Saturday, 14 December 2013

Gears and Blackness

On Friday a little package arrived from Ceeway containing the cable tie brazons, so pretty sharpish the whole beast was stripped down and bits were stuck on with the hot glue gun. I was pretty excited, so I completely forgot to take any pics of this process sorry, I shall flagellate myself for my this oversight.

The drivetrain package arrived early last week and also got fitted up quickly, It took virtually no effort to get set up and has been working perfectly. It is still a pretty tight squeeze to the tyre when in the lowest gear, but it hasn't been rubbing or banging yet so I am happy. The gearing works pretty well in the real world. As a result of this I have been riding this relentlessly this last week, using the flimsiest of premises to go for a spin, and always with a massive grin. I commuted to work on it one day and even got three scalps, although I suspect this is something like the equivalent of a granny bike so anything is fair game. Unfortunately all this usage meant that the frame has been getting wet and as a result a fair amount of surface rust keeps appearing. I was getting bored with buffing it off all the time so I thought I would smash on some Matty B primer on it to marginally reduce the corrosion. This is the result, which I think looks pretty awesome, although it clearly shows up the extra work the fillet brazing needs. I am not sure that this will be the final colour though;

I silver soldered on a copper logo, then took to it with a hammer for a more industrial effect
The fillets are not too bad here, much worse elsewhere
The current Pogward logo
The fresh 1x10 drivetrain - SLX cassette, XT dérailleur and shifter
Many cable tie brazons were added. This also adds to the industrial effect
The coin definition is better now that it is all one colour
A single brazon for the front brake cable. I wrapped the cable around to the front as it was getting mashed against the back of the fork tube when it got near the downtube
The MattyB shows up flaws in the brazing pretty well. I will be able to see any cracks coming for sure
I thought this was pretty good, but it needs a fair amount of work on those fillets
I can see some hours getting used up here *sigh*
So this is pretty much it until after Chrimbo, I am tossing up whether I take this or the Disc Trucker on holiday, the trucker is more capable all round, but this is just so much fun...

Sunday, 8 December 2013

A weekend of fatness

The courier gods were indeed smiling upon me, because a fat package was found in my letterbox on Friday morning containing the single speed tensioner. I had already decided to take the day off so after a quick trip to one of the many bike shops I frequent for a brake cable and a new seatpost clamp, the kit was fitted, tested and the bike was clearly gagging for a shakedown. I wasted no time and drove out to Mcleans Island for a burn. I have been out there fairly regularly, but I had to ask someone where the track started because the main track appeared to be closed off due to logging. Once I had been put right I set off around the now very bitsy 10k loop. The bike performed flawlessly though, and after a time I forgot about the forks breaking etc and just fell into a sweet rhythm. The bike pretty much disappeared from consciousness, leaving me to enjoy the ride, which I took as a sign of great success.

A dusty The Fatness, last Friday
I had 20PSI in those tyres, Dave suggested I halve that pressure, which has actually increased the awesomeness

So all this effort to get the thing rideable was so I could honour Global Fatbike Day. I texted a chap I know called Kevin who has a Surly Moonlander to see if he wanted to catch up. As it turned out he had already organised a fatbike ride starting from Chain Reaction in Riccarton - stoked!

I grovelled to my wife for an eternity, even offering to give up rights to my usual Sunday ride in return for leave to tag along with the other Fatty boys. I had to make myself cry before she relented, but she eventually did, so at 10 am sharp on Saturday morning I was there.

It was awesome fun, bombing around the city for a couple of hours finding interesting things to ride over and playing Fatbike bingo, which you play by shouting bingo when someone asks what they are for or says that they have very big wheels etc etc. We had many many bingoes. We also played Fatbike Wife Swap, where we each rode everyone else's fattie and compared characteristics. A great day out and it inspired the creation of a Fat Bikes Canterbury facebook page.

A collection of Fatbikes, yesterday. The white one has custom front suspension and one other had a dangerous looking lefty suspension setup.
The Fatness leaning up to Kevin's Moonlander. Kevin has every possible accoutrement on his bike, it weighs quite a lot. The Fatness was almost worryingly light in comparison
Stopping for an iced coffee at the St Asaph Street Kitchen
I have been using pretty much any feeble excuse to take this for a ride now, I sneaked out this afternoon for a bout of sub-urban off roading in the rain. As I get used to it's handling things just get better and better. I am genuinely stoked with this machine.

Also according to the internets my wee package of drivetrain components has arrived in Christchurch and is waiting to be dispatched to my house bright and early tomorrow morning. I hope it all fits ok...

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Fatness

I have been cranking through the work on this as fast as I can in preparation for World Fatbike Day on December the 7th. Young Dave mentioned this when I went in to pick up the bits for the 2x9 drivetrain I intended to fit to the beast. I took this on board as I figured what better way to celebrate than with the birth of a new fatbike. Not a finished fatbike mind, but hopefully a functional one.

I have hit a couple of snags though..  mostly involving my utter noobness when it comes to dérailleur setups. Initially I had thought I would just fit the standardish 3.8" tyres, but fairly early on in the build when I saw just how awesomely fat the Big Fat Larry's are, I decided I needed to have them. Unfortunately the last time I paid any real attention to trivial things like chainlines was before this decision, so when it came time to attach the driving bits it was immediately apparent that the tyre was going to hit the chain for nearly every useful gear when in the small front sprocket.

I was a bit put out by this failure of Shimano to accommodate my requirements, but after a modicum of thought and calculation of ratios I decided that a 1x10 setup could be made to work, and as long as I didn't use the bike for land speed record attempts I would be pretty much ok. I then ordered a 32T downhill front ring, a 11-36 cassette and a nice dérailleur-shifter combo. This gives me a lowest gear pretty much equivalent to the Disc Truckers second lowest gear, which should be enough for getting up hills. These bits may take a week or 3 to arrive and I wanted to be mobile for the 7th, so I bought a single speed Kit off a very pleasant TradeMe chap called Dan. I suspect I could have talked to Dan a lot longer that would be appropriate for a supposed work day I was bunking off from, plus I was scared he would show me other bike parts and I would be powerless to resist, so I made my escape. I am now waiting on a single speed tensioner to make the thing actually rideable. Fingers crossed for this week.

The seatpost was another wee snag, I assumed that the ID of the seatpost was going to be 27mm according to the specification, which meant a simple job of reaming it out to 27.2 was going to be the go. Upon inspection the seatpost tube actually measured 26.6mm and it seemed a shame to thin things out too much, especially as Canyon flips will soon be part of my repertoire no doubt. I could only find a second hand Thompson Elite Inline seatpost on Trademe that was smallish enough at 26.8, so I grabbed it figuring it would do for now, and if it is too rough I would find something else later. In the mean time Dave leant me a vintage MTB post that at least allows me to get a seat on the thing.

I also had a wee beg on Vorb and borrowed some useful bits from a chap called Gumby - I can't tell you how useful that stuff has been - I owe that man a beer. I also did the same from an old workmate called Mike, and between the two suppliers I have sorted an acceptable cockpit sizing.

So anyway, today I decided I was going to ride it no matter what, even though I had a droopy chain, so I chucked the seat from my single speed onto it, checked everything over and rode it up the road. It was hilarious fun even though the chain meant I couldn't put any real power down. It feels pretty good, with no obviously bad handling characteristics or waywardness. It is a bit hard to say though so I shall wait till I have used it in anger. The main thing I notice is the incredible thrumming noise from those tyres...

I dub thee 'The Fatness'
I am sure I could ride across the Cook Strait without pontoons on those tyres
I am gagging for that chain tensioner to arrive
The offending drivechain area
A probably illegal use of the local currency
That vintage Brooks actually looks pretty good on The Fatness
So there is still quite a lot to do, I have ordered many many brazons from Ceeway that will allow me to tidily zip tie the cables to the frame. This system is on the disc trucker, and as I am using full length cable sheathing it makes a lot of sense. Then sorting the drivetrain and after that some testing is in order, and then many hours of cleanup before I get it coated. I am not sure exactly what this will be yet, but a decision is getting closer...