Fat bike duallie
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Dear Santa - Cam's List

Words Cam McRae
Date Dec 21, 2017

I wrote Xmas lists as a child but I can't remember if I ever posted them to the North Pole (postal code HOH OHO). Today if your kids send a wish list to that address they'll get an actual (but mostly generic) reply. Canadian tax dollars at work. As I recall my requests were limited to the realm of reality, but I no longer feel encumbered by such constraints. If overgrown deer can pull the dude in the sky it's safe to say he can come up big.

Wrap My Ride

Having a shiny new bike is a beautiful thing. Having it dinged and scraped in the back of trucks or riding on Donkeys (yes - this happened to me) is messy and I feel every wound. I decided to use 3m protective tape on my Yeti 5.5c and in some places no skill was necessary and in other places I hacked and gashed at it so it's covered but ugly. Despite the bubbles and folds I'm stoked about the extra protection. 


Sure – you can do this yourself. If you are fond of a wrinkly, folded bubbly mess. It's not actually that bad but this if my DIY job is a Hyundai this is a McLaren. Photo - Chris Johnston

And then I heard about Ride Wrap. This is a company that will do the dirty work for you by recutting and then professionally applying a... Actually let's let Callum Rostron explain; "Our paint protection films are clear high gloss or satin finish polyurethane films that are applied to bikes to protect them from scratches, rock chips, small dents, or swirls caused by trail debris, rocks, cable rash, heal or ankle rub, chain slap and other environmental elements that are thrown into the mix when out on the trails or roads."


That's a full wrap, not a half-assed wrap. Photo - Chris Johnston

That sounds impressive but apparently this stuff is also self-healing and weighs around 19g for an entire frame. A frame wrap costs $125, a fork is $30 and crank arms are $25. Ride Wrap doesn't talk about removal of the wrap but if it keeps looking good who cares? You can reach Ride Wrap on Facebook

A Mountain Biker's Clubhouse

The clichés (tribe, cartel, Knation) make it clear that we are somewhat unified. When mountain bikers get together it's generally a damn good time, but aside from small groups of riders or occasional one-off functions like movie premieres, those occasions are too rare in my books. When I watch TV and films about London in the forties I'm a little envious about the lunch clubs with plush chairs, single malt scotches and jovial banter. Maybe without the colonial worldview, racism, snobbery and the exclusion of females. But I'd be down with a secret handshake and members in law enforcement, the judiciary and government to forward our sinister MTB-FIRST agenda. 

Van Tan

Couldn't we get along with a bunch of aging naturists? Yes – this is on Mount Fromme off the 2nd switchback.

How rad would it be to have a local clubhouse like golfers and tennis players do? For me the ideal location would be Mount Fromme. Right now there is a location that may be suitable but it's currently occupied by a group of aging nudists. The Van Tan Club had 150 members 40 years ago but their numbers have dwindled to 1/3 of that now. I'm not trying to push these folks out, and I don't begrudge their desire to bronze their balls and boobs, but it seems unlikely that hipsters are going to rush to swell these ranks any time soon.

Perhaps, in an effort to ease funding struggles and prolong access for current members, some sort of shared membership could be arranged? Maybe it could be one week on and one week off? 

In my ideal view your membership to MTB Club would have reciprocal agreements with other clubs all over the world so you could roll in, flash your card, order a beer and start to learn about dirt quality, tubeless tricks and wheel sizes from riders with funny accents and foreign languages. 

A Pro Level Bike Tune

I'm not a terrible mechanic but I'm no pro and I don't have the time, knowledge nor patience to maintain my bikes in the manner they deserve. I have written before about the lengths Jeff Bryson


goes to for EWS athletes Jesse Melamed and Remi Gauvin, and now he's offering the service they get to riders like you and I. 

Here's what Jeff's comprehensive yearly service includes;

A complete overhaul. We take your bike apart with love, replacing ALL fluids, servicing EVERY bearing with grease too last and grease to roll fast as well as cutting down cables and customizing your ride. We included a suspension setup with a year free suspension adjustments so your bike will be able to keep up with you. This service package is designed to make your bike look new and ride even better. We recommend this service as a pre-season service to help your bike roll, look and feel like it did before last season.

It also includes a 30-minute suspension set up, a complete fork and rear shock service – every single part of the bike is cleaned, lubed and in the end will likely work better than new. If you don't live in B.C. you can likely find a pro-level mechanic to do this for you, but it might take some looking. Jeff charges $640 for what he calls the 'annual tune.' For more info check out wheelthing.ca

Jeff Bryson

Better than new - that's what to expect after the Jeff Bryson EWS treatment. 

Moar Cushcore!

I made no secret of my affection for Cushcore in my review. The system offers excellent rim protection, flat prevention and excellent sidewall support allowing for lower pressures without excessive tire squirm. Unfortunately, I haven't yet found the perfect tire; one with lots of grip but less weight than the rubber I usually run to compensate for the weight of inserts. Specialized makes a Butcher that is 803g which could be good but otherwise I haven't found the right rubber - at least for winter. In the summer the grip was so good with Cushcore I could almost run semi-slicks front and rear. 

Cushcore Graphic

Cushcore offers protection from pinch flats, some damped suspension in your tire, along with a smaller air volume for more ramp up. 


This is cornering on Cushcore with a completely flat tire. It works fine. I wasn't willing to go full speed but I could comfortably go about 80%.

Something else I'd like to see is Cushcore for Plus rims and tires. Apparently the company is working on this but they haven't had anything to show just yet. This would be a great application for the system considering the main complaint of many Plus riders is a lack of sidewall support leading to squirmy feeling rubber. It should also allow you to run relatively light tires without pushing the pressure too high. And of course if you get a flat on Cushcore you can just ride it out with your rim quite well protected and your tire in place and similarly. 

A Full Squish FAT BIKE

A fat bike couldn't be my one and only bike. In fact it wouldn't likely even be my second bike but last year we had so much fun on the Kona Wozo, both in the snow and on dirt, that we know that a duallie version will be an absolute gut buster. Remember the first time you rode fat tires? I'm not talking fat bike tires, just regular knobby mtb rubber. I was 18 or so and I remember it well. I was amazed by the grip, the cushion and the 90 proof joy riding them delivered. Getting on a fat bike of today, with outrageously large tires and rims, takes me back to my first rides on a mountain bike. You feel like you can ride over or down just about anything. It's laugh out loud fun, particularly but not exclusively in the snow. Velcro traction on dirt is stupidly fun and landing a little air feels like coming to earth on a trophy truck. Are they the most capable? The fastest? Hell no. But mountain biking is supposed to be fun and these silly bikes are all of that. 

Trek Farley

Trek's Farley EX also has 4.0 tires (but 27.5s) a carbon frame and a pivot that is concentric to the rear axle. This is the 2017 4499 USD 9.8 version (currently $1000 off!) and it's pimped. The 2018 model is 5499 USD.

Farley Trek

The Farley EX 8 has an aluminum frame and will set you back 3499 USD.

I could put a few more things on my list; the ability to high five without awkwardness, skills to whip and tabletop with style, lungs like Lance on juice etc. For now this list will have to do.

Merry Christmas, if that's what you celebrate, and a rad year ahead to all!

Tags: Dear Santa
Posted in: Features, Editorial


Steve Main  - Dec. 21, 2017, 1:23 a.m.

Do we know what is causing the delay with the plus cushcore? I would have thought it would simply be a case of upsizing the insert based on a minimum rim width but maybe I am underselling the tech a bit.


Cam McRae  - Dec. 21, 2017, 8:51 a.m.

They told us at Interbike that they are working on it but that's about all I know. CC would be particularly nice for hardtails to ease that crack that only a solid back end can produce.


+2 mtnfriend Cam McRae
Cr4w  - Dec. 21, 2017, 7:13 a.m.

You can also get frame wraps from http://www.invisiframe.co.uk/ in all sort of model and size-specific kits. But they don't install it for you. Mine fits exactly as expected and it nearly invisible. What a great idea. By the time you've spent $3k+ on a frame why not a few hundred more to keep it looking good?


Cam McRae  - Dec. 21, 2017, 9 a.m.

That looks like the stuff that Ride Wrap uses according to the photos. How was the install process in terms of bubbles etc and frustration?


+2 Cr4w Cam McRae
RNAYEL  - Dec. 21, 2017, 9:27 a.m.

Spoke at length with Callum when I had my bike wrapped a couple of months ago.  After doing the math on the do-it-yourself Invisi Frame, it made no sense to me (neither financially or time-wise) not to send it to Ride Wrap.  The final product is nice, very, very nice.  The current film that is being used can be heated back into its original shape if you scar it (with a blow dryer I was told) - which is a nice benefit.

Ride Wrap uses a film from the auto industry (can't remember the supplier). Callum is also looking into something new at for next season that is being offered by a new player, which looks promising.  Callum does all of his own cutting from large sheets (not by hand) to the specific measurements of each frame.  If your frame is a "new to him" wrap, it takes an extra couple of days as he enters all of the measurements into CAD to get an exact drawing (same cost as in-stock frame measurements).

As for removal, I asked about that too, it comes off clean with a bit of heat and any leftover glue (which I was told is minimal) can be removed without harsh chemicals.


+1 mtnfriend
sticko  - Dec. 22, 2017, 2:39 p.m.

Hey Rachid,

I wrapped my Hightower in Invisiframe and it is great. Though you can send it off elsewhere, what better excuse do you need to spend a few hours caressing your frame with a cold one (or two).The final product was amazing and any bubbles which I found, were solved quickly with a pinhead 24 hours later. Couldn't be happier with forever-box-fresh ride


RNAYEL  - Dec. 22, 2017, 2:44 p.m.

That's cool.  By all means, having more options is always better.

I don't have time. I barely have time to get out for rides.  As much as the idea of caressing my frame for a couple of hours appeals to me, in reality, between family obligations, work, friends, volunteering ... and just not wanting to waste valuable riding hours, I'd rather get it done by somebody else, especially when the price delta is so minute.  The price for the kit that I needed was 75gbp VAT free, or 130 CDN at the time that I was purchasing.  The ride wrap was 125, plus Callum picked the frame up from me and dropped it off.  For my needs, it was a no brainer.


Cr4w  - Dec. 21, 2017, 8:13 p.m.

I didn't install the Invisiframe stuff. I paid someone to do it. That job would make me insane. So in the end it was quite an expensive process. But it was the best option at the time. The quality was super high and my bike still looks awesome. Though I'd go with a glossy wrap next time. 

I would totally have Ridewrap do it next time. Do they cut and trim for every bike?


Arama  - Dec. 22, 2017, 8:15 a.m.

InvisiWrap is a nice product but painful to install...probably took me 4 hours total. I will definitely try Ride Wrap next time.


+1 Cam McRae
stinky_dan  - Dec. 21, 2017, 12:58 p.m.

Holy crap Cam, I learnt two new Canadian things today!
One - HO OHO is a thing
Two - the Van Tan club view - I always thought it was stuck amongst the trees not available to air ones unmentionables to the soaring heights

and something, something mountain bikes


Cam McRae  - Dec. 21, 2017, 4:42 p.m.


I actually wrote it wrong - should be H0H0H0 - letter/number/letter etc.

We hiked in there once. It was a snowy night and I guess we were on snowshoes. Anyway - it was pretty clear what a beautiful spot it is with that view.


+1 Cam McRae
stinky_dan  - Dec. 22, 2017, 10:53 a.m.

A clubhouse with a St Bernard carrying brandy round the neck would have been very welcome last night...


+1 Cam McRae
pedalhound  - Dec. 22, 2017, 8:32 a.m.

A MTB clubhouse would be awesome, a long time dream of mine too!


+1 mtnfriend
Lacy Kemp  - Dec. 22, 2017, 1:33 p.m.

Cam- I'm pretty sure you could just propose to share with the VanTan club. That way, instead of "rolling in and flashing your membership card," you could just roll in.. flash them.... and enjoy all of the benefits of being nekkid AND talking about bikes. Jack pot!


Cam McRae  - Dec. 25, 2017, 6:03 p.m.

You aren't in Bellingham any more Dorothy... ;) 

You may be right but considering the way they scowl at us and never, ever say hi or respond when we do, I have my doubts.


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