Tuesday, April 15

Cargo Bike Build Complete

I finally got the cargo bike build completed… up 'til now I had been borrowing parts from other bikes to make this thing rideable.  But now the wheels are built, the gearing has been changed, the kickstand is mounted, and it's ready to roll.

Not pictured above is the new gearing.  The front rings have been changed to 38/28, which gives me better road gearing and provides a bit more clearance between the chain and the chainstay yoke.  With the 22T ring up front the chain would hit the yoke on bumps.  I might play around with the rear gearing in the future; it is currently a 9 speed cassette reduced down to 7 cogs for tire/chain clearance.

The kickstand was the final framebuilding task, and it ended up being a pain in the butt.  The original plan of using a Civia double kickstand didn't work out because of poor ground clearance.  I thought about using a Yuba kickstand, but I think there would have been foot/kickstand clearance issues.  The only other double kickstand option that I found (that I thought would work) was the Pletscher.  So far, so good.  I wish it had a wider stance, but it seems stable enough as long as it's on firm ground.

I'm not sure if it is frame flex, the fat tires, pannier movement, or the long wheelbase (or all of the above), but it has a strange feel that I'm still getting accustomed to.  I will say, it has been a lot of fun riding this bike around… it's a really comfortable ride.  I even got out on some local rogue trails for my first dirt of 2014...

Go ride a bike.

Sunday, March 30

Fender Season

Spring is finally in the air, which means it's fender season in Mpls...

All my studded tires have been swapped out and stored for the season, and the trainer (which didn't really get that much use) has been pushed back into the corner of the basement.  I'm looking forward to green foliage and dry dirt.  Until then, I'll enjoy the warmer temperatures while out riding the pavement.

Sunday, March 2

Solo Winter Ride Photos

Some of my favorite photos from solo rides so far this winter...

Saturday, February 22

DIY Studded Fat Tires

Using the #8 x 3/8" self-drilling pan head sheet metal screws that I used last time, I studded up a pair of retired fat tires.  These screws are made out of 410 stainless steel, which is harder than (but not as corrosion resistant as) standard 18-8 stainless.  The self-drilling screws also have a nice multi-edge tip on them.  The 410 resists wear significantly better than the 18-8 screws I've used in the past, and hasn't shown any rust so far.  I think using 410 stainless really makes it worth the effort required, and brings DIY studded tires closer to the durability of production studded tires.  You'll still want to limit the amount of time these studs spend on pavement.  

I found these online for about $6 per 100 screws.  While they won't be as durable as a production studded tire or Grip Studs, they are significantly less expensive.  Grip Studs are $1 per stud!  The biggest disadvantages are the reduced wear resistance, and the added weight of the larger stud and the silicone.

I put 150 screws in both a Larry (front) and Endomorph (rear), and the added grip on ice is impressive.  The picture of the Endo above only shows 100 studs.  I ended up adding 2 more studs (inboard of the studs shown) to every other row of knobs for a total of 150 per tire.  Same pattern on the Larry.  150 is more than enough for great traction, even on glare ice.  I can skid to a stop on an ice rink with these suckers.  

The Process:  If it is dirty or dusty, clean the inside of the tire.  After laying out the pattern, I poke a hole through the knob from the outside of the tire so I know where to install the stud.  I used an old spoke that I sharpened.  From the inside of the tire, I screw in the stud by hand using a screwdriver.  I thought about using an electric screwdriver, but I wanted to have a feel for when the screw was tight.  This is a tedious process, but not difficult.  After all the studs are in place, I apply a dollop of silicone sealant to cover the heads of the screws (to prevent them from puncturing the tube).  I give the silicone a few days to set up, then install the tube with an abundance of talc.

Here is a shot of the track left by the tires… you can even see the holes in the snow from the studs.

Back To Your Regular Programming...

While there are some things I liked about Tumblr, it has its own issues.  So I'm back.