31 August 2014

Fresh Goods Sunday - Fat Bike Inner Tubes - Vee Tire, Surly @ Michelin

One thing about owning fat bikes is you cannot just buy normal off the shelf inner tubes. I have found the Surly ones to be hit and miss with stock in UK and quality. They are also very expensive so looked at cheaper & lighter sized down hill tubes - Michelin Air Comp. I have been using them for well over a year upto 4" tyres. They do stretch thin and after a few punctures normally end up in the bin. When i purchased my Surly Bud front tyre it was time for more 4"+ tubes so tried out the Vee Tire tubes. I bought a bundle deal of 5no for £29 inc next day delivery = £5.80 each way cheaper than Surlys £10.99rrp. Once opening the box the size is identical to the Surly tob, weight is the same (shock horror!) but the valve stem is shorter which i like better as the Suly ones are far too long. I have got a funny feeling they are manufactured by the same company just branded with Vee Tire logo. Surly dont even get their logo applied. As with the tyres there are many other manufacturers coming into the Fat market its about time they produced their own Fat inner tubes as well so it might bring down the cost to the buying public. Or the other option is the new carbon tubless rims / tyre combination ! 

Salsa 2014 Carbon Krampgrease is born

I have been toying with idea of 29+er wheel option for a while now and have gone ahead and built a bike up from scratch. A complete build Surly Krampus did not float my boat but a Travers Rudy Fat 29+ Frame and Travers Carbon Prong 29 did but it was over my budget by the time i bought some parts & wheel build that i did not have. The other negative side was that i could not run normal 26" fat tyres in the frameset. So back to square one and stick with what i have - Salsa Carbon Beargrease which is 26+ & 29+ compatiable. Then a Large frameset inc hubs etc came up at a good price and was here the next day thanks to Tim from Sidewayscycles. Job sorted just needed to get the hubs built up into a wheelset and order the remaining parts that i did not have. As normal Mark / Jason from Westbrookcycles sorted out the Surly Rabbit Hole 29+ rims, Surly rim tape, spokes/nipples and build. Whilst waiting for 29er wheels we swapped over the wheels from the Bergrease onto this one to try it out. An inline seatpost/wider bars gave a differnet riding position compaired to my more flatter back / racer position. Yesterday we collected the wheels etc en route to Whitby so completed the Krampgrease today. We have not ridden it off road yet and still playing around with tyre pressures but its certainly different. Below are some photos from the build etc. More reports to follow after some miles have been cloaked on.  
With 26+ wheelset

With 29+ wheelset

Large Beargrease frame inc mech hanger & bolt

Beargrease forks - un cut steerer

Getting a start on the build

Angus used it with my wheels on a few rides - loved it

Sticking with Sram 1-11 set up, has not gone wrong yet

One in each colour now !

Rear Wheel

Front wheel

Complete 29+ bike weight, easliy get it under 23lbs

Fork clearance - ok

Rear clearance alittle tighter

Plenty clearnace down the chainstay area

30 August 2014

Whitby to Scarbrough Cinder track ride - end of the summer hols ride

Last weekend of the school summer hols so time for a family day/ride out. The six weeks have flown over and had cracking weather on the whole. Kids are not back until next Wednesday but the weather was fine (apart from the wind) so decided to head to Whitby for the day. We got parked up in the town early then headed back out, all up hill which was a good warm up and on to the cinder track just on the outskirts. Once onto the track we turned and headed for Scarbrough- 21 miles. We knew we would not get this far but planned on Robin Hoods bay + further. The sun was blazing down with clear views over the coat heading towards Robins Hood Bay where the track heads in land before reaching the coast line again near Ravenscar. The wind was strange as we had a head wind on some sections but a lovely tail wind in others. We got to just outside Ravenscar and had a rest stop under a tree for some shade before turning to head back to Whitby. The track was very busy with walkers, other cyclists, horse riders, dog walkers and runners. On the way back i slowed down and spoke to a runner who had a number on and he explained that there was an event on which started from Ravenscar to Whitby and back. I asked what was the total distance, he replied 31miles!! they were keen i tell you. On the return leg again we had mixed wind directions but was a tough old tug coming out of Robins Hood Bay onto the exposed coast line. From Hawsker we had a lovely tail wind all down hill back to Whitby, over the via duct, back down into the town centre and back to the carpark. Quick change and clean up and we were off to the chippy, beach - which you could hardly stand up on, ice cream, 2p slot machines, walk around the shops then it was hometime. 
On the way home we called in past the Whitby MX track as we noticed there was an event running. Its been many years since i have watched any Motorcross racing and it was very fast, noisy & dusty but great fun. The course there is massive and has great views of the coast / Abbey. It was the Offroad Motorsport UK Championships Rd6 and was very busy with two fields full of campervans, motorhomes, caravans, tents etc. After a good blasting of Whitby dust, sand, wind, sun & sea air we finally headed back over the Moors to the lovely A19 back to Co Durham. Below are a few photos from the day - enjoy and more soon