Fall is an amazing time of year. Leaves start to change, the weather turns a more comfortable temperature, and most bicycle companies start unleashing the hounds of their newest models. This year has been exceptionally good, and if you are in the market for a new ride then you might be a little overwhelmed with the new options. One company that never disappoints this time of year is Salsa, which upped the fat bike ante with this guy:
The Beargrease is the new “racing” fatbike. At a very svelte 28lbs or so, this is one of the (if not the) lightest fatbikes that you can purchase. Basing this model off of their successful Mukluk, they cut all of the fancy braze-ons to save weight, and added quite the impressive parts list to achieve such a light fatty. This bike just screams to be loaded up with a frame and seat bag and head off on a long distance winter race. It also looks like it would be a ton of fun just out and about on your local loop though…
Check out their site here to read more about it.
Just keep spinning…
Photo from Salsa’s site.
For all of those not paying attention, this coming model year is going to be stellar for bicycles. Need further proof of that? Check this Cross Check:
Yes, that is a Surly Cross Check. True, not a new model. Here is the kicker; this bike is now offered as a single speed complete, set up with mountain bars! This is the Cross Check that I have always wanted to build. Well done Surly!
Be sure to check out their blog this week, they are planning on dropping new products every day.
Pic from Surly’s site, also check out what looks to be a Krampus with an even fatter front…
Next week I am planning my first off road bike packing trip, so this morning I was up at sunrise with the Troll fully loaded and out the door. My plan was to ride on different surfaces, and try to follow the Buckeye Trail as much as possible. If you are not savvy to the Buckeye Trail, it is a hiking trail that goes around the entire state of Ohio. Unfortunately, the trail is mostly on back roads, and very little of it is on actual single track. Furthermore, what single track there is, is usually off limits to bikes. But horses are allowed? Makes no sense to me, but I will save that rant for another day.
Luckily, the Buckeye Trail goes right through my little town of Milford, so I followed it east, towards East Fork state park. All on pavement until I came to the dead end of Ross Road, which is in the photo above. This was my first loaded off road section with the Troll, and it handled beautifully. This part of the trail appears to have been a completely usable road, that the county must have decided to let die. The trail was made up of broken pavement, dirt, and lots and lots of rocks. Very interesting downhill to say the least. This section made me realize that my brakes are very underpowered. After this off road piece, I was dropped into the town of Batavia and almost to my destination.
From Batavia I rambled along St. Rt. 222 to Elk Lick Road, which then connected to Green Briar road. The Buckeye Trail follows Elk Lick to another dead end, but I continued up the hill on Green Briar to see if I could find a campsite in East Fork state park. Green Briar dumped me onto Old Rt. 32, which connected me to Zagar Rd. which I found a single track trail that should have put me at a backpacking campsite. Unfortunately, I could not find the campsite, so I turned around and found this gem of a road:
This old dirt road off of Zagar Rd. was a broken down gem. Broken pavement, gravel, and ended as a single track, and put me back onto Green Briar Rd. Very interesting to see roads fall off of repair, and get turned into trails. Also, pretty interesting to see how quickly the marks of man gets erased off of the planet in such short time. Makes me think of the book, “The World Without Us.” Definitely worth the read if you are into that sort of thing. Anyway, once back onto Green Briar, I followed that back into Batavia, retraced some of my tracks, ended up on US Hwy. 50, then back to the comforts of home. Total saddle time of almost 4 hours.
Things learned from this ride:
1. My brakes need upgraded. I am running Avid BB5s, which I am thinking of switching to Avid BB7s. I am most familiar with BB7s, but I also am thinking of switching to hydros, but they cost way too much, with too much maintenance for my taste. Anyone have recommendations for a good, economical set of hydraulic brakes? I’m all ears.
2. I need to rethink my packing. I am only planning an overnight, but I found myself running out of room for gear. I might still have to use a backpack, which I was trying to avoid. Now that they seem to have come back into stock, I will be picking up a Salsa Minimalist rack to run on the rear to add a bit more cargo space on the bike.
3. I love my Brooks saddle.
Not a bad way to start the day, next week should be an adventure!
Just keep spinning…
Got out on the Little Miami path last night with friends. Spring is here in full effect here in Southwestern Ohio, with comfortable temperatures in the 50s last night. Lights were installed, supplies were loaded, and off on the path for a nice 18 mile jaunt in the darkness.
Just for this trip, I decided to switch out my tires from the huge Ardent 2.6s to a smaller more road worthy Maxxis Crossmark 26×2.1. Thees tires roll surprisingly well for a dirt tire, and very quiet. After the tire swap, I added some racks to the Troll:
I pulled the old Blackburn rear rack off of my T500, and then installed my new Salsa Down Under front racks. This was my first trip with the Troll loaded up, and it rolled very smoothly, which was expected. I am only using the Blackburn rack until the Salsa Minimalist rack comes back into stock, then that will be my weapon of choice.
View of the Salsa front rack from above.
After the ride, beers came out in the variety of a stout, a Belgian style ale, and a smooth golden ale in a can. Reviews on those to come soon. Get out and enjoy this weather!
Just keep spinning…
A couple teaser shots from today, just mocking up some things before other work is done…
Maxxis Ardent 26×2.6 fit, just barely, with the axle pushed all the way forward.
Mocked up, no headset installed as of yet. Checking the fit of the Salsa Down Under rack.
I am beyond excited about this build, slowly but surely coming together.
Just keep spinning…
Perfect weather today for a bike ride with my little lady. Spent the late morning on the T500 pulling the trailer on the Little Miami scenic path. Temperature hovering around 60 degrees on February 1st? Crazy, but I am not complaining.
A few more new pieces on the T500 were put into use today. Not too long ago, I picked up a couple sets of panniers from the local Craigslist. Today, I only used the smaller of the two, and they worked as a pannier should. I think though, that they will be a better fit on a front rack since they are a bit smaller, so I ordered a set of these for that purpose:
Salsa Down Under rack, pic from Salsa’s site.
Also, still relatively new is the Brooks B17 Narrow, which I am really liking so far:
I am really liking how the T500 is coming together. A couple more smaller purchases will make it more complete, and ready to hit the trail for an overnight trip. Pulling weight, and being loaded down, the bike is really stable and comfortable. That is to be expected from a tried and true touring bike. Definitely one of the better cycling purchases that I have made in my lifetime.
Not a long ride today, but it was extremely nice to be out and about. Then, with around two miles to go, I felt the familiar feeling of a rear flat tire. Normally not an issue on the trail, but definitely an issue with a toddler in a trailer and no spare, patch kit, or hand pump and it is lunch time. At least it was nice for a walk. That’s the great thing about cycling though, a small little ride turned into an adventure. That is what it’s all about.
As for an update on the Troll, I have been back-ordered. Supposedly, I will be getting my frame sometime in March. Boo.
Just keep spinning…
So now that I have finally secured the funds to start my new bike build, I am unfortunately at another crossroads. This time, I am still leaning towards the Troll, but also leaning towards a full fledged fat bike. I seem to go back and forth with this, over and over, and waiting is not helping me one bit. So, for this installment, here is the next round of my bike comparisons.
As for why I am leaning towards a fat bike, it all started with this:
Gary Fisher Rig SS
This was my first taste of the big wheels. Only ridden around 100 miles, in a haste I dismantled it and sold it off, only to buy another single speed to then sell off, etc. I regretted it after the fact, but hind sight is 20/20 right? Anyway, after riding this bike, I really wanted to try out a full on fat bike. So recently, in my planning stages for the new bike, I found a used Surly Puglsey on the local Craigslist that got my mind rolling on the big wheels again. Unfortunately I was not as quick as I should have been with it, and it sold. So that leads up to the comparison.
We will start with this:
This is the current model that I am leaning towards. I will not go into details, since I have talked about this frame numerous times, like here and here. The frame is very versatile, and I feel like it would be a great fit for my riding style, and also the type of riding that I have been doing. Also, it would give me a bike that is ready for the woods, which is what the Xtracycle was lacking, thus it’s departure. Two things make me not want to go this route though:
First, there is newer model coming out later this year. From what I have read on a cycling forum, it will be in the fall. The newer model adds bottle/cage mounts on the fork, and another bottle mount on the underside of the downtube. I would like those options, but I am not sure that I can wait until then. Patience is a virtue that I do not possess. This is not a deal breaker for me though.
Second, the Troll fits big tires. I plan on using the 26×2.6 Maxxis Ardents on the frame, should I get it. But this could be the opening of Pandora’s Box for tires. It could only lead to wanting a little more rubber (enter “That’s what she said” joke here) and the Troll would be maxed out. Not a true fat bike. The Troll would always be lacking in the tire department.
For the fat bike route, I will not go into too much detail again, since I will only be repeating myself. Click here to see my comparison of the Pugsley and the Mukluk, which would probably be the route that I would take. In a perfect world, I would buy both. Hmmm, if only…
The next few days will be tough on the cycling decisions, thankfully that is the worst thing in my life that I have to worry about. For that, I am thankful.
Just keep spinning…
Surly Troll picture from their site, click the link to the right to have your mind blown on their products.