Category Archives: fatbikes

Two in a Row

IMG_0695
710am

Its been awhile since I posted two days in a row but I woke at 430 am and could not get back to sleep. So what do I do? Go to work of course. But not before I spent a little time with my freind Lake Michigan. Was a nice visit.

Another thing I need to get back to is some product evaluation. I like to try new things whether its tires, a bike or car rack or whatever. Last week I got the new Rocky Mount Switch Hitter roof rack bike rail. The reason this one caught my eye is the fact that you can mount your thru axle bikes WITHOUT a adapter of some sort. In the summer I mount the bikes on back the car, but in the winter its all op top to help keep the bikes out of the elements and road grime.

In the past I used the Rocky Mount locking adapter and it worked great. But was just another link in the puzzle that needed to be tightened and locked. You need to lock the adapter to the rack to be able to lock the bike to the adapter.

DSCN5740
Old School.

Don’t get me wrong. As far as adapters go this is the best. But in the winter I took it off when the bike was not on the car. So it was a double lock, two key operation.

DSCN5739

Now with the new mount, I just thread the thru axle thru the mount and tighten.

DSCN5741

As far as locking, its got a cable that hides in the rail until needed. Its keyed. Thule does not have this.

DSCN5738

As far as thru axles, its got you covered with 15 by 100, 12 by 100, 15 by 110 for all you boost fans and of course 15 by 150 for our fatbikes. And its got a quick release 9m sleeve for all you old school riders. To change the axle sleeves you just pop off the front plastic cover and need a #4 allen. Takes about 3 minutes to change.

I’ve used it twice now and its good to go. I will get another for the other side soon. Its gotta be all matchy. I do have one complaint. DSCN5744

The rear clamp is odd the the side of the rail. So I can’t clamp the rail to the utmost outside of my cross bar because it hits the mounting tower. So for now the rail has to be mounted to the inside of the tower as opposed to the outside that my old Thules bolted on to. I like my rails as far out as I can get them. Just easier to lift the bike up and attach. I think what Im going to end up doing it bump the cross bars over a couple inches so I can mount one on the outside one and then one on the inside. The outside one will be drivers side and the one I use mostly.

Im sure there are other roof rails coming soon just like this. Of course Thule has a nice one. Almost $50 bucks more per rail. This is cheaper, simpler and has almost no moving parts. The Thule thru axle clamp system Im sure works nice but it looks like it was designed at NASA. There’s a lot to go wrong there.

And who knows… maybe I will get one of those to try out sometime. But for now its this one. For now.

DLD

Tues Nite Ride

20141105_080140[1]
Morning after nite ride.

Another successful Tues nite ride in the books. 12 bikes, two groups. One casualty.   One unlucky guy had a stick all up in his rear derailleur. And the stick decided to take the derailleur with it. Bummer. It was a new bike…

Being about 40 degrees at ride time made it a comfortable ride. The temps are set to plummet in a few days. It is November in Wisconsin. We are on borrowed time in that respect.

We have done 3 of these nite rides and each time Ive had a different light on my head. Started with a Niterider Lumina 750, then to a Lumina 800 (which I think is the same light) and last nite I had a Portland Design Urban 800. The PD is a lighter lite but not as bright as the Lumina I think. But it seems that because the PD spreads the light out a bit more. More of as flood than a spot. All the lights run about 150 bucks.

Im a winter guy as much as summer so Im waiting patiently for the snow. In the 10 day forecast (which I look at everyday now) there is colder temps and some snow. Nice! In my mind (and on paper) Im planning my winter getaways. Marquette and Hayward\Cable on my mind. Door County too. Skiing up there is fun.

Todays trip to the ol’ happy place was a busy one. The sun was out so I left the house early. The sun is still kinda high enough overhead to warm you up a little in the cold. The beach is still a warm walk then.

There was a ton of people in the park this morn. That will not be the case when its 10 degrees out. I’ll have it to myself and thats fine by me.

20141105_075237[1]
815am

Yesterday I saw a eagle during my visit in the same tree that I first saw them in 2008. They like it for some reason. As temps turn cold and the inland lakes freeze up they will be a daily sighting along Lake Michigan.

Today in the store I will take inventory of bikes and fill in the holes for Christmas. And then most likely not order bikes until February unless I sell one thats not here.

Then its game on for ski’s and snoshoes. This winter Im bringing in a new product. These things called crampons. You strap them to a shoe or boot and they have spikes underneath. They are very light and used for winter hiking where you don’t need snoshoes.

Right now is the slowest time of the year. Besides all the fatbike stuff nothing else is really happening. For the fatbikes, I have already sold about half of last winter. The Treks are sold out and Im waiting for the 9zero7’s and Felts.

It just seems nobody can get delivery dates right. Treks came out early but as expected did not make enough. They could have almost doubled their numbers there. But its not just them. Pretty much everybody except Surly. Pugs and such are available year round.

I know of many dealers that are bringing in Surlys Ice Cream Truck to fill the gaps and maybe thats what I will do but the mainstream buyer just does not want a steel frame. Everyone wants a 30 pound fatbike under 2k. But those models are sold out.

I’ll talk more on this fatbike availability stuff later. Very frustrating.

DLD

The Report

20141102_130534[1]
Sunday.

Guess I’ll take a break for all that history stuff. Maybe more on #TBT.

The weekend report is a pretty good one. Saturday I got out with the group. They spent some extra time on the woods so I followed them on my cross bike. Still, the cross bike is pretty much the greatest bike in the world to ride. Once out of the woods its all road and thats where it helps me stay in the peloton of MTB,s.

But it was cold. Just under freezing for the first time and as usual I dressed wrong. It usually takes me about three rides to get the layers right. I was under dressed and cold. But it was tolerable.

Also, I had a first on that ride. For the first time my Di2 went into low battery mode. The chainring moves to the small and stays there. You only have the cassette to shift. I then realized I never charged it out of the box two months ago. And of course never check it. My bad.

I noticed that the front derailleur does not auto adjust either when that happens. When I was on the bottom of the cassette the chain was rubbing in front. Pretty loud. That was a bit annoying but understandable. Once I got back it charged up in less that two hours and this charge will most likely take me to the point where I’ll sell it.

Sunday was a smallish ride on the Farley. It was one of those lazy days where you just get up and lumber around the house. Around noon I decided to grab the bike and just tool around awhile. These are pretty much the best rides. Looking around, stopping to look at stuff. iPod in my ears. Sun is out. Good stuff.

Sunday was way warmer than Saturday and I did dress right for that.

20141103_082342[1]
830am

This morn was even warmer yet. Had a nice stroll on the beach with a tshirt\no coat. The days are numbered to do that. Maybe even the single digits. I still want winter to come quickly but there are times I could be talked out of that. This morn was one of those times. I haven’t looked at the extended forecast yet but I hear next week is going to be the end of this. I’ll enjoy it till then and plan a ride before the store opens tomorrow.

DLD

FAT TIRE BIKES.

Another stellar visit to the beach this morn. Again I was the only one around. While on the beach I was just thinking about the Fatbike craze. Its really amazing on how its taken off. This can only be compared to the birth of the MTB back in the early 80’s (or sooner).
Its all started with the Surleys Pugsly, which is still most likely the most popular model to date.
 
Now a ton of custom manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon. And those are some beautiful bikes. But since they are made one by one are just so pricey.
 
So really it was Surly and Salsa that led the charge with their mass produced (not in USA) frames. Prices were in line. Builds used mid level components. But for a utility bike seems fine. Basic builds. Low cost.
 
Because really these are a utility bike. Its a bike most don’t ride a whole lot. Its usually the second or even third bike in a riders stable. In the past, when you got one of these bikes everybody stares at it. I had my Moonlander in the store’s window and took it out cuz it was taking too much time for my employees to answer the same questions over and over about it. Like..”wheres the motor” or “whats that thing for”? And most of the time you rode it alone cuz really, none of your friends had one. And that’s changing too.
I owned a Pug. And loved it. We do a lot of beach riding here in the winter and now I did in the summer too. But always alone. I did not ride it a lot. Maybe 3 times a month.
Then I got a Moonlander. If 3.8 tires were fun then 4.8 should be funner?
It was not. And that leads me into the future of fatbikes.
With the Moonlander I think the tire got too fat. Its quite a bit more cumbersome in the woods than the Pug. Sure, you had a bigger footprint than the Pug and the flotation was a little better but not that much better. Just a little.
So…. now the fatbike way of thinking is going backwards. Tires and wheels widths are getting back in line. The 100mm Clown Shoe is out. The 65mm Marge is (back) in. Here’s why..
 
The footprint you lose is minimal, the weight you save is huge. The industry is recognizing that keeping those wheel sizes down, but still be a fatbike will make this format more  use able. When your buddy’s call out a MTB ride no one shows up with a fatbike. Soon, that will change. I hear some rims are trimming down to 45mm. Claiming a 3.7 tire is cut to around 3.2. Still a fatbike. Still ridable on the beach. But now you can rip it up a little more.
Right now, those wheels are from custom builders and way pricey. 
So the theory is take the “utility” out of the fatbike but still keep it a fatbike.
The rumor mill has the big three (Trek,Giant and Specialized) coming out with a 3 inch tire bike soon. Again, confirming the theory that a fatbike on a diet will sell.
 
Now, enter 9zero7. Now the third mass produced fatbike to date. Prices are way less than a custom build bike. But still many color and size options. I just ordered 5 frames for the store and cant wait to build them up. Im using Marge lite rims. Either Nard’s or Husker Du’s for tires and 9zero7 hubs and as much carbon components as I can (stem, bar and post) and hope to have the bike under 30 pounds. We’ll see. 
Marge lites waiting for call to action.
While I love riding the beach a ton, I cant wait to take the bike on some normal MTB trails and treat it just like any other MTB. Take it off some sweet jumps and get like, three feet of air. Because the test of a popular fatbike build is not on fatbike terrain. Its everywhere else.
 
And everywhere else is where I plan on riding it a lot.
Bring it on.
 
DLD