Stans ZTR Rapid Wheelset

With the ENVEs replacing the Crests on the Vaya, the Crests were sitting on my shelf without a home…

So I slapped a Surly singlespeed adapter set on the cassette, along with a pile of SS cogs I had laying around…

And threw ‘em on the El Mariachi.

In garage poseur shots, they look great.

That brings up the ZTR Rapids that came stock on the El Mar.  There’s not a lot of info out there on them, so here’s a bit of data.  This is the stock build for these wheels, from Salsa, with SS hubs and lordknowswhat spokes.

Rear wheel, stripped, weighs…

1246 grams.

Front wheel, stripped, weighs 918 grams.

Make appropriate adjustments for your hubs and spokes…they aren’t light.  They are reasonably stiff, and set up tubeless well.  They do have the spoke eyelets that reduce manufacturing cost (making these more friendly for OEM specifications), but they’re not light.  (Note that all of the weights in this post are comparing the wheelsets set up for tubeless, with Stan’s rim strips and such).

By comparison, the DT240/CX-Ray/Stan’s Crest wheelset that replaced them on the El Mar is just under 200 grams lighter up front, and 420 grams lighter in the rear.  That’s about 1.4 pounds of rolling weight.

The Crests are 24.4mm wide with an ID of 21; the Rapid Rims are 25mm wide with an ID of 21.  Both share a common depth of 15.8mm.  According to Stans, the 29er Rapid Rims weigh 455 grams, versus 380 for the Crests.  Frankly, I have a hard time believing that…I’m guessing the ZTR Rapids are closer to 500 grams than 450.

That means that the DT240/CX-Rays save 130 grams over the stock build up front, and 350 grams over the stock build in the rear.  Re-donk-ulous.

Again, the El Mar isn’t a light bike, and I have not set out to make it a weight weenie.  Even with the Crests, it almost certainly weighs more than the full-suspension Superfish.  But I had the Crests, and they needed a good home.  Annnnnnd….if you’re going to do an upgrade, wheels are the place to start.

I had a chance to put about 15 miles on the Crests Saturday morning, predominantly doubletrack, doing a lot of climbing and a little gravel.  They spin up fast.  Appreciably lighter than the Rapids.  In theory, the Crests should be less rigid than the Rapids, because of the use of a SS hub on the Rapids (wider spread of the spokes) and the use of a cassette-friendly hub on the Crests (because they were moved over from the Vaya, and I didn’t see a point in relacing to a SS hub).  Perhaps because I’m a lighter rider, theory didn’t play out–I couldn’t notice any reduction in stiffness.  If anything, the Crests seemed to have more pop and more responsiveness.

I was playing around with tire pressures running the Continental 2.2″ Trail Kings (tubeless), and got down to 15 before things got too squirrely.  I think I might run 18 rear, 20 front, and see how that goes (just because I’m a bit nervous about peeling a bead on the front).

Anyone need some gold SS hub’d Rapid Rims?  They’re tubeless!

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The Penultimate Vaytanium

The Vaytanium just got an upgrade.

I’ll have full weights and details in the next few days.  I’m still (very happily) running my 38c Bontrager CX0 team issue tires.  As per my normal practice, these are DT240 hubs and Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes, with ENVE nipples, built by Chad at North Central Cyclery.

I threw them on the Vaya Wednesday afternoon, in anticipation of the group ride that night.  27 miles Wednesday, and 50 miles yesterday lead me to some preliminary conclusions:

1.  On pavement, I cannot tell a difference between the Stans Crest and the ENVEs, in terms of ride quality.

2.  On gravel, I am pretty solidly convinced that if you blindfolded me and had me ride them back to back, I could discern between the Crests and the ENVEs–partly from the noise, and partly from the ride quality differences.  The difference is subtle, but palpable.  It certanly isn’t anything like the huge jump from my old wheelset (Chris King hubs, stainless spokes, Velocity A23s, tubed) to the Crests.

3.  I can’t tell if this is real or not, but I feel like there’s a bit of a change in the aerodynamics of the wheels  These are not really an aero profile, but they feel faster at higher speeds, as compared to the Crests.  Truth be told, some of that may be attributable to the feeling of spending a lot more time on the Vaya of late, after a winter of fat biking…but I made a transition directly from Crest to ENVE, and I feel a difference above 20mph.

4.  I’ll have full weights and such later, but of note, there’s not really a weight advantage on the ENVE 29XC clinchers, compared to the Crests.  Both are stupid-light.

5.  Why the Penultimate Vaya?  Because it’s still waiting on hydraulic disc brakes.  The Ultimate Vaytanium will be this bike, plus SRAM Red 22 with full hydros.  Oh please oh please oh please.

Gore, Knog, Fatbikes, Local Bike Shops.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Thursday night was the Winter Clinic at North Central Cyclery.  It was a night of bliss for the author of this particular blog.  Why?  Soooo Muuuuch Gooooodness.

Demo Beargrease (like the one I rode a couple of months ago, also at NCC).

Demo Krampus.


Brand-spankin-new Ti Warbird.

Delectable S’mores made from energy waffles endorsed by now besmirched cyclist formerly known as ‘7 time tour winner.’

They were so energy packed, that Chad came in clean-shaven, had one bite, and instantly grew a beard.

And there was Peter.

PBR.  Like a moth to a flame, I tell ya…

There was a dinglespeed TI Muk wearing Big Fat Larry’s on 82mm rims.  I took these pics to show that there’s plenty of room for Lou’s in the rear.

And there were oodles and oodles of people.  Over 60, not including the sponsors.  For a winter-riding clinic, that’s pretty exceptional.

Lots of cool products to ogle…like the entire line of Gore clothes.


An array of Knog’s latest and greatest lights, including a couple of models with nifty features like USB recharging.

Mattias found something pretty in pink…

And then decided to find out whether Gore-Tex is really waterproof or not.

It is.

No, really.

GoreTex Works–North Central Cyclery Gore Demo 11.1.12 from Lawfarm on Vimeo.

Not kidding.

And lest you think that pink was the only questionable clothing choice of the evening…

Yeah.  There’s that, too.  The belt really completes the outfit.

BPaul tried on approximately 435 coats.  I’m pretty sure he ruled out at least 3 or 4, and he’ll probably settle on a final choice right around the time the national debt gets paid off.

In the realm of demo bikes to ride, they had the aforementioned Beargrease and Krampii, and a host of fatbikes from XL Pugs, Neck Romancers, Moonlanders and Mukluks, all the way down to a 14″ Pugsley.  You can’t help but smile.

Beth…you really need that bike.  It is sooooo you.

And if you had questions, they could be answered by none other than Salsa’s own E-Fred:

Or you could hear about how the fuzzy lining on the inside of Windstopper is made from the hair of shaved, free-range Unicorns from Brendan Gore-Cik.

Or maybe you have a light question for Knog’s Brian Mark…

So yeah, a night full of awesome.  New products to ogle, information to learn, things to see, things to try.  I can’t convey all of the information received, but here are a few Gore highlights:

The gore membrane used in Windstopper and Goretex are related fabrics.  The Windstopper is a bit more porous, but still waterproof.  Windstopper doesn’t have taped seams, so they don’t market it as waterproof…and it’s more breathable than straight Goretex.

They had a demo where you’d get your hand wet, and stick your wet hand in a goretex gloveliner.  You’d then put your wet hand, in the glove, in a bucket of water.  You would then move your hand around vigorously.

I kid you not…when you pulled your hand out, it was dry.  I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it.

Seriously.  Moving your hand generated heat, which turned the water on your hand into vapor, and the Goretex transferred that vapor away from your hand, directly into a bucket of water.  Ridiculous.

Brendan used a great metaphor for Goretex…he said it’s like a chain link fence.  On the outside, water is the size of a softball, and thus cannot get through the fence.  But on the inside, sweat vapor is smaller, like a golfball, and can pass through the fence.  Makes sense, and was a great analogy to consider.

I kind of feel like I’m rambling right now, but there was so much information to learn and absorb.  It was truly a great evening.  I ride outside a lot, and have read a ton about Gore clothes…turns out, I haven’t scratched the surface.

I cannot emphasize enough how awesome it is to have a local bike shop able to pull together events like this, and get experts and information like this.






Two Wheel Drive Fatbike?

CJBrubaker on MTBR recently posted up his 2wd Fatbike.

Here’s the bike (with a nice Lefty setup), pre-conversion.

And here it is, post-motor conversion.

He’s running either Big Fat Larry’s (for general use and sand) or Nates (for snow or mud), on the 100mm rims.  The front hub motor is a Nine Continents 2808 mounted to a Choppers US 100mm, 36h rim.  He reports that he’s using the same 36V battery that he uses with a Stoke Monkey on his Big Dummy.  With that setup, the motor has enough power to spin the front tire in the snow…apparently, moderation is required with application of the front motor power.

That’s a lot of extra weight, but it’s an intriguing thought.  If Surly ever gets around to Big Fat Nates…..a set of BFNs…at 6psi…with 2wd power…means that just about no snow could stop you.

De Main Domane Bearing

I’ve had a couple questions sent to me about whether the Domane actually has a pivot point in the seatpost, or whether it just has an elastomer to isolate the seatpost from the seat stays and top tube.

It has a pivot point.

Pic from cxwrench on RBR.

There are 2 bearings; both are 19mm outside diameter, 10mm inside diameter, 5mm wide.  Both are sealed.  The seatpost flexes on a pin through those bearings (the bearings being located in the top tube/seatstay junction).  There is also elastomer in the joint to help control flex and keep vibration down.

And yes…when you push down forcefully on the saddle, the top of the seat tube flexes back, and the ‘middle’ of the seat tube (between the bb and top tube) flexes forward.  If you watch that bottle cage, you can see it move forward in response to the flex.

That’s all.  Carry on.

BILTO: Manbearpig

BILTO = Bikes I’d Like To Own.  That’s a new RATG acronym.  We’re big on acronyms here.

Today’s BILTO is a bike that appeals to me on some very basic level.  Since I have the Vaytanium, I’m not building up this bike.  But if I didn’t have the Vaytanium…

I find this build intriguing because: 1) it’s a collection of nice components; and, 2) it shows how incredibly versatile Salsa bikes are.  This particular La Cruz happens to be a steel frame.

The Manbearpig is stolen from MTBR, where it was posted by rroeder.  (And by stolen, I mean fair use.)  Pics:

Uhh…wait a minute…

That’s better.

Build Specs that I can discern from the pics:

La Cruz (steel)

SRAM X7 Rear derailleur, Shimano 105 Front derailleur.  SRAM Brifters (look like Rival, perhaps?)

Stan’s ZTR Arch.  Looks like Schwalbe Smart Sams (maybe 700 x 40c?  Or are they 29×1.75?)

Thomson seatpost and stem.

Not sure what bars (perhaps Salsa Bell Lap?)  Man, those brifters are waaaay up there in the mounting.  Probably for single track controllability.

Anyhow…it’s a nice build spec–reasonable budget for a highly functional bike.  It’s probably equally at home on single track, doubletrack, cross, gravel…maybe even light touring.  The owner indicates that it’s “1/2 cross, 1/2 mtb, 1/2 graveler.”  Sounds about right–that would mean 150% awesome.  Manbearpig…it’s a BILTO.

Is Technology Cheating? Envying ENVE.

Today’s theoretical question: is technology cheating?

If Rider A puts out 200 watts on a 10 year old, 20#, non-aero bike, and Rider B (identical weight and build) puts out 200 watts on a brand new, 15#, aero bike, Rider B will go faster.  Hills or flats.  Is Rider B cheating?

My thoughts:

  • It doesn’t really matter for me, because just about everyone I ride with can kick my butt.  So I can ‘cheat’ all I want with technology.  I still get humbled regularly.
  • In racing, anything legal isn’t cheating.
  • In group rides, anything safe that makes the ride more fun is permissible.  Besides, it’s nice to be able to say, “you were faster because of that new bike…”
  • On solo rides, anything safe that makes the ride more entertaining is permissible.

At the pace that I’m normally riding, aero advantage isn’t going to do a ton for me.  I can say, in all honesty, that going from a traditional bike frame to the Ridley Noah I presently ride generated a serious, palpable difference.  It’s not in my head…you can feel the aero advantage over 20mph, into the wind, etc.  And I’ll take all the advantages I can get.

Which leads me to part deux of this post…Envying ENVE.  ENVE just came out with their SMART System 3.4 clinchers.



If you look closely, you can see that the rear is deeper than the front…because the rear affects stability less in crosswind situations.  Built weight is around 1450 grams with DT240 hubs and Sapim CX-ray bladed spokes.  These are intended to be all purpose, climbing/racing/training wheels…with ENVE’s best brake track technology to permit reasonable braking with a carbon wheel set.

ENVE’s details are here.

Bike Rumor’s details are here.

I find these super interesting.  They weigh less than the aluminum Fulcrum Racing 3s that I have on the Noah now…with a very wide design with the newest aero technology, plus a reasonable compromise between deep-dish aero and shallow wind resistance.  Basically, going from the Racing 3s to these would be no change in weight, and a significant change in ride quality and aerodynamics.  In addition, I could stick with the practicality of clinchers–frankly, I have no interest in tubulars…on any of my bikes.  These are optimized for use with 23c tires, in terms of aero profile.  ENVE is claiming that the clinchers are more aerodynamic than their tubulars now, because of the tire profile generated by the wiiiiide rim.

Intriguing.  Very intriguing.  Maybe we need to push the boundaries on the whole “is technology cheating” issue.

As soon as I get back into paved road riding this spring, I’ll put up a review on the Ridley, by the way.