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Month: July 2012

Functional Mukluk

After the ill-executed (but fun) beach ride a couple weeks ago the Mukluk was in serious need of some work. Specifically, I needed to replace the seized bottom bracket bearings and fix the lower derailleur pulley, and I also wanted to replace the becoming-worn middle chain ring as a bunch of chain suck during the beach ride kept me in the granny gear.

By picking up and assembling some tools (a blind bearing puller and a bearing press assembly) along with the required parts I was able to get all the affected bearings and chainring replaced, and I also swapped out the chain for a standard SRAM PC-991. The Mukluk had come with a KMC Z99 Rust Buster galvanized chain, and while it initially seemed nice I begun wondering if it’s rough surface was contributing to chainring wear.

The replacement chainring is a cheap (~$10) Truvativ ramped 32 tooth steel middle chainring to replace the stock e*thirteen part. While a bit heavier than the alloy model, I suspect that the steel ring will last quite a bit longer than the alloy one did, even when riding in potentially icky conditions. If it doesn’t, at least it was only $10.

A quick ride at River Bends this afternoon ending in rain showed that everything is working nicely, so hopefully everything’s in order for riding the bike as part of a fatbike-only team at tomorrow’s Tree Farm Relay.

Here’s some photos of various steps of this work:

· The e*thirteen bottom bracket after removing the bearings with a blind bearing puller. Conveniently this bottom bracket uses 6806-2RS bearings, the same size as BB30.
· Detail of the 6806-2RS marking on the bearing from the e*thirteen bottom bracket. This one seized up after a ride along the beach and in some fresh lake water.
· KML-brand 6806-2RS bearings to replace the seized bearings in the e*thirteen bottom bracket. These are BB30-size bearings.
· Bearing press made from some eBay-purchased dies, threaded rod, washers, and nuts. Bearings are also shown.
· Home-made bearing press before pushing the BB30 (6806-2RS) bearings into the e*thirteen bottom bracket cups.
· KML 6806-2RS bearings (BB30-size) pressed into e*thirteen bottom bracket cups. This went very smoothly.
· e*thirteen XCX crankset test fit with the newly-installed bearings. Everything aligned nicely.
· Lower SRAM X9 rear derailleur pulley after pressing in a new 626-2RS bearing. This cracked the inner ring of the pully, but appears well seated and spins smoothly so hopefully will remain usable.
· New SRAM PC-991 chain and steel Truvativ Trushift chainring (104 BCD, 32 T) on the e*thirteen crankset.

For reference, here’s the specialized parts that were used:

· e*thirteen Bottom Bracket Bearings: 6806-2RS (Same as BB30)
· SRAM 2011 X9 Lower Derailleur Pulley Bearing: 626-2RS
· BB30 Installation Drivers purchased from eBay seller mtbtools with threaded rod from Mid-States Bolt and Screw.

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Résumé Updated for 2012

Updating one’s résumé can be quite a pain especially if done under duress, so I like to periodically update it so that a fairly fresh copy is readily available. This afternoon I put the finishing touches on the most updated version, one which takes into account some changes at work, stuff that I’ve done with CRAMBA and the MMBA, and a few other newly-acquired skills.

If you’d like to see a copy of my resume it can be found at

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Ruined e*thirteen Bottom Bracket Bearings

My Salsa Mukluk 2 came fitted with an e*thirteen XCX+ Triple crankset, and unfortunately, the bearings that came with it were not as sealed or water resistant as I’d expected. After last weekend’s fat biking excursions into the lake I gave my bike a good check-over which included pulling the cranks to look for water in the frame and check out the bearings. Upon initially pulling the cranks the bearings were dirty and felt a bit scratchy when turned, but there wasn’t any noticeable water in the bottom bracket area so I left it all apart to thoroughly dry and clean figuring that I could live with the slight scratching. However, after drying out overnight the bearings went from slightly crunchy to thoroughly seized up.

Since the bearings were clearly useless I purchased a blind hole bearing puller and removed them from the cups, leaving the cups in the frame. I then removed the seals and cage from one baering, degreased it, and took the picture above showing just how damaged the bearings and races became. (Another view of it is available here.)

Normally the bearings and races should be shiny metallic, not corroded and scored as they are here. To my surprise the seals were fairly easy to remove and there was a lot less grease inside than I’d expected (the balls were only lightly coated, not packed), so I can’t help but wonder if with more grease the bearings wouldn’t have had problems. It also makes me interested in trying to pack extra grease into the replacement bearings. However, this would require removing the seals which brings with it a risk of damage…

(For reference, the e*thirteen bottom bracket uses the same 6806-2RS bearings (30mm x 42mm x 7mm) that fit the BB30 standard, this got me thinking about replacing the bearings instead of buying a whole new bottom bracket. I’ve obtained a blind hole bearing puller, bearings, and tools for pressing new bearings into place, so with any luck I’ll be able to replace the bearings and get the crankset working properly again.)

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Fat Biking in The Thumb

Yesterday some friends and I had plans to meet up in the tip of The Thumb to do some fat bike riding, which resulted in two separate rides. For the first, Bob, Rodney, his friend Gary, and I met up near at Danielle’s family’s cabin near Sleeper State Park and rode along both Sand Road and some of the forested dunes near there. This went well, but wasn’t really much different from riding typical sandy two track, and after an hour of this it was time to drive down the road and meet James for some beach riding at a park he’d picked out.

Arriving at Jenks County Park we found a rather nice beach heading in both directions, along with rocky shallows extending quite a ways out into the lake that we could ride on. This worked out quite well for almost two hours of riding, doing everything from super low tire pressure (~5 PSI) plodding along in the sand, riding in the edge of the lake, cruising over dinner plate like slate, and riding in 4-8″ deep water along small boulders. Being on the beach the average temperature for this ride was 97.3°F with the peak up at 102.2°F. The water helped temper this a bit, but it was still hot and very sunny out there.

Riding in the water seems to have been a bit problematic, as my chain is pretty gunked up and resulted in some frame-scratching chain suck that was really frustrating me. Per this article (a pretty authoritative source) this shouldn’t happen even with a dirty chain, so now I have to figure out how to repair (mostly recolor and cover) this damage and keep it from happening in the future.

After riding we chose a restaurant mostly-randomly (based on proximity and sane reviews via Google Maps) and ended up eating at The Farm. While not cheap (entrees were $15 – $30), the food was outstanding. I was quite glad we were able to find a quality restaurant somewhere up north. It was a very nice end to a fun day.

If you’re interested, here is the GPS plot + stats from this ride, and here is a small album of random snapshots taken at various points along the way. There is also this video of James riding his fixed gear Pugsley through the outflow of a river in Port Crescent State Park. It was a bit too deep for him to keep going, as the buoyancy of the tires and thickness of the water seemed to keep him from moving forward once the bike got to the top tube.

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Chain Stretch: Illustrated

While riding my single speed Salsa El Mariachi at River Bends this evening I dropped my chain. Since the dropouts hadn’t moved, this led me to thinking the chain had stretched. After getting home I measured it, and at 1/16″ of stretch over 12 links (12″) it met the fairly universal (and Sheldon Brown-blessed) definition of time-to-replace.

Shown above is a brand new SRAM PC-1 single speed / BMX chain hanging next to the worn chain. The tops of the chains were aligned and clamped in place, showing that just with gravity loading the chains there is almost 1/4 of a link of stretch over the length of the chain. This amount of stretch is enough to begin unevenly wearing teeth on the chainring and cog, which dramatically accelerates wear on these more costly parts. Thus, the chain shall be replaced.

ADDENDUM: I have been reminded that chain stretch isn’t actually stretching. So, for sake of clarity: stretch is actually elongation of the chain due to wearing of the plates and pins. During use the rollers and bushing also wear, but these don’t contribute to overall chain elongation. Roller and bushing wear will make chain measurement tools such as the Park Tool Chain Checker (CC-2) and Chain Wear Indicator (CC-3.2) provide false positive results, leading to premature chain replacement. This is covered in depth over here at

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A Place For Stinky Clothes

With a few minutes to spare at lunch today I tackled a problem that has been bothering Danielle (and me, to some degree) for a while: stinky bike clothes. After riding I’ll hang up my sweaty clothes in either the bathroom or basement so that they can dry. This keeps them from becoming too pungent, but even after drying they still have a lingering funk until they are washed.

Since the smell in the bathroom is a bit unpleasant and Danielle has been spending a fair bit of time in the basement on some weekdays (it’s darker and cooler down there), another place to hang the clothes was needed. The solution? Hang them up in the garage.

By purchasing $7 worth of shelving brackets from Home Depot and using some PVC pipe and fasteners that I had sitting around home I had everything needed. Now there is a 58″ long rack in the garage, right above where our bikes are kept, perfect for hanging up clothes. It’s also large enough that I’ll probably be able to use it for drying clothes and blankets after they are washed.

I think I may add a end cap on where the Headsweats cap is hanging and add a pair of hooks for the cap and my hydration pack. This’ll keep these out of the way and give them a place to hang and dry as well.

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Clinton River Park Trails MTB Map: Complete

This evening I wrapped up another mapping project; this one for Clinton River Park Trails in Sterling Heights. After getting a nice workflow nailed down this map was pretty easy to make, taking only around 30 hours to get it complete.

I can see a couple small changes coming down the line such as the addition of sponsor logos and a few tweaks as trail development continues, but for now it should be pretty set.

Click here if you’d like to view a copy of this map: CRAMBA_CRPT_MTB_Trail_Map_2012-Jul-10.pdf latest.pdf

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Hillbilly Fantasy

While heading out to Highland this morning I followed this van for a while. I appreciated the use of actual Helvetica (bold) for part of the “Hillbilly Fantasy” logo, but the other bumper sticker which reads “It’s A&R Thing You Spartan Fag’s Don’t Understand” was rather opaque to me.

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Coffee and Emergency Gatorade

I’m glad Gatorade bottles commonly available at gas stations are designed to fit in bicycle water bottle cages. On today’s ride out to Richmond and back for coffee, just after crossing the bridge over M-53 northeast of downtown Romeo I dropped my bottle and looked back to see it skittering off into the brush-filled ditch. After a few passes I failed to find it, so I headed to meet the rest of the group.

Thankfully Erik let me have a drink from his bottle, and that coupled with a gel, muffin and latte at the coffee shop, and the aforementioned bottle of fruit punch-flavor Gatorade kept me going for the rest of the ride. Lacking electrolytes my legs started to cramp up, and I was definitely behind on calories, but it still worked out.

This reas a really, really nice ride. The sun was bright, it was hot, and the lost bottle was disappointing, but it was still a great time. Total distance for me was 64.62 miles at a moving average of 15.1 MPH. Not bad for riding my old(er) Specialized, set up as a commuter with a rack and trunk bag.

Logged GPS data of the ride can be seen here on Garmin Connect.

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