and is reasonably priced.  We like Whisky's new Carbon 29er fork.  It's also reasonably light, rides well, looks great, and is reasonably priced. We also really Cane Creek 40 headsets.  They are reasonably light, work well, look great, and are reasonably priced.

Seeing a trend here?   All stuff we like, and all stuff that works.  All of these seemed like they'd go really well as a package together.  Turns out they do!

Here's the deal, $975 for frame, fork, and headset.  (Pictured stem not included, but it a fine choice!)  These are in stock in most sizes, and we have forks in both gloss and matte finish available.  The 19" frame set below is assembled and ready to be shipped out.  Compared to many other option out there that's a steal.

Cane Creek's Inset upper headset paired with an external 1.5" matches up well aesthetically with the El Mar's giant 44mm head tube.  This is what allows the use of tapered steer tube rigid and suspension forks.

I really like the green on this bike.  The accent bright green really makes the color pop.  Overall it's an understated color though.

For use as a single speed tensioner, or to dial in the ride characteristics of a geared bike, Salsa's Alternator dropouts are my favorite dropout ever.  Clean and simple, they work very well, and look great.  This bike would be gorgeous set up as a rigid single speed or geared gravel and mtb rocket.

This package cuts a mean figure.  As seen in Mike's bike featured in yesterday's post, these can be built into incredible things!  Give us a call and let us help you onto one of these fine steeds today!

A reminder of our Fall Gravel Tour ride tomorrow.  We'll meet in Dennison MN at 12pm for a roll out start.  The weather looks to be ideal, we hope you all can join us!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Custom Bike Build: Mike's Salsa El Mariachi.


Mike contacted us with the idea of building a no holds barred, go fast 29er single speed.  The primary purpose of the bike would be racing in local events, and generally ripping up single track. The bike would be built around high end parts, with particular attention spent on the wheels.  Mike had a list of parts he specifically wanted to use.  We added our two cents, ordered things up, and waited for them to arrive.


Salsa's El Mariachi fit the bill for the frame we were looking for.  Mike likes steel bikes.  We wanted to be able to use any current 29er fork, which the Mariachi's 44mm head tube allows for.  Salsa's Alternator swinger drop outs are the best single speed tension system I've used.  They are really easy to use, and allow for dead easy chain tensioning.  It's a heck of a platform to build any 29er!  

Mike chose to go with the blue El Mariachi frame.  To compliment this Mango Chris King products were used through out the bike.  These are top notch parts, and should all easily last the lifetime of the bike.  The orange color really pops against the subdued blue of the frame.  The overall appearance is stunning.

This bike was going to be rigid, and Whisky's new tapered steer tube carbon fork was an obvious choice.  Light, comfortable, and quite stiff, this will make for a very positive feeling front end.  Attached to the frame with King's tapered steer tube headset the orange color choice is obviously a good decision.

While the 44mm head tube is visually large compared to the smaller steel frame tubing, the bigger lower headset cup and wide carbon fork really blend together well.  The minimal geared cable stops are visible in this picture, but are really not noticeable when looking at the bike en mass.  I like Whisky's use of subtle graphics, and the matte finish of the fork is really nice.

The wheels on this bike are the ones featured in yesterday's blog post.  These are as good as 29er wheels get.  We went with Continental Race King 29er tires set up tubeless.  These are my favorite all around tires for Midwest mtb riding. The fact that the Conti logo orange matches almost exactly it an added bonus.

For the crank we went with Shimano's standard XT crank with Salsa Ring and guard.  The XT crank is our choice for durability, light weight, stiffness, and all around performance for the dollar.  The black with black rings looks great on here.  The orange CK bottom bracket doesn't hurt either.

This is one of the most beautiful bikes we've ever built.  It offers an amazing amount of performance for a relatively low cost.  To put if in comparison, this bike costs just over what the entry level US built Trek Madone does this year.  That's with arguably the best mtb wheels you can possibly get, along with many other hugely nice performing parts.  As pictured here it weighs in at 20.6 lbs!

I love how this one turned out, I'd love to take it home myself.  Look for this to be ripping it down in Iowa at races soon.  It'll be that blue blur passing on the left!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Custom Wheel Build: Sexy Carbon.

These are headed down to a lucky guy in Iowa.  Built with stunning Mango Chris King single speed hubs laced to Enve's gorgeous 29er tubeless rims, these are as good as it gets. I love the color of these hubs.  The fit and finish of any of the King products is simply second to none.

Salsa skewers and black Ashima rotors round out the build.

Not bad eh?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gnat posted awhile ago that he likes to find one image from a ride or event that speaks to the overall feel, emotion, or sense of what it was about.  This image does that for me from Sunday's Haymaker.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Salsa Mukluk 2

Salsa's Mukluk 2's have arrived.  These are an great looking bike.  They share the same frame and fork as the 2011 Mukluk 3, but are anodized for corrosion resistance.  The frames end up being a bit lighter as a result too. The forks get what Salsa calls an ED coating, a dip applied finish that coats the inside of the tubing as well for corrosion resistance.  At first look these are stunning.  They just look fast and mean.

The black with red highlights really jumps out at you.  The matte finish of the frame and fork match the Salsa and Surly components really well.  The overall appearance of the package is awesome.

I love the trees on the fork legs.  This is the same graphic as on the blue, but the contrast of bright red on black makes it pop more.  Even out of focus, the red bits around the bike really draw your eye around.

Love these.

The Mukluk 2 is speced with go fast e13 cranks.  Though the spec on these bikes is with a triple in the front, we remove the 44t big ring and add a Salsa Ring Dinger instead.  Fat bikes should be doubles, enough said.  We will or course add the 44t ring back on on request.  Honestly it's like a third nipple on these bikes though, it's just not needed and gets in the way.

Custom WTB Pure V saddles with red Salsa accents are a nice touch.  I love this saddle as well.  These and the WTC Silverado's are available aftermarket in Salsa trim as well.  We will have these on the wall for sale very soon.

The big money upgrades on the Muk 2's are the much lighter drilled Surly Rolling Darryl rims shod with120tpi Surly Larry and Endomorph tires.  Most of the Muk 2's weight savings over the Muk 3 is here.  It is a noticeable difference while riding.  

Overall these are great bikes.  They look good, offer a great performance upgrade, and are quite reasonably priced.  These are to be considered limited edition, as they are made in much smaller quantities than the Mukluk 3's.  We have 3, 17" bikes in stock for sale, and one 19" bike in stock for sale.  These are likely all we will be able to get, (in these sizes,) for the near future.  If you are interesting in one don't hesitate!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Salsa Christmas.

The brown Santa came and delivered our biggest Salsa order to date today.  Salsa Frame Bags , Mukluk 2's, and a few El Mariachi Frames came in today.

Folding bead Surly Big Fat Larry's are also now in stock!

Better photos and details to follow.  I'll leave you with this for now.  Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Haymaker Recap

Sunday was our Haymaker ride out of Red Wing MN.  We had about 20 riders and a gorgeous 80 degree day. The course for this ride is hilly to say the least.  It's a quite challenging 43-something mile long course.  The hills vary from lung searing, short and steeps to long, winding, leg burners.  The roads are quite dry following unseasonably warm temps and no rain to speak of.  The dusty, slippery conditions made for hard hills and technical descents.

The ride started off on a hill, a long hill. One rider described it as one of the most demoralizing starts to a ride he'd ridden.  While I don't feel it was quite so bad as that, there's not arguing it set the tone for the ride to follow.  The group is mostly together at this point, although you can see a group of riders starting to move off the front.  We stayed within several minutes of each other throughout the ride, but the guys at the front were some seriously strong folks.  I felt good just to be staying up at their "casual" pace.

Jim and Curtis at the beginning of the ride.  A huge thanks to Curtis.  We were up way too late, and quite early putting on the finishing touches to the route and marking the course.  It was a fair bit of set up, but totally worth it day of.  Rolling valleys and undulating crops were hallmarks of this route.  It was truly gorgeous out there, I can't wait to go back.

I love this shot of a rider headed up what looked to be a wall of a hill.  This came after a section of flat, valley bottom road.  We could see it coming for a few miles, and it looked just awesome.  It brought out cries of "look at that thing!" and "oh man," more than once.  A great hill.

Of many in the area, this is the one minimum maintenance road the course took.  This hill is also on the Ragnarok route, as several were throughout the day.  Apparently this spring at the Ragnarok there was still snow at the top!  The below shot gives you a good idea of what the hill looks like elevation wise.  It's made up of hugely chunky gravel, rocks really.  There are three big ruts across the whole thing.  It's as technical of an uphill as I know of on gravel.  I can't say I cleaned it, but I did ride all the way to the top after a bobble.

Here's a link to a video a William shot of his ride of this hill!

William had a gorgeous lugged Mercier equipped with classic Campagnolo parts.  He wins my favorite bike of the ride award hands down!  Here he is at the top of the hill above, presumably with camera rolling.

Messieurs Herman, Strachen, and Oney on the tail end of the ride.  They are on a Salsa Vaya, a Salsa La Cruz, and a Surly Cross Check respectively.

After heading through a few more valleys, and at about mile 35 of the ride we stopped at a nice country church for water and a regroup.  The breeze was cool as we sat in the shady grass in front of the church.  All hard parts of the ride were over.  We cruised back into town on some nice rolling gravel to finish off the day.

Thanks again to all who came out and made this day special.  We had a heck of a good time.  Our next ride will be on October 23rd, on the classic Rawland Route in Dennison.  This is our classic fall ride on stunning roads in and around Sogn Valley.  We hope to see many of you there!