When picking up the Blackborow I also grabbed a pair of 45NRTH‘s redesigned (for 2016) Wölvhammer boots. When installing cleats I noticed the cleat cap (the piece which is removed to access the cleat mounting area) is labeled “CLEAT-CAP 4 MX101 Lake Cap Trail V Part t-0603-01”. It didn’t take much digging to find that the entire sole is the same as that of the (apparently no longer made) Lake MX101.
Category: acquired things
Thanks to a fortuitous meeting with a fellow cyclist and tape engineer a few weeks back I ended up with a quantity of Intertape Polymer Group‘s TPP350 (PDF Techncial Data Sheet – photo) tape in 96mm width (photo) for testing. This polypropylene strapping tape, with rubber adhesive, is exactly the product I’ve been trying to find for use in fat bike tubeless setups. I have very high hopes for this tape, as a narrower and similar tape — IPG competitor Scotch’s Strapping Tape 8898 — has worked fairly well on my Mukluk for the past year. While similar, the narrower 8898 has been a problem for some setups because the width necessitates multiple passes which is hard to seal. For reliable tubeless setups I prefer that the air-holding part of the wheel have as few seams and gaps as possible, and using tape that’s too narrow requires overlapping passes which results in wrinkles and small gaps. These ends of the wrinkles and gaps will get filled with tubeless tire sealant (eg: Stan’s or Orange Seal), but with the side effect of exposing the adhesive to sealant. This in turn weakens the adhesive, resulting in larger gaps which eventually the sealant can’t plug. Thus a leak and a flat tire.
Fat bike rims effectively come in two styles: those with weight-reducing holes cut in them (eg: DT Swiss BR 710, Surly Holy Rolling Darryl, SUNringlé Mulefüt 80SL) and those without (eg: HED Big Deal, Nextie). Hole-less rims are relatively easy to set up tubeless, as only a thin strip of sealing tape is needed to cover the spoke holes inside the rim., but for a hole-y rim an air-tight seal needs to be built up between the tire beads. There are a few ways to accomplish this (eg: split tube, Fatty Stripper, oversized vinyl rim strip), but I prefer a simple, reliable solution that’ll both hold up to repeated tire swaps and allow the locking bead prefer something that’s as simple as possible: a rim strip and full-width tape.
In this case I’m using the stock DT Swiss TRSXXXXS68559S rim strip and 96mm wide TPP350; a very promising configuration. (The DT rim strips are 61g/ea and One wrap of TPP350 on 26″ rims is approximately 20g. Actual tape mass ended up lower, as the tape was trimmed back to the bead seat.)
One of the biggest benefits, but also the biggest downside to this setup, is the width of the tape. Ideally there would be tape that fits exactly within the rim, bead to bead while conforming to the inner shape of the rim, but except for a few cases there isn’t. While a few manufacturers make this available (eg: SUNringlé with a 78mm tape for their 80mm rims) most rims are currently without a solution. Thus, an oversized tape like 96mm TPP350 that can be trimmed to fit is a very good choice. A combination of the lack of stretchyness of the tape and width resulted in wrinkles along the inner rim surface, but as the ends of these wrinkles are outside of the formed air chamber sealant will not be able to leak in and thus are not a concern.
Here are the high-level steps that I used to set up the DT Swiss BR 2250 wheels (based on the BR 710 rim) and Bontrager Barbegazi tires on my Salsa Blackborow. Even without sealant this configuration held air, a testament to the combination of rim, tire, tape, and valve stem. I intend to use this same process and configuration for other test setups, including Specialized Ground Control Fat tires on Stout XC 90 wheels:
- Fit rim strip.
- Apply tape around entire rim, smoothly along top edge of rim wall, overlapping by a few inches at the valve stem hole.
- Press tape down into center of rim. Do not attempt to smooth the tape by wiping along the rim as this will promote large wrinkles.
- Fit tire and tube, inflating until bead is seated. This will press the tape into the bead seat with excess tape overhanging the rim.
- Deflate tube, but before full deflation is reached, dislodge one bead to allow air in. (If this is not done, the collapsing tube and air-tight nature of the wheel assembly will pull the rim strip and tape away from the rim).
- Remove tire and tube.
- Using a sharp blade, trim the tape at the junction of the bead seat and sidewall. Be sure that tape remains in the bead seat.
- Press tape into place along bead seat to ensure it’s smoothly in place.
- Reinstall tire and tube, inflating until bead is seated.
- Deflate tube, again dislodging one side before deflation is complete.
- Remove tube.
- Install tubeless valve assembly.
- Re-seat loose tire bead and inflate until bead is seated.
- Add sealant (3oz) via valve stem and reinflate tire. Shake wheel to distribute sealant.
Due to the thin rim wall the cone-shaped gasket on the NoTubes Valves cannot be sufficiently tightened with just the provided locknut. This can lead to leaking, an issue which I experienced on my Mukluk with SUNringlé Mulefüt 80SL rims. This is easily fixed by adding a rubber washer inside the rim beneath the cone-shaped valve (photo) and a nylon spacer to the outside beneath the lock nut (photo). Specifically, I used a 1/4″ interior diameter rubber and nylon washers purchased from Lowe’s small parts bin, although any similar parts will work. Another style of tubeless valve, such as those from American Classic will not need the rubber washer inside the rim.
After a few hours of semi-hard riding at Potawatomi (fast, flowing, and occasionally rough Southeast Michigan trails) I’m confident in this setup and cannot think of a better existing product for making different kinds of fat bike wheels tubeless. It allowed for the usual tubeless benefits (reduced weight, increased tire compliance) on a solid, air-tight setup. I expect it to continue reliably as a solid tubeless setup throughout the winter; a time when I definitely don’t want to be stuck with a flat. I really hope it becomes widely available, as there are many fat bike riders who’d love access to tape like this.
Here are my pro/con thoughts on using IPG TPP350 tape for fat bike tubeless setups:
- Tape made by a commercial manufacturer. (Although not yet available for order at this width in small quantities…)
- Wide width should accommodate most rim sizes with a single pass, meaning minimal inner seams and lower weight. Wrinkles are a non-issue.
- Tape film and adhesive types (polypropylene film and rubber-based adhesive) are well-tested within tubeless bicycle applications.
- Adhesive firmly holds tape to both rim and rim strip, yet is removable.
- Wide tape width is challenging to handle.
- Tape width and elasticity prevents wrinkle-free application around rim. (Additional material adds weight, may be unattractive if wrinkles are visible through rim strip.)
- Trimming excess tape is inconvenient and potentially error-prone.
- Rim strip required to prevent tape from stretching through cutouts. (Adds weight.)
The result is that I’m quite happy with TPP350 and would recommend it to others for fat bike tubeless use. I’ll soon be trying this out on some other rims.
Four years ago my fried Erick dropped off a very large box at my house. My first fat bike, a brand new Salsa Mukluk 2, had arrived. This was one of the first large-scale production fatbikes, and one of the first to be light weight out of the box, and I’ve had some very good times with it in all seasons. This year, with huge thanks to QBP, Tree Fort Bikes, Jeff Buerman, and Mike Wirth, I’ve acquired and built a custom 2016 Salsa Blackborow; my next fat bike. This is an aluminum framed, carbon fiber forked fatbike, using Salsa’s great geometry, ready to accept 5″ class tires.
I had originally planned to set this bike up tubeless, but after some issues with the original tubeless setup I build it up with Superlight tubes. I hope to replace this with a tubeless setup sometime in the near future, but I’m still evaluating potential rim sealing options. These may be the FattyStripper latex rim strips or possibly some wide tensilized polypropylene strapping tape (similar to Stan’s Rim Tape).
With tubes the complete bike, including bottle cages, bell, rear light, and Garmin Edge 510, is 29.46 pounds. With the tubes coming in at ~240g/ea I expect to save just under a pound by switching to tubeless. I’m quite happy with this weight, which is quite decent for a burly bike with 4.7″ tires.
My first shakedown ride on the Blackborow at River Bends (my usual bike shakedown location) went really well. There were the usual stops to adjust the grips and brakes, but otherwise I was very happy with the ride. The GX 1×11 drivetrain worked wonderfully, the high engagement rear hub felt spot-on, and I’m convinced that Salsa has gotten the geometry perfect. The only downside was the heavier-feeling wheels, but the forthcoming tubeless conversion should alleviate much of this.
I can’t wait to ride it more.
More photos of the bike can be found here: 2016 Salsa Blackborow
Here’s the details initial build for this bike:
Frame / Fork: 2016 Salsa Blackborow Frame (Medium) / Bearpaw Carbon/Aluminum Fork
Wheelset: DT Swiss BR 2250 Classic
Freehub Ratchets: Bontrager HUB51312614R (54-point for DT Swiss)
Summer Tires: Bontrager Barbegazi (26″ x 4.7″)
Winter Tires: 45NRTH Flowbeist / Dunderbeist
Rim Strip: DT Swiss TRSXXXXS68559S (68×559)
Tubes: Q-Tubes Superlight 26″ x 2.4-2.75″
Brakes: TRP Spyke (180mm front, 160mm rear)
Front Brake Spacer: Shimano SM-MA90-F180P/P2
Brake Levers: Avid FR-5 (Black)
Brake Lever Insulation: 18mm 3:1 Heat Shrink (Generic)
Handlebar: Salsa Bend 2 (23 Degree)
Grips: Ergon GP1 (Large)
Headset: Cane Creek 40 Tapered ZS44|ZS56/40
Stem: Thomson X4 (SM-E133 BLACK, 0x100)
Spacers: Aluminum (Generic)
Stem Cap: Niner YAWYD
Seatpost: Thomson Elite (SP-E116 BLACK, 31.6 x 410)
Seatpost Clamp: Salsa Lip Lock
Saddle: Specialized Phenom Expert (143mm)
Crankset: Race Face Turbine Cinch (175mm x 190mm), ICT Spacer Kit, Alloy Crank Boots
Bottom Bracket: Race Face BB92 (124mm x 41mm)
Pedals: Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3 (Black/Green)
Chainring: Race Face Direct Mount Narrow-Wide (30t)
Cassette: SRAM XG-1150 FULL PIN Cassette
Derailleur: SRAM GX 1×11 X-HORIZON Rear Derailleur
Shifter: SRAM GX 11-speed X-ACTUATION Trigger Shifter
Chain: SRAM PC-X1
Chainslap Protection: Scotch 2228 Rubber Mastic Tape
Bottle Cages: King Cage Stainless Steel Cage
Rear Light: Planet Bike Superflash Stealth
Bell: Mirrycle Original Incredibell
Sensors: Garmin Bike Speed Sensor (Hub Mount)
Lately I’ve had a need to carry two fat bikes on my well-loved 1Up USA Quick Rack, so I ordered a second Fat Tire Spacer Kit. Price has gone up from $29 to $34 and the style has changed, but it still seems like the best external rack available for carrying a fat bike. The original, which adds Delrin spacers can be seen on the left, and the new style which uses wider angled bits for the tire is on the right.
At 122mm (4.8″) the new spacer kit is slightly wider than the previous’ 114.5mm (4.5″). I’m planning to build a new fat bike with 5″-class tires, but with the knobs of the 45NRTH Flowbeist and Dunderbeist — the winter tires intended for the new bike — measuring 110mm on an 82mm rim I should be good. Hopefully the 4.8″ Schwalbe Jumbo Jim also fits, as I’m likely using those for summer… If the 122mm-width arms are needed for the new bike I’ll likely move the spacer kit or trays around, but hopefully that won’t be needed.
When installing these I also took my friend Rodney’s recommendation and fitted some cut-down bicycle grips to the spacers on both trays. The original design leaves narrow silicone bands in place, but these don’t span the full width of the Fat Tire spacers and the rack can end up making a slight rattling sound. The original foam grips from the Mukluk 2 were a perfect fit for this.
Even though purchases are on hold for a couple months I’ve been eyeing a new fat bike for this winter, making up a typical build spreadsheet to have fun with the planning phases. The frame that want (2016 Salsa Blackborow) isn’t available yet so I normally wouldn’t make any parts purchases, but I came across a deal on a wheelset that I couldn’t pass up. Bike-Discount, an online seller out of Germany renound for low prices on European-origin components, had the DT Swiss 2250 Classic wheelset listed for $628.23 (plus $22.60 postage) a few months ago; about what I’d expected to pay for some hubs and a single rim. I ordered them and a couple weeks later they arrived.
For my next fat bike there were three major wants which this wheelset meets: through-axles, current axle width standards (197mm rear, 150mm front), and DT Swiss’ excellent Star Ratchet. Through-axles make for a very solid connection to the frame, the 197mm / 150mm axles work for 5″-class fat bike tires and any Rock Shox Bluto-compatible fork, and the Star Ratchets are incredibly solid, easy to maintain, and can be upgraded to higher engagement via either DT Swiss’ own 36-point upgrade or Bontrager’s not-well-advertised 54-point pieces. While I haven’t begun purchasing parts for the bike yet, I’ll likely be getting the 54-point ratchets as they’ve been working out well on the Jones Plus.
There isn’t much info on these wheels and rims available online yet, outside of folks having tried them on a Pivot LES Fat or taking photos at shows. Thus, I wanted to document measured weights (well, mass) and included parts. Note that all these include paper tags attached to the wheels, as I wanted to leave them intact in case I choose to sell the wheelset:
Front Wheel: 1068g (w/ paper tag)
Rear Wheel: 1180g (w/ paper tag)
Rim Strip: 61g (each)
Centerlock Adapter: 26g (w/ paper tag)
Here’s the included accessories (photo):
- Centerlock Adapters (2x)
- Rim Strips (2x)
- SRAM XD driver
- End caps for 190mm or 197mm axles
Thus far I’m pretty happy with these wheels and I’m getting excited about building a bike using them. The build seems top notch, and the rim itself has a very nice box section along the edge while being single wall in the center. (This can be seen in the photo on the BR 710 page, as this is the same rim.) There is also a slight lip (photo) where the tire’s bead will sit, which will hopefully make tubeless setups nicely reliable at low (read: winter) pressure. I’m intending to tape them with Scotch 8898, the same tape which Mike Curiak used on the SUNringlé MüleFüt wheels that he built for my Mukluk. This’ll be placed over the DT Swiss rim strip, and coupled with some valves, Stan’s, and likely plastic nuts due to the single wall issues, will hopefully make for a strong, fun, light weight fat bike wheel. I’ll likely have to plug the weld vent/purge holes (photo) with silicone before the build.
The complete photo album of these wheels can be found here: DT Swiss BR 2250 Classic
Heading out on what became an ill-fated ride† at River Bends a few days ago the strap on my Giro Xar helmet broke as I was putting it on. I’d had the helmet for about four years, but I was still disappointed as this essentially made it unusable.
Ready to spend the $110+ on a replacement I was informed by a friend that the strap system (known as Giro’s Roc Loc 5) is replaceable, and within a few days I had another one, fitted into the helmet, making it ready to use again. It was a bit pricy to purchase via Amazon Prime ($17.99, around MSRP) but at least I had it quickly.
While I would have preferred the strap to not break at all, I’m really glad that I was able to get the helmet working and usable again. It’s much cheaper to fix something like this than replace it. Never forget the fourth R…
† Three crashes in a little over one lap. First was launching off a roller/jump wrong, almost hitting a tree, and having to panic stop against a log off the trail. Second was clipping a pedal on a climb and almost going over the bars. Third was being distracted and running into a 2″ tree sending myself to the ground on short notice.
I’ve been interested in moving the Mukluk to a 1×10 setup for a while now, and the culmination of a few things made me finally do it. Specifically, moving to 1×10 on this bike allows…
…more chain/tire clearance as I want to use 45NRTH Vanhelga this winter, and they need another 3mm on each side versus the Hüsker Dü.
…no more needing to keep 9-speed parts around.
…lighter weight / simplicity.
…less chain slap with a clutch derailleur.
…the 9-speed parts from the Mukluk to make the Salsa El Mariachi that I’m trying to sell into a geared bike.
This evening, after replacing the cracked Hope freehub I installed the parts and thus far everything seems to be working fine. I also removed the old cable-tied tube and wrapped the chainstay with Scotch 2228 to further cut down on noise, should any slap persist. Shifting to the upper part of the cassette is a bit stiff, this appears to be from the very stiff clutch derailleur. I suspect that in actual use it’ll be smoother to shift.
The biggest downside to a 1x setup is reduced range, which could be a problem in winter when I want to spin slowly on snowy climbs. It turns out that going to a 30t chainring and 11-36t cassette provides a very similar range to the 32-22t chainrings and 11-34t cassette that I previously had. Specifically, the original 2×9 setup ranged from 65% to 291%, while 1×10 is 83% to 273%. This means that I lose the two lowest gears (65% and 75%) along with the one top end gear (291%), but I think this’ll be a fine trade-off for the benefits. If this isn’t sufficient I can add a 40t or 42t add-on cog (such as those from OneUp Components or Wolf Tooth Components) and bring the lowest gearing to 75% or 71%, respectively.
The parts used for this were as follows:
- Race Face 30t 104 BCD Narrow/Wide Chainring
- Shimano XT 11-36 Cassette
- SRAM X9 Type 2.1 Medium Cage Derailleur
- SRAM X9 10-Speed Trigger Shifter
- SRAM PC 1051 Chain
Big thanks to Rochester Bike Shop for setting me up with these parts on short notice.
Weight was brought down another 0.9 pounds to 28.86 pounds (photo) beyond what the On-One Carbon Fatty Fork accomplished. If all goes as hoped I’ll get to try this out on some northern Michigan single track this upcoming weekend.
Wanting to keep my fat bike around for a while longer I’ve been looking at cost effective ways to improve it. Last year this was new tubeless-ready wheels, and recently it’s been a great-value carbon fiber fork: the On-One Carbon Fatty Fork. At about US$250 shipped it’s considerably cheaper than many other options, and it’s geometry just happens to be close enough to that of the Mukluk’s original Enabler fork. (468mm A-C and 45mm offset on the Enabler vs 470mm A-C and 55mm offset on the Fatty.) There is a 10mm difference in offset, which hopefully will not affect handling too much. Per various online bicycle geometry calculators there should be about 11mm less trail with the Fatty.
Trail calculations, for reference, per yojimg.net Bicycle Trail Calculator w/ 559mm BSD and 95mm tire width:
2012 Mukluk w/ Fatty: 79mm
2012 Mukluk w/ Enabler: 90mm
2015 Mukluk w/ Rigid Fork: 94mm
2015 Beargrease: 94mm
2015 Blackborow: 87mm
2015 Pugsley: 88mm
2015 Moonlander: 88mm
2015 Ice Cream Truck: 102mm
On-One Fatty w/ Carbon Fork: 94mm
2013 El Mariachi w/ Fox F29: 82mm
This ~11mm decrease in trail will likely make the front end feel much twitchier, bringing it just a smidge shortern than my favorite XC bike: the Salsa El Mariachi Ti which has 82mm of trail. If my understanding of trail is correct this’ll make the bike a bit twitchier and quicker to turn. Hopefully this won’t cause problems riding it at higher speeds, or keeping a line at slow speeds in the snow.
This fork is also set up with rear brake spacing — something that’s going away on newer fat bikes — which generally means that no special adapters are needed to get the brake caliper to align with the front hub. I did have to use two 1.5mm washers to space the caliper over for nice alignment with the rotor (photo), but this shouldn’t be a big deal. I’ll likely get some longer IS mounting bolts since the thread engagement isn’t quite enough to make me comfortable. Despite having a straight steerer the fork has a large crown intended to match the On-One Fatty frame. This results in a slightly awkward step below the headset (photo), but with the mostly-black bike I don’t think it looks too bad. I’m also not too keen on the orange logos, but in person I think it goes well enough with the sun-faded anodized red to not be a problem.
The originally intended purpose of this fork — front end weight reduction — seems to be successful. After replacement the weight has gone done 1.08 pounds, to 29.74 pounds (photo). The original steel Enabler fork, with crown race and star nut, was 1134g, while the On-One Carbon Fatty fork is 637g with crown race, compression plug / bung, and the steerer tube cut to length.
Now to wait for the trails to dry and see how it rides…
UPDATE: The decreased trail definitely makes the bike twitchier. It’s now a lot harder to ride no handed, but on single track it feels plenty lively and fun to ride. For now I think this is a good thing, although it’ll be curious to see how this pans out come winter.
Earlier today I purchased a used (but nearly new) Kurt Kinetic Road Machine and Pro Flywheel from someone local for cash plus a set of nearly-new tires that I didn’t need. I’d been interested in trying out a trainer with a heavier flywheel than the Cycleops Fluid 2 that I’ve used for the last few years as I suspected it’d smooth out my pedal stroke and make for a more outdoors-y feel. I’ve had problems getting my heart rate to the same levels on the trainer as when riding outdoors, and I suspected it was from the higher drag, constant hill climbing feeling that I was getting with the Fluid 2.
For my first ride tonight I did TrainerRoad’s 8 Minute Test (without the Pro Flywheel) and thus far I’m very happy. There is a much longer coast/spin down time with this trainer vs. the Fluid 2 resulting in less of a climbing-stairs feeling and something more like riding into a strong headwind. This I’m fine with. The result of the power test put me at a 304W FTP†, and during the test I was able to reliably get my HR to roughly my maximum, somewhere in the mid 170 BPM range. The last time I did a test (back in October) I was barely able to hit the 160s.
On my first try with the large flywheel — after removing it to wipe everything down — I noticed that there’s a bit of vibration when I’d get it to higher RPMs. I imagine it just needs a little aligning, but if I continue to have issues hopefully Kurt will help sort things out. The larger flywheel provided an even more intertia, and it almost felt like riding down a gentle grade with a steady headwind when using it. Serious effort was required to get it started, but once it was going it seemed to smooth things out even more.
I’ll try it out on some longer sustained-effort rides in the near future and perhaps even do another power test with it, just to see what happens. I really hate power tests, though…
† TrainerRoad claims that it’s Virtual Power is roughly 3% off from a power meter when used with a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine. It’d be nifty if this is the case, as I wouldn’t mind having a 300W FTP… That’d put me at roughly 3.79 watts per kilogram.
I’ve had my eye on the Jeff Jones / Jones Bikes venerable Spaceframe for years, but wasn’t interested enough to pick one up. Still, Jeff’s bike designs have intrigued me. This winter everything fell into place for me to build up the newest Jones Bikes design, the Jones Plus. Being built as a single speed it’ll replace my well loved steel Salsa El Mariachi, but it is should easily be convertable to a geared bike, should the desire arise.
After months of thought, collecting parts via group buys, weird corners of the internet, local bike shops, and the Jones Bikes store itself, the parts are now all here and the build has begun. Here’s the collected list of parts going into the bike. Not all have arrived yet (and the list will be updated if needed), but if all goes as planned it’ll be built by the beginning of March:
Frame / Fork: Jones Plus (24″)
Headset: Jones Headset for Truss Fork
Front Hub: Jones 135/142-F Hub
Rear Hub: DT Swiss 350 135mm Disc Brake (Int.Standard) w/ Bontrager 54t Star Ratchet Set (436413)
Front Axle: Jones (Comes w/ Fork)
Rear Skewer: Shimano M770 (Deore XT, 173mm, Y3TG98020)
Rims: Nextie Jungle Fox Carbon Fat MTB 29+ Rim 50mm Width Double Wall Hookless Tubeless Compatible [NXT50JF] w/ 3mm Offset (measured 576.5mm ERD)
Nipples: DT Swiss standard, aluminum (Silver, 1.8mm, 16mm long)
Tires: Bontrager Chupacabra
Tubeless Valves: Stan’s NoTubes 44mm
Tubeless Sealant: Stan’s NoTubes Tire Sealant
Rim Tape: Stan’s NoTubes Rim Tape 21mm
Brake Rotors: Front Rotor: SM-RT76-M (180mm), Rear Rotor: SM-RT76-S (160mm)
Crankset: SRAM XO1 (GXP, 175mm, Black)
Crank Protectors: Race Face Carbon Crank Boots, (Black)
Bottom Bracket: Truvativ GXP (Silver)
Chainring: North Shore Billet 1 x 10 Direct Mount Chainring (32t, GXP)
Rear Cog: Surly Cassette Cog (18t)
Chain: SRAM PC 991
Single Speed Spacer Kit: Surly Spacer Kit
Pedals: Crankbrothers Eggbeater 3 (Black)
Handlebar: Salsa Bend 2 (23 Degree)
Stem: Thomson Elite X4 : 31.8 Mountain (1-1/8″ x 10° x 90 mm x 31.8 mm, SM-E138 BLACK)
Headset Spacers: Wheels Manufacturing Black Aluminum
Stem Cap: Niner YAWYD
Grips: Ergon GP1 (L)
Saddle: Specialized Phenom (143mm)
Seatpost: Thomson Elite (27.2 dia. x 410 mm, SP-E113 BLACK, Straight)
Collected photos of the parts can be found here.