Occasionally when I come to update my blog, the only things that spring to mind are domestic, work or even weather related issues. When this happens, it usually means that riding has taken a back seat for what ever reason. None of this stuff is of any interest to anyone, so the blog gets a bit neglected.
Sometimes though, there have been some intermittent points worthy of note: collected here are a few things that I have been messing about with and they may prove thought provoking to others. I know I would certainly value any opinions and input.
The bikes have all been working flawlessly. Several routine-maintenance-type updates were required, though. The Jones headset (a Cane Creek Jones ‘special’ 100) finally wore enough to begin creaking with a tiny amount of play after, what, 4 years? In this case, the angular contacts were a little worn, meaning that new bearings weren’t going to remedy the situation. After thinking options over, I decided to replace it with a dual griplocked King headset. Fitting this was very tricky indeed because the griplock system seems to grab the steerer tube under extremely minimal compression, easily done as you try to hold the truss and all the parts in the correct order, and pass the ‘floating’ steerer tube through. It is hard to explain until you try it, but eventually after splitting two of the green rubber o rings that help to fully snug up the griplock, I put a bigger chamfer into the steerer tube, which allowed it to pass through the second, lower griplock more easily.
The pewter colour is dark, but the sotto vocce graphic has been my favourite since it’s introduction. In use, smooth.
The next update was to pull the Knard/UMA snow rim/Paul Whub combo off the front of the Jones, replacing it with the original edge am rimmed wheel with a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5/XC exo sidewall (rather than the heavy duty DH version) with dual compound tread. I have initially fitted tubes, because these rims are the older, non tubeless style, but even with a fairly beefy tube, it dropped 400g from the Knard/UMA combo. 400g! Initial impressions are that even running at 17psi, it is in no way as plush as the Knard set up, BUT the DHF has so much grip it may be worth persisting.
It is widely known now that fat bikes will take over the world and, as such, there have been a slew of carbon fibre rims shown at trade shows recently. In addition, various companies offer chinese made carbon 29er rims in various widths, including Derby, who offer a 35mm 29er rim.
In theory this would allow me to mount a Knard, whilst keeping the wheel weight down. I will wait to see how these rims perform for others over time. One concern I have is that they have drilled non-angled nipple holes, which makes them a bit tricky to build with a Whub, that has such wide flange spacing. I’m sure that before too long an even wider carbon fibre rim will be available, so I am going to keep my eyes peeled, and my mind open. 40-45mm would be ideal with the Knard I think. Meanwhile, the Rabbit Hole rims have been trouble free and once the wheels are rolling, the girth is maybe even a benefit, in a flywheel sort of way. After years spent trying to get light durable wheels, it is clear that there is a place for heavier wheels too.
Along with this on the Jones, I finally succumbed for the second time to making a bike tubeless. The Vertigo cycles Maul has the newer style enve tubless ready XC rims, which are a bit more puncture prone in the rough stuff than the AM rims, so I though it might be worhtwhile to try. I am using Conti Revo sealant, which is problem free at this early stage and a Conti MKII 2.2 bc/protection on the rear. I wanted to run a 2.4 version on the front but I couldn’t seat it with my Lezyne dirt drive, a ghetto set up, CO2 or a proper compressor. In the end I got hold of a 3C exo High Roller 2 which popped into place with minimal effort with the track pump and is superb in the mixed conditions I ride. I used to use Maxxis a few years ago exclusively and they are certainly back on the menu now. The High Roller is 900g or so and a real grippy tread and compound.
The Works Components thick-thin rings have been fantastic, finding their way onto BA and soon Maul as well. Several trouble-free months in the muck on the Krampus have been inspiring. If you need a high quality ring for a 1x build I would thoroughly recommend them. I have been researching the fitting of a 11-36 cassette with Saint 10 speed derailleur and I think I have a clear way to ascertain if this combo will strain the mech too much for these bikes. More on this in a stand alone post.
A very recent addition to a couple of bikes has been the new Jones 710mm loop bar. Basically this adds a bit (25mm iirc) to both grip ends, while keeping the looped section the same. I almost didn’t notice the difference after fitting them, which in some ways was good as I had anticipated lots of hang ups on the tight trees around here, but this has been a non-issue. However, when I look down, I do notice that my hands are around 1.5cm further back on the grips than I would normally be able to with the narrower, original bars. Overall, I like them a lot – a subtle improvement. Strangely, they are considerably better when it comes time to push the bike over very rough ground or up über steep pitches – very few strikes on my calf with the pedal. An unexpected benefit to me, but maybe not so strange. My understanding is that the Surly guys were keen to have the additional width when offering these bars with some of their bikes and this was off the back of a few gnarly off road adventures that involved a fair amount of off bike time as well as super tough, rocky terrain. In such circumstances, a wider bar is likely to shine for multiple reasons.
Last, but not least, I’m working on something new…a short trail. It will be called ‘Fearsome’. So far, I have cleared it once. More to add, but it will be a testing addition.