Sharon’s Surly Cross Check has been rolling on Grand Bois Cypres 700c x 32mm tires for several years now. In that time she’s only had a few flats despite riding nearly daily to work. She’s not a powerful rider so having supple fast rolling tires is important to her. The Cypres fit the bill well.
Compass Bicycle has come up with their own version of this tire called the Stampede Pass. It’s still a supple 700c x 32mm tire. It’s similar to the Grand Bois Cypres and I believe it’s made in the same factory. I’ve been running the extra-light version of this tire tubeless on my Surly Straggler. I haven’t ridden mega miles on that bike, but my initial impressions are good.
Since Sharon rides a lot we got the normal weight version. She’ll make them “extra-light” by wearing them out!
Sharon ready to roll…
We are going to upgrade Sharon’s wheels this fall as part of her birthday present. When that happens we’ll setup these tires tubeless as well. That should make her very few flats head towards zero and make these fast supple tires even faster. That’s win-win in my books. 🙂
Compass Bicycle sells these tires online for $57USD. If you live in Victoria, BC The Fairfield Bicycle Shop stocks them.
Can you tell what my favourite tire is? 😉
I’m not afraid to try new rubber, but over the years I have not found a better tire for South Shore Coastal BC riding than the Continental Trail King in 2.4″ width. They grip well, corner predictably, roll fast, last a long time, don’t get damaged by sharp rocks and are reasonably priced. I love the size when conditions are marginal [ie. winter].
The only thing I don’t love is that they are about 25% heavier than other tire options. Not a deal breaker really given the rest of what they offer.
Now Continental make me a 29+ version! 😉
Surly Knard 29 x 3″ tires…
I’ve spent a couple years riding a pair of 120tpi Surly Knard 29 x 3″ tires. I use them mostly for bikepacking although I have rocked my Surly Krampus on trail rides now and again. The tread is now starting to show some wear, but for non-technical riding they’ll keep rolling another season or two. So far only 2 flats and both were before I went tubeless.
Setting the Knards up tubeless on some Rabbit Hole rims was easy using the split tube method. They have been 100% reliable with no flats and I can leave them 2 weeks+ without adding air.
For non-technical riding [ie. logging roads] I’ve found the Knard to be an excellent tire. It rolls quickly, provides solid traction and its big volume floats over loose terrain with ease. Even when I have encountered snow and mud on non-techy rides I have liked how the Knards worked for me. If you are forced to ride 100kms of pavement on a tour you will not hate life on these tires.
Lots of small knobs…
Where the Knards have shown their limits is in challenging technical riding. For me the biggest issue has been loose dirt/gravel especially on off camber trails. The front Knard just doesn’t have the side knobs to grab into the trail and keep the bike tracking straight which means you either go really slow or your front tire washes out and you crash. 😦
The very tall and wide [for normal MTB rubber] 29 x 3″ tire smooths out rough terrain, keeps you rolling fast and floats through softer conditions with speed as well and control. Despite the extra weight you can moving around I find the Knards let me move up and down just as fast as skinnier tires. The large volume also makes riding a rigid bike quite pleasant on all but the most broken ground.
Knard in a Fox Float 34 fork…
Wanting a slacker front end I have mounted a Fox Float 34 fork on my Krampus and jammed the Surly Knard + Rabbit Hole rim combo in there. It requires the removal of a small amount of the fork brace to fit this big tire inside.
I have used Knards on skinny Stan’s Flow rims and 50mm Surly Rabbit Hole rims. If I was starting over today I’d build up a set of 35mm carbon Light Bicycle rims for my Krampus to get a nice blend of stiffness, lightweight and wide enough rims to support the 3″ tire.
All in all I think Surly’s first 29+ tire is a great option for bike touring and non-technical riding. I just bought a lightly used set of 120 tpi Knards from a rider on MTBR.com so I’ll have some Knards to keep me going for another few years of bikepacking.
Enjoy some moist trail riding on my Surly Krampus…
Spike pedals on my Santa Cruz Nomad…
We’ve got 3 or 4 pairs of Spank Spike pedals on our mountain bikes. They are light, slim profile to minimize pedal strikes, wide platforms and grippy replaceable pins. They handle our frequently moist riding conditions without much maintenance and they are tough enough to withstand smacking into rocks.
Click image for product info…
One of the selling features of these pedals is that they are easy to service. After 18+ months of year round riding Sharon’s Spike’s were in need of service. I ordered up a rebuild kit and got to work. If you have the correct size blind bearing puller [I did not] these pedals take 10mins to service back to new condition. If you don’t have a blind bearing puller you can’t remove the main inboard bearing. Brent at Velofix.com was kind enough to pop out the bearings for me. Once that was done replacing the bearing and IGUS bushing in each pedal was a snap.
Time for some love…
All in all these are some great pedals. I plan to keep the sets we have on our bikes running strong for many years with the odd rebuild. If you need mountain bike pedals you could do far worse.
WT 42T cog mounted up…
I was curious how the Wolftooth 42T GC cog would work – particularly with the shortcage Shimano Zee derailleur on my Santa Cruz Nomad.
I gave it a shot and it works just fine. I’ve got dozens of successfully rides in so far.
Enough capacity to climb up onto the 42T cog…
I removed the 15T cog as I use the bigger cogs much more than the smaller ones. I was going to ditch the 13T cog, but it mates with the 11T cog to generate the correct spacing so I left it.
and take up the slack in the small cog…
What I used:
- 42T WT GC
- SRAM PG 1070 cassette
- SRAM chain PC 1031
- Shimano Zee derailleur and shifter
- Race Face 30T NW ring
- stock B tension screw [works fine]
- longer B tension screw that came with cog [works a bit better]
Wolftooth 42T GC cog before install…
The shifting is not as good as either a stock 10 spd or stock 11 speed setup, but it’s just fine. If you are a really picky shifting snob you may find it too clunky for your tastes, but if you are just happy that it shifts up and down reliably you’ll enjoy it.
Gratuitous SC Nomad shot…
Since I installed my 42T WT cog a few months ago they have come out with a couple new options:
- 40T cog for those that want a smaller jump at the low end
- 16T cog to allow for better shifting down in the smaller cogs
I haven’t tried either of these.
Light and supple tubeless road tires…
I’ve been running tubeless tires happily on my mountain bikes for a few years now. I’ve heard bits and bites about folks setting up road tires tubeless, but had not tried to convert any of my street tires to tubeless. I’m working on replacing my Surly LHT with a lighter more enjoyable commuter bike. I built up a set of 700c Velocity Blunt SL wheels with Hope hubs and ordered a set of Compass Bicycle Stampede Pass 32mm tires in the extra light flavour.
Velocity rims are not the easiest to setup tubeless – at least without using a rubber rim strip – and for this lightweight build I didn’t want to go that route. The Compass Bicycle tires are also not designed to be run tubeless so I was a bit worried this experiment might not work so well, but figured I had nothing to lose. If the setup failed I could just clean out the rims/tires and use tubes.
I went with a pretty basic methodology:
- 1 wrap Stan’s yellow tape
- Stan’s presta valve stem
- 1.5 scoops of Stan’s sealant
- 1 CO2 cartridge to seat beads
- shake wheels for a few minutes to distribute sealant
The tires seated well on the rims and although there were a few holes in them that needed sealing that resolved itself quickly. So far the tires are holding air with no noticeable lose after a few days. All in all it was fairly easy to set these tires up tubeless.
Surprisingly easy to setup…
I’ve got to finish the bike build this weekend and then I’ll test out the wheels to see how they perform on the road and report back in Part 2 of this post.
Fresh bearings for one of our Nomads…
The post-sales support programs for Santa Cruz owners are pretty nice:
- 5yr warranty
- lifetime crash replacement
- lifetime free bearings
Next SL cranks on my Pivot Mach 6…
When specing out cranks for my Pivot Mach 6 I decided to go with Race Face’s new Next SL carbon cranks and a press fit RF bottom bracket. I had never had a carbon component on a mountain bike before so I figure buying a carbon frame meant I should go carbon in other areas where possible. As a bonus these state of the art cranks are made in Canada less than 100kms from where I live.
You can read a review over at NSMB that I agree with entirely. I’ll post my own review at the end of the summer mostly focused on durability issues. If the BB stays quiet and lasts a couple years of year round use I’ll be happy. If the crank arms can take some bashing into rocks as long as I keep the ends covered with silicone booties I’ll be happy.
Time will tell!
I’m running a 28T chainring on the Next SL cranks currently. I also have a 30T ring I may swap to over time. I’m not sure about that yet. So far the 28T x 36T is my normal techy steep climbing gear with the 42T held in reserve for steep smoother climbs like fireroads.
Spank Spike pedals…
For a bike geek I have some embarrassingly budget parts on a few of my bikes. And not in that good look-at-this-low-cost-but-amazingly-functional sort of way. Just cheap and nasty! So when these Spank Spike pedals weren’t compatible with the bike they were intended for I put them on my Krampus and upgraded the craptacular pedals on my Big Dummy with the decent NRG Slabalanche pedals that were on the Krampus. The gnarly cheap ass pedals on the Dummy almost got put back in the spares box despite their crunchiness, but sanity prevailed and I binned them.
Call it trickle-down-bike-o-nomics! 😉
The Krampus doesn’t need bling pedals, but besides looking flash these pedals work well and are easy to rebuild. What’s not to like?
When they were new…
I got these Kona Wah Wah pedals back in 2005. They saw several years of road use which was not super gnarly, but was frequently wet. Then they moved over to my Santa Cruz Nomad mountain bike where getting bashed and trashed was just part of a normal ride. Not to mention on Vancouver Island it does get wet in the winter.
- reasonable price [~$90] – not cheap, but not crazy
- looks nice
- thin profile [~17mm]
- grippy with my 5.10 Impact Low shoes
- the powdercoat is coming off all over the place now that they are seeing trail use
- the bearings just gave up
- not particularly light [490g/pair]
Having fun, but taking a beating…
Lots of pedals can be rebuilt if you can find the parts. That’s a huge PITA unless the manufacturer provides rebuild kits. Big props to Kona for making rebuild kits readily available and relatively cheap at ~$20/each. I ordered two kits [Thanks Russ Hayes for hooking me up with a special order without any hassles] so I expect I’ll be using these pedals for many years to come.
Most definitely VikApproved! 🙂