Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Wear It Out
February 9th, 2020

Many moons ago when Levis tried to put the squeeze on a little British company called Howies. It put them into the national news. Since then and for a long time before I have been working fulfilling a Howies philosophy – wear it out. Last week I had to retire three pairs of jeans and trousers, some more than 20 years old. Time for a new pair, but none of this skinny jean nonsense.

Howies Jeans

Howies Jeans

Howies Jeans

Howies Jeans

February 4th, 2020

So after going to California, riding a 29er hardtail and spending time in Mike’s Bikes in Sausalito, I decided that it was time to make some changes in bike ownership and get a Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz Chameleon 29er

Whilst the Carbon option looks lovely I’m not sure it’s justifiable to pay the premium to save 1lb in weight. So the alloy frame it was with a combination of repurposed parts of other bikes to personalise it.

Forks off the Scott, Push Tuned by TFTuned with external lockout. Front wheel rebuilt onto a Hope Pro4. Hope headset to replace the Cane Creek one before it gets wet and seizes solid. Hope Race Brakes and floating rotors. Forged and CNC’d stem. SDG Saddle. XTR SPDs. Sensibly Helicopter taped. A tad over 29lbs for the lonnnng XL frame. More photos here.

Winter trail exploring bike sorted. Question is how long can I put up with the vague SRAM NX (not exceptional?) shifting.

Not straight forwards
January 26th, 2020

Order new Hope pick and mix headset for hardtail. On basis that Cane Creek might be fine for California but seems to last about 5 minutes in the British climate.

Spec is IS standards top and bottom for a 1.5 tapered steerer. Parts arrive. Fettling commences.

Bottom half no problem. Straight in. Split bottom races for fork steerers are a lot easier than trying to drift off tolerance fit ones.

Top half set was incomplete, no top cap in the packet. A week later top cap arrives. Concern that it’s not the right bit emerges shortly after. Err no that is not the right bit. Turns out there is an IS41 type 3 top half (pictured above) and a type 7.

That’s now on order, let’s see if it works…

Welcome to 2020 #YourBike(s)HatesYou
January 13th, 2020

It’s 2020. Yay.

After a very slack year, I am going to go backdate some posts to fill in the gaps, if nothing more than to celebrate December 2019 which was pretty cool and inspirational.

On that basis the fleet is getting a major overhaul to get it back into shape. By the end of last year it was all looking very sorry for itself.

  • Independent Fabrication Ti Deluxe: Needs a rear wheel rebuild
  • Independent Fabrication Ti Cross Deluxe: Mothballed pending sale
  • Independent Fabrication Ti Crown Jewel: SRAM Crankset broken. Non drive crank has come unbonded from alloy axle.
  • Scott Genius: Slow rear puncture of doom. Dropper seatpost has mind of its own. Front fork doesn’t lock out.

Getting the Scott sorted was the first job. New 36 Factory fork is a great improvement over the 34 Performance which is currently with TF Tuned.

Last night I took the tire off to find all the sealant had dried up so added in 4 fl oz, repositioned the Scwalbe Procore inner so it worked as designed, and added a new o-ring seal on the valve stem. Pumped up to pressure and water tested so the test will be tonight when it comes out of the Avant to see it’s held pressure.

Then I went to fix the X Fusion HiLo Strate dropper post. After giving it a fettle and clean, when reassembling the saddle cradle the alloy surrounding the rear bolt snapped. Must have had a fatigue crack in it.

So it’s a good thing I had a spare normal seatpost off the new project to keep that rolling. The X Fusion appears to need special attention so will need to be fully stripped and serviced if a replacement upper clamp assembly is available…

2019 Summary
December 31st, 2019

#Disapponting #Moreworkthanriding

Year in Sport

The year that was:

  • 88hrs biking
  • 1,752km
  • 22,912m climbing (that’s 2.6 Mount Everests)
  • Longest ride: 3h30 Marin Headlands including most climbing in a single ride (978m). Thank goodness for Califor-ni-yah

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides