RSS

Tag Archives: snow

Snow, Snow and More Snow

Welcome to my gym

This Winter Has Been Great For Fat Bike Owners!

Over the past few days I’ve received several notes from fellow bloggers who were wondering about my absence since I’ve not posted a new product review in over three weeks. First, thanks to all of you who asked! Second, I am in great health—my absence has been due to a couple of things, but mainly snow! We’ve had over 64″ (162 cm) of snow so far this winter and, even by Chicago standards, the weather has been brutal.

It seems like the only thing I’ve accomplished in the past few weeks has been keeping my driveway clean and clearing the snow off my wife’s car. I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee so I don’t worry about how deep the snow is, but my lovely wife drives a tiny import that has about 6″ of ground clearance—so nearly every morning I have to clean the driveway and her car before she goes to work (as an old man told me when I got married, “Treat your wife like a thoroughbred and she won’t turn out to be a nag”).

During January I was only able to ride 140 miles on my Fat Bike—all of it in the snow and the temperature was rarely above 10 degrees Fahrenheit (and most of the time it was well below zero). For those who have never ridden a Fat Bike in the winter, let me put it this way: If you can average anything over 8 MPH on the snow you are doing great! Since we don’t have any groomed trails in my area I usually have to cut a trail through fresh snow (unless I can follow some other Fat Bike). In addition, two hours of riding in the snow wears me out more than a Century ride in the summer.

There is one other thing that has kept me from writing in the past few weeks: I am in the process of taking my office into the “paperless” world. Until last year my personal library had over 5,000 books, but I have been scanning and converting them into searchable PDF files (and then disposing of the books). I bought two high-speed document scanners last year and have already cleaned out three entire file cabinets and emptied six bookcases (only 18 to go). Once I got started with this project I found it hard to stop—but now that the weather is supposed to be improving next week (we might even get above freezing!), I will probably slow down the scanning and increase the mileage on my bikes. I should be back with new product reviews next week!

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Giro Encore 2 Multi-Sport Helmet

The days are getting longer and the average daily temperature is gradually beginning to rise—so this week I’m going to review a couple more winter cycling products, and then next week we’ll move on to warmer weather cycling gear. I always wear a helmet when I’m on my bike, but those lightweight summer helmets with the large air vents just won’t cut it in the dead of winter. When the temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit I wear a helmet that is normally intended for snow skiing. This past winter I bought a Giro Encore 2 Multi-Sport Helmet and was very happy with the way it performed.

Giro Encore 2 Multi-Sport Helmet

Giro Encore 2 Multi-Sport Helmet

The Giro Encore 2 is certified as a multi-sport helmet, which means it is suitable for use by skaters, bicyclists, and snow skiers (certification: ASTM 2040 / CE EN1077 / CPSC). If you experience an unplanned dismount (crash is such an ugly word) while riding in deep snow you probably aren’t going to get hurt. However, snow can also hide some nasty rocks, broken fence posts and sharp objects—not to mentioned a layer of slippery ice.

Goggle Strap on the Giro Encore 2 helmet

Goggle Strap on the Giro Encore 2 helmet

Unlike regular bicycle helmets, snow helmets usually allow for a bit of customization. The Giro Encore 2 has removable ear flaps (black padding). These covers will definitely help keep your ears warm, but they do inhibit your ability to hear ambient noises. If you are riding off-road where you are not worried about getting hit by a car, you can install a set of Skullcandy headphones into these ear flaps (like the Skullcandy Home Brew Kit). All of my winter cycling jackets have headphone ports—a small opening inside a vest pocket so you can run a headphone jack into your iPhone or MP3 player. And let’s face it, riding in a blinding snowstorm is a lot easier when you are listening to Air Supply (does that officially make me old?)

This helmet has thirteen small cooling vents with mesh covers (the mesh helps keep the snow out). When the temperature drops to below -5F I wear a Smith Optics Variant Brim Snow Helmet that has air vents I can close. Also, because this is a snow helmet, you can wear snow goggles and when you don’t need them they will rest comfortably on the front of the helmet without falling off (there is a small clip at the back to keep the goggles from moving around).

Giro Encore 2

I Love The Red Accents

The Giro Encore 2 Multi-Sport Helmet retails for $60. I bought mine at a brick-and-mortar Dick’s Sporting Goods store and paid full-retail for it, but it is also available from several online retailers, including Amazon.com. This helmet is available in three sizes: Small (52–55.5cm), Medium (55.5–59cm), and Large (59–62.5cm). This helmet comes in several colors, but since the names they use won’t mean much to you, I’ll say the color selection is red, black, white, hi-viz yellow, and ivory (not all colors are available in all sizes). I chose the red helmet because, in my opinion, red objects are the easiest to see in the snow. Sometimes I have to ride on the same off-road trails used by snowmobiles—and getting hit by one of those things could make for a really bad day.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Talus Outdoor Technologies ColdAvenger Expedition Balaclava

It is no secret that I love winter sports—what you might not know is that I have asthma, and strenuous exercise in sub-zero weather can easily put an asthmatic in the hospital. Ten years ago I couldn’t exercise outside when the temperature dropped below 40 degrees without having an asthma attack, but thanks to several different pieces of protective gear I am now able to comfortably ride in temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit (the lowest recorded temperature in my area is -31F). One of the most effective pieces of cold-weather gear I own is the Talus Outdoor Technologies ColdAvenger Expedition Balaclava. I’ll divide this review into two parts, first the ventilator on the face mask and then the head covering.

Talus Outdoor Technologies ColdAvenger Expedition Balaclava

Talus Outdoor Technologies ColdAvenger Expedition Balaclava

This balaclava has a medical-grade polyurethane ventilator that covers your mouth and nose and it mixes the warm air your expel from your lungs with fresh air from the outside—the result is that you breathe in warm, moist air (and to an asthmatic this will probably keep your lungs from getting inflamed from the cold air). This ventilator will raise the temperature of the air your breathe in from 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (for example, if the air temperature is zero Fahrenheit, you should be breathing in air that is somewhere between 40 and 60 degrees). This polyurethane ventilator is both non-toxic and anti-microbial. If you head out for a bike ride in the morning in the cold and it warms up in the afternoon you can easily remove this face mask and just use the head covering.

The material that covers your face, neck and head is made of “soft-shell” Polartec Wind Pro fleece and without question this is the warmest balaclava I own (and I own a lot of balaclavas). The manufacturer claims that this product will block 95% of the wind, and in my experience they are absolutely correct. This balaclava is also longer than any other balaclava I own—it completely covers your neck and throat area. I’ve not had any problems with my glasses fogging up while wearing this balaclava. However, by the time it is cold enough to use this balaclava I wear ski goggles instead of cycling glasses (and the ski goggles I use are pretty much fog proof anyway). I’ve worn this balaclava under both cycling helmets and ski helmets without any trouble.

My only criticism of this balaclava is that the fit is a bit sloppy, i.e., it is not as form-fitting as I would like. I am of average size and this product is a bit loose on me. However, since the face mask attaches to the hood with a wide Velcro patch I can usually adjust it so that no cold air gets through to your skin.

The Talus Outdoor Technologies ColdAvenger Expedition Balaclava is made in the U.S.A and retails for $80, but you can find it on Amazon.com for $56. This product comes with a one year warranty against manufacturer defects.

 
35 Comments

Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Product Reviews, Winter Cycling

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Dave’s Mud Shovel Fat Bike Fenders

If you own a Fat Bike you already know how those wide tires can throw more mud than a Chicago politician in a tight race. One time I came home from an off-road ride so thoroughly covered in mud that my wife asked me if I had crashed in a mud puddle (boys will be boys). Last winter I used the SKS Grand M.O.M. Oversized Rear Mudguard on my Surly Necromancer Pugsley because it was the widest mud guard I could find at the time—it was wider than most MTB fenders, but not wide enough for a true Fat Bike. Fortunately, Portland Design Works now sells front and rear fenders that are specially made for Fat Bikes—the Dave’s Mud Shovel Fenders. My Grand M.O.M. fender has found a happy home on one of my other mountain bikes and the Dave’s Mud Shovel is the only thing I use on my Pugsley.

Dave’s Mud Shovel Fat Bike Fenders

Dave’s Mud Shovel Fat Bike Rear Fender

The Dave’s Mud Shovel rear fender is 5.5″ wide by 22.5″ long and attaches to your seatpost with a small adjustable clamp (like the one some bicycle taillights use). Folks, if you ride your Fat Bike off-road (and isn’t that why you bought it in the first place?) then you need this fender now! It’s possible that a little mud or snow will find a way around the fender, but to me it seems like it stops about 99% of it. This fender, as well as the front fender, have the signature of their inventor, Dave Gray, on them.

The Front Fender Attaches To Your Seat Post

The Rear Fender Attaches To Your Seat Post

The Dave’s Mud Shovel front fender attaches to your down tube with two sturdy rubber fasteners. This fender is 6.5″ wide by 19.5″ long and will help keep your bottom bracket and crank sprockets clean. To get to my favorite off-road trails I have to ride my bike over a couple of miles of surface streets and normally when there is a lot of slush on the roads my legs get really wet—this fender seems to block a lot of road spray.

Portland Design Works Mud Shovel Fender

Portland Design Works Dave’s Mud Shovel Rear Fender

Both of these fenders are very flexible and at first I wasn’t sure about their durability. However, after a lot of miles on sand, mud and snowy off-road trails I can honestly say that these fenders far exceeded my expectations. As an added bonus, if you ever have an unplanned dismount (crash is such an ugly word) these fenders will probably escape totally unharmed.

Portland Design Works Mud Shovel Front Fender

Portland Design Works Dave’s Mud Shovel Front Fender

Great Tip: The Mud Shovel is easy to clean once you get home, but there is an easy way to keep mud and snow from sticking to your fenders in the first place—just coat the bottom of the fenders with PAM no-stick cooking spray before you go out for a ride. The PAM will wear off after every ride, but it does an incredible job of keeping crud from sticking to your fenders. One more suggestion: Buy your own can of PAM, don’t take the one your wife has in the kitchen cabinet—apparently some wives don’t approve of you taking items from the pantry out into your garage (or so I’ve heard).

Portland Design Works Mud Shovel Front Fender

Portland Design Works Dave’s Mud Shovel Front Fender

Not For Everyone: The bad news is that the front Mud Shovel is so wide that you can not use it if you have a Salsa Anything Cage attached to your front fork. The problem is that if you have anything in your Salsa Anything Cage it will hit the front Mud Shovel when you make a tight turn. However, if you don’t mind trimming the fender with a cutting knife I am sure you could make it work.

One Caution: I own several grunge and mud guards that attach to the down tube of my mountain bikes just like the Mud Shovel does and all of them fasten the same way, i.e., with two rubber fasteners. In the strongest terms possible I want to urge you to take the front Mud Shovel off your bike after every ride—if those rubber fasteners stay on your bike all winter it will probably discolor the paint. I had that happen with a different mud guard two years ago and I still can’t get the stain out.

Great Packaging: Both the front and rear fenders come in a flat package—all you have to do is punch the fender out of the surrounding shell. I was able to install the fenders in about five minutes each the first time I used them, but it is much quicker now (just a few seconds).

Packaging For The PDW Mud Shovel

Packaging For The PDW Mud Shovel

The rear Mud Shovel retails for $28, and the front Mud Shovel for $20. Both of these items are available from the Portland Design Works Website. You can also buy these fenders from your local bike shop.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

ZANheadgear Coolmax Extreme Balaclava

I am always on the lookout for new winter cycling gear and the colder it gets the less likely I am to wear products that were specifically manufactured for cyclists. Some of my winter gear was designed for hunters, while other pieces of clothing were meant for cross-country skiers. One of the coolest looking balaclavas I’ve purchased, a ZANheadgear Coolmax Extreme Balaclava with a skull on the face, was as intended for motorcycle riders.

ZANheadgear Coolmax Extreme Balaclava

ZANheadgear Coolmax Extreme Balaclava

The ZANheadgear Coolmax Extreme Balaclava has a full neoprene face mask, but the rest of the material is thinner which makes it perfect for riding with a helmet on. The thinner material around the head and neck seem to breathe well and not retain moisture. The thicker neoprene face mask area really blocks the wind well. This product is only available in one size (“one size fits most”), and it fit me perfectly.

ZANheadgear Coolmax Extreme Balaclava

Close-up of the ZANheadgear Coolmax Extreme Balaclava

The main concern most cyclists would have about this mask would be how well you can breathe with it on. If you look carefully at the close-up photo you can see the small holes which allow air into and out of the mask, as well as the opening for the nose. Personally, I think this mask is fine for recreational riders, but if you are riding at top speed you are definitely going to have difficulty breathing with it on.

Balaclava and Airfoil Goggles

Balaclava and Airfoil Goggles

I own a dozen or so balaclavas and I bought this one for one reason, i.e., it looks cool! If you are stopped at an intersection with this mask on you are going to have some fun! Some car is going to pull up next to you and a little kid is going to point at the mask—then you can hear his mother tell the child not to stare and watch her burn rubber as she flees the intersection. I am a totally harmless person, but I do have a rather warped sense of humor.

The ZANheadgear Coolmax Extreme Balaclava retails for $27, but you can find it on Amazon.com for only $16. If you want to make this product even cooler looking you can always couple it up with the Airfoil 7617 Goggles I reviewed last year. However, while this balaclava is fun to wear, I would high suggest you refrain from entering your local bank with it on. By the way, the folks at ZANheadgear make a lot of other cool balaclavas and other forms of head gear—some of their products even glow in the dark (how cool is that?).

 

Tags: , , , ,

Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots

For several winters I’ve worn the Lake MXZ302 Winter Cycling Boots and have been very happy with them for temperatures from 10 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. For temperatures below 10 degrees I usually wear the Columbia Sportswear Bugaboot (this is not a cycling-specific boot). Lake Cycling has recently updated their MXZ302 boot and have given it enough new features to make me buy of pair of the new Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boot.

Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots

Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots

The MXZ303 is a high-end winter boot constructed with a three-part front cover made of water-repellent Pittards WR100 leather, 3M Thinsulate insulation in the toe box, Thermasol insoles, and a Vibram rubber sole that makes walking on snow and ice an easy task. Just like the earlier model, this boot has a side mounted Push/Pull BOA Closure lacing system so you can cinch it up with just one hand. One major improvement in this new model is the storm flap that fastens with an adjustable pinch clip—this really does a great job of sealing up the boot.

Push/Pull BOA Closure Lacing System

Push/Pull BOA Closure Lacing System

These boots are available in both regular and wide widths in even sizes from 38 to 50 (US). You also have a choice for the color of the printed logo on the outside of the boot (silver or yellow). These boots come with a pair of mud cleats (ice cleats) for each shoe and I would highly recommend you install them. I would also recommend that you apply a few drops of an anti-seize compound on the threads of the spikes and your cleats before installation. The anti-seize compound will make the spikes and cleats a lot easier to remove after they have spent the winter in snow, ice and road salt. My boots are size 47 wide and they weigh 755 grams (26 ounces) per boot and are six inches tall. These shoes are SPD compatible.

Storm Flap With Adjustable Pinch Clip

Storm Flap With Adjustable Pinch Clip

These boots claim to be “subzero rated” (a claim printed on the outside of every boot). I wore these boots for a couple of hours yesterday when the air temp was zero (Fahrenheit) with a windchill of -15 and my feet were toasty warm the entire ride. However, I probably should explain what else I was wearing on my feet: I started with a thin pair of RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks, then a pair of DeFeet Woolie Boolie Socks, and finished up by sticking a pair of Hot Hands Chemical Toe Warmers on the bottom of the socks (this is my normal set-up for zero-degree weather).

Vibram Rubber Sole

Vibram Rubber Sole

Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots are not cheap—they have a retail price of $280, but several online retailers like Amazon.com and Nashbar.com have them at discounted prices. I bought mine from Bikeman.com, a brick-and-mortar bike shop in Woolwich, Maine that also has an excellent online store (and they ship Internationally). After I received my boots I talked with one of the guys in their shop and was very impressed with their customer service—I will be ordering from them again.

Interesting note: These boots are so new to the market that Lake Cycling does not even have them listed on their Website yet. This is quite a contrast to 45NRTH who announced their Wölvhammer winter boots back on August 15, 2013. The day after 45NRTH announced the Wölvhammer boots I had the local bike shop put a pair of them on “item watch” at QBP, but the same day the boots arrived there they immediately went to “out of stock” status. I had the same problem with the Dillinger snow tires (thanks to the persistence of a bike shop owner I was finally able to get a pair of these tires).

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Chaos Thermal Regulation CTR Howler Multi Tasker Pro Windproof Balaclava

Cyclists and other athletes who love exercising outdoors in extreme winter conditions often wear a balaclava to help them cope with the low temperatures. A balaclava is not just for keeping your face warm—it also helps keep your skin from drying out in the dry winter air (just like freezer burn). A few weeks ago I bought a Chaos Thermal Regulation CTR Howler Multi Tasker Pro Balaclava and it quickly became my favorite balaclava of all time! This balaclava offers incredible face and neck protection, in part due to the hinged design that prevents gaps in the fabric, and it easily drops down off the face when you need to get a drink. This product also has a soft fleece interior to help wick moisture away from the skin.

Howler Multi Tasker Pro Windproof Balaclava

Howler Multi Tasker Pro Balaclava

For a winter athlete the most important feature of this balaclava is the mesh breathing panel that covers the mouth area. One of the biggest complaints most cyclists and runners have against balaclavas is that they restrict air flow. I am happy to report that this balaclava did not impede my breathing in the slightest!

Because of the way this balaclava is designed you can cover nearly your entire face, leaving only your eyes exposed, or you can open it up a bit if you start to overheat. If the weather warms up you can pull the face mask down and use it as a neck gaiter. Like every other balaclava I’ve ever owned this one can cause your glasses to fog up. Since this balaclava is extremely warm you might save it for days when it is so cold you need to wear ski goggles instead of regular cycling glasses—in which case you won’t have to worry about anything fogging up since the goggles will seal the balaclava against your face.

How does the Howler Multi Tasker Pro Balaclava stack up against the other balaclavas? Well, it is considerably warmer than two of the other balaclavas I’ve reviewed in the past (the Bontrager Balaclava and the Seirus Combo Clava). In addition, the Howler Multi Tasker Pro Balaclava is 100% windproof and has a water-repellent surface that sheds rain and snow.

We all have different tolerances for cold weather, but let me tell you how well this balaclava works for me: I’ve used it several times when the temperature was below 20 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind blowing at over 20 mph. Even when riding my bike at 20 mph into a strong headwind my face was perfectly warm.

The Chaos Thermal Regulation CTR Howler Multi Tasker Pro Balaclava is available in three sizes (Junior, Small/Medium, and Large/X-Large). This product retails for around $35, but you probably will not find it at your local bike shop. However, it is available at many ski shops and online retailers like Amazon.com.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Snow Tires

I bought my first pair of steel studded bicycle tires about nine years ago and used them until they dry-rotted. Two years ago I bought a pair of Innova steel studded tires and was happy with them (even though they are very heavy), but decided that this year I wanted to experiment with a different brand for one of my other bikes (I have studded tires on three of my bikes). I ordered a pair of the “new” 45NRTH Arcwelder tires, but returned them to the bike shop right after I got home when I saw that these “new” tires were the same as my old Innova tires (but with a 45NRTH logo). I finally decided to go with a top-of-the-line tire, the Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Tires—and I am now one happy winter cyclist.

Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Snow Tires

Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Snow Tires

Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Tires are made with a special winter rubber (durometer 58A) and are intended for extreme winter riding. This tire has large knobs for great grip in mud and snow, along with 304 studs to keep you steady on the ice. The studs are made of aluminum and have sharp carbide pins—these pins should last for the life of the tire (or longer). Each tire weighs 750g (25.45 ounces). I bought a pair of 26″x2.2″ tires, but similar tires are available in other sizes. The recommended tire pressure is 29 to 65 psi. I keep mine at around 40 psi for winter riding.

These tires are extremely easy to install, but before you take them out in the snow for the first time you need to break them in by riding on hard pavement for at least 30 miles. The pavement helps seat the studs properly into the tires and roughens up the tips a bit for a better grip on the ice. The large tread pattern (knobs) on this tire provide wonderful traction in mud and snow, but they do require some extra effort on pavement because of their high rolling resistance.

304 Sharp Carbide Pins On Each Tire

304 Sharp Carbide Pins On Each Tire

One thing that all studded bicycle tires have in common is that they are loud. While I don’t carry a sound level meter with on bike rides, these tires did seem to be much louder than the other snow tires I’ve used in the past. How loud? Let me put it this way: You better hope that when the Zombie Apocalypse occurs that it happens in the summer, because if these tires are on your bike when it hits you are going to attract the attention of every walker and biter within 30 miles (it is a well-known fact that Zombies are attracted to loud noises).

Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Tires retail for $120 each at your local bike shop. They are also available from the REI Website and in some of their retail stores. I will only be using these tires when the snow just an inch or two deep—anything more than that and I’ll be riding my Surly Necromancer Pugsley (with 4″ wide steel studded snow tires).

Now for the confusing part: Nokian Tyres PCL is headquartered in Finland and is known throughout the world for their fine car and truck tires—they operate the world’s only permanent winter tire testing facility. At one time Nokian Tyres PCL manufactured bicycle tires, but not anymore. Today they license the Nokian name to Suomi Tyres LTD (another Finnish company). The Nokian Hakka WXC 300 tires are actually manufactured in Taiwan and are distributed in North America through Quality Bike Products (QPB).

One warning: When I installed these tires I noticed that the front tire wobbled a lot—it had at least 1″ of lateral movement. I took the tire (and rim) off the bike and but it on my Park Tool Truing Stand and found that the rim was in perfect shape—the tire itself was the problem. I then deflated, removed and then reinstalled the tire, but that only made the problem worse. I took the mounted tire to the local bike shop to have the professionals tell me what I did wrong. Turns out it was just a defective tire, so they got a new one for me. I have never been impressed by any tire made in Taiwan because of quality control issues. However, if you can get a good snow tire you are going to have a blast playing in the snow!

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bontrager Unisex Balaclava

Even though I own several different brands of balaclavas, I am always on the lookout for one with better features. A few weeks ago the owner of the local bike shop showed me the Bontrager Balaclava and I decided to try it out on a few cold weather rides.

Bontrager Unisex Balaclava

Bontrager Balaclava

The feature that appealed to me most about the Bontrager Balaclava is the way the front folds down so you can get a drink or eat a carbohydrate gel. The Bontrager Balaclava fits well and offers full head, face and neck protection. It is thin enough to easily fit under your helmet, but thick enough to provide real warmth. The flatlock seams on this headpiece means that, unlike some balaclavas, you won’t have the imprint of a seam on your forehead for several hours after your ride is finished.

Some balaclavas are so thick that they restrict your ability to breathe (not a good thing during aerobic exercise). I had absolutely no problem breathing while riding with this balaclava. However, the fabric around the mouth held moisture like you wouldn’t believe! All of the balaclavas I own hold moisture to some degree, but this one held a lot more than most. One other negative with this item is that because it holds moisture it will also fog up your glasses every time you stop. On the other hand, the way this balaclava folds down in front makes me love it anyway.

While Bontrager does not usually have “top of the line” clothing, I do think their products are reasonably priced and offer a decent value for the cost. In addition, Bontrager offers one of the best guarantees you will find anywhere for cycling product: “If for any reason you’re not satisfied with the comfort of your Bontrager saddle, shoes, or technical apparel, return the item(s)—along with the original sales receipt—to the place of purchase within 30 days of purchase date for exchange or store credit.”

The Bontrager Balaclava retails for $25 and should be available at any bike shop that sells Trek bikes. If there is not a Trek dealer in your area you can order it online from hundreds of different Trek bike shops. This balaclava only comes in one size and one color (black).

If you are looking for a higher quality balaclava I would suggest the Seirus Combo Clava—it is lightweight, extremely warm, quick drying and highly breathable. The main body of this clava is made of Polartec fleece and the smaller face mask part is made of contoured Neofleece. Neofleece is really five layers rolled into one. The first layer is the outer shell, the second is a waterproof liner, and under that is fleece lined Neoprene, followed by Thermolite insulation and finally a wicking Microfleece lining next to your skin.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Surly Rolling Darryl Rims (Putting My Surly Pugsley Fat Bike On A Diet)

Question: How long does it take to finish building a Fat Bike? Answer: The world may never know! I’ve never met any Fat Bike owner who has actually finished tinkering with their creation—there is always a “little upgrade” or “tweak or two” in the works. Fat Bikes, like my Surly Necromancer Pugsley, are among the most versatile and customizable bicycles in the world and every time you think the bike is finished you find something else you would like to do with it. My wife has never understood why I need to keep buying upgrades for my Pugsley, but then again, I’ve never figured out why she needs 200 pairs of shoes (that number might be slightly exaggerated). Last week the guys at the local bike shop (Zion Cyclery in Zion, Illinois) made a few upgrades to my Pugsley, or, to put it another way, they helped me put my Fat Bike on a diet.

Surly Necromancer Pugsley Fat Bike

Surly Necromancer Pugsley Fat Bike

My Surly Necromancer (AKA, Surly Black Ops Pugs, Surly Neck Romancer) weighed an incredible 41 pounds the day I brought it home from the shop—this is about six pounds over factory weight because I had a Shimano Alfine 8 Internal Geared Hub installed, along several other upgrades. The bike came with 82mm wide Surly Rolling Darryl rims that weigh 1030 grams each (33.3 ounces). Last week we swapped out those rims for Rolling Darryl rims with cutouts and that took off six ounces per rim. These cutouts now only reduce the weight of the rim, but they also allow you to install a colored rim strip. I used the Surly PVC RIm Strip—they call the color red, but it is actually burgundy. To add a little more color to the rims I had them install red anodized spoke nipples.

Surly Rolling Darryl Rims

Surly Rolling Darryl Rims

My Pugsley came with rather heavy 1.3mm inner tubes that weigh about one pound each, so we switched these out for lighter 1.0 mm tubes (Surly Toobs). In the summer I use Slime in my Fat Bike tires and this adds eight ounces to each tire, but have finally decided that this is not necessary when riding in the snow (I hope).

Surly Rolling Darryl Rims

Surly Rolling Darryl Rims

Thanks to the incredible effort of the owner of the local bike shop I was finally able to get a pair of 45NRTH Dillinger winter tires, the first-ever studded Fat Bike tire. These tires have an aggressive tread pattern and 240 lightweight aluminum-carbide studs. I haven’t had a chance to use them in the snow yet, but I can tell you that they have an amazing grip in the mud. Due to their business practices 45NRTH is one of my least favorite companies in the world, but this tire looks and feels great (I will publish a full review after Chicago gets some snow this year).

45NRTH Dillinger Fat bike Snow Tire

45NRTH Dillinger Snow Tire

This trip to the bike shop helped my Pugsley shed 3.5 pounds—that doesn’t sound like a lot, but you can really tell the difference when climbing a hill. As I said in an article last year, once you start customizing a bike it is hard to stop until you run out of cash. When the guys at the bike shop were ringing up my sale I asked them how much their average new bike sells for at the shop—well, I topped that number by about $40 with just this upgrade. Therefore, I am officially finished customizing my Pugsley—at least for today.

 
35 Comments

Posted by on December 17, 2012 in Fat Bikes, Product Reviews

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
G2G Fit

"Fitness that adapts stays with you."

Bird and Bicycle

I make. What do you do?

Islam Exposed Online

The Truth About Islam

Tour Divide - Tim & Dave

Helping Break The Cycle of Poverty on 2 Wheels

Mission for Fit

A newlywed fighting fat life forever.

It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

And a 10K and a 200 Mile Bike Ride and an Obstacle Race and Anything Else We Find!

Food for Thought

I sometimes struggle with keeping myself accountable to my nutrition and fitness goals, so I thought if the world is following me then I will be more successful.

SmirkPretty

Eyes ten degrees above the horizon

The Running Thriver

If I can do it, so can you!

BikeHikeSafari

A cycling and hiking journey through the remote areas of the world

tiny-trail-mermaid

-like a fish out of water, one must learn to adapt, throw on some trail-runners and run free.

...Faster than Last

“Bones heal, pain is temporary, and chicks dig scars...”

theskinnybitches

2 gymphobes attempt to get fit. Lol.

FitVal

Fitness with a dash of Fun

Globe Drifting

Global issues, travel, photography & fashion. Drifting across the globe; the world is my oyster, my oyster through a lens.

An Amateur Outside

if my ancestors could chase antelope until they died of exhaustion, so can i

Native Nourishment

Nourish your body

fatbeardedandtattooedcyclist's Blog

A great WordPress.com site

Memoirs of the Extraterrestrial Psycho-Cyclist Space Pussies

Official site of Alex Stamas & Tyler Noseworthy's cycling tour from Massachusetts to Key West to San Diego

Cycling My Way

Mike clark - Bristol South C.C

Jenna L. Sexton, PhD

Writer, researcher, perpetual student...

The Limber Lawyer

Because flexibility is power.

" The Obstacle Is The Path "

the drunken cyclist

I have three passions: wine, cycling, travel, family, and math.

Cyclerist

Cycling and stuff

Motivation Not Deprivation

Motivation the "Forever" weight loss solution

Long Distance Cycling Cleveland

We host a series of long distance preparation rides each weekend from February - June in the Cleveland, Ohio area

bwthoughts

copyright 2013 - no reuse without permission ( see bwfiction.wordpress.com for fiction and fantasy )

The Sweat Angel

Sweat. Smile. Repeat.

Real Food Rosie

Loving & Nourishing my Body with Real, Whole Foods

My Wifely Adventures

Living for Christ, learning to be a wife, and enjoying the journey.

Emma's Diary

my fab little WordPress.com site!

Inspiring Stories of My Healthy Lifestyle Change

Promoting Change one step at a time.

Jasmine's Vision: Seeing Pain Through New Eyes

A 30-year journey to the right diagnosis

Purely Nutritious

Let Food be Thy Medicine and Medicine be Thy Food

Kerrie Is Running

Hi, I'm Kerrie, I'm training to run, every mile counts!

Naturally Fit...& Well

Strengthen body......mind......spirit

PrimalCotton

Taking Life Back to the Basics

spokengear

All things about bicycles and bicycle commuting.

Unchained Iceland

• A FATBIKE ADVENTURE •

THE SKY RUNNER

Fitness. Food. Finance.

Ari rides her bike

Love at first pedal

foodbod

healthy tasty food that I love to make and eat and share

Did cavewomen wear heels?

A city girl struggling to live as her ancestors did. Adopting the Paleo lifestyle. Join the laughter, love and tears. Weight Loss. Cooking disasters. Crimes against fashion. Delicious recipes. Sarcastic remarks. Shoes. TTC. First world problems. Shift work. What more could you want from a blog?

Molly's Journey to the West

A Filmmaker, Writer, and Outdoor Enthusiast Experiencing the World

runnershealth

A site about science, running and health.

Lauren Lost Weight

A new town, a new school, a new me.

The Game Plan

Playing to Lose (Weight)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,123 other followers

%d bloggers like this: