Carbon Lust

Guru Carbon frame being built:

Or if you’re a Trek fan:

[Road Bike Review Cynic]“Look at that.  A whole Trek video and nothing asploded.”  [/Road Bike Review Cynic]

I love my carbon Ridley Noah.  Love it.  Love the way it rides.  But I think I’d have a hard time being comfortable on a full carbon mountain bike…although that’s what I used to say about carbon bars and seatpost before the School of Spearfish escapade.

Either way…pretty cool to watch how they’re built.

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Sickness, Illness, Disease. (Bike Fever)

I know some can relate to this tale.

Sickness:  “Man, I haven’t been to this bike shop in ages.  I’m driving past and have a minute, I should just walk through.”

Illness:  “Is that a Thomson Masterpiece seatpost in the bargain bin?”

Disease:  “27.2 x 350.  That’d be perfect for my Big Dummy.”

When you start rationalizing superior design and weight savings for the seatpost on a heavy, steel cargo bike, you know it’s a disease.  (No, honey.  I didn’t buy it.)

Little less talk. Lot more action.

This will be a ‘man of few words’ post, today.

Mukluk.  Forest Preserve + farm fields + creek bed.  A couple inches of hard, crusty snow, hiding under 2″ of fresh powder.

Obligatory poser shot:

Big Fat Larrys, at about 5psi, mush through the powder, down to the packed base.

Today was a day that a more aggressive tire would have likely shredded the solid base.

The Porcelain Rocket booster rocket seat pack put to good use (food + jacket + spare tube + pump + tools + extra hand warmers)

Show was a bit thinner in forested areas.

Sun broke through, for some warming rays…

Does this count as a scenic vista?  In Illinois, yes.

A dirty Mukluk is a happy Mukluk.

Actually rolling on about 6″ of packed drift snow here.

Waaaaaay off in the distance is Hand of Midas, who discovered that 6″ of drift snow will not support an adult male on 2.25″ tires.

2.25″ tires are also not so great for climbing snowy hills.

But BFLs work just fine.

Shimano MW-81 Winter Cycling Shoe Update

The original review of the MW81s is here.

This is an update.  Since the original review, I’ve put a couple hundred miles on the MW81s, in varied conditions, and I’ve continued to be very pleased with them.  Today, conditions stated out in the mid 20s, windy and damp, and I went out for a Mukluk ride.  The shoes performed admirably.  They were dunked in ankle deep water a couple times (the risk of riding along a creek), trudged through numerous snowbanks, across a few squishy marshes, and bushwhacked through some muddy and clay-ey forested areas.  With a pair of Smartwool socks, my feet were toasty warm, despite the 20-30mph winds.

The shoes continue to age well, and show no signs of wear, anywhere on them.  I’m impressed by how well they hold out the cold and water, and by how comfortable they are.  They strike a nice balance between a rigid base to pedal with, and a comfortable fit for all-day biking.  I do have a set of toe cleats screwed in, and find those are very helpful in winter conditions (although not very comfortable for hard surface walking).

With toe warmers, I haven’t found the ‘bottom end’ comfortable temperature with these shoes yet…because we haven’t had any really cold weather.  They’ve performed well in all conditions I’ve thrown at them.  Without toe warmers, my original conclusion (mid-high 20s) is still consistent for me: at or below that range, my feet get cold.

I’ve used these with Eggbeaters and Candy Cs; they’ve worked flawlessly with both sets of pedals.  I will note that putting a Crank Brothers shim under the cleats made engagement/disengagement of the pedals more consistent.

I still give these a solid A.

All Ti’d Up Part Deux: Ti v. Aluminum

Just a brief update on yesterday’s post.

After an interesting discussion on the Fatbookers on Facebike page today, I was pointed towards Guitar Ted’s recent musings on Ti versus Aluminum.  Here are his thoughts on the comparison in frame materials:

Muk v. Muk

and

Randomonium

Randomonium has some very interesting comparisons of the ride quality of a Ti Mukluk versus an Aluminum Mukluk, under similar riding conditions.  The conclusion of people who have ridden both frames: Ti has a better ride quality.  Even with 4″ wide tires running at low pressure.  So there goes that “I don’t need a Ti bike” excuse.

And to keep things interesting, here’s GT’s By-Tor Ti Mukluk (linked from his great blog).  If you look at his blog, you’ll see the spec.  1×10, Larry’s, Salsa enabler fork, Chris King bling, blah blah blah…

All Ti’d Up In Knots…

Lately, I’ve had Ti on the brain.

Sometime soon, I’ll do a full writeup and review on the Vaytanium.

For now, I’ll repeat an old comment and add a new one.  Old comment: if I could only have one bike, it’d be the Vaya.  New comment: the ride quality of the Vaya reminds me of a tuned and dampened cable.  Not vibration like a guitar string…but when you hit a serious bump or even some gravel chatter, the frame sucks it up.  Ping.  No harshness…but no noodling, either.  The frame is taut.  Responsive.  Dreamy.

When I got my Mukluk 2, I was aware of the Ti frames for Mukluks.  And don’t get me wrong–they’re sexy.  Really, really sexy.  But do they make sense?  With 4+ inch wide tires at low pressure, I’ve never been in a situation on my Aluminum Mukluk where I’ve been critical of the frame’s ride quality.  Even at higher pressure, on gravel expeditions, I can’t complain.  Because of the bike’s configuration, wheels and tires, I can’t say that a Ti frame would improve the riding experience.  Sure–it would be lighter, even more corrosion resistant, and more aesthetically pleasing…but I can’t say it would function any better (other than the lighter weight).  I’m not sure, in my own mind, whether the Ti Mukluk is worth the upgrade price–or whether it makes sense for a fat bike.  I guess, since I have a Muk 2 and not a Ti Muk, I have made up my mind.

That said, lately, I’ve had Ti on the brain.  It might be the two Ti El Mariachis that are being built up at North Central Cyclery right now.

(Above image shameless cribbed from Transit Interface’s new Tumblr blog).

It might be remnants of Sedona leftover in my mind that are causing me to think about hardtail 29ers and singlespeeds.  It might just be the beauteous look of a Ti frame.

(Note–Link above is from Salsa’s website.  Click for link).

A nice El Mar or Selma.  Singlespeed.  Tubeless Stan’s Crests with a lightweight, hand build by my holmes Hand of Midas.  (Maybe even with Ti spokes, as on this very, very pretty Eriksen.  Some blingy parts (Ti Skewers, Ti King Cages, Ti Hardware, Ti Homebrewed drivetrain?)  Some anti-blingy blingy parts (Whisky matte finish bars and seatpost).  A suspension fork or rigid?  (I think suspension fork, although I’ve been told to HTFU).

It’s just a dream right now…floating along in the back of my mind.  I still have visions of Spearfish, and the cushhhhhhhhhh of full suspension that cloud my judgment from time to time.

Lusty bikes to think about.  First world problems, eh?