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307 comments found

The Outrageous Salsa Bucksaw - Jan. 7, 2018, 11:12 a.m.

In extreme low traction situations, you are more likely to end up in the pressure range where you toe the line between grip and autosteer. My problem with lowering pressures to the point of extreme autosteer is my rides are rarely on just snow. 

My fat bike is my only mountain bike with a suspension fork right now, so I ride it in all kinds of conditions, all year. At this time of year I climb from my house on pavement and dirt up to trails that may or may not be snowy. So that said, I prefer to keep my tires at slightly higher pressures that are suited to a wider range of conditions even when I'm in lower traction situations. I'd rather a tire have reduced traction than exhibit autosteer.

It bears mentioning that some tires exhibit extreme autosteer at pressures where others are just fine. Tread pattern, casing shape, and durometer are all factors. Because we're toeing that line between grip and autosteer, bad tires stand out. And if your tire exhibits unwanted characteristics well before the casing is folding, you're having a weird ride every time. Lots of fat tires out there now, none of the good ones cheap...

The Outrageous Salsa Bucksaw - Jan. 7, 2018, 11 a.m.

We bought the Shimano PRO Team Digital floor pump within the last year and it's been good for this low range of pressures as it's accurate to the half-degree. Until this one fails, I don't feel the need to try anything else. 

I've tried the Schwalbe and the SKS portable ones and found the readings to vary wildly between samples. That alone made me hesitant to even use them, so I can't comment on their day-to-day consistency, which is far more important than the actual readout. 

Before buying this PRO pump, I looked into the analog Accu-Gage a number of times, but the cost of buying it out of the US was prohibitive. It would, however, be nice to have a trusted analog control.

The Outrageous Salsa Bucksaw - Jan. 4, 2018, 8:57 a.m.

The best thing about my experience with suspension on a fat bike is that I'm able to run more pressure in my tires, negating fat tires' tendency to autosteer at low pressures. For a 4" tire I'm talking like 9 psi front, 10 psi rear. 

Many people run their fat tires with less but I can't stand the unpredictable handling, even at, say, 7 and 8 psi respectively. Of course, that's a 20% difference in pressure, which would make a tire of any size fold and autosteer. Imagine running your 2.3s that you'd usually put 23 and 25 in at 18 and 21 instead. No bueno.

Suffice to say, a pressure gauge that's consistent at pressures below 10 psi is crucial to get the most out of a fat bike. 

On the wheel swap topic, we built 27.5+ wheelsets for both of our fat bikes, which allows us to run 2.8s or 3.0s. I feel like this is a more natural step than going all the way to a 29" wheelset with narrower tires. The 27.5+ wheels from Stephanie's Surly Wednesday will fit the Bucksaw, if you want to give them a go sometime.

Dear Uncle Dave: What the hell do you want for Christmas? - Dec. 20, 2017, 12:42 p.m.

Sorry, but you're still wrong. And fortunately someone has published about this exact comment from within the bike industry, just today: 

http://www.eskapee.com/shorts/voices-stop-using-pussy/

Shimano Pro Team Compressor - Dec. 12, 2017, 4:47 p.m.

Yep, the basic Beto head. Hose diameter is the same.

Shimano Pro Team Compressor - Dec. 12, 2017, 9:19 a.m.

After trying out Lou's Shimano Pro digital floor pump at Obsession, we ordered one for home, as we have plus bikes and fat bikes that our old pumps weren't accurate enough for. The head was initially good in use, but the presta side of the head lost its ability to hold on to valve stems after only a couple months. I was happy to find that the spare Beto head that I had in my tool box (best $3.50 you'll ever spend) went on without a hitch.

Stuff your Damned Stocking! - Dec. 7, 2017, 2:57 p.m.

Thanks, Pete. My next on-road build will definitely have the new Sinewave Beacon dynamo light. Not sure if it's completely worth it for off-road applications.

Stuff your Damned Stocking! - Dec. 7, 2017, 9:02 a.m.

The stem cap USB charger needs to be paired with a dynamo front hub to make power. We have these on our commuting bikes, which we traveled on for 3 months last year. It's really nice to have full time, permanent lights on our everyday bikes. For modern mountain bikes there are two options on the market for 15x110 hubs, both weighing about 480 grams, and starting at $200 USD for the hub without wiring.

While the hubs start making power at 3 mph, they don't put out enough consistent voltage to charge a smart phone or GPS until you're going about 8 mph. You can trickle charge a battery pack, but that adds more weight. For this reason, and the fact that running wire from the hub to the steerer on a suspension fork requires solving the problem of a length of loose wire, people rarely run dynamo hubs on suspension bikes. 

So dynamo systems are currently better suited to bikes that spend more of their time going road speeds (randonneurs swear by them), but options are coming for those of us who spend more time riding slowly (or pushing). Just this year, the first hybrid battery/dynamo light was released (by Sinewave, the same company as the USB charger). 700 lumens, and you get full power all the time, thanks to the battery. When you get moving again, the hub trickle charges the battery pack. Pretty cool!

Jack Innes: Flashback - Dec. 6, 2017, 8:57 a.m.

Not only did Kaz shoot and edit this video, but he also created the audio himself. Hell yeah Kaz!

Blackburn Chamber Tubeless Floor Pump - Dec. 5, 2017, 9:21 p.m.

I bought my compressor just before the first of these augmented floor pumps arrived on the market. Something like a $100 investment including a hose and chucks. I think it's a 2 gallon (it's pretty small, I didn't want it taking up a ton of space), and it tops out at 100 psi. 

Seating a single tire depletes so much of the stored air that I need to turn the compressor on again to seat a second tire (and I'm usually doing these in pairs). And as you note, Cam, it takes quite a while to get there. 

Now that I live in an apartment it's even more apparent how loud the thing is; fortunately our neighbours are easygoing, but you won't find me seating tires at the beginning or end of the day. 

Seems one of these is in my future. If only because it (literally) sounds more pleasant than.

Uncle Dave: We need some standards here! - Dec. 5, 2017, 9:15 p.m.

That was me in "Shit Mountain Bikers Say"...

Dear Santa: AJ's List - Dec. 5, 2017, 8:16 a.m.

I'm now using the rear Muddhugger fender, which had a face only a mother could love on the back of a suspension bike, as a spray fender on my BOB trailer. Doge approves.

Uncle Dave: We need some standards here! - Dec. 5, 2017, 8:05 a.m.

After a decade of having a Blackberry, my mom just got her first iPhone. In addition to teaching her how to use it, I also had to teach her the now-universal phrase "new phone who dis", which she's been happy to use.

If it isn't Carbon - are you Still a Mountain Biker? - Nov. 10, 2017, 12:02 p.m.

You are in the minority of mountain bikers worldwide who can ride a hardtail in the Sea to Sky. This place is a surprisingly good breeding ground for hardtail shredders, but that ignores the fact that the vast majority of people period (not just currently identified mountain bikers, but people who might be interested in mountain biking) can't ride in this terrain, even on a carbon wonderbike.

One Headset For Life - Nov. 10, 2017, 11:57 a.m.

I've since stuffed the headset in the photo used for the header of this article into a new frame. The X01 shifter and derailleur are still rocking too, on the new frame, though I expect the headset to last longer.

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