|The girls hanging out, reading their books. Happy b-day, Pac!|
Friday, September 20, 2013
|2013 Surly Pugsley frame, size XL, or 22".|
I can unequivocally attest that fat tires equate big fun. The only running concern I've had about the Pugsley is the frame size. I'm about 6'2", and have a 89.5 cm PBH measurement. I'm fairly tall, sure, but I'm not a giant. I have a 22" Surly Big Dummy, which seems to fit pretty well for my mostly around town trips. I also have a 58 cm Surly Cross-Check, which at times I have wished was instead a 60 cm. When I was in the market for a Pugsley, I couldn't quite decide between a 20" and a 22", out of concern about standover clearance between the top tube and my nether regions while on the soft surfaces likely to be encountered on a fatbike.
Apart from standover clearance, I own bikes that have effective top tube lengths similar to both the 20" and 22" Pugsley, and tend to prefer those with a longer top tube. However, nothing beats an actual ride on a bike to be sure. The problem was, I had difficulty finding Pugsleys of any size to test ride. I was able to try a Large sized Salsa Mukluk, which seemed a decent fit, but in the numbers, is somewhere between the 20" and 22" Pugsley. I'm a steel-frame sort of guy, so I didn't seriously consider the Mukluk, though I'm sure it's a great bike.
I scoured internet forums and reviews, reaching the conclusion that random impressions of fit among a wide range of people, even of similar height to mine, is not particularly helpful. When the time came, the issue of standover clearance must have been at the fore, as I made the plunge toward a 20" frame. The bike rode great and the giddiness of playing with fat tires made me initially unconcerned about the flagpole length of seatpost sticking out of the frame.
|My 2012 Surly NecroPug, 20".|
Eventually, I thought about the situation. I acknowledged that riding a fatbike is now part of my DNA, and that I'm in it for the long haul. But what about the options? A lot has happened in fatbikes in just the last year, with new models popping up regularly. Yet, though my experience, I greatly enjoyed the versatility of the Pugsley; it can accept the full range of fat tires, from the stock 3.8" fatties, to 3.0" 29ers on Rabbit Hole rims, to 4.8" super fatties with a slightly modified drivetrain. I'm also not particularly interested in carbon or aluminum for reasons of expense and/or dependability, nor am I interested in sacrificing versatility by committing to a bike limited by tire size options. So, weighing the possibilities, an upsized Pugsley frame was the answer I chose.
|Meet the new boss, not quite the same as the old boss.|
|Park HHP-2. It's nice to have the right tool for the job.|
|Parts swapped over, the new 22" Pugsley is complete.|
|29er wheels on my new 22" Pugsley.|
|WTB ExiWolf 2.3" tire with plenty of clearance in the Moonlander fork.|
|The non-offset wheel looks a little odd in the rear, but the rear of a Pugsly looks a little odd no matter what. Plenty of tire clearance even though the centerline is 17.5 mm closer to the drive side.|
|The non-offset rear wheel tracks a little to the right of the centerline, but it doesn't seem like much of a problem. No matter what an evolutionary biologist may tell you, bilateral symmetry is overrated.|
|Like this, the Pugsley could easily be mistaken for a Karate Monkey at a casual glance.|
|Looks more or less normal, even from the back.|
In the mean time, I am likely to have a used but in good condition 20" Pugsley frame for sale, likely offered as a good deal to my loyal readers. Look for more details here soon. Until then, happy trails!
Thursday, September 19, 2013
|The Ridge Runner in its revamped form.|
For years, I pined for my first Miyata; my original mountain bike that I had stupidly sold long ago. When I found a Ridge Runner as a replacement earlier this year, it was mostly stock, and had been seemingly unused for much of its life. As it turns out, lack of use is both a good and bad situation when it comes to the longevity condition of a bike. It took me some time to take the Ridge Runner apart, inspect it, and put it back together. Along the way, I rebuilt everything that could be rebuilt, and even so, had to substitute several items for those that were no longer up to par.
Join me now, on a whimsical adventure as I strip the frame and reassemble it, as only an old bike nut can.
|First sign of trouble. The bottom bracket exhibited considerably less than free rotational action. At about this point, I began to wonder if only old timers like myself still possess semi-obsolete bottom bracket tools such as this.|
|That is 29 years worth of old, waxy grease that no longer has any lubricating value. Difficult to spot in this photo are the tiny fragments of metal embedded throughout. You got it, a shattered bearing.|
|On the positive, inside the frame was clean and without any sign of rust.|
|My suspicions were borne out after cleaning the spindle, when the drive side race was clearly pitted. One of the ball bearings had mostly disintegrated at some point in the distant past, and its fragments subsequently chiseled away at the race.|
|Next up was the rear derailleur. The upper pulley of the SunTour MounTech derailleur had a thick wad of waxy grease and an impressive quantity of embedded hair wrapped around it. I don't know why, but hair often ends up in pulley wheels.|
|Having things apart allowed me to confirm, as suspected, the frame features SunTour dropouts.|
there's a good article about it here, and frankly if you've read this far, why not?
|I have few spare SunTour derailleurs, so the first I considered was the Cyclone M-II.|
However, the Cyclone M-II not quite right for my Ridge Runner. I don't intend for this bike to be a museum item, and it would be a shame to beat up the Cyclone off road. Moreover, it doesn't have quite the chain capacity that I need, so I dug a little more in my parts bin. I located a set of circa 1985 SunTour XC Sport 7000 derailleurs. The rear would likely have been of the sort used for warranty replacement of a faulty MounTech derailleur. Perfect. Incidentally, it was somewhere around this time that SunTour transitioned to being spelled Suntour, with the lower case T.
|SunTour (Suntour?) XC Sport derailleurs.|
|Presto! The same derailleur, suddenly clean, through the magic of the internet.|
While cleaning the frame and parts, I found some cryptic indicators denoting era of manufacture, further underscoring 1984 as the year of production of the majority of the parts on the bike. I couldn't help but think of the dates I found in relation to the events of my life at the time. Ninth grade. Not an entirely happy time for me. I suppose any year in which Ghostbusters and Star Trek III came out wasn't all bad, though.
|The super clean Dia-Compe brake levers are inscribed "0184", likely month and year of manufacture|
|The end of the Nitto bullmoose bar is stamped "Cr-Mo" and "R-R", possibly meaning the bar design was specific to the Ridge Runner. Who knows?|
|The "M" in the serial number signifies 1984, but I have no idea how to interpret the rest of the number. Yep, no chain marring here, baby.|
|Clean and temporarily devoid of parts.|
|I've been wrapping the drive-side chainstays of my bikes with tube strips since 1988, and I'm sure others were doing it well before me. It's how I generally begin a build.|
|That's a Park Third Hand tool, a Park Fourth Hand tool, and a 10 mm wrench simultaneously used to adjust the front brake. As much as I like old bike stuff, I'll take the much simpler adjustment of Avid BB7 disc brakes over this any day.|