Stan’s ZTR Rapid SS Wheelset For Sale

Sold.  (Very quickly).

 

Cleaning out the garage.

I have a pair of like-new ZTR Rapids, with Formula SS hubs (6 bolt disc, standard mountain spacing, 9/10mm quick release), set up for tubeless with Stan’s valve stems and liners.

Contact me and make an offer.  Perfect for your SS rig (700c or 29er).  If you’re into fixies, I’ll open the hub and fill it with gravel for you, so it seizes up.

The only reason these are for sale is because I have a set of Chad-Bilt ™ wheels sitting on the shelf that went on the bike that was formerly sporting these.

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Mukluk For Sale

I had previously hinted that the Muk might be going up for sale.  With that hint, I had someone contact me and indicate that he wanted to buy the Muk (and even make a deposit), but he ran into spousal difficulty, and thus backed out.  I’ll make it formal now: the Mukluk is for sale.

My Muk has gone through a lot of iterations, that have been extensively blogged on here.  The current spec is how I anticipate selling it–so look at the pics in this post.

General info:

Original build info here.

2012 Mukluk 2.  First year for the lighter, anodized frame.  E-13 triple chainring up front–that’s stock.  I’m currently running a like new (literally–call it 99%) Sram 990 9 speed cassette–about the lightest available.  X7 front derailleur, X9 Rear derailleur.  I upgraded from the stock gripshifts to X9 trigger shifters, that function perfectly.  Full length housing, including a super-schweet sealed Jagwire housing on the rear derailleur.  The BB was replaced several months ago, spins perfectly.  The bike has been the subject of my OCD-maintenance complex.

X0 hydraulic brakes.

Carver carbon fork (and I’ll include the stock Salsa fork as well).  There’s a ton of steerer, so you can customize your riding position.

2 Anything Cages, 2 regular bottle cages.

Thomson Masterpiece seatpost.

WTB Silverado Thinline saddle (new).

Race Face Next SL carbon bars (with the metal anti-crush insert at the stem).

Ergon GS1 race grips.

(No pedals).

Super-cool custom Axletree stickers.

It’s set up tubeless, with Husker Dus.  The tires are in great shape, and have never had a puncture.

I’ll include a Bontrager rack that fits the bike like it was made for it–and matches color perfectly.

This is a 17″ model.  I’m 6′ with a 33″ inseam…for a snowbike, I wanted to size down, so I could move around on the bike easily.  That said, the 17″ frame also accommodates smaller riders.  Pretty much anyone between 3′ and 7’4″ will be comfortable on this bike.  I do not recommend it for persons under 3′ in height, nor for persons 7’5″ or taller.

This bike has had every key upgrade you could want–an awesome seatpost, handles, bars, tubeless, carbon fork.  Unlike the Beargrease, this has rack mounts.  It’s race-light, but can also be pressed into service for bike camping gravel grinding, or just about any other use you can conceive of.  It has been used–there are some scuffs on the decals and such–and I can provide more pics of anything you’d like.  But it has been used lovingly, and maintained obsessively.

I’ve been following recent sale trends.  This bike, new (without any upgrades) would cost $2500.  I won’t go down the “and there’s $XXXX of upgrades” path, but I’ll say that it’s a nice ride.  A very nice ride.  I’ve price checked against the various online bike forums and Evil-bay.  Let’s say that the price is something less than new, and more than $2,000, and see where we end up.  Throw some pedals on, and she’s ready to ride right now.

On-Bike Hydration

I’m contemplating a lot of options for on-bike hydration for the upcoming Almanzo and Gravel Metric.  In both instances, I need to be able to survive about a metric’s worth of gravel without any outside support.

Last year, I ran 4 bottles on the Vaya.  With my 55cm frame, the third bottle cage is basically useless–the bottle hits the front tire–so I ran a tri-racer holder on my seatpost.

I wasn’t thrilled with that setup, and am branching out to other options.  (Bottle access wasn’t great, and the bottles were nailed with every scrap of dust that came off my rear tires).

For Blue Mound, I rode with a hydration bladder…a 3 liter (100 ounce) bladder, to be precise.  In 53 miles, drinking heavily, I just barely went through the full bladder (leaving 2 full bottles on the bike).  Essentially, that was nearly 7 pounds of water, plus the hydration pack, on my back.  On long climbs, the hydration pack felt as though a midget was hanging on my shoulders, squeezing gently.  I wasn’t thrilled.  The other problem is that it negates use of jersey pockets for food and such.

I’ve considered the old ‘bottles in jersey pockets’ routine, but that isn’t much of an improvement over a hydration bladder…it just means less weight.  Another option I’m contemplating is just putting less water in the bladder (maybe 1.5 liters?)  50 ounces of water plus 2 20 ounce bottles on the bike = 90 ounces.  That should easily suffice for ~60 miles.

The other option I’m pondering is the “hydration bladder in the top tube bag” option, which I tried on Sunday.  Again, I was sporting 100 ounces of water.

There, I’m sporting a Relevate tangle bag, and a Porcelain Rocket top bag (gas tank?)

The hose was routed out of the side of the Relevate, and I would just wrap it around the bars and stash it in the top bag when not in use.  That kept it clean and easy to access.

The top bag is definitely a win.  Easy access to food is great. The bladder-in-relevate setup is a bit more questionable.  Particularly early in the ride, 100 ounces of water swaying around led to some uncomfortable bike movement on loose gravel.  Nothing like sloshing water to challenge your confidence.

Also, with the water that low, it takes a surprising amount of suction to pull the water up to your mouth.  Hose access wasn’t an issue (as I had feared it might be), but getting a draw of water took some concentration.  Another drawback is that using the Relevate renders the front bottle cage difficult to use, and the rear bottle cage unserviceable unless you’re stopped.  It was an interesting experiment.

I’m thinking the perfect setup may be 2 bottles on the bike, 50-60 ounces in the hydration pack on my back, and food in the top-tube bag.  That may be gravel cycling nirvana.  We’ll see.

Gravel Metric, en route.

On Sunday, Lenny and I rode a preview of large portions of the anticipated Gravel Metric route.  We put in a metric, with the neutral rollout, and saw a lot of varied conditions.

Believe the hype.  The route is better.  More interesting.  More challenging.  More isolated.  More scenic.  And more challenging.  Right now, the gravel is fresh, and loose.

Come prepared.

SSStan’s Crests.

I had previously noted that I moved the Crests over to the SS El Mar.  These were wheels built up for the Vaya, but moved over when ENVE came to town.  I’ve had a few more rides on the El Mar/Crest combo, and it’s a definite upgrade over the ZTR Rapids that were stock.  Lighter, snappier, stiffer.  (DT240 hubs and Sapim CX-Ray spokes help in those regards).

That, and they’re smoking hot.

Literally.

ENVE 29XC Update

Quick Vaya ENVE 29XC update.

  • They’re clearly more aero than regular profile aluminum rims.  Clearly.  Significant advantage in a headwind.
  • The deeper rim section also catches a lot more crosswind.  Even in 25mph winds with a light rider, it isn’t scary, but it’s noticeable.  I’d say that wearing a Camelbak has more of a sidewind impact, but it cannot be discounted.
  • I had previously said that there wasn’t a stiffness difference between these and the Stan’s Crests that I was previously running.  I was wrong.  The ENVEs give a lot more confidence on fast descents.  I had these up to nearly 45mph on the downhills, and they felt palpably stiffer and more responsive than the Crests.  Same hub and spokes, so I attribute it to the rims.  Steering was right now.  Again, very confidence inspiring.

After a few weeks on them, I’m loving them just as I suspected I would.  Wheels are the single best upgrade for your bike.  ENVEs are the best wheels for that upgrade.

Hillapalooza.

Sunday, I drove up to Wisconsin (Blue Mound) for some suffering with Tobie from NCC, and Aaron, the Bionic Teutonic ™.  In anticipation of the upcoming Almanzo, we wanted to log miles.

Vertical Miles.

On the day, I logged 50-something miles (52?) and just over a mile of climbing.  It was pretty harsh.  Almanzo is something like 7,500 feet of climbing, albeit over 100 miles.  I’m probably wrong, but that sounds like it should be less difficult.  Why?

I’ve ridden more than 5,300 feet of climbing in a day.  In Solvang, I was a couple thousand feet over that, in a day…and it didn’t hurt as much as Blue Mound did.  The Blue Mound ride had very few gentle grades…it would be flat, and then steep….and then flat again.  I can grind away on 5-10% grades for prolonged periods and feel like a hero.  It’s the 15-20% grades that kill my legs.  When I’m all geared out (34/32 in this case), and pedalling for all I can to get up a grade…that’s what gets me.  On more modest slopes, my power/weight ratio helps me immensely.  On the steepest stuff, my modest power output is  the limiting factor.  So the repeated, relentless, steep climbs were hard.  In looking at Almanzo, the climbs look to be a little less aggro.  I hope.

The weather sucked.  Temps started at 34, and held in the upper thirties for much of the morning.  By the end of the ride, it was nearly 50.  Wind was 18-24mph, and never in a good way.  We also were greeted with some passing snow flurries, but nothing stuck.

The Vaya was properly kitted, and I was thankful for my 34/32 gearing at the low end.  I’m a bit scared of going to an 11-28 cassette with Sram Red 22, so I’m hopeful that the WiFli option comes out soon.  Around home, 28 is more than enough.  On the steeps, 32 is a godsend.  Disc brakes were great on the descents, and hydro discs should be even better.  My top speed on a descent was 44.6mph…and on that particular descent, at the bottom, it became loose chipseal.  Sketchy as all get-out, but the Vaya carried through.

I’ll have an ENVE update in a day or two.  On to the pics.

This is the first time that riding a Ti Vaya felt like slumming.  The two Moots Psychlo X’s surrounded by poor Salsa and picked on it.

This was the baptismal ride for Tobie’s new Moots, and a great spot to do it.

Aaron, seen here in his typical “out in front” position.

“Do we turn left for more suffering, or turn right for more, mooooore suffering?”

I’m pretty sure he’s just smiling for the camera.

Phalanx.

It was a great ride.  I was very happy with my effort, and my ability to finish.  I felt like my pacing was good, and on the climbs, I picked a speed that I could ride and held it, without feeling too much pressure to be the first up the Mound.  (I’m not sure I could’ve been the first up, but I’ll claim that it was intentional pacing).

The Moots were very, very pretty, and very, very tempting.

A hard ride, a good ride, a good night’s sleep.

SRAM 22, Part Deux.

More thoughts on Sram Red, 22, Hydraulic Disc Brakes (HRD).

Guitar Ted gave his (somewhat predictably) quasi-negative thoughts here.  I say “somewhat predictably” not as a criticism of GT–I don’t think he’s a retrogrouch.  But his views on SRAM drivetrains and Avid brakes have been made clear over a long period of time, and I did not expect the combination of those two technologies to act like a double-negative and suddenly win his endorsement.  GT indicates that he’s heard bad things about SRAM brifters, and hasn’t had good luck with Avid hydro brakes…but has had good luck with BB7s, and thus doesn’t see a particular benefit to upgrading.  Those seem like reasonable concerns.

SRAM also released some more press information on the setup, here.

I’ve seen a few sources bristle about the perceived aesthetic concerns of the brifters, focused predominantly focused on the proboscis at the top of the brifter.

Again, I can understand that concern.  Here are my thoughts:

  • I have spent the past couple years throwing everything possible at my Vaya, which is equipped with BB7s and Avid Rival (and now an X0 rear derailleur).  The brifters have been flawless.  Regular readers will know that it sees extensive gravel, light singletrack, mud, and tons of abuse.  The brifters have been flawless under about the worst conditions imaginable.  Yes, I do regular maintenance on the drivetrain, but I’ve never touched the brifters in any way.  They’ve been perfect.  I love them, and I love their shape.  The guts have never exploded, the brifters have never failed to work.  Not once.  Never.
  • I love my Rival so much that when NCC built the Madone, the only drivetrain choice for me was SRAM Red.  It has been flawless.  Perfect.  It does everything I want, and more.  It is light, it shifts like buttah, looks good, and is dead reliable.  Adjusting the front derailleur takes a little practice–it isn’t like a normal front derailleur (you have to get used to the Yaw), but once you do, it’s golden.
  • I happen to like SRAM drivetrains.  I had Shimano Ultegra on my Ridley, and it functioned well.  It did not, however, have the same mechanically satisfying feel of the SRAM Red.  I also have SRAM on the Mukluk (where it has seen every kind of abuse, mud, dunking, snow, salt, gravel, dust, etc. imaginable) and on the Superfish.  They have all functioned impeccably, and without fail.  When we built up the Superfish, I had a choice between SRAM and Shimano…and I went SRAM largely because of the great feel it had when I rode Spearfish in Arizona last year.  I had Shimano XT on my last mountain bike before the Superfish, and I liked the action of the SRAM better.
  • On the hydro brake side, I have Avid brakes on the Superfish, Mukluk and El Mariachi.  All have functioned impeccably.  I’ve never had a bleeding problem, a function problem or an adjustment issue.  I wish the SRAM brakes were a bit better designed to integrate with gripshift on the Superfish, but that’s a small complaint–from a function perspective, they’re perfect.
  • I have BB7s on the Vaya.  Let’s be clear–when they’re properly adjusted, they have way more braking ability than you’ll ever need on a gravel bike.  That isn’t the issue at all.  If you keep them clean and adjusted, they function great.  My frustration with BB7s is related to what they can’t do.  They cannot self-adjust.  They cannot retract both pads to have better rotor clearance if there’s a tiny little wobble in the rotor.  For me, that means I’m constantly chasing the adjustment, working on getting it just right. That’s partially because I’m A/R (ok, perhaps predominantly), and partially because of the inherent challenges of mechanical disc brakes.  I’ve been praying for a hydraulic, drop-bar friendly solution for 2 years.
  • I’ve looked at the TRP and other kludge systems.  Sure, they work, but they’re compromises.  Cable over hydraulic?  Blech.  Not an elegant solution.
  • So add it all together.  What if I could get the shift quality of SRAM Red, with hydraulic disc brakes and the great feel and reliability I’ve come to expect from SRAM?  That’s a perfect solution.  Perfect.
  • 22 speed is just a little icing on the top.  I don’t find myself needing higher or lower gears on the Vaya.  With a 50/34 crank and 11-32 cassette, if I don’t have a gear high or low enough, the Vaya isn’t gonna cut it.  I actually suspect that once the 22 is out, I’ll go to an 11-28 cassette, to bring the spread between gears down a bit, and give me some more useful cadence gears.  34/28 is plenty low for the climbing I see. I think.  I do think it makes perfect sense for SRAM to make their gearing such that they’re adding another gear mid-cassette…that’s where I’d like to see it for tuning cadence, as mentioned above.  So it makes sense to me as an upgrade.

In short, I’m a SRAM advocate and an Avid brake advocate, based upon my pretty extensive experience with both.  I view the new HRD as the answer to my prayers–bringing hydro brake functionality in a clean package to my Vaya.  I don’t find the look of the brifters objectionable, and I’m frankly impressed with how SRAM has integrated the brakes into the brifters without significant alteration in overall function.  I’m hoping and praying that these are available soon.

Shimano’s announcement is around the corner.  I expect Di2 hydros to be forthcoming.  While I liked the time I spent on Di2, and while I can see its applications, I’m still a little nervous about putting an electronic drivetrain on a bike that sees so much abuse.  Would a Di2 rear derailleur take kindly to being carried through a chest-deep creek, or ridden through BB-deep water?  I don’t know…but it scares me a bit.

I suspect that I’m the market share that SRAM is looking for with this product, and I’ll be the first to geek out and say it: I want to be a fanboy, because the product looks awesome.  I will be curious to see what they release for information on hubs…and I’m hopeful that my DT240s will be a cassette body away from 22 speed (though a bit worried that it will require new hubs.  We’ll see).

So my thoughts: I don’t have any aesthetic or durability concerns, and I don’t see any reason not to use this technology.  I suspect it will function better and more consistently than mechanical disc brakes.  The canti/disc debate I’ll leave for another day, but when I spec’d the Vaya, I knew disc was what I wanted (and I wouldn’t go back).

Based on the specs, I think this will be a hit right out of the ballpark, and I’m looking forward to SRAM Red, 22, HRD.  That shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, given that I’ve written about it now something like 15 times.

Motor-vation

Not much blogging this week, but plenty of riding.

This morning, I have a professional obligation that makes me miss the Gravel Metric Training Ride #2, so I rode out to DeKalb for my obligation.  I booked out early, to grab some extra miles.  Wind was a perfect headwind the whole way, 15-18mph with gusts to 25, with little wind-driven rivulets of spite and ice.  Not enough snow to accumulate, but just enough to sting your cheeks, and blow down the road in little white dust clouds, to remind you of the wind you’re battling.  There were times when I was clinging to 12-13mph for dear life, churning the pedals over and over.  I had on my 45Nrth boots, so my feet were warm, but my legs felt like lead weights.  It was the first ride in a long time where I contemplated bailing–where I thought about who I could call to come pick me up, and get me to my meeting on time.  Riding into a constant headwind for 38 miles is demoralizing.  It sapped my will, and my legs.

But I suffered it out, kept riding, and eventually got to turn out of the headwind and roll up to DeKalb.  A quick shower, a Superman duck into a closet to get back into my Clark Kent suit, and now off to a meeting.  After the meeting, a pile of wet bike clothes will be slipped back on so I can ride home.

Today, my ride thus far sucked.  I was lacking some motor, and some motivation.  But I have to log miles to be ready for Almanzo.  So I’ll drop a gear or two, spin up my cadence, and bounce along at 100rpm and 13mph.  Argh.