Fox Float CTD Shock Install

After my great experience on a bunch of Fox Floats in Solvang, when I had a chance to throw one on the Superfish, I jumped at it.  This is the Fox Float CTD, 6.5″ with 1.5″ travel, Kashima Coating.

Install is pretty straightforward–one bolt front and rear, and a few spacers.  I won’t belabor this with pictures showing me loosening screws.  On the Superfish, there are spacers that press into the sides of the shock (and that easily pull out by hand), and there are sleeves that fit inside the shock eyelets.  Those sleeves do not come out quite as easily.  Since a friend PM’d me a question regarding removal of those sleeves, here’s my technique:

Start with a bench vise, and 2 sockets.  The bench vise should be a Wilton.  Not a crappy Wilton, but one of their nice models.  If you don’t have a nice Wilton bench vise, stop what you’re doing and immediately go obtain one, in some lawful fashion, preferably from a local store.

One socket should have an internal diameter (ID) that is larger than the sleeve you’re pressing out, but smaller than the size of the eyelet that the sleeve is in.  The other socket should have an outside diameter (OD) that is just smaller than the size of the sleeve that you’re pressing out.  For me, a 10mm socket and a 15mm socket were just the trick.  Here’s what you do:

The 15mm socket acts as a ‘receiver’.  It holds the shock in place, without impeding the movement of the pressed-in sleeve.  The 10mm socket is just big enough to push the sleeve, without pushing on the shock’s eyelet.  If you gently tighten the vise, the 10mm socket pushes the sleeve out of the eyelet, and into the 15mm socket.  (Those of you who change your own U-joints should recognize this trick).

Here, you can see the 10mm socket, about halfway into the shock eyelet, pushing the sleeve out.

To reassemble those parts in the new shock, I put a light coating of grease on everything, and pressed them back in with the vise.  I then put a dab of loctite on the screws, and reassembled the bike.  Voila.

A note: I’ve had a couple emails asking why I am always greasing everything.  Here’s my basic philosophy: I use my bikes, and expect them to perform.  I also work on them myself (often), or have friends at North Central Cyclery work on them (often).  I’d rather spend more time riding, and less time chasing fasteners that have seized in place.  Accordingly, when I put two parts together, I will do my best to put something between them.  If it’s carbon/carbon, I’ll use some carbon paste.  If it’s mechanical and I want it to come apart, it will be grease of some sort.  If it’s threaded, and I want it to stay together until I try to take it apart, I’ll use loctite.  From years of working on farm equipment, I know all too well how fast a fastener can seize or rust, especially in dissimilar metals.  Hence, I play it safe and lube at will.

With recent weather, I haven’t had a chance to ride the CTD yet (but have noted that Salsa now spec’s it on the Spearfish, for 2013).  My goal is to use Trail for the vast majority of use, and to use the Climb setting for gravel grinds and buff cruising.

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Salsa Spearfish V23.4

Let me start by saying yes, I know this deserves pictures better than garage pics.  I know, I know.  That’s the best I can do this week.

The Superfish has undergone a steady evolution since its birth.  My latest plans were aimed at a few goals:

1.  Tune the bike to my common usage, in the Midwest, on varied terrain.

2.  Maintain/increase reliability and functionality.

3.  Reduce weight.

4.  Simplify, where possible.

5.  Increase awesomeness.

The only real necessary improvement was pretty simple: while I love how light and fast rolling the Maxxis Ikons are, I’ve come to appreciate how much faster I can be on singletrack with a bit more aggressive tire that gives a bit more bite in the corners.  Accordingly, my only real upgrade need was a light, fast tire that added a bit of nobbiness.  Things spiraled out of control from there.

I’ve called this V23.4 because that’s the weight.  23.4 pounds.  Current build:

Salsa Spearfish 1 frame, Medium.

Cannondale Lefty XTR29 Carbon Fork.  Spork?  With Project 321 Tapered Steerer Adapter.

Fox Float CTD 6.5×1.5 Shock.

Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires.

SRAM X0 cranks, mounted to the original (stock) X9 axle, with a 34T MRP Bling Ring.

SRAM X0 Type 2 rear derailleur.

SRAM XX 11-36T 10 speed cassette.

KMC DLC X10SL chain.  (Still)

Avid Elixir 7 brakes.  (Stock)

Shorty Thomson X4 Stem.

ENVE 800mm DH handlebars.  (More on that later).

Beloved Ergon SM3 Pro Carbon Saddle.  (Still).

Beloved Ergon GS1 grips.  (Still).

Other bits and pieces.

Beloved ENVE 29XC rims, with Sapim CXRay spokes, laced up by Chad at North Central Cyclery.  DT240 rear hub (with 36T upgrade).  Project 321 Front Hub.

Weight confirmation:

10.6 kg.  23.4 pounds.

Wanna see a neat magic trick?  I can make it drop over half a pound, with no changes in the bike.

See?  Now it only weighs 22.8 pounds!  Amazing!  And yes, the scale is zeroed out.

All you have to do is angle the scale a bit, and the weight reading will get thrown off.  The 23.4 pound weight is legit for a carbon lefty, 1×10 Spearfish running Enve carbon hoops, tubeless.  There are many ways to show a picture of a lighter Spearfish, either intentionally or unintentionally misrepresenting the weight.  23.4 is legit.

Of note, there’s a 26.4 pound singlespeed spearfish that’s been hanging around on MTBR of late.

And there’s a lighter build 23 pound singlespeed.

So with a 1×10 Spearfish that weighs the same as a singlespeed version running tubeless Crests, I’m pretty darn happy.

Full build details will come in the next few days.

And We’re Back…

So of all of the weeks to miss blogging, I guess last week was pretty big.  There was this thing called NAHBS, and this other thing called Frostbike.  That, and I missed a ton of Harlem Shake videos on Youtube.

I’ll run down a few quick favorites, since they’ve been blogged to death elsewhere.

Salsa Carbon Beargrease

With an XX1 build and Avid Hydro brakes, they’re supposed to list around $5500.  With Husker Dus.  24 pounds stock.  Go tubeless, and it’s probably 23 pounds.  I just hope they keep the flat black on black setup.  Thoughts?

It’s super hot.  I’m guessing it is super stiff.  I’m also guessing that it has better vibration dampening than an aluminum frame…but on a fatbike, that’s what tires are for.  Honestly, it makes a great deal more sense to me than the aluminum Beargrease.  My concerns?  Durability given the conditions that fatbikes are used in.  That said, I’m confident Salsa has tested it and the carbon stands up to the test.  (Note: that’s my general concern about carbon on mountain bikes…and yes, I’m slowly being converted).  I’m super excited to see Sram getting into fat bikes, and in case anyone’s wondering, yes, I think XX1 makes PERFECT SENSE for fat bikes.  Lightweight, huge gear spread, single chainring for tire clearance.

I guess when Kid Riemer recently posted (in response to a less-than-flattering mass media review of fat bikes) that lighter fatbikes were coming, he was serious.  Must start scouring facebook for more bike details.

Salsa also showed another variant of their tandem prototype, first shown here.

Recall that’s the prototype ridden in the Tour Divide last year.  Here’s the current prototype:

Notable changes: opposing cranks (As compared to both cranks on the drive-side on the original variant), straight-through central support (as compared to the kinked support on the original), massive White Brothers Loop fork, and a few other updates (and geometry changes, apparently).  More details here.  I think that this could be a killer setup for gravel rides like the Gravel Metric, et al.  For some reason, riding a tandem for a ride like that seems like it would be a blast.  Perhaps Salsa will bring their prototype out to play some time.

Fearless prediction time: I think White Brothers is going to be the first to market with a fatbike suspension fork.  (Yes, I know of the flame and other limited availability items.  I’m talking full, commercial availability in North America).  Make a wider Loop, and you’re done.  But I digress.

There were a ton of lusty NAHBS bikes…including several tasty offerings from Calfee.  There is also one that I’m going to briefly mention because I like the trend.  What do these bikes have in common?

The Moots trail maintenance bike…and Scott from Porcelain Rocket’s new Rick Hunter custom fattie:

More details on that bike over on Vik’s blog.

What do I like about these?

Well, in my mind, fatbikes are heading in two directions.  One direction is the lightweight, focused, competitive fatbike.  Right now, I think the Carbon Beargrease is the bike most emblematic of that trend.  Light, racy, fast.

The other direction is the more expedition oriented fatbike…for long rides.  Bike camping.  Expeditions.  Touring.  Come what may.  For rides like that, a longer wheelbase, increased cargo capacity, wider drivetrain and more relaxed geometry make sense.  I’m excited to see a few more fatbikes that are fatbike/cargo bike mixed-breeds.  Long, stable wheelbases with lots of room for gear.  It’s a trend I’d like to see more of.  As much fun as my Big Dummy is, if Surly had a fat cargo bike (hopefully a hybrid of the two…a bit shorter than the Dummy, a bit longer than a Pugsley…but still long enough to hold an adult passenger), I’d drop my Dummy like it’s hot.  Not because the Dummy is bad, but because the Dummy is fun.  And fatbikes are fun.  And a fatbike dummy…sounds like way too much fun.

That’s all we have time for today.  We’ll have a few exciting things in the next few weeks, as we return to our regular programming.

44Bikes

If you haven’t checked out their website, you should.  There are some super hot builds on there.  My bike schedule for 2013 is pretty much booked.  Maybe there will be a custom build in my future for 2014.

Here’s their catalog.  Separate even from the bikes within, the aesthetics of the catalog are droolworthy.  It’s sort of a I wish I was that cool feeling that washes over me, just reading it.

Things Change.

I was going through some old pictures recently, and came across a few that curled my toes a bit.  I’ve previously talked about the period of time, about 3 years ago now, when I weighed over 200 pounds.  I wasn’t kidding.

Holy Moobs.

This next photo isn’t for the squeamish.  You’ve been warned.

Do not attempt to adjust the contrast of your monitor.  I was just that pasty.

I don’t think I had a chin–it looks like my neck swallowed it.  Good lord.  I don’t remember being fat (overweight, high BMI, whatever you want to call it).  I don’t remember being unhealthy.  Holy crap.  It’s a little bit of a change to now.

These next two pics may be even less forgivable.

If you jump in the way-back machine and go back several road bikes, my first venture into skinny tires was a Trek FX 7.6.

That, in and of itself, is not so terrible.  What’s terrible is what I did to it.

Monster gel saddle, top-tube mounted frame pump, reflectors…and Oh the Humanity…look at that handlebar.

Straight bars for long road rides weren’t comfortable…so I added bar ends to give 2 more positions.  And a mirror to see what was behind me.  And then aero-bars, so I could get out of the wind a bit.  I put in some serious miles on that baby.  I am so glad that there aren’t any pictures of me riding it.  Just combine the previous 4 pictures, and you’ll get the gist.

That’s where I’ve been.  This is where I’m at now.

A lot has changed in 3 years.  Things change.

Fatbike Week.

It’s been a fatbike kinda week.

Last Saturday, I fatbiked.  Last Sunday, I fatbiked pulling a sled.  Monday morning, I got up early and rode fat.  Tuesday, I did not ride.

Wednesday night, a group of us headed out to hit the snow.  It was about 30 degrees, no wind, wet snow.  Perfect.

The snow was moist enough to give great traction, but not so mushy that it packed your tires.

Chad was rolling his Muk on Nates.

BPaul was rocking the Necromancer (and a nifty Lazer snow helmet).

Fun was had, snow was found, and a little bit of bike to bike contact was made.

Thursday night I had to work, so when the snow started coming down hard during the day on Thursday, I found a little time in the afternoon to hit the road.

It was snowing hard enough to be accumulating…on me…while riding.

But it was crusty enough to support me on top of a couple inches of snow.

Sporting the Gore, of course.

The trails were in awesome condition.  There were a few wet spots, but it was snowing hard, and the trees were coated.

This shot was taken by accident, as I was riding one-handed shooting pics, hit a hidden hole, and wiped out.  So this was somewhere in mid-air, headed for the deck.

Like I said…perfect.

This snow was wet.  It was sticking to everything.

Ride Axletree.

Friday, I did not bike.  Instead, I did a Daddy Daughter Dance.

And I ate gluten vicariously through my daughter.

That brings us to today.

Conditions were perfect.

We rode trails, fields, paths, woods…

Can you spot the Nevdal?

Tobie limbo-d a low tree crossing.

There was even an impromptu cyclocross hillclimb.

And yes, Lenny was sporting skinnies.

Comparatively, at least.

So I fatbiked snow 6 of 8 days.  That’s pretty hard to beat.

Of note, blogging over the next week or two may be spotty.  I’ve got a few big things going on IRL, and may not be as attentive as I normally am.  Normalcy will resume around the end of February.

 

Buy a Fatbike, Give to Charity.

I’m going to try something a bit different here.

It is not a secret that I’m a big fan of North Central Cyclery.  (Of note, I’m not an owner/employee/or otherwise financially interested in any way).

And if you’ve been there of late, it’s no secret that they have a flotilla of fatbikes, many on sale, ready to be rolled out into the snow.  So when I received the email I’ve screen-captured below, I was intrigued.

In short, if you by a fatbike and indicate that you’re a referral through this program, you get $100 off of the bike, and the referrer either gets $100 off of a bike or $50 off of an in-store purchase.

So here’s what I’m proposing.  Maybe you’ve been considering buying a fatbike.  Maybe you just needed a gentle nudge.  Consider yourself nudged.  If you buy a fatbike and tell Tobie at North Central Cyclery that you were referred by Riding Against the Grain, I’ll get a $50 or $100 credit.  Drop me a comment and let me know.  If anyone actually does this, I’ll take any credits that are generated, and use them to buy one or more bikes (or bike helmets and safety accessories) to donate to a local DeKalb group that will serve disadvantaged youths.  I have a couple in mind…if anyone actually makes a purchase, I’ll put them up for consideration.

I’ll keep everything totally public–just let me know if you take me up on the offer.  Again, I don’t stand to benefit…but I think it’s a great deal, and I think it would be cool to leverage it into something that could benefit the community.

Buy a fatbike.  Give to Charity.  Win, win, win, win.