After a bit of research (ok, alot, maybe a week of reading about it) I bought a Salsa Cowbell 3 handlebar to install on my CCX. I like riding on the hoods alot and the gentle flare on these make it possible without compromising comfort, unlike the big flare of the Woodchippers. The slight flare is also suppose to make riding in the drops more comfortable, which is great because I don't ride the drops at all right now because of comfort. Time will tell how well the work out, I only have an around the block spin on the bar but so far it seems quite nice.
Install was easy as replacing a handlebar. Duh. I've read that the Cowbell works the best when the flats are level or close to it. I leveled them out and did a slight rotation down as per my personal preference.
Brifters go on. I run them high on the bar as I like the transition from the tops to the hoods to be as flat as possible. Seems the most comfortable for me.
Wrap the bars and enjoy. I'll be doing a review of these bars after I've got a bunch of miles on the bars.
It was a hot one this afternoon. High temp of 31 degrees with a humidex of 37 (99 degrees fahrenheit for you old folks) but it didn't stop me from enjoying some deserted singletrack at Turkey Point. The bugs are dying down, although the deer flies are still bad on the West Side. The powerful summer sun was beating down hard and turning the forest floor into a boiling mix of sand and pine needles. The smell of the sand and pine is so sweet, my favourite smell of all time. My cousin and I use to stop along the trail in the sunny areas and just take in that smell of pure summer at TP. Nothing quite like it.
The Fatboy continued to impress me today, fast and hooks up everywhere. This is a bit of a "fat race" type of bike with uber quick handling and a smooth cushy ride.
Regardless of the heat, I still managed a pretty big ride. I hit everything on the East Side (except for the Anderson Tract and Dump) with Planet of the Apes and West Ridge tossed in for good measure. I loaded my Wingnut to the brim with water and ended up drinking all 3 liters of water. Any bigger of a ride on one of these hot days and I'll have to pack a bottle on the bike for some extra water, a big guy has to drink.
I also took a stop at a large patch of poison ivy that I had fallen into earlier this year. I ended up with PI all over my legs and arm, a healthy prescription of Prednisone and I was right as rain in 3 weeks. Fucking Poison Ivy. I have to admit, it was a bit of sweet revenge when I pissed all over the damn bush. I think TP is the poison ivy capital of Ontario. This shit is everywhere.
All in all, a great ride. No other riders out there today either. Lots of fatbike tracks in the sand though, I'm not the only crazy ass out here.
Not being the kind of person who can leave well enough alone, I went ahead and swapped some parts on the Fatboy SE in favour of some nicer bits. I changed out the brakes with Avid BB7. If Specialized is listening - spec the best mechanical brake made if your going to spec mech brakes! I also took out the heavy Specialized tubes and used some Q tubes in place of them, saving over a pound in rotating mass! I'm not real big in the OEM 2x driveline either, so away in went and a OneUp 30T narrow wide chainring with a OneUp 42t cassette adaptor to give me a nice wide range of gears along with the change from the Sunrace cassette to an XT unit.
I also weighed the tires and found that they (the 60tpi wire bead) weigh the same as what I've seen reported for the pricier 120tpi folding tire. Also, a good call with the XT cassette. The OEM Sunrace cassette had already dug into the aluminum freehub body during the round the block trip that the bike had seen before me. The XT has aluminum carriers for the first 6 sprockets to keep this damage from happening again. Again, if you're listening Specialized - don't spec a cheap ass cassette on an aluminum freehub body you asses! Lucky, its very minor. I've seen much worse after a few hours of singletrack riding.
I previously used a Wolftooth GC40 cassette adaptor and a Race Face narrow wide chainring on my Nashbar (click here for review), but decided to go with the OneUp package this time (watch for a review in the future).
I ended up dropping nearly 2 pounds with this setup.
The rest of the build kit is a no frills get-it-done type of spec. The bars, post, stem are run of the mill but get it done. The wide 750mm bars will take a bit for me to get use to. I also decided to give the OEM Body Geometry seat and grips a chance.
I rode a nice loop at TP today, nearly all of the East Side trails with some West tossed in. The deer flies are bad right now on the West side. Mosquitoes are getting better on the East. I put the Fatboy through its paces on a nice 30+km ride. It did not disappoint, it handles great just like the demo bike I rode last month. It feels light and the traction is amazing from the Ground Control tires. I did a bit of dialling in the pressures and ended up at 10 psi rear, 8.5 psi front, according to my digital low pressure gauge. The seat and grips worked well and will stay on the bike for now. The 1x driveline works great, always the right gear at hand (bad pun, hahaha). With all the black on black and the huge tires the bikes has a bit of a "Batmobile" look to it, I always did want to be the caped crusader. Anyways, I'll do a more formal review once I've had the bike for the long term. In the meantime, here is a healthy dose of bike porn.........
The 2016 Specialized Fatboy SE
I couldn't say no. The bike was offered to me, in brand new condition with a ride or two around the block on it for less than half of the new cost. Owner bought it, rode it around the cul-de-sac and parked it. Lucky me. Looks like she just came off the showroom floor. Its a Specialized Fatboy SE in black, very very black, like Johnny Cash black. I was impressed with the Fatboy model when I test rode on at the WCC open house so it was a no brainer. I've got a few plans for this bike, drop some rotating mass, 1x10 driveline, maybe even a Bluto fork? We will see.
Got out very early this morning in an attempt to beat the heat but to no avail. The cicada's were buzzing by 7am and the heat / humidity was on the rise. I managed a loop of Saudwinder, The Burn, Spinal Tap, Dizzy, Humpback, Wedowmaker, and Earshot before calling it quits. It was a good ride, just damn hot, and the mosquitoes were thick again.
I took the Nashfat out for a spin today, will be ripping it down to have it painted for winter soon. Thinking a nice black, but that might change because of a recent acquisition of mine that happens to be black too. Watch for more on that in the coming days.
So it seems that bike magazines these days are lacking in the content department. I can say without a doubt that most are just glorified bike ads. Have you seen a bike review in Mountain Bike Action lately? Pretty much just cut and paste text talking about how fucking awesome and cutting edge the bike is, with big high def photos of said bike. They are usually in the unobtainium range for average joe as well, costing usually between $5000-$9000. Then they just regurgitate the same bull shit on each page for each product until the magazine you pay for at the news stand is dripping with manure.
My favourite part of these mags is when they showcase a product then try to play off the cost as if its a great deal. MBA had a little feature a while back on some wheels that "didn't break the bank" at a tune of $1500. What The Fuck. I didn't even pay $1500 for my bike let alone wheels, and this is a budget wheelset for you? What are you sniffing MBA? Glue? Maybe all that methane gas from the bullshit flying around your office has gotten to your heads.
Bicycle Times featured a polo jacket made for cycling around the city looking like a fucking hipster douche bag for over $400 and said it was a great value. Da Fuq? I tried to like this mag, even bought a few issues. Its just that the overall hipster fuckheaded-ness was too much, that and the fact that they think electric bikes are actual bicycles. Dumbasses.
Dirt Rag isn't bad but not every mountain biker swills back beer so could you piss off with the 'bikes and beer' attitude? Nothing pisses me off more than the "tip your mechanic with a beer" or "I'll bring the post-ride beers" kinda attitude. I don't drink, and I don't give a fuck if you do or not, but don't paint a picture that makes mountain bikers look like a bunch of tailgaters posing around their bikes.
Bicycle Magazine is out there for the discerning roadie, and with columns like "Style Man" it delivers. I mean, how could you not have a column dedicated to being a fashionable rider? If you aren't fast, at least you can look the part, right? Oh the vanity.
The best magazine I read was back in my early days of riding (late 90's) when Mountain Bike was still being published. It had Zapata Espinoza as editor and Dan Koeppel writing the column "Hug the Bunny". It was informative enough with decent reviews that actually pointed out the shortcomings of some bikes and had just enough of that "fuck you" attitude to be real. Most folk didn't like Zap but I enjoyed his column. We need more of this. Right now. We need reviews that can actually say "hey, -insert company name- , you've built some real junk over the years and some winners, and fuck you just because". I also want to see reviews of real world bikes. The kind that people in the 99% buy in the $400 - $2500 range. Someone needs to point out the obvious bull shit money grabs too and call these bastards out on their own bullshit. It would be great if a mag said "hey Sram, your new Boost hubs are a bunch of bullshit, fuck off with the new standards already", rather than the all to usual paid review saying how Sram is "revolutionizing" the bike industry by adding a couple of millimeters to front and rear hubs.
I'm starting to sound like a grumpy old retro-grouch so I'll quit my bitching. But hey, if you like reading these cookie cutter mags with photoshopped images then all the power to you. Just remember to put it down, forget the hype, and go for a nice ride on your already kick ass bike.
It was big. I got tired. Started in Simcoe on my CCX with the trailer and little Bric in tow. The plan was to ride into Dundas to my sister-in-law's house for a pool party / BBQ with Little Bric riding along the entire way. Looked easy enough to link together a loop using all the rail trails from Norfolk / Brant / Hamilton.
We started out in Simcoe along the Lynn Valley Trail, heading north out of town and hitting the Sunrise Trail at the Lion's Park. The Sunrise Trail is short and turns into the Waterford Heritage Trail.
We rode over the Black Bridge in Waterford and continued north. After some saddle time we reached the boarder of Brant County where the trail turns from gravel into pavement. Nice touch Brant County!
We reached Mount Pleasant and Little Bric needed to stretch his legs. We found a park just off the trail and he spent some time playing while I massaged my legs. I was running out of fluids already, we need to find a store soon and get a drink or two.
We rolled into Brantford and I ran out of water. We crossed the bridge over the Grand River and found a gas station with a store. I got a juice for Little Bric and lots of water for myself to get me to Dundas. A quick run through the city along the pathways and we were on our way, riding the Brantford - Hamilton rail trail.
Somewhere between Brantford and Hamilton it started falling apart. I was getting exhausted from the effort of pulling a 50lbs dead weight on wheels behind me on gravel and the beating sun on me. Stops to stretch my legs were getting more and more frequent. I finally had to call Mrs. Bric for a rescue boat at Copetown Road. We were within 10km of our destination but I could no longer go on. Mrs. Bric picked us up and drove us the 10 min to her sisters place. I was disappointed in myself, I didn't finish the trip and the pictures to document it got missed as I was having some brain fade. In the end though, Little Bric had a great time, it was a huge ride for him. We rode 64km in total. Maybe next time we will make the entire distance. Until then, more riding to Dover with Little Bric to build my legs up and harden up my butt.
Got up nice and early for a Hydrocut ride in Waterloo. Was at the trailhead getting geared up just before 7am. Had the place pretty much all to myself, although near the end of my ride there were alot of riders heading into the trails. The ride was problem free except for a nagging clicking sound thats coming from my pedals. I re-installed my crankset and greased it thinking that that might have been the problem, but it remains.
Trails were in excellent shape, save for a bit of overgrowth near the hydro lines which it typical with this area. Once again my favourite trail was The Bridge. You can come down that thing absolutely smoldering with speed, I was rippin'.
The mosquitoes were horrendous today, I went in figuring that much as the guys on the Defiant MTB Facebook Group had reported this a couple of days ago. Just don't stop moving, even with the DEET. I need to get back out the The 'Cut again this year, its always a great ride.
I like Shimano hubs. The cup and cone bearing system is the best one out there. Smooth and serviceable, least amount of resistance compared to other cartridge bearing hubs. They do have one caveat though...... the freehub bodies are total fucking shit. I've destroyed quite a number of them over the years and am use to replacing about two a year on average. I even keep a personal stock of freehub bodies to keep me going, just in case the supplier is back ordered. To be fair though, I've also ruined the likes of DT Swiss and Ringle freehubs too.
A recent ride took out another one on me, I decided it was time for a garage file on replacing and tuning your shimano hub.
Above you can see that my freehub is totalled. Time to rip into it.
Remove the rear wheel from the bike and get the cassette off. On this particular model of hub I had to remove the brake rotor as well (centerlock).
Get your cone wrenches out and break the locknut loose on the non-drive side. Remove the cone from the non-drive side and pull the axle out the drive side. Working with the non-drive side is easier as you can get a firm hold on the nuts without interference.
Now place everything on a rag and keep it organized, clean and set aside. Be sure to note how many bearings are in the hub, this model (like most Shimano) has 9 bearings per side.
Use your big 10mm allen wrench and remove the freehub body.
Grab the new freehub body, make sure to reuse the washer behind the original freehub body (if equipped). Grease the threads of the freehub retaining bolt and install after cleaning the hub face.
Now pack the bearing cups with grease and install the bearings one side at a time. I do the drive side first then slide the axle though to hold the bearings in place when you flip the wheel and work on the non-drive.
Now install the non-drive cone and lock nut. Tighten the cone with your fingers only then install the lock nut. Now put your 17mm cone wrench on the lock nut and use the 15mm cone wrench to TURN THE CONE BACKWARDS INTO THE LOCKNUT! Just snug it up. Don't go crazy here. Now grab the axle and you should have a little bit of play in the bearings. Use the 17mm cone wrench on one side and a regular 17mm wrench on the other and slowly tighten the nuts, this will rotate the entire locknut / cone assembly on the non-drive side. Turn it just enough to get the play out of it, the axle should spin freely.
All done, just put the cassette back on and the rotor, put the wheel in the bike, double check your brakes and shifting, adjust if needed. Easy as that. Shimano hubs kick ass, just wish they could build a freehub body that wasn't made from cheese.
I got my Jandd Frame Bag back in November (First Look - Jandd Frame Pack) and it has lived on my Norco CCX for most of the time since then. Its well constructed from Dupont Cordura, a pretty damn tough material. It features two pockets, the right side zipper opens up into the large main pocket, big enough for spare tubes, pump, tool, first aid kit, keys, cell phone, and a few other bits. The left zipper opens into the flat pocket great for holding maps or other flat-ish items. The total capacity is about 3 liters and the bag weighs under 200 grams. The zippers are tough too, you can easily open and close the pockets while still riding your bike.
The bag comes in a variety of different colours to suit your tastes. It has extra long straps to adapt to whatever frame configuration you have, then cut the straps to length and cauterize the ends. My frame bag has been covered in mud, soaked in water, sweat on, dripped with snot (ewwww) and still looks great. its a damn tough all purpose gear bag. I might just buy another for my mountain bikes.
Jandd Frame Pack (link)
Capacity - 3 liters
Weight - 173 grams
Dimensions: 6.75 x 16 x 2 (in) 17 x 41 x 5 (cm)
Price: $41.95 usd
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.