DIY Frame Box…

Coroplast for the win! ;)

Coroplast for the win! 😉

My buddy John is coming with me to the Chilotins this summer. He cunningly designed and created a coroplast frame box to carry some heavy gear inside his frame triangle.

Coroplast can be bought a Home Depot or most craft stores and it is what they make election signs from so it can often be harvested for free. John used duct tape to connect the various pieces of the box and then used velcro to attach it to the bike.

I kept an eye on his setup during our shakedown tour in March and it looked 100% solid. =)

I lent him a spare set of Porcelain Rocket bar and seat bags to complete his setup since they are universal and easy borrowed.

John in action...

John in action…

Scott at Porcelain Rocket makes some sweet gear, but if you can’t afford to buy a whole set and/or you have multiple bikes to use them on a DIY frame box might be an option to get you rolling.

If you have a question for John about his frame box just leave a comment and I’ll make sure he sees it.

Surly Knard & Rabbit Hole Tubeless…

Surly Knard + Rabbit Hole tubeless...

Surly Knard + Rabbit Hole tubeless…

I’ve been thinking about setting up my Krampus’ wheels tubeless for a while, but it really only made sense at the start of the spring/summer touring season. That slipped by last year without getting the project done so when this spring rolled by I jumped on it.

Going tubeless has a number of advantages:

  • less likely to flat
  • better traction
  • less rolling resistance

You’ll notice I didn’t mention weight savings. I didn’t do the math to 8 decimals places, but my feeling is that going from a 29er MTB tube to this method of tubeless doesn’t save much weight.

Why the split tube method?

  • easiest and most reliable method for rims/tires not designed to be run tubeless
  • reliability is critical on a touring bike
  • easy to remount bead and seal on the trail with a small pump

 

What I used...

What I used…

What you need:

  • Surly Knard tire [I use the 120 tpi version]
  • Surly Rabbit Hole rim
  • duct tape or other rim strip material
  • a 26″ bike tube
  • tire levers
  • scissors
  • sharp knife
  • Stan’s sealant
  • CO2 cartridge x 3 [1 is minimum, but having some spares is nice]
  • floor pump
  • bucket or something else to lay wheel on its side to seal up
Sealing tire/rim after seating bead...

Sealing tire/rim after seating bead…

How to:

  • remove tire from rim
  • remove existing tube [save it as an emergency spare for your pack]
  • inspect rim strip and replace if needed
  • cut 26″ tube in half so it forms a rubber strip with a valve stem in it
  • lay split 26″ tube in your rim roughly centered
  • install one side of tire bead so that bead pinches split tube against rim [excess split tube can flap around for now]
  • then install most of the 2nd bead inside the split tube
  • I find the next step easier if the wheel is hanging off a work stand or get a friend to hold it
  • shake your Stan’s bottle really well and fire 3 scoops into your Knard through the section of bead still open
  • pop the 2nd onto the rim
  • make sure the split tube is showing all the way around [doesn’t have to be even]
  • use a CO2 cartridge or a compressor to inflate the tire and seat the beads
  • optional – lube beads with soapy water before you seat them
  • tip – if bead won’t seat [CO2 blowing out sides] use a cargo strap of tape all the way around the tire to compress it a bit
  • use more CO2 or a floor pump to get tire nice and hard – say 30psi
  • shake tire for 3-4 mins to get sealant well distributed
  • let wheel sit on each side for 10-15 mins at a time
  • shake well and flip to other side
  • trim excess split tube with a sharp knife [sharper the better]
  • open beer and celebrate being finished! 😉

Rockshox Reba RLT mods for 29+…

Big green and rigid...

Big green and rigid…

I’ve been meaning to modify my RS REBA RLT for a while now, but kept getting side tracked. Finally Saturday after a solid morning ride and a nap I had the late afternoon free to tackle the project.

Jammed...

Jammed…

The Knard on RH jams up nicely in the stock fork. Won’t turn.

Gentle sanding...

Gentle sanding…

So I hit it with the dremel and sipped some beer while creating the clearance I needed.

Now she rolls...

Now she rolls…

Took about 1 beer’s worth of gentle grinding to get the clearance I was after and the tire turning freely.

Still solid...

Still solid…

Looks gnarly, but there is lots of material left and this mod has been done many times with zero reported failures so I think it’s pretty safe.

Clearance on top...

Clearance on top…

There is clearance now for all the conditions I ride it. We don’t get really sticky clay type mud in my part of BC and that’s the only situation I think this fork would be a problem with.

Clearance on the sides...

Clearance on the sides…

Lots of side wall clearance. Before mod sidewall would rub fork.

Next up tubeless Knards...

Next up tubeless Knards…

All in all a pretty minor quick mod that lets me use a “normal” 29er fork with my Krampus and not have to go Lefty and/or run some weird front hub.

I’m going to setup my Knard/RH wheels split tube tubeless next and see how the wheel fits before I mask off the Reba and paint it. The tubeless tire might change size and need a slight tweak to fit well.

BTW – the fork will go on my Krampus. I just left it on that 29er to make it easier to work on until I was ready for an install on the Big K. The puny rear tire is a Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.4″ on a Stan’s Flow rim.

Hope Rear Hub Maintenance…

To keep life and spare parts simple I exclusively run Hope hubs when I have a choice. They work well, are easy to maintain and adapt to almost all hub standards with a variety of end caps. I found this handy video that tells you how to disassemble and reassemble a Hope rear hub. Worth watching if you need to do some wrenching on one.

Nomad 30T Ring + New Chain

Bach guard and 30T ring...

Bash guard and 30T ring…

It’s been a year since I overhauled my Santa Cruz Nomad‘s drivetrain. This is the mountain bike that sees the most action by far in my fleet and I’m not just talking summertime rockstar rides. This is a year round workhorse that sees a lot of abuse.

Chewed up...

Chewed up…

The chain was still within tolerance, but the single ring was chewed up pretty good. The cassette looked fine so I decided a new chain and ring were in order.

Race Face 32T ring...

Race Face 32T ring…

One downside to running a single ring setup is that this ring takes all the wear and tear. Given how much riding we do in the wet a year from a chainring is okay by me. Thanks for all the hard work Raceface ring!

Andersen’s Machine 30T BCD 104 chainring…

Andersen’s Machine 30T BCD 104 chainring…

My current low gear of 32T x 36T is great most of the time, but we’ve been climbing some killer hills lately with guys that are very fit who are using wide range gearing. I can almost keep up, but I thought this was a good opportunity to put the 30T ring I got from Andersen’s Machine back on the Nomad. It’s paid for and that might be the little bit extra help I need to keep up with these fast riders.

New SRAM PC1031 chain...

New SRAM PC1031 chain…

I buy whatever is the cheapest SRAM chain that falls to hand when I need to overhaul my bike. 10 speed chains aren’t as cheap as the 8 and 9 speed chains I use, but It’s well worth keeping your bike running well if you ride regularly.

Shimano Zee derailleur...

Shimano Zee derailleur…

My Zee derailleur keeps on trucking with no maintenance. Perfect shifts and a quiet drivetrain are great and the cost is quite modest.

MRP chain guide...

MRP chain guide…

I decided to ditch the MRP chain guide I’ve been using the last year. It’s been perfect so this is more just to try something new than any needed upgrade. I had a Straitline bash guard that I got when my Nomad was brand new that I put back on. I only realized recently that Straitline is a company out in Sidney BC that manufactures its parts right here on Vancouver Island.

A little local pride never hurts. 😉

I’m hopefully that the Zee derailleur’s clutch plus my bashguard is enough to keep the chain in place. We’ll see what happens. If not I’ll put the MRP guide back on.

Bling!!!

Bling!!!

The Kona Wah Wah pedals that have been used on various bikes for years finally wore out. I will track down a rebuild kit and get them rolling again, but in the meantime I decided some gratuitous bling was in order. I love my Nomad lots so a pair of red Spank Spike pedals found their way onto my cranks. They are thin which is handy given how many rocks I have to ride through and the look slick! 🙂

Me and my Nomad last ride...

Me and my Nomad last ride…

Time to wear out some bike parts!

Bladders KIA

Nalgene Bladders...

Nalgene Bladders…

I used to be really good about keeping my hydration bladders clean. Then I got lazy – very lazy. When I went to re-fill my Nalgene bladder yesterday I noticed a lot of black mold inside – yuck! 😦

So I tried my “hard to clean area trick” and used rice + warm water + soap+agitation. It actually worked pretty well in the main compartment then I noticed the mold was all over the drinking tube as well – double yuck.

I remembered I had two of these bladders so I went and grabbed #2. And to my horror it was contaminated with mold as well.

Bummer!

Time to buy a new bladder. Lesson learned.

Here is how I have kept bladders clean in the past:

  • after each use rinse with clean tap water and let water drain through hose to rinse it
  • store in freezer between uses

It’s a simple and effective way to keep your bladder 100% clean.

I just have to stop being lazy and take care of my gear!

PS – I have bleached bladders in the past to kill mold. It worked on the killing side of things, but I could taste the bleach for months afterwards. Gaaacckk!

New Chains

At least the chain is clean...

At least the chain is clean…

I’m not much for maintaining my drivetrain. I remember to oil my chain once a month or so and it gets wiped down with a rag before and after lubing. That’s the extent of the love it sees from me. Living in the PNW my bike gets quite dirty during the fall & winter when it’s moist out regularly. So I’m quite happy with how well all my bike parts are hanging in there despite the neglect and regular use.

Fresh from my friends at SRAM...

Fresh from my friends at SRAM…

I do two things that definitely help my bike keep rolling:

  1. I don’t hose it down at the bike wash station after a wet ride. I use a damp cloth and/or a plastic brush to clean it at home which keeps the dirty water out and the grease inside the bearings.
  2. I change my chains regularly.
No seriously skip the hose! ;)

No seriously skip the hose! 😉

It’s been about a year since I installed my 10 speed Shimano Zee drivetrain. It has performed flawlessly even though it has been banged around, bumped and covered in crap most of the time. So I figured it was time for a new chain.

Looking at the rusty mess on Sharon’s Nomad [see does use the bike wash station!! :(] I nudged her into getting a new chain as well.

I do measure our chains with a checking tool, but it only reports when wear has gone farther than I would like. Chains are cheap. Buying a new cassette and chain ring is more expensive.

Comparing new and old chains I can see how much the old one has worn and become longer.

Glad I spent the $$ to replace our chains. Now it’s time to start wearing the new chains out again! 😉

The natural state of my mountain bike - dirty!

The natural state of my mountain bike – dirty!