Showing posts with label fat bike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fat bike. Show all posts

Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Spinny Bits

After mentioning that my Fat bike had become my number one commuter, of course I ended up riding my "skinny" (32c) tired bike for a few weeks and man, has it ever been good. It's almost like I enjoy riding bikes no matter what type; go and figure! The reason for the switch was that I was getting the fat front wheel rebuilt on a Hope Fatsno hub. The rear had been Fatsno'd a year ago. Over last winter I found that the front hub, which was fine above freezing, was still gumming up and dragging when things got cold, but the rear spun really well in all temps.

The build was delayed by the fact that Outspokin' Cycles was having trouble getting black spokes in the size required - I guess all things bike are in high demand these days. Anyway, they called me up with the problem and seemed rather shocked when I said silver spokes were fine - this bike was pretty well colour coordinated you see. However, I told them it was a work horse not a showpiece (they should have known that from how dirty it was). It is kind of liberating to just give over to utility and forget beauty, just go with function over form. Anyway, I now have a bike with one silver-spoked wheel:

This bike was an entry-level one with decent components but cheapish wheels. The wheels are still not high-end; the rims are heavy and couldn't do tubeless if I desired it - but given the way I'm using it, as a winter commuter beast, that's fine. I'm not going to get stranded in the wild should I suffer a flat and I'm no racer. It seems to me that if I'm gonna spend money improving such a bike, it makes sense to improve the spinny bits (hubs and bottom bracket) above all other things. After all, a bike that rolls and pedals beautifully can be forgiven most other shortcomings.

Keeping this thinking in mind, you won't be shocked that I have replaced the bottom bracket with a nice "nuke proof" brand one:

Ironically I suppose, it is colour coordinated! At time of purchase black was out of stock and the bike was still all matchy-matchy so blue seemed cool. The previous bb had been functioning fine except for a little creak that was driving me nuts. I tightened and greased and re-set a couple times, but still creak creak creak. I had to stop it. Fat-specific bbs are hard to find and stupid expensive when you do, so I just got a bb designed for a normal mtb and fitted the old plastic tube that runs between the cups to the new stuff. I wasn't a perfect fit (one side wasn't fully snug around the little gaskety thing), so I tried to make up for that by jamming tons of grease into everything. It should be fine and all spins in that lovely satisfying, silent and smooth way that good bike bits do.

Left to do is fire a new chain on there and finish decking out the butterfly bars I mentioned last time. The handlebar thing is gonna require a whole 'nuther post because you know, EVERYBODY wants to hear every excruciatingly unremarkable detail. 

About the chain though, I do want to say this: If you're riding in winter, fork out the dough for chains with some rust resistance from nickel plates or similar. I like sram chains and asked a bike shop to use one last time but didn't think to specify the more expensive type, since I usually replace my own chains. The cheaper chain they used got this awful rust/lube combo all over my bike as I just slopped lube on the chain all winter as I usually do. Please don't judge - maintaining a drivetrain in winter is not easy.

Be good, Be safe, and don't lose yer shit. Everything's gonna be ok eventually.

PS - I have a photobomber who is sneakily working against me. Mr Big Toe, who I edited out of the previous pics:

Sneaky little bugger! I'm gonna have to keep an eye on that thing!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Sewer Hole!

Obviously I have not been writing much. That is bad. I have, however, been riding my Fat bike to work and back most days, which is good! Very good, really. They may not be for everyone, but for post-stroke me this well-equipped fat bike is perfect. People ask me if it is slow. The answer is yes, but not as slow as one might think. If I were more fit, it would be even faster. But speed is not the thing when I'm on this rig. I go from ice to hardpack to mud to powder to shortbread snow making almost no adjustments as I go. This thing just rolls over it without reacting much at all... it is weird and wonderful.

It is wonderful enough that it induced me to stray from the path the other day, with hilarious (at least I think) results. So, without further adieu, I present for your viewing pleasure, "Sewer Hole"!

Yer Pal,

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Making Fat My Friend

Well hello everyone! Apologies for not writing more, it is a busy time for the Rantwick family. We have an old house that still had quite a bit of knob and tube wiring in it; a service upgrade and nearly complete rewire has happened. Our walls are now full of holes, but I think they are quite attractive. But enough of houses and wire and boring house stuff! Let's move on to equally boring Rantwick finally has his f__ing fat bike stuff!

I have been commuting on the Fat bike for most of the month. We are now very good friends, which is a must for any bike you plan to ride through the winter. For me, a bike is not commute worthy until it has a rack and fenders. Last time I mentioned the rack, and this time I'm pleased to report that I have fenders! I ordered them from a Canadian fat e-bike builder, and the fit was not exactly a slam dunk:

On the up side, these are full, aluminum fenders! That's something you don't see on a fat bike every day! Unless, of course, we're talking about one of those electric utility bike jobs. While we've had plenty of rain, I have yet to be caught in some. If the hole I had to cut just blows water all over the back of my calves, I will have to cover it somehow, probably with some sort of miracle tape. For now though, I'm hoping it might act as an outlet for snow buildup under the fender. The clearance is pretty tight at the back and greater as you move forward, so hopefully snow buildup under there won't be too big an issue anyway.

I have finally also gotten the thing off road! It has been tricky finding natural areas where bikes are not restricted. In London Ontario's east end there's an area near my work that provides both some power line right of ways and a nice little bush with smooth and easy single track running through it:

I have some limitations to how difficult a trail I can ride, but if ever a bike would encourage me to try more and more, this thing would be it. I can ride through all of this on a 40 minute lunch time ride, so it is pretty awesome.

Speaking of trails, I have also studded up some Schwalbe Jumbo Jims that I have yet to mount to the rims, not wanting to run the studs on pavement until winter is in the air. They are meant to finally allow me to ride the bike paths along the river that I love in summer right through their icy, unplowed winter months. With the rack, big metal fenders and studded tires on, this will be one serious winter commuting machine. So nerdy. So clownish. So BIG. Oh baby.

I'm a little afraid that they  (the Jumbo Jims) will air up bigger than these tires and hit the fenders, but a little suspense never hurt, right? Right?

Hoping Your Summer is Great Too,

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Axiom Fatliner Rack vs. Future Fenders

I've been a fan of Axiom racks for a long time. While they're not high end rack bling, they are well made quality racks rated for lots of weight at half the price. In addition, I've always liked their mounting system, which uses nifty mount points with nice looking rods rather than those flat attachment things.

I'm also a fan of full fenders. On my new Fat Bike, I will have both. The thing is, the Axiom Fatliner rack I've bought and really like would interfere with the future fenders, which are on their way.

This isn't my bike, but here's how an Axiom Fatliner would normally be installed. As you can see, there would likely be a problem mounting fenders to the seatstay bridge; the rods get too close to the tire.

To future-proof for my bike's fenders, I sacrificed a little bit of deck space (my panniers will be carrying all I need usually anyway) and moved the mounting post anchor things up top.

TaDa! Future Fender Funkily Facilitated!

On a related note, I used the rear quick release skewer as the lower mounting point, leaving the frame mounting points for fender stays. This suited me extra fine because this method got the rack as low as possible.

I have yet to see if the fenders I've ordered will go on easily or present me with problems. Stay tuned, dear reader, god knows I will feel the need to bore you with that next. 

Yer Pal,

PS - I have received nothing from Axiom or anyone else for this blog post. I just like Axiom racks.

PPS - A comment from Mighk made me want to add this picture of hardware that came with that I didn't use:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Fat Bike

I finally got one. It is an entry level bike that was $1000 all in. For that price I feel like I got lots of good stuff. Alu frame and fork (expected at this price), Shimano hydraulic discs, Deore Shifter and Derailleur, 1X10 drivetrain, cheap 4" tires, no-name cranks and chainring, braze-ons for mounting racks and fenders. 

2018 KHS 4 Season 500

Of course, no self-respecting bike nut could just leave such a blank canvas alone. Thanks to my age and my stroke and resulting balance issues, I have no demands for a high performance machine suited to difficult trails, rocks or crazy climbs. I do, however, want to ride on icy and snowy bike paths right through the winter.

I plan to turn this thing into a tank of a winter commuter with a rear rack and full fenders, high-end fast-rolling (or at least faster rolling) tires, and lots of studs just for overkill. It will be a  thing of great and clownishly capable beauty. I will, of course, put it on display here when I'm done.

I've barely ridden it, but I did try it out on varied terrain today. I thought I would like a fat bike, but honestly I was not prepared for how fun this thing is. It, and I, are slow. Thing is, it doesn't matter. It feels wonderful, just begging you to ride over more and different stuff the whole time. When conditions do favour going faster, it is insanely solid and stable while the treads growl on the pavement. You neither steer it nor lean it too much, but rather "guide" it in a way that is very difficult to describe. Those big tires have a will of their own once they're spinning, but you learn to work with it rather than against it... it is a weird and satisfying experience.

I've got a really good feeling about this.

Yer Pal,

Monday, October 30, 2017

No News is, well, No News

I'm going to stop updating people on my brain / surgery status, because my operation has been delayed twice and has a likelihood of being bumped again and again. As such, I'm just going to live my life and post bikey stuff on this blog instead. Right after this.

I have repeatedly sung the praises of the Canadian health care system and will continue to do so. Some of my friends have pointed to these delays saying "see, this is what free health care gets you; long waits. If you were in the States (USA) you would have been done by now (if you had the insurance or money)".

I take issue with that idea in my case. We have spoken with my neurosurgeon's office at length and we now understand a little more about this situation. The surgery I require can be done by very few people. Neurosurgeons who do what I need are very few and far between and the surgery itself requires a large team and lots of time, such that my surgeon does about 4 big operations a month. I have not been back-burnered as a less urgent case. I am a Priority 2. The only higher priority is assigned to people who will die without emergency surgery. These emergencies happen, and bump me and every other priority 2 down the calendar as needed.

If I were to "shop around" in other countries, I would not find vascular neurosurgeons specializing in AVMs just waiting to take my money, or if I did, I would have to wonder about their qualifications. What I need just isn't like that. It is way more uncommon than even complex heart surgery. People as rare as myself just have to wait; that is the whole story. There is nothing to be gained by being the squeaky wheel or looking further from home; I am lucky enough to have one of these rare specialists right in my city. I remain blessed in many ways, by my country's health care system, by my geographic location, and on and on.

So that's it. No more updates on this stuff will be forthcoming. Also I still want a fat bike but can't justify the expense among all the other stuff we should be spending any spare cash on. If you loved me, you would send me a fat bike. Fat bike please. C'mon, I have a weird thing in my brain. So give me a fat bike.

Fat Bike.

PS - If one of my dear readers sent me a fat bike, I would not accept it. That was supposed to be a joke. If you have cash to throw around please give it somebody in real need. On the other hand, if some Bike Company with a soft spot for weirdos knocked on my door with a fat bike, how could I say no? (See above for wink).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fat Bikes and Grip Studs

pic source:

As much as I am happy and excited about Mutant Winter III, there is another winter cycling solution I am interested in. Fat Bikes. These are bikes that are designed for use on snow or sand or generally ugly terrain, characterized by crazy wide rims and very wide and usually rather soft tires. Good examples of the most popular are the Salsa Mukluk and the Surly Pugsley.

The reason I'm interested is that I could ride the unplowed and icy MUPs in London Ontario on one of these wonderful mutant-by-design bicycles. Studded skinny or even MTB tires aren't good enough to handle them; I have tried. The thing is, crazy wide rims and tires require crazy wide forks and crazy everything else. Crazy is expensive, especially when 1 in 1000 cyclists* will really want and actually pay for one. To give you an idea, searching for "surly pugsley" or "salsa mukluk" doesn't even yield any results featuring full bikes... $300 rims, etc, but no bikes.

I don't have the money to buy one of these things. A Pugsley sells for about $1700 on REI. A Mukluk runs about the same. I started looking into building one, but quickly realized that even the parts and tires put these things out of reach for me right now.

One nice thing I discovered while looking into building one of these monsters was There have always been DIY methods of studding bike tires, but I've never really believed that hardware store screws would hold up very well. Grip Studs fill the gap nicely. They are expensive, but with these you could stud any tire you wanted with high quality studs rather than trying to find a finished product like I have so far.

I think I'm gonna go talk to the people at First Cycleworks... they seem to enjoy building mutant cycles more than most other shops in town and I'm hoping they might have some useful and doable fat bike advice for me. Wish me luck!

Yer Pal,

* That statistic is based on nothing tangible. The 1000 could as easily be 500 or 10000. The author of this blog is thinking you'll get the idea whether number is accurate or not.