Maxxis Rekon 29×2.6″

29 01 2018

Yet another tyre size. Why oh why? whats the point? Blah blah blah.

I, for one, like all the different choices we now have in wheel and tyre sizes. You can really pick the one that works for you.

About 18 months ago, maybe longer, I built a front wheel for my trusty race bike – Maul – that could take advantage of 29+ tyres or fit a ‘wide trail’ tyre. I used an Enve fork so that offset could also be adjusted. I wanted to see how it all worked and figured the increased offset may work well with the bigger diameter wheel than the bike was designed for.

It was ok. The big tyre helped absorb some shock at the Wilderness 101, though I was still beaten up and with the release of the 29×3″ Minion series tyres, it gained preposterous front traction. To the stage where I had to replace the rear tyre with a Tomahawk, to get back some semblance of balance in terms of edge and cornering ability. Basically, with the Ikon I was using on the rear, or even the Ardent Race, the Minion wrote cheques the rear could not cash.

The geometry was always a little funky, though, and with the news of the Rekon 29×2.6″ I figured that would be the sweet spot. It would also drop over 300g from the front wheel and still be a reasonably absorbent and grippy front.

Well, I have a few hours on it now and its pretty good. It *is* light at sub 800g, but it doesn’t seem too fragile so far. The edge holds up and it certainly rolls fast.

I have 16 psi in it at present and doubt I want to go much lower.

It is in no way a plus tyre. That much is immediately obvious. The volume is just not great enough to make it behave in the way I have come to love with plus tyres in general.

The bike is back to its snappy, light, xc orientated ride and I’m happy about that.

As part of the project, I built a new Junglefox II 45mm internal rim onto a 100mm front hub. I have a notion to try the Minion DHF 29×3″ on the front of BA using an Enve fork. I feel that a ~50mm rim is ideal for true 3″ tyres. The bike is designed around a 120mm travel fork and normal 29×2.3″ wheel, so it might be just a wee bit steep at the front. We’ll see.

Interestingly, the build seemed much less tight than I am used to. Then it dawned on me that I hardly ever build with narrow OLD hubs any more! Still, 3x disk, 2x non, Sapim D lights and good balance and straightness should make for a decent wheel.

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Banking.

27 01 2018

Ok. Every year – and I mean *every* year – I start crossing my fingers about now. Hoping that the weather is kind in spring and summer. I don’t go as far as autumn. Last year, things started ok ish, if memory serves. There was some nice weather early on, before it deteriorated into a wet, sloppy, crappy sort o’ late spring/summer.

The silver lining was that it finally prompted me to purchase an Alpacka raft from Andy at Backcountry.scot so I could join the watery element. Afterall, if you can’t beat ’em….

But again, this year, I am hoping…

As a result, with a *lot* of thought and consideration, I ordered a Prophet rucksack and Monk tarp from Mountain Laurel Designs.

This will augment my MLD FKT bivi to make a super light, cosy and roomy shelter when I am not using my MLD Cricket tarp/tent. The Monk is available in different materials and I opted for the lightest cuben in order to keep things as svelte as possible. I will pitch it as a half-pyramid, using a Z packs carbon pole. This will give me some added shelter for cooking and minimising precip, though I will need to be mindful of the midge.

The rucksack is a great shape for stowing an Alpacka. It is able to be packed quite ‘square’ with little volume protruding above the shoulder strap – which one needs to consider on the bike as a higher rucksack bashes continuously into the back of your helmet. The way different manufacturers describe pack volume is a bit of a minefield. In some ways, this pack could be considered quite voluminous, but the total includes the volume of the side pockets, full, and the top at its maximum roll-top volume. I will use it rolled over more times, in order to keep the pack low, below where it would interfere with my head. The rear and side pockets will fit the paddle, once broken down, and critically are made from robust material rather than just netting. This makes damage considerably less likely as the pole of the paddle will invariably get caught on someting while riding.

The material is Dynema X – a super abrasion and tear resistant, but lightweight, fabric. It can ‘wet’ as the PU coating is on one side only, which will add to weight, but I believe this worth the trade off given that cuben type materials are less tear proof: when you are jamming a raft into the bag, with the paddle, this is a serious consideration.

The materials used in superlight gear are well worth taking the time to learn about. I’d suggest starting with Bedrock & Paradox and follow the links to previous posts regarding materials, too. Dave Chenault builds and uses packs from many materials and offers excellent insight into the pros and cons of each design. I link to his blog from mine and I would thoroughly recommend taking a look, particularly if you do any MYOG stuff.

On that note, I finally ordered some cuben – or Dyneema Composite Fabric as it is now known. The CT2K.18 I ordered form extremtextil.de is 34g per square meter and this is certainly not the most robust weight that is made. I am going to make, with tape, a double ended dry bag to mount into my Revelate Designs Harness. Double ended dry bags are really easy to pack and I can decide on the perfect diameter of the tube I want. It will be my first time working with this material – cost and lack of abrasion resistance have stopped me in the past. I have had excellent use from my MLD and Z packs DCF stuff sacks and roll bags, for several years, so I decided to dive in.

I was also interested to see extremtextil now stock Dimension Polyant LiteSkin in two different weights. I have been seeing this showing up on various cottage makers instagram feeds for the last year or so. On paper, it has a lot of properties that should make it excellent for the type of bags I like to make. I might get some and see what it is like. In the meantime, here is an interesting video of some testing of different materials.

Anyway. Rabbit foot stroked, I’m banking on some good weather to put this kit into practice…





DeWidget – update.

22 01 2018

Ok folks.

New fangled 3D printed #DeWidget, left, old skool cool proto, right

So the DeWidget has seen a little update. Mark has been kind enough to put the design on Shapeways. You can see them here and here. You would need one ring and two ‘top hat’ parts to make a complete DeWidget. The price is a little more, due to the addition of another company in the chain, but – IT NOW COMES IN COLOURS!

I have a black one in hand that has a slightly textured feel, but this in no way harms function. The white is also a textured surface whereas I believe the coloured ones are ‘smooth’.

Shapeways have a facility in the Netherlands and one in the USA, so if you are ordering abroad, it should actually work out pretty good.

Do pass this info on if you wouldn’t mind, cheers.





Organising.

22 01 2018

Ugh. It’s been a while.

The rains came…

…then Christmas and Hogmanay (with a brief trip to Am Ploc, where I deployed the Yak in Loch Carron for my first salty paddle).

…and then, well, it started snowing.

Quite a lot, actually.

It gave me a chance to use Snow Job in earnest and I had quite a bit of fun, drifting around banked up corners and bombing steep techy drops – my heart in my mouth as I pinballed through rocks and roots under the snow.

As the snow is now melting and the trails will be flooded with the released H2O, I decided to tidy up my workspace and fiddle with a Dynaplug kit.

I had bought a 3/16″ 24tpi tap set, which is the size the Dynaplug insert tubes use, and some aluminium rod of various diameters to see what I could do after picking up a Survivor Pill and mega-plug cheap on ebay.

My first go was pretty serviceable, but assuming (ass, you, me etc) that there would be room for it and the insert bit inside the pill was a mistake. I’ll make another, narrower, one and see how I go.

I also plowed ahead with sorting my tool box with the cheap version of Kaizen foam I bought a while ago. It is strangely therapeutic to do and it is nice to have my tools easily accessible and not rattling around.

It is spring soon, I guess, and as davechopoptions pointed out, FBROTY needs attention and then the slow, painful regaining of fitness. Hopefully this year will be drier, here….

OK for now.