Thursday, December 27, 2012

29+ and then some

Strolling through the Facebox webosphere, wasting time as if that is nothing new and I click on the Surly blog post link in my news feed. One can usually find something entertaining to read around those parts. It's wasn't the blog they linked that really caught my attention but an older entry that had some photos that stopped me dead in my mouse tracks.

I'll be damned if that ain't the new Krampus rocking a Fox fork! I wasn't sure if I was seeing this correctly so I kept on scrolling and there were several more.

It had to be the Krampus but no where in the blog post was there anything mentioned about running a suspension fork on the 29" FAT bike. I immediately went to the information hole of Surly's site and read the fine print that clearly states that Surly does not recommend running a suspension fork on the Krampus due to tire clearance. Then they go on to state the frame is 120mm suspension corrected. WTF?

I'm determined to get to the bottom of the mystery pics and why did they post so many on their blog if the don't recommend it?

Since the introduction of the Krampus I've been a very curious boy and watching my friend Spencer ride his Pugsley all over the freaking place with a big smile plastered on his face it makes me want one even more. The wheels are turning my friends and this could be a bad thing. An email will be promptly sent to Surly demanding answers shortly.

My email: I'm sure you guys have already been asked this question but what's with the pics of the Krampus running a Fox fork on your blog recently? Your site clearly states running a suspension fork on the Krampus is not a good idea but then there are pics of you guys doing just that? What's the scoop, can you or not?

Greg Carr

Surly's reply: Greg, You cannot - or rather, you should not. Our party line is that there is not enough clearance to run a suspension fork with the Krampus. We are working with various fork manufacturers to see about changing this in the future. I hope that one of them will have a stock fork that will work soon.

Until then, my lawyer won't sleep at night if we tell you that it's ok with current fork models.

Eric Sovern
Surly Bikes

So were they riding prototypes? Doesn't really look like it as there was very little tire clearance. Why am I so obsessed with the Krampus? Cause I want one really bad, bad enough I'm considering selling the FROG to fund the purchase.
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

my 5 minutes of fame

Yesterday I ventured out to one of the local bookstores in hunt of a certain mountain bike mag I've never read or bought before. It's a smaller magazine that only prints quarterly and being that it's published on the farthest reaches of the west coast and costs $10 a pop not too many of us east coast hillbillies have heard much about it. The reason behind my search for this magazine was because it contained my picture, big, bold and well um beautiful, in my eyes. A friend of mine had found it and told me about it, actually gave me a funny award at a Christmas party for it but I had yet to see it so I figured I'd better go looking before it was too late.
How did I get featured in a magazine? Well I didn't really, it was a piece more about my local trails and our little club who built them. Back in spring I was contacted by one of the contributing writers by the name of Kristian who I immediately thought was a female about doing the article. Kristian said she was an editor from Freehub magazine who ironically lives in Boone NC and wanted to come down for a ride and ask a few questions. I said sure and did a quick search on Freehub and thought cool but that was about it. Fast forward a couple of weeks and some hard questioning by Melinda about this woman I was meeting for a ride I decided to Google her. Well to my surprise Kristian was a guy and not just an editor for a cool magazine but also the guy partly responsible for the new bike park, Rocky Knob in Boone.
We were scheduled to ride in June which was suffering from a pretty serious heat wave so we opted for an early ride to stay as cool as possible. When I arrived at the trailhead the temps were well past 90 and climbing. We did a brief introduction and a little history about the place and mounted up our steeds for a ride. All along the way I answered questions about the trails and our club in between deep breaths. About 2 miles from the finish I felt my energy bank bottom out completely and for the first time in a long time I found myself unable to finish the last climb out. I had to do the embarrassing hike a bike up and out. I couldn't figure out was was wrong and I sure felt stupid pushing in front of this guy who was there to do the article.
Once I finally made it back to the car waves of nauseousness started rolling in. I knew this wasn't good because Kristian was wanted to know more, ride more and take a few pics. I tried my best to rally myself and shake it off but it wasn't happening. We opted for a cool rock to snap some pics on that to my relief wasn't far from the trailhead.
I think I rode down that rock 4 or 5 times to get the perfect shot all the while trying not to blow chunks in front of the camera. Finally in my best "I promise I'm not this weak" voice I explained that I wasn't feeling too good and would have to cut it short. I felt bad but he assured me that he had what he needed and I could do some more Q&A via email.
On the way home I cranked up the AC, drank some water and prayed I would make it home without having to pull over and blow chunks on the side of the road. I did make it but pretty much crawled in bed and stayed there for the rest of the day and a good portion of the fallowing. After some self assessment and doing a bit of searching on WebMD I concluded that I was dehydrated and suffering from heat exhaustion.
After my sluggish performance and early exit I felt pretty bad for the club and the hard work that had been put into the trails. Our first chance at a magazine article and I might have blown it. I sent an email to Kristian explaining my sickness and gave him as much info on the trails as possible hoping for the best.
Finally yesterday I got to see the rewards, a sweet four page spread that looked awesome! I couldn't have been more proud and excited for our club and the trails. Surprisingly my picture was featured big and glossy right at the beginning. Thankfully you can't really tell I was feeling awful as I rode down the rock. 

Once I finally saw the finished product I was relieved to see it turned out great and I shot Kristian an email thanking him for doing such a great job and shining a light on our little gem.
I'll be autographing copies of the magazine, if you can find one, tonight at the group ride. I'm gonna milk this one for all it's worth, hahaha.


Monday, December 10, 2012

riding at night

It's gonna be a crappy rainy day forcing me to stay inside so I figured this would be a good opportunity for me to waste some time and blog a bit, but not too much time as Melinda left me a rather lengthy "Honey do list" before she left for work this morning.
Last week I decided that enough time had past in my "time off the bike" in order to reduce my lower back pain, that coupled with missing a few Tuesday Night rides and catching some flack about it from a certain bike shop employee for not showing up. I decided to join the guys for a ride which ironically, said bike shop employee did not show up but plenty of fast people did. My plan was to take it slow and easy, that didn't happen as I ended up being one of the slower riders of the evening. The good news was that I was able to hang with the guys and stay mostly pain free.
I've been itching to test out my new LED headlight for a couple of weeks and the weather was too perfect not to ride. How odd is it to ride at night in December in shorts and short sleeves and finish the ride with sweat pouring down your face? Thank goodness for global warming right?
I wrote a short review of my thoughts on my new light on our local forum but since Facebox killed the forum I figured sharing it again here wouldn't be too redundant.
I've written several times before about the various lights I tried out and this newest one I think is probably my favorite of them all. I will admit to you now that I was smitten by the price a couple of years back like so many were but I've also realized you get what you pay for with those lights.
I bought two Magicshine's, one for me and one for Melinda and within a year we got the dreaded recall information on the batteries. Like most we received the new ones and disposed of the old ones in the wrong way, our trash can. The new batteries worked great for about 3 or 4 rides last year but once the night riding season kicked off this fall I found out the hard way that these batteries sucked too and left us in the dark in less that an hour into our ride.
Right then I knew it was time to stop being cheap and start hunting for a new replacement light, one that I could buy local, not online from China.
The light I finally decided on was the Cygolite Expilion 700 and I will say I was VERY impressed.


I ran it at a mix of settings to see how well it performed, 400, 650 & 700 lumens. At 400 I felt comfortable riding at a good pace, at 650 & 700 I could go as fast as I wanted without worry.

Comparing this to the Magicshines the only downside I could find was the cost. I spent a measly $30 over what I paid for my last Magicshine but that doesn't include the shipping cost I paid for the MS.

The pros I found over the MS were the Cygo was smaller, lighter and all in one unit, I hate having a cord running down my back that I have to disconnect in order to take off my helmet. My MS claimed to put out around 800 lumens but obviously my Cygo was as bright or brighter at 700.

Other pros are, I bought this from my local bike shop who will take care of any warranty concerns I have if any arise. Buying a quality LED from a local shop really is a big plus for me. One cool thing I really like about this light is that I can cary a spare battery if I feel the need that is slightly bigger than a regular AA and that I can swap easily on the fly, tool free.

I recently read a review on the newest LED's on the market done my MTBR and they had a nice chart showing the claimed lumens and the actual recorded lumens they found in their test. It was not surprising to see that there were a couple lights in the test that did not actually put out the lumens they advertised. For example the Magicshine MJ-808 claimed to put out 1000 lumens but MTBR recorded only 648. Something else I've heard is that the MS puts out the most lumens per dollar but is that true if your technically only getting half the lumens the company claims?
Sadly Cygolite was not featured in the test but in my own little un-scientific test I think they are very close to the claimed output since they advertise 100 lumens less than my old MS but seem to be brighter on the trail.