Author Archive

Ryan

Living in, and loving Alaska. A passion for human powered transportation. Beer drinker. Hell raiser. Two wheels, one love.

First look: Blackburn Outpost Racks

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Gear No Comments

Got a box of goodness from the folks at Blackburn the other day- and I’ve been scrambling to get a bike together to test it out.  Inside the box was a front and rear set of the Outpost World Touring racks, a Central rear pannier, and the Central front light (pannier and light post coming up next week.)

My Raleigh Port Townsend has long been a favorite testing platform for this sort of thing, but I’ve also been waiting on parts after a broken brake lever opened a can of worms for me in what I’d need to get back on the road.

4

I’ve got it back together enough to install the Outpost Racks, with which I’m impressed with so far.  The installation went fairly well, with the racks giving options for just about anybody out there looking to put together a stout touring rig.  The Outpost racks use Easton Scandium and aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum tubing in their construction- with adjustability options to accomodate 26″- 29″ (or 700c) wheels.  On opening the box, I was a little unsure what bike I’d be able to put the racks on.  They looked really big and at first I thought they would be for the fatbike.  Holding them up to the frame, I quickly realized that they were built for a 135mm “standard” rear spacing and a 100mm front- not my 190/135 combo.

The Outpost racks (front and rear) are very customizable, utilizing a nifty sliding lower attachment point that fastens to your frame or uses an extended quick release axle (not included) if no braze-on is available.  I found the racks to be easy to install, with a lot of adjustability, even if your frame doesn’t have all the attachment points of a full-fledged touring frame. In attaching to the seat stays, you’ve got three options.

  1. Attach to rack braze-ons – the method I used for the rear rack.
  2. Attach to cantilever brake posts – the method I used for the front rack.
  3. Attach to frame via included P-clamps.

The bars used to attach to the frame/posts/clamps have little rounded eyes that accommodate the angles that may be needed to get a good solid connection without bending the rack or mounting hardware.  The rear rack is rated for 55lbs and seems plenty stout.  Here you can see it with the Central rear pannier that they sent along as well (I’ll break down the features of the pannier in another post.)

photo 5

The rear rack sports a mount to attach a reflector or rear light.
1The front  rack has a removable top rack platform, features high and low pannier mounts and sports the same design and customization options of the rear rack.
9photo 3I really liked the adjustability and I can see that you’ll get a clean install as a finished product- with whatever bike you may choose.  Now that I have everything installed and cut to fit, I’ll take it off and get a weight on the rack.

The Outpost Rear rack retails for $125, with the Outpost Front retailing for $100.

See more from Blackburn HERE

I’ve got a couple more things to put together on the bike, and then I’ll get it out for a ride and let you know how the rest of the stuff works out.

 

Continue Reading ...

Borealis Echo

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, fat bike, Gear No Comments

So it’s looking official- Borealis Fatbikes has taken the reins as the company pushing the limits of fatbikes, bridging the gap between 29′ers and those that want tires with more than 4″ of rubber beneath them.  When it comes to carbon- they’ve got more out there than anyone.  Now with two frames- the Yampa and the new Echo, Borealis also offers their Carbondale rims, and a carbon fork- Oh my!

The Yampa has been seen quite a bit in adventure racing (with a number of wins) this last winter, and the Echo brings out more of the mountain bike feel, with a suspension tuned geometry and a 100mm Rockshox Bluto suspension fork.

Will fat mountain bikes be the wave of the future?  It’s unlikely.  But for every 100 people that don’t see any use for fat tires, there is somebody out there that is drawn to these double wide wonders, happy as a pig in shit every time we throw our leg over one of these peculiarities.

Carbon fatbikes aren’t cheap and and fat wallets help- the Echo will be offered with 4 spec levels ranging from $4000-$7200.  So start pinching your pennies.

 

Continue Reading ...

Meet the Maker: Ruthworks

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bags, Bicycle, Gear, Handmade Bicycles No Comments

I came across Ruthworks via Facebook and reached out to Ely in San Francisco where he works at his home shop, enjoying the opportunity to spend time with his family. Ely is the owner, sewer, leather worker, cutter, designer and fabricator at Ruthworks, with quite a few beautiful items available for randonneurs, tourers, commuters and every day folks.

We did a little interview and it went something like this:

Continue Reading ...

One for the weekend.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Film/video, Travel No Comments

Back to Earth from El Zumpango on Vimeo.

The weekend.  It doesn’t mean much to some folks, while others set their clocks by it.  This little short is a reminder to me that getting out is necessary.  Even in the big city- an overnight trip can rejuvenate and reconnect you with the things that are important.  So this weekend, or next Tuesday, get out there.  Explore.  Pedal.  Sleep under the stars.  And don’t forget to breathe.

Continue Reading ...

WTB Nano Gravel Tire

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Gear No Comments

20140221-094609.jpg
WTB released a new, gravel-specific tire named the Nano 40c during day one of Quality Bicycle Products’ Frostbike product expo. The tire employs a high volume 40mm casing, rounded profile, and centerline tread pattern designed for speed, consistency, and ample cushioning aimed at the rapidly emerging gravel market.

“The inspiration for this tire actually came directly from this show one year ago,” stated WTB’s Product Manager, Chris Feucht in reference to Frostbike 2013. “We were blown away by the number of requests we received for a gravel tire last year so we took a long, hard look at our tire line and decided to use the Nano tread pattern as a starting point. We wanted something that would appease racers due to its speed and light weight, yet also appeal to those wanting comfort over the long haul. By simplifying the pattern slightly, we’ve actually created a more durable tire while maintaining speed and the unique Nano handling characteristics, making for a winner.”

WTB Nano 40c tires will be available in Race and Comp versions starting April of 2014. Nano 40c Race tires will feature a folding Aramid bead, Lightweight Casing, DNA Rubber, weigh in at 470g, and retail for $49.95. Nano 40c Comp tires will feature a wire bead, Durable Casing, DNA Rubber, weigh 550g, and retail for $31.95.

 

Continue Reading ...

Chrome Knurled Welded

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bags, Gear No Comments

Chrome has some new offerings for on and off the body.  Waterproof, lightweight,  a good price point and guaranteed for life.

I’m stoked to check out the handlebar bag/duffle on the Fatback.  The two backpacks, panniers and handlebar bag range in price from $100-$160 and look to be a more affordable option for those looking to get out on the bike.

Continue Reading ...