RSS

Tag Archives: snow

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: , , , , , , ,

Airfoil 7617 Goggles With Polarized Lenses

A few months ago I was at standing in the seventh circle of Hades (also known as the Post Office), when a young woman pulled up in front of the building on a motorcycle and then walked inside the building. Since we were in line at the Post Office we had plenty of time to talk—and when she put her helmet on the counter I asked her about her cool goggles. She had a pair of Airfoil 7617 Goggles and claimed that they kept her eyes from drying out on long rides. After looking at the glasses a while I thought they would work well for winter cycling as well, so I ordered a pair.

Airfoil 7617 Goggles With Polarized Lenses

Airfoil 7617 Goggles With Polarized Lenses

The reason I liked the design of he Airfoil 7617 Goggles is that during winter cycling my eyes often feel like they are burning as a result of the cold air hitting my face. Since the Airfoil goggles fit up tight against the face that problem is eliminated. Airfoil goggles come with two pairs of 100% shatterproof polycarbonate lenses—the dark grey pair is polarized and the other pair is light blue. The polarized lenses really cut the glare from snow, water and ice. The light blue lenses enhance contrast in low-light situations, but I prefer yellow lenses in low-light. These goggles also come with a free soft case/cleaning cloth.

Air Vent On The Airfoil 7617 Goggles

Air Vent On The Airfoil 7617 Goggles

The Airfoil 7617 Goggles fit well, but since I always ride with a helmet I have to put the goggles on first (but that is not a problem). The flexible nose-bridge on these goggles provides a comfortable fit. These goggles have vents on the side to help prevent fog. However, if you sit at a light for too long fog can build up a bit, but once you get moving again it disappears. The only problem with these goggles is that they restrict peripheral vision a little—but not enough to be a problem.

Airfoil 7617 Goggles retail for $31 on the Pacific Coast Sunglasses Website, but you can find them on Amazon.com for $24 (with free shipping). Pacific Coast Sunglasses, Inc. is a California-based company that specializes in sunglasses and goggles for motorcyclists—they have been in business since 1984.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on December 14, 2012 in Product Reviews, Winter Cycling

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks

If you run or ride a bike outside in cold weather you’ve probably heard that you should wear a second pair of socks to keep your feet warm. Under some circumstances this might be a good idea, but for most people it is horrible advice. Unless your shoes are too big to begin with, a second pair of socks will impede the circulation in your feet—which will make your feet feel colder than they would with just a single pair of socks. Instead of a second pair of socks I would suggest you try sock liners, such as the RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks.

Many years ago, when I took up cross-country skiing, I used to wear polypropylene sock liners. Polypropylene is a plastic polymer that does an excellent job of wicking water away from the skin, but doesn’t add a lot of warmth. RedHead liner socks are made with Thermolite, a material created by the scientists at DuPont, and it is a comfortable, lightweight but heavy-duty fabric that provides warmth without extra weight, even when it is wet. This fabric has hollow-core fibers that trap air for greater insulation and it dries 50% faster than cotton. Thermolite fabric quickly wicks moisture away from the skin to help prevent chaffing and blisters.

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks are made with 70% Thermolite, 28% stretch nylon, and 2% spandex. The are warm and will keep your feet dry. Since the fabric is so thin you will probably not even notice that you have them on. I use this brand of sock liners for all of my outdoor winter activities, from cycling or snowshoeing to just running the snow blower in the driveway.

RedHead ThermoLite Liner Socks retail for $5 a pair and they are worth every penny of the cost. Redhead is the in-house brand of outdoor gear for Bass Pros Shops, so you will have to either visit one of their stores or their Website to buy this product. These liners are available in four sizes (S, M, L, XL). The small liner is designed to fit a woman’s size 4–6 shoe, and the XL liner with fit a man’s size 12–15.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Chemical Hand, Foot and Body Warmers

Learning to ride my bike in the winter was a “trial and error” experience for me (mainly error). Over the years as I bought better winter gear I wanted to spend more time riding in the snow—which usually meant buying more gear. Some winter gear can be very expensive, but one of the most useful products I’ve ever bought for winter cycling is also the cheapest—chemical hand, foot and body warmers.

Chemical Hand, Foot and Body Warmers for winter cycling

Chemical Hand, Foot and Body Warmers

Chemical warmers are made by several companies, such as HotHands and Grabber. Though the exact ingredients in these warmers vary depending on the manufacturer, they all basically have the same ingredients: Iron powder, salt, water, activated charcoal and vermiculite (or cellulose). To activate these chemical warmers all you have to do is expose them to air by removing them for their packaging (sometimes you have to shake the packs for a few seconds). Once out of the package these products warm up in 15 to 30 minutes and can stay warm for four or five hours. These products are almost always advertised as being good for seven or eight hours, and under ideal circumstances they might, but that has not been my experience with most of them.

In this article we will discuss the three main types of chemical warmers available and give a few suggestions for uses that you might not have thought about before.

Chemical hand warmers are the most common type of warmer you will see at Walmart, Target and sporting good stores. They come in packages of two and each warmer measures about 2″x3″. The easiest way to use them is to just put one in the palm of your hand and make a fist. However, you won’t get very far on your bike like this! Some winter gloves, such as the North Face Montana HyVent Gloves, have a zippered stash pocket on the back of the glove where you can insert a chemical hand warmer. These gloves are designed with snow skiers in mind, but mountain bikers and commuters could also benefit from them. During the winter I always put a pair of these chemical hand warmers inside my Revelate Designs Gas Tank (a top tube bag) to get my energy bars and gels warm (a frozen Cliff Bar is pretty hard to eat).

Chemical toe warmers stick to the bottom of your socks with self-adhesive tape and they are so thin that you will probably never even know they are there (but you will benefit from them). A decent alternative to chemical toe warmers is a pair of Neoprene Tip Toe Covers by the Gator Sports—these toe covers go inside of your socks and work extremely well (are they only cost about $10 a pair). To keep the bottom of my feet warm I put 3M Thinsulate Thermal Insoles inside of all my winter cycling shoes and boots.

Chemical body warmers are larger than hand warmers—they measure 4″x5.5″, and the Super HotHands Body Warmer keeps working for up to 18 hours! During the winter I layer the clothing on my upper body—I start with a simple Under Armour compression shirt, then a lightweight fleece layer, followed by a thin outer shell, like the Showers Pass Touring Jacket. Since this jacket has two side pockets I can put the larger chemical body warmers in them when the temperature is really cold, and as an added benefit they keep my energy gels and bars warm at the same time!

Once you find a chemical hand, foot or body warmer you like you will find the best way to buy them is from Amazon.com. I buy (and use) large quantities of these warmers and Amazon.com sells them for about half the price you will find at your local store.

 

Tags: , , , ,

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

If you own a Fat Bike one of the decisions you have to make before riding in the winter is whether or not to use clipless pedals, like Crank Brothers Egg Beater Pedals. While Eggbeater pedals shed snow very well, they are not so great when it comes to shedding ice. If you have to get off your bike and walk in slush for very long there is a good chance the cleats on your shoes are going to clog up with solid ice, and I’ve found that very difficult to get rid of. Last year I put a pair of Odyssey JC PC Pedals on my Surly Necromancer Pugsley and was fairly satisfied. The only drawback with the JC PC Pedals was the weight—since it is rotational weight you can really feel it as you ride! A few weeks ago I bought a pair of the new 45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals and they made a world of difference.

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals are made by 45NRTH, a fairly new company that specializes in gear for cold weather cycling. This year they have brought a lot of exciting new cycling products to the market, including winter tires, chains, boots, pedals and balaclavas.

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

The Heiruspecs is a wide flat pedal that has 16 replaceable alloy pins per pedal for an amazing grip. The CNC-extruded body is made of aluminum and weights only 358 grams per pair. The pedal itself is black and comes with orange pins, but replacement pin kits are available so you have your pins match your bike. Replacement pins are available in several colors, including red, blue, green, orange, silver, black, and pewter.

While I’ve not had a chance (yet) to ride with these pedals in the snow, I have used them in the mud. They offer an incredible grip, even when standing out of the saddle on a climb. In fact, the grip was so good I forgot that I was even using a regular pedal.

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

As when installing any brand of pedal, you need to apply a thin layer of an anti-seize compound to the threads before installation. I use the Park Tool Anti-Seize Compound—it forms a protective barrier around small parts to protect them from rust and corrosion (this product is safe for use on steel, aluminum, and Titanium).

The 45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals retail for $99 a pair and if your local bike shop does not have them in stock they can easily order them for you. These pedals are also available from several online retailers, but the discount they offer is usually not enough to offset the cost of shipping.

45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

Side View Of The 45NRTH Heiruspecs Winter Grip Pedals

45NRTH also has another pair of winter pedals, known as the Helva, and they weigh 308 grams per pair. These pedals are considerably more expensive than the Heiruspecs, but I have not had the opportunity to try them out yet (but am thinking about getting them for one of my other winter bikes).

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
FreeBibleimages

The Word in Pictures

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 most amazing places on the planet

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.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,158 other followers

%d bloggers like this: