Friday, February 22, 2013

2014 Salsa Carbon Beargrease Carbon Fatbike!

These photos were supplied to us by Salsa of their new 2014 carbon Beargrease fatbike. The top end bike will weigh in at 24lbs equipped with Sram XX1 with a new XX1 fatbike crank! The bike equipped as such will sell for $5500, with a X9 version of the bike available at just $3499.99. Both bikes will include an all new tapered steertube carbon fatbike fork. More details as we get them!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Homemade Studded Fatbike Tires.

We've had weeks of persistent icy conditions on our local mountain bike trails.  While most were ride able on the fringes of trails, or with extreme caution in a lot of spots, I'm pretty sick of it.  Tip toeing around on really sketchy ice is not generally my idea of a good time.  Spurred on by a recent friend's crash, and with a desire to once again ride quickly, I got the notion to make a pair of studded fatbike tires.

45North does make a set of off the shelf studded tires, the Dillinger.  These are super light, and have a ton of studs.  They represent the current high tech, super go fast option for studded fatty tires.  They also come with a price tag that rivals most nice truck tires, and that is frankly a lot of money for some pretty specific conditions.  I happened to have a set of the less expensive 27tpi Surly Nate tires laying around.  Due to their lower cost, and pronounced, fairly large knobs I thought these would be a prime candidate for some homebrew stud action.

Starting with the tires and a caliper I measure the knob height and casing thickness.  Based on these measurements I determined that a screw between 1/2" and 5/8" would be required to yield a preferred stud height.  Once at the hardware store to compare, it was obvious that the 1'2" screws would be too short.  These would only allow for the very pointed tip to stick out through the knob.  I figured this would be less than ideal, as it appeared it would be very easy to wear that point out.  Conversely, the 5/8" screws were obviously going to be too long.  These screws cost about $3.50 per 100 count box.  Compare that to Gripstuds!  As it's a lot easier to cut things shorter rather than longer I bought the 5/8" ones and headed back to the shop.  These were technically 8 x 5/8" size, with a Phillips flat head.

The stud pattern I chose was to alternate every other smaller center lug, and every other mid side lug.  I figured this would provide enough more straight line traction, while adding the most traction fairly far out for cornering or side hill stability.  The first step in making these is to drill the lugs from the outside in using a small drill bit.  You can see I centered the holes on the outer knobs while opting for a slightly front center hole on the inner knobs.  It's important to use a drill bit that is about half the size of the core diameter of the screw, not the thread diameter of the screw.  This will allow the screw to have something to bite into.

At this point I simply filled all the holes with screws driven from the inside out.  I did this with a hand held screwdriver.  It's the most monotonous part of this process, but it's also one of the easiest.

On the inside of the tire I made a boot comprised of strips of Gorilla tape laid across the length of the tire.  The tape does not stick to the tire itself, as it's oily and slippery.  By applying to layers of tape in an overlapping scale type arrangement I was able to create a fairly durable inner layer that held it's shape well.  It remains to be seen whether this will provide sufficient support to stop the screw heads from poking through to the tube.  Frankly I suspect it will fail at some point, and based on how it failed I'll rethink my strategy.   

After the tires were lined I had to address the issue of the now too long screws.  I took a small bolt cutter and trimmed the screw height over the knobs to about 3-4mm.  This was long enough I felt to be able to bite well, without being too long as to bend the knob over on hard ice or dirt.  The cut actually makes the screw more aggressive than just the point I think.  I had to remember not to snag clothing or appendages on them, they're sharp as hell.

So again to recap.  I used 8 x 5/8" sheet metal screws for studs.  I drilled each knob in the pattern that I wanted.  The screws were then simply threaded into the knobs from the inside of the tire.  I made boots for the inside of the tire by overlapping small sections of Gorilla tape two layers thick.  I then trimmed the screws tips with a handheld bolt cutter.

These worked very well no my first ride with them.  I rode the same trails the next day on my Mukluk with Big Fat Larry's.  The trails we all ride able on both set ups.  On the Big Fat Larry's I had to slow way down on many sections, and I could feel the tires slipping all the time.  The studded tires provided absolute confidence.  I was able to blaze through sections, even standing and sprinting across icy sections.  The studded tires simply out performed anything else I've ridden in these conditions.  I don't doubt that I worked harder with the studded tires.  For the few weeks of the year where conditions dictate their use, these are just the cat's meow.  I only wish I'd made them sooner.

I'll update on how these tires wear, and I'll report any issue that come up with them.  So far I'm impressed, and I plan on testing them further to their limit by attempting my St Olaf hill loop on them this weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Studded Moonlander Afternoon

I finally got fed up with the ultra icy conditions.  Over the last two days I sunk 232 sheet metal screws into a set of Surly Nate fatbike tires and mounted them on my Moonlander.  The resulting performance was unreal on today's ride.

I'll have a write up tomorrow, but sufficed to say I'm thrilled.  They work exceedingly well paired with the Clownshoe 100mm rims on the Moonlander.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Salsa El Mariachi's in stock for Spring.

Spring's just around the corner, and El Mariachi's are in stock in most sizes.  These are worth a hard look if you're in the market for a hardtail 29er this year!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013 Salsa Titanium Fargo

Our first Salsa Fargo Ti came in late last week.  This bike's a stunner.  This bike is an out of the box dream bike.  From bike packing to gravel riding, commuting to mountain biking, the Fargo is the most versatile Salsa you can buy.  This years ti Fargo has undergone a few big changes.  Drivetrain components and shifters are now Sram's 10 speed kit, operated by integrated brake/shift levers.  This is quite a change from last year's Shimano XT 9 speed kit operated by bar end shifters.  The overall looks is meaner and decidedly more modern.

I'm pleased to see this switch to this set up.  It mirrors what I use on my personal Fargo, and I love how it all works.  The simple double up front with a wide range cassette in back easily covers all of the terrain I ride, and it functions very well.  Blue is the highlight color on this year's ti bike.  It's seen here in the blue brake rotors, skewers, nipples and XO trim.

This year's ti bike makes the switch to a 44mm headtube just like the steel models.  The bike comes standard with an external cup lower.  This means you can pick up a superlight Whisky carbon fork, or a tapered steertube suspension fork and drop it right in.

Another big upgrade this year is in the hubs.  This year's bike comes stock with DT's excellent 350 star ratchet hubs.  These are a huge step upwards compared to last year's Shimano XT's.  These are lighter, they roll much better, and they are far more durable.  They cost more, which is part of this bike's increased price. In my mind it's easily worth the difference.  This bike is ready to go right from day one!

 I'm pleased to see the bike retaining the Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost.  I love this seatpost on long rides, especially loaded.  It moves just enough to take the edge off larger bumps, and makes long days in the saddle much more enjoyable.  The smooth ride of the titanium frame paired with this post was heaven on my bike packing trip in California last year.

It's another great year for this gorgeous bike.  Salsa's spec has made the already great bike bike even better.    Stop in today to check these out, or give us a call if we can answer any questions about these for you.  We're looking forward to hearing stories about where these bikes will take people!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Fatbike Sale

Starting now through Saturday, all in stock fatbikes are 10% off.  Our current inventory is as follows,

     -Mukluk 3's in Orange, XS-1, M-2, XL-1

     -Mukluk 2's in White/Green, XS-1, M-2,

     -Beargrease Completes, L-1, XL-2,

     -Necromancer Pugsleys, M-2, L-1,

     -2012 Moonlanders, (Straight fork,) S-1, L-1,

     -Pugsley SS, M-1,

Now's a great time to pick up a fatbike!  With a great round of fresh snow there's plenty of winter left to enjoy!

Curtis and I will also be riding in River Bend tonight.  We'll leave from the shop as normal at 7pm.