26 October 2014

Fresh Goods Sunday - 29+" inner tubes - Surly & Continental

When i was ordering my parts up for the Surly Carbon Krampgrease build i needed some tubes as i have never used this 29+" tyre size before. The Surly ones were in stock so ordered a couple as they were the right size for the tyre/rim combination. Then i thought what is the biggest normal 29" inner tube on the market - quick search and Continential MTB 29 S42mm are the biggest stating they go upto 2.5" so 1/2" short of the Knard 3". What the hell i ordered a couple to give them a go and see if the would stretch or go bang! At first i built the wheels up with the Surly tube - no problems then i tried the Conti. Straight away out of the box its about 1/2 the size/thickness - no way, this is going to go bang. I fired up the compressor and took it steady. It went up ok and didnt go bang and the valve looked ok. Well what the hell i decided to give it ago and get some miles in to see what would happen. I can now report back after 100's of miles use they are no problem. You have got to over inflate them to repair punctures and probably like the michy ones i have in my 26+" wheels chuck them after a few repairs. They are holding strong with only one area of tyre misshaped, adjacent to the valve area so the tube must not stretch enough at that point, you dont feel it when riding. The rrp on the Surly £12 430g, Conti version if you shop around £3.05 235g so that is a weight saving of 390g for a pair and nearly £18 saving in your back pocket as well !
Again with more manufactures taking out / designing 29+" tyres hopefully they will take out inner tubes to match and get some competition going to reduce the rrp's

24 October 2014

Friday catch up & Salsa Mukluk Mk1 XS ready for winter

Busy week again this week. Sold all the bikes/wheels/frames etc that i had for sale on ebay, it takes up alot of time getting the stuff ready, taking photos, uploading listing, answering stupid questions, boxing up and posting. Its also very clostly - Ebay/Paypal/Posting bills came to £218 ! but hopefully it has all gone to good homes. I have stripped another couple of bikes and started cleaning the frames ready for selling but not sure if i really want to sell them or keep them. One is my Kona Hei Hei from 1994 that cost £1.5k and i got it converted to disc brake on the rear. The other is my Salsa Beargrease Alu frameset 2013, this thing is rare and i have not seen one come up for sale yet. 
Only managed a couple of rides and both were on the Salsa Carbon Krampgrease, this thing is just a joy to ride and the lines are still dryish so bombing along still (below are a few pics). Work has been crazy busy as i have been trying to finish off all my outstanding workload as im going to be off for a while. I will also be taking some time off from the blog as well after the weekend. As some of you might or might not know I go for regular check ups at various hospitals cross the NE inc the Sir Bobby Robson Centre, they have been keeping an eye me inc a new growth on my back for the last couple of visits but it never changed so left it alone. A couple of weeks ago it grew in size/shape so had to go back in for an examination - yes its got to come out so booked in for surgery next week. Hopefully all will go well and the sample results will come back negative but i will be off the bike for a while until i get sorted. Keep the miles rolling under your rubber while the weather is still fine, all the best for now

The marks left from the cx training @ Meadowfield on Wed night

After stripping the Salsa Alu Beargrease i transfered the wheels, chainset, & brakes onto Arrans xs mukluk, its shred a few pounds in weight now. I also fitted Surly Dirt Wizard 26x3" tyres onto the Marge Lite rims - check out the mud clearance now!

21 October 2014

Alpkit Possum Bike Bag - Review

I have been meaning to do a review on the Alpkit Possum bike bag so here you go. I have never used frame bags before or ridden a bike with panniers / handle bar bags etc fitted. Over the last year or so since buying a Fat Bike i have read more and more stories of riders taking to the wilderness for over nighters and humping all their gear around strapped onto their bike. I like to be at one with nature but not sure if i want to be this up close and personal. Alpkit have expanded their range of bikes bags and tweaked them over time and now have a full range to carry enough gear for an expidition. Me on the other hand just wanted a smallish frame bag where i could store bits n bobs instead of taking a small back pack or all my jersey pockets full to bursting all the time. I didnt want a full frame bag (Alpkit Stingray) as that would be too much storage and i wanted to keep my water bottle cage etc. The Posum looked like the ideal solution with just enough storage space and i could keep the water bottle cage which i swaped to the seat tube and co2 holder which i swaped to the down tube. Talking of the down tube, on the Beargrease it is massive so measured the dia and added it into the notes section of the order just in case the standard velcro straps were not long enough. I check the bag measurements on the website and was looking like a medium bag for the Large Beargrease frame. Once ordered it arrived within 3 working days with five velcro straps inside. I placed it into the main triangle and was a near perfect fit, champion. Feed through the staps on the multi loop system all the way around the bag, top tube no probs - down tube just too short, grrr - phoned them up and mentioned i put a note on the order about dia of down tube - "warehouse staff must have missed it, i will send out two longer replacement straps" champion, they come in rather large carboard box two days later, no probs this time plenty length (see photo below re length!) trimmed off the excess and ready to go. I can get my pump, pertex, energy bars, camera, money ,phone and keys in - just what i wanted. I have used it on several rides and had no problems what so ever. It does not move around when riding and the packed weight does not alter the bike balance etc. I cannot comment on how waterproof the bag is yet but when i washed the bike a splashed it with the hose and the water just ran straight off the material. The bag is hand made in the UK Alpkit factory and comes in three sizes and loads of different colours. I stuck with plain boring black so didnt look out of place if i fitted onto any of my other bikes. There is a hook on the wide left side of the bag for attaching keys. The right side is for thinner/smaller items ie camera, energy bars. The left side is the wider for pertex, pump, tube etc. Dur to the size of the tubes on the beargrease the bag does not bulge out past them (see photo). Alpkit also offer a custom made design service if you want a bespoke bag which many riders have used.  
One thing i did learn is to put the velcro in so the sticky side is not outwards. The straps are that sticky if you catch your lycra leggings etc on them they dont half stick. I pulled my straps back out and turned them around so they dont stick to my clothing but feeding them through tle loop system was alot harder as it kept sticking to the bag. The medium is £50, small is a tenner less and the large is a tenner more - simples.
•Made from durable and highly water resistant VX21

•Water resistant YKK Zips provide long term durability

•Webbing Ladder velcro attachments, secure and prevent stress on the zips

•As a guide the small fits 15”-17” frames, the medium tends to fit 17”-19” frames and the large fits 19”-21” frames. However frames differ immensely, measure the space you have a see what will fit best.

•Small: Weight; 0.17 kg, Length; 42 cm, Width; 6 cm, Height; 10 cm

•Medium: Weight; 0.19 kg, Length; 46 cm, Width; 6 cm, Height; 11 cm

•Large: Weight; 0.21 kg, Length; 51 cm, Width; 6 cm, Height; 13 cm
•Made in our own UK workshop by bikers, climbers and paddlers
Small, medium & large

Some of the colours

Right side, narrow compartment

Left side, wider compartment

Hook for keys on right side

Swaped bottle cage & co2 holder around

Birds eye view on the bag within the frame

will do Ed

Ed if you are short on length i can send you the offcuts back!

one fitted to a narrow tubed steel frame

20 October 2014

Cannondale Supersix Evo Nano Black Ltd Edt bike build

I have ridden Cannondale road bikes since the early years of Caad 4 alu frames through to the more modern Supersix Hi mod carbon models. The ride is spot on for me, not too harsh but when you want to give it a push they will react. The flex in the frames is just right under normal power and out of the saddle giving it some on steep climbs. I once owned a Scott Addict and that was light but so harsh you could not ride it for more than 1/2 hour as you were shacken to pieces, the seat tube cracked and was replaced under warranty and i sold it on. Back to Cannondale i went. Since buying the fat bike a couple of years ago and building up the Krampgrease the road bike has not seen much action, just the odd ride now and then. My Supersix was more than adequate for what i do and will have probably lasted me for many more years to come but since the Evo Edition came out i have always been thinking about upgrading the frameset. I am more than happy with my old 10speed Dura ace groupset & Mavic wheels so was not looking at buying a full replacement bike. Then the Nano Black model came up on special at Westbrook cycles a few clicks and it was here the next day. The Nano came with the chainset, bb, headset & seat collar, i then transfered the groupset, wheels, bars, stem from the Supersix. Easy swap and did not take long if you have the correct Cannondale tools for the bb/chainset and headset press. A couple of components that i could not swap was the seatpost as the nano is 27.2 compaired to 31.6 on the supersix, i had a spare one so that was sorted. The front mech is a braze on compaired to a clamp on the supersix, again i had a spare one. My old saddle was red and did not look right (see photo below) so swaped it for a black one from another bike. The only other thing i bought was some new bar tape, i managed to get some matt gold tape by Deda to match the gold logos on the frameset. I have ridden the complete bike and it rides well, as expected really. I cannot notice a huge amount of diference from my Supersix but very small changes in less flex in the frame and accerlerates faster out of the saddle. I have not ridden for more than 2hrs so cannot comment on long time comfort but had no porblems so far on short distance/time rides that i have done. Time to get a few more miles under the tyres then  

I sold the standard sized spidering and fitted my compact size

740g inc rear mech hanger and bolt

Uncut fork weight

The Evo SI expander wedge also came with the headset

I have swaped the saddle & seatpin since this photo and is now under 14lbs with deep section wheels & 25c tyres

Time to get the Fenwicks foaming degreaser out and spruss up the cassette & chain

Small evo logo on the inside of the fork legs

Might swap the white/black saddle bag for an all black version

Gold strip down the back of the seat tube