Is 29+ the next fat?

Written by Ryan on . Posted in 29+, Bicycle, fat bike, Gear No Comments

Those that have ridden a fatbike know how much fun it is. The ability to float over soft surfaces is amazing when cruising on a 5″ tire. They make a bicycle more “omni-terra” than was previously possible. That said- riding around on a 5″ tire and a 100mm rim can make one feel a little sluggish when riding in hardback conditions. When I’m riding on my fatbike I’ve got 2 speeds: Slow and steady. And that’s fine. But sometimes I want to go… faster.

The beauty of the float has another side, rolling resistance and added weight. Enter the world of 29+.

What is 29+? Though there isn’t a standard (because the bike industry hates standards) for our purpose here I’ll say it’s a 29″ rim with a width of 45mm and wider, and running a 29×3″ tire. There are frames built around this platform (Surly Krampus and others.) I’m going to venture to say that the 29+ market is one that will be expanding at a fast rate. Many frames (not sure about asymmetrical frames) that will allow for a 5″ tire will fit a 29+ tire- giving you more cushion and float as well as speed and a reduced rolling resistance. I think they’ll be great for adventure touring and though you need a different wheelset, it damn near gives you a different bike.

Switching wheelsets can change the geometry, specifically the bottom bracket height of the bike- which some builders have tried to counteract with adjustable dropouts. I think it’s a fair trade off for most of us, myself included.

As I started looking into build a 29+ wheelset for my fatty, I had to look at a few things:

  • Width. As an emerging category- “wide” is being redefined. Though you’ll see some offerings at 35mm wide (which I’m sure is awesome,) I don’t think anything less than a 45mm rim should be considered a “29+.”
  • Weight. As a rider over 220lbs, I err on the side of durability- especially if you’re going to be headed off the beaten path, but that isn’t a reason to bring an anchor with you.
  • Price. I’m not a rich guy. Sometimes I can get a pro-deal or industry pricing on stuff which is great. But this blog doesn’t generate any revenue to speak of and I got bills to pay, so there. In fact- one of the reasons that I can argue to get another wheelset comes from the need for studded tires. With 45Nrth Dillingers costing an upwards of $225 each, and a 29″ set of studs running half that- I can put that $200+ I “saved” towards a new wheelset.  That’s how that works, right?

In all that, I put together the lists below to help those that may be in the market for a 29+ wheelset for their fat bike.

29+ Rims Updated 1/17/15

BrandModelWidthWeightHole PatternPrice per rim
Stan's No TubesHugo5252mm622g32h$145
SurlyRabbit Hole 2950mm699g32h$150
VelocityDually45mm675g32h$134
SchlickNorthpaw47mm645g32h$129
Kris Holm29" Freeride unicycle rim47mm840g36h$95
DerbyAll-Mountain Carbon35mm485g32h$329
NextieJungle Fox Carbon50mm510g28-36h$230
NextieSnow Fox Carbon50mm500g28-36h$220
Light Bicycle29er plus Carbon50mm490g16-36h$210
SarmaNaran Carbon50mm550g32h$600
Nox CompositesFarlow 29 Carbon35mm430g24/28, 32h$479
Ibis941 Carbon41mm488g32hsold only as wheelset

29+ Tires Updated 1/17/15

BrandModelCasingWeightPrice
SurlyDirt Wizard27tpi wire beadTBD$90.00
SurlyDirt Wizard120tpiTBD$90.00
SurlyKnard27tpi1240g$65.00
SurlyKnard120tpi980g$90.00
Vee TireTraxx Fatty72tpi wire bead1025g$100.00
Vee TireTraxx Fatty72tpi folding bead950g$110.00
Vee TireTraxx Fatty120tpi folding bead920g$120.00
BontragerChupacabra120tpi Aramid bead850g$119.99
MaxxisChronicle60tpi1040g$79.00
MaxxisChronicle120tpi folding bead1050g$96.00

So when I get these things built up, I’ll fill you in on which direction I went. Until then I’ll be rolling around on my 4.8″ Lous on 80mm rims, slow and steady- like old people fucking.

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On the Cheap

Written by Neal Poland on . Posted in Bicycle, Bike Camping, Commuting, Ride Your Bike, Seattle, Vintage, Washington No Comments

The Seattle metro area is one of the priciest areas in the nation to call home, and while cycling has been called many things by many people, “cheap” is not one of them.

For those of us who live in and around Seattle and like to ride and race bikes, but don’t make anywhere near a six figure income, something’s gotta give.

This usually means that you find yourself sharing a $2000 a month 300 sq. ft. studio apartment with your 2 cats, a dog named Freewheel because you had one too many PBR’s one night and thought it was a good idea to name him “Freewheel,” your road bike, fixed gear bike, fat bike, SS hardtail, full suspension long travel trail bike (to show off your prowess at Duthie Hill), full suspension short travel trail bike (‘cuz it’s faster, goddammit), CX race bike, commuter bike and, since it’s Seattle, your full fendered rain bike.

You eat ramen noodles because your Safeway card gets you 10 for $1 and you’re saving up for that sweet new cargo bike so you can go car-free and  the “N+1″ rule of bike ownership mathematically dictates that you need another bike or else the universe may collapse in on itself.

For those not familiar with the “N+1″ rule, it states that the number of bicycles you should own is one more than you currently own (N). The same rule applies to snowboards, but that’s another blog.

Algebra’s fun!

…and expensive…..

Even though rent may be expensive in Seattle, with so many great shops in the area, building a bike doesn’t have to be.

I stumbled upon a 1993 RockHopper Comp on the local craigslist for $75. I was looking for a commuter/light touring rig on the cheap and I thought that with some creativity, this old machine may fit the bill.

While I’m not a fan of Specialized and their business practices as of late, their old frames always fit me well (short legs, short arms, round torso) and were pretty reliable pieces of steel, so I thought I’d check it out.

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Humpday news.

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

It’s been a busy week and it’s far too wet to plow. First- you should listen to this song by Orion. He’s been called the best bartender of Anchorage for a couple years, likes whiskey and sings songs. Songs that make me want to drink whiskey. He also rides bikes. I won’t show pictures of his bikes because the only bikes of his I’ve seen are beautiful tragedies. But here’s his music:

In other news- do you race bikes and want to race for a handmade builder?
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Get some information about the Rouge Roubaix HERE

Or how bout a bike ride with some really great people- eat some amazing food and chill harder than the day is long? They do a tour in my hometown of Oakridge, OR- truly great place. The spots are few, so get after it.

limberlost

More info about Limberlost HERE

And if you’ve got a drop bar bike that you’re looking to run Shimano 10speed without brifters on, then check out the new ish from Gevenalle Gravel Shifters. They look amazing- because that’s what Gevenalle does well: Amazing.

gevenalle

 

Also- shout out to Minnesota, just because.

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Review: DeLorme inReach Explorer

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Accessories, Bicycle, Gear, Travel 2 Comments

It doesn’t take long to go off the grid here in Alaska. You can be a couple miles from your house, in the shadow of the mountains- and out of cell range.

Last year I purchased a DeLorme inReach Explorer- for my own safety as well as the piece of mind of my loved ones. Put simply, the inReach is a 2-way satellite text messaging unit. The inReach Explorer model offers mapping (though no maps,) whereas the inReach SE does not. There are other options out there, such as those offered by SPOT- but I chose the DeLorme because you can actually have a 2-way conversation. Whether on the boat or in the woods, I’m often out of cell range and the ability to keep in touch with my lady puts her mind (more) at ease. The SPOT can send out preset messages, but that can be limiting if you want to let people know you’re somewhere in between “OK” and “SOS.”

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With the DeLorme- it can be synced via bluetooth and you can email or text from your phone easily, accessing all of your contacts. When you send a message, your Lat/Lon is given as well as speed, elevation etc. For those that are interested, you can update to Twitter or Facebook as well. There is a 160 character limit on sent messages.

This past fall I made my trip across the Copper River- a place that can feel as desolate as the planet Mars. At about mile 32, cell phone coverage stops. Traveling alone in wild Alaska is exhilarating, exciting and potentially dangerous. With the inReach, I was able to keep my lady, as well as Elmer (the guy with a plane that could come save my ass if need be) apprised of my location, what my intentions were, and Elmer kept me updated as to what the weather was going to do on the ever changing Copper River Delta.

When I head out- I track my route, and then when I come home and sync with the online DeLorme site, it brings my track into a map that is far better than Google Earth- at least for the locations I’m traveling in.

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 7.51.05 AM

This is the zoomed out route I took on a raft/bike trip to Sheridan. (The one on the right is a bike/raft loop I did to McKinley Lake)

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 7.52.00 AM

Zoomed in, the detail gets considerably better than what I’ve seen on Google Maps.

After the MSRP of $379 for the inReach Explorer, you pay for service. You can elect to go with the $25 annual “Freedom Plan” and shut it off when you’re not using it, or sign up for a 12-month contract which starts at $12 a month- and keep the safety plan on (I use the “Expedition” plan in the summer and the “Safety” plan in the winter.) I won’t focus on the monthly charges, they are a bit confusing on the DeLorme site, but they do make a little more sense when you get your bill.

As a stand-alone unit, there are four buttons and a lock switch used for the SOS feature. Simple- though if you are trying to text, it can be time consuming. There is predictive text, which helps- but it’s really hard to beat using the phone (iPhone or Android compatible.)

The DeLorme Explorer boasts a long list of features including:

  • Digital compass, barometric altimeter and accelerometer
  • Odometer and displays useful trip statistics while in the field, such as trip time, max speed, moving average, trip distance
  • Color screen and virtual keyboard with predictive text for standalone two-way messaging
  • GPS accuracy to +/- 5 meters
  • Water rating: IP67 (withstands incidental water exposure; tested for submersion at one meter for 30 minutes).
  • Rugged, dustproof and impact-resistant (Mil-STD-810G for shock; IP67 for dust).
  • Internal lithium polymer battery (2,450 mAh capacity at 3.7 V)
  • SOS messages are received by GEOS, a worldwide emergency response coordination center with 24/7/365 staffing
  • Email, SOS and tracking functions work anywhere in the world; SMS availability may vary by country.
  • 100% global coverage via the Iridium satellite network, which is the world’s furthest-reaching satellite communications network.
  • Weight: 6.7 ounces

It’s advertised that the unit has a battery life of up to 100hrs on 10minute tracking- I haven’t tested the full time, but from the 36hrs that I used mine on my trip across the Copper River, with texting and using other features, the math didn’t quite add up that it would last that long.  After 36hrs I was down to 45% battery life, and that was shutting it off over night.

Though DeLorme claims that the unit has a water rating of IP67 (withstands incidental water exposure; tested for submersion at one meter for 30 minutes,) when I was riding, and the sun came out- the whole screen fogged up- presumably from water that got inside. It didn’t affect the functions and eventually went away- but I have to question the water rating- having not dunked it underwater at all.

One thing that bums me out about the unit is there is no map feature. You can plug in waypoints and routes, but they are just on a white screen. A topo map would be pretty handy- bridge the gap between the communication and a separate GPS unit. You have to go home and plug back into the computer to see what the terrain was.

Side note: I also purchased the DeLorme Topo North America map set but was disappointed to learn that it isn’t Mac compatible, and it doesn’t do a damn thing with the InReach. It was a waste of money in my opinion.

If you find yourself going off the beaten path and out of cell range- this unit is a great investment. I’d be curious about ways to charge it (they seem to work with Goal Zero on some power options) or else a dynamo hub (which costs an arm and a leg.) It seems costly, but it is more dependable than a cell phone and it may just save your ass. So go do something awesome.

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Review: 1UPUSA Quik Rack

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, fat bike, Gear, Travel 1 Comment

Last winter, after a disappointing run with my Thule hitch mounted rack, I reached out to 1UPUSA to see what they had to offer. I was out to test a rack that would work with a wide selection of bikes. From a 25c road bike to a 5” tire fat bike, I was looking for one rack to rule them all. Well it’s been about a year and the rack has lived on the truck since day one- through rain, sleet, snow, sand and the salt air of my seaside fishing village.

Enter the Double Bicycle Quik Rack.

IMG_6119

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Showers Pass over the Rangers

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle No Comments

I’ll just start this off with the most important thing on the internet today- Darkeys & The Keys.

I feel better already.

Showers Pass has been adding to their line with stuff to keep riders warm and dry whether on or off the bike for a while now- their newest offering is a packable rain jacket which weighs 10.6 oz (for a puny medium.) The Metro Jacket, as it’s called- comes in navy blue- looks to be a slim fit, is seam taped and is described as a hardshell (though breathable.) It retails for $199, and is available at your LBS or at the Showers Pass website. Stay dry, my friends.

Metro-Jacket-front

Metro-Jacket-inside-frontMetro-Jacket-rolled-up

 

alway's

 

In other news, Blackburn is looking for ambassadors, or “Rangers” again- for their second year. You can hear a guy talk about it while music that is too quite to discern what it is and pictures come across the screen here:

This year the 6 chosen Rangers will be on a set path. Either the Pacific Coast or the Great Divide. worthy rides to be sure.

Myself- I think they should go for the 4 riders of the Apocalypse, or they could make it a ride to the death- the last ranger standing would then become “The Lone Ranger.” But that’s why I don’t get allowed to make decisions.

If you’re up for it and want more details- Go HERE.

Now I’m going to see when Darkeys & The Keys will be playing next.

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Frosty Bottom 2015.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Alaska, Bicycle, Bicycle Racing, Events, fat bike, Races No Comments

As I said on my last trip to Los Anchorage, it is home to one hell of a fatbike community. Nearly 300 racers came out last Saturday, to race the 9th annual Frosty Bottom 25/50. A race that starts at Kincaid Park, heads up to Hilltop (where the 25 ends) and/or back to Kincaid (for the 50.) The race is open to runners and skiers as well, but the fairly dry and fast conditions only brought 2 skiers to the finish line- with most of the participants choosing a bike over shoes, like a civilized person would.

I got into town Friday and like most of my trips to Anchorage it started like this:

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A delicious beer from Midnight Sun Brewing that I enjoyed with my lunch at Cafe Amsterdam. A Cohoho Imperial IPA on Nitro. So good. The nitro gave it such a creamy consistency and opened up a lot of flavors that I hadn’t noticed in bottle or C02 draft. My food, like most found in Anchorage, at least in my price range- was ok. I didn’t get dysentery, but it was nothing to write home about. From my experience, you won’t find great food or an amazing cocktail in Anchorage- but you can find some good beer, a lot of it brewed in our wonderful state.

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