Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another view...

A few posts ago i waffled on about making plans for the future and sort of chipping away at them to make big things actually happen.

This is the view from the west of the summit of Ben Lomond. Perhaps due to its proximity to civilisation, if Glasgow can be called such!, this hill doesnt have any real attraction to those who live for the wild places. It is often busy, which robs it of the isolation and maybe even the sense of risk that walkers desire. Nevertheless, as a bike route it has some good attributes. The west highland way, which runs along side Ben Lomond, is pretty good riding at this stage. You can be up it in under 2 hours, with good sections being rideable. It is a pretty reasonable technical descent. Nothing mind boggling, or with crushing exposure, but a good solid work out for rider and bike the whole way down. I had never considered the Ptarmigan Ridge of Ben Lomond before (which is what i am looking at in the above picture). But, you know, i might just have to pretty looks like it might be a little more involving...and that is no bad thing.

These are not termed the bonny banks for nothing...

Only the other day...

'Only the other day i looked forward to this airy barrier as a definite point in our journey homewards; but now i find it, all such resting-places for the imagination are like shadows, which a man moving onwards cannot catch.'

This was Charles Darwin in his Beagle journal. I came across this quote the other day in a book about a journey to the Antarctic. It describes the sense that often the physical way points of a journey take on a lesser quality when compared to the effects on the person that takes place concurrently and as a result of the journey.

This is something i wholly subscribe to.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

9 teeth is all you need.

A little while ago, i posted about new school micro drive mtb clusters. There are lots of reasons why they make sense. Suffice to say that with a 9, 10 and 11 tooth at the high range on the cluster, going down to 32, 34 or even 36 with 9 or 10 speeds gives a huge spread and although the 9 tooth might put more strain on the chain and be slightly less mechanically efficient in lab conditions, covered in mud and given how lttle time you spend in your top gear, and how low the torque is in that gear (admit it!), i doubt durability will be that much of an issue...but think of the benefits....!

(pic is Pinkbikes, from an article about this custom DT freehub body for Sam Hill and the rest of the Specialized DH boys bikes. I'm pretty sure this is a Shimano Capreo compatible system).


For the record the development (as in the distance a 26" wheel bike moves with one rotation of the pedals) for a 36:11 gear is 7.053m. Let's say you had a block with 9 teeth on the smallest sprocket, the same development, more or less, is achieved with a 30 tooth front cog (7.183m). So imagine how real-world useful a 32 or 34 chainring with a 9-34 or even 36 rear cluster would be?

(pic is VitalMTB's from their excellent interbike coverage).

Enter Canfield Brothers. With a can-do attitude, and a broad range of mountain bikes in their portfolio (including a new interest in 29er am hardtail set ups), they are bringing to market a hub that will work on most rear standards (135mm, 150mm, 157mm and i believe qr or 12mm and 9 and 10 speed compatible) that has a freehub body optimised to run the bottom 3 sprockets of a Shimano Capreo cassette. If you haven't heard of the Capreo group, it was designed to work with small wheel road bikes - think folders, Bromptons etc. 'Course with a small wheel, you need big gear ratios to give you resonable development. So, you use massive chainrings or small clusters. Bingo. The 11 tooth has a female fitting over the end of the cassette body splines (look up at that top pic) and it has male splines that the 10 tooth fits onto. This in turn has male splines that the 9 tooth fits on to and there is an external lockring that threads onto the end of the stepped down section of the freehub body. You only lose a small amount of lateral space for the bearings that typically fit in the freehub body.

I want one...or maybe 2...yes, i hope DT market the freehub body so i can use my DT hubs, but i think i'll be getting one of the Canfield hubs when it hits the market. With Hope also playing with this system, i doubt it will be long until really wide range 1x10 set ups are common place.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Wind as allegory and the 'cross season.

So much. So much.

The 'cross season is around the corner...last year i managed somewhere in the region of zero cross races. This year i'm hoping to try a little harder. We'll see how we go. As part of my 'cross specific training program, i spent a bit o' time parked on my fat arse looking at pictures of what is going on at interbike. Theres been some stuff of interest to me at eurobike and interbike, and one of those items is the even fatter tyres from Surly.

I think this picture (belonging to Chris King's flickr) sums it up best...

By this time in the year, over the last decade, i would probably be coming down off somewhere in the region of 12 plus hours of riding a week. At present i'm squeaking out about 2. I'm fried by work and the constant battering of 4.30am wake ups with Daisy. She is just getting crawling going with a consistent forward direction (you should have seen the look of surprise on her face as she went for something in fornt of her, but ended up reversing and often pirouetting around over the last fortnight). We're kind of hoping that as she gets less frustrated and more mobile and thus presumably more tired she sleeps a little more...we could certainly do with it.

As such, you've got to find the time to squeeze in what you can, right? so when i took my car to the garage i use in Bathgate, i decided to ride back to Glasgow. Of course, i knew we were still under the effects of Hurricane Katia and as such i would face a headwind for 60 km. Well i did. A brutal, mind numbing and deafening headwind. I learnt all about the larger cogs on the 10 speed block and was incredibly grateful that i had the foresight to bring an ipod to provide a psychological boost as the wind roared through me. Still, despite managing to get lost yet again as the national cycle route 75 takes detours and bypasses building work in Airdrie, i got home somewhat happy that i had chipped out a couple of hours ride time.

So with that, i'll turn on the iplayer and watch some of this weeks rugby world cup with a beer and a thousand mile stare...Hodala!'s to cross season!...

(Picture is the Bikehugger's...)

Friday, September 09, 2011

Saint 2012?

A few posts back i had wondered aloud whetehr Aaron Gwin's rear derailleur might be a mash up of the xtr trail plus and Saint mechs. It might be, but here, 4 minutes in on Pinkbike's 'just the tip', Brett Tippie and Monkey (the Trek world racing mechanic) discuss the new (presumably Saint) shimano brake and rear mech prototypes Mr Gwin was using in Champerey.

Eyes peeled - i can only imagine what the new Saint brakes will be like given the transformation the xc orientated ones have had and that rear mech is on the want list.

Course some other guy called 'Danny' is in there too...

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

New World Order.

There has been lots to see at Eurobike...several things i am interested in are the advent of lighter 83mm bb cranks (such as the e thirteen 'r' model and a slew of lightweight race bikes - most interesting of which were the pro's 'works' bikes - Fl├╝kiger's Trek and Nino Schurter's Scott for that stuff...

But the game changer in some ways has to be the proto Maxxis Minion 2.5 29er tyre. Seen on As one of the most respected 'all mountain' tyres it heralds the new world order.