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  1. #1
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    One of these kids ain't like the other ones...

    I've spent most of the last decade fanatically obsessed with traveling long distances on snow, and usually in Alaska. Without writing a book here, the easiest way to go far on snow is to be able to travel fast while conditions are good. In order to travel fast, you need to travel light and sacrifice creature comforts like dry socks and warm food. And shelter. Over the course of the last decade, I developed my own 'science' for doing this, and it has served me well when going fast.

    But the thrill of going fast has started to fade, and I've really started to enjoy going steady (not fast, not slow, just continuous movement) for days at a time, and just enjoying the scenery unfolding around me. In a word, touring. The difference is that most of the places that I plan to go touring the next few years have never seen bicycles, and the reason for that is that there are neither roads nor trails to ride on.

    If you want to ride on snow, and in places where there are no trails, the only way to do that is to have some serious flotation. And to be mentally okay with walking a lot when the wind is up or the snow is falling. I'm okay with both, as long as I'm seeing new country and my camera is working.

    In '98 I had a Marin hardtail that the brother's Sycip chopped the rear end off of, then tacked a new one onto, so that it could accept the biggest tire available--the Nokian 3.0 Gazzaloddi. Coupled with a cheap rigid fork out of my LBS's fork barrel, it was the best thing going at the time, and those 26 x 3.0's allowed me to ride the entire Iditarod trail in 15 days. But the bike had serious issues with geometry, length (19" chainstays, anyone?) and drivetrain (only 5 operable cogs out back, and "operable" is a stretch), so I sold it and used the proceeds to have Willits build a new one.

    The Willits Big Rig improved on the Marcip in every way possible: more tire clearance, better geo for snow riding, a full 8 speed cluster, 16.5" chainstays--the works. It rode like a normal bike, except for the flotation, which was way above average. It even had clearance for the new crop of fat 3.5" Remolino Tires mounted on the impossible (now) to find 82mm wide Sand Rims. I bonded with it on a second trip up the Iditarod (this time in 17 days) and I was sure I was gonna own that bike til the day I died. Then Surly came out with the 3.7 EndoMorphs, and the Willits' days were numbered because it couldn't clear 'em.

    Enter the Snoots. Without going into the why's and what for's of every little detail, it is the most purpose built bike I knew how to ask for, and Brad at Moots was at least as passionate about creating it as I was/am about having it. The purpose has changed from going fast and traveling light to going slow and enjoying the ride, and as a result the bike needed several modifications that are not all that out of the ordinary when taken one at a time, but add it all up and...

    ...well...

    I don't know what you get. But it sure as hell floats. I know that the next few winters (with a few potential summer trips on the horizon) are gonna be innerestin'.

    Without further ado...

    MC
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    Last edited by mikesee; 04-08-2006 at 11:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    More pics
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  3. #3
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    Next batch...
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  4. #4
    Cold. Blue. Steel.
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    Wow!
    That is sure purposeful looking.
    Hydros work in the sub-freezing conditions, eh? That is good news.
    Is that the fork that hold your cooking gas?

    Thanks for sharing. OGG
    Spinning and Grinning...

  5. #5
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    Some fully loaded shots, and a few trail shots. No time (tonight) to give further details or a ride report. Hopefully tomorrow.

    Til then, let's see how many details y'all can pick out, and (much more importantly) if you can successfully explain the reasoning behind said details.

    BTW--on the next-to-last shot, to give you an idea of the 'scale' of the tire's footprint, that's a size 50 Lake shoe, with a full size Sorel liner stuffed into it. For summer rides I wear a 42.

    G'night.

    MC
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    Last edited by mikesee; 04-07-2006 at 09:41 PM.

  6. #6
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    Wow

    WOW, those are crazy conditions. Great shots. Why is the saddle slighted to the right?

    I wear those same size 50's on every ride!

    Thanks for showing.
    GET Bret Weir, I said.

  7. #7
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    Wow ... thanks for posting a full range of pics. Impressive ride.

    Hmm. Endomorphs, check. Large Marge rims, check. 70oz fuel-carrying capacity in the fork legs and downtube, check. (Not to diminish this incredible innovation, but we have known about this feature for a few weeks. Very, very cool.

    I see 135mm axles front and rear, for swappability and up-front tire clearance. Or wait ... are the axles wider than 135? I only see the DT 440 available with QR in 135mm, but the the TA versions also come in 150mm and 165mm -- that fork looks suspiciously wide, so I'm wondering if you got one of the wider versions and did some special conversion to QR. Also did you have to go with a 100mm BB shell, a la Pugsley?

    Fork looks like it has a lot of total offset, both at the crown and again at the dropouts. I presume this is to clear your size 50 Lake boots (I thought they went up to 48?) No surprise -- my regular size 44 shoes have no problem even with booties on, but my size 46 Lakes buzz the tire on my Vulture.

    I notice the front hydraulic and rear mechanical disc brake. Not familiar with the specific disc, being such an avid Avid user. Full length cable to the rear, of course, to keep ice out ... but still, if you were going to do one of each I might have guessed you'd do it the other way. So still scratching my head trying to figure that one out.

    Who built the trailer? Hard to tell w/o closeup pics, but clearly not BOB with the 3.0 Gazzi out back and using some kind of bolt system that attaches it to the frame above the dropouts. Is the "narrow" 3.0 on the trailer for better tracking in deep snow? OK, and whassup with a disc brake on the trailer? There's clearly not just a disc but a brake too. I could definitely see the usefulness, but how is it activated? Wait now I'm starting to see why you're running a cable disc on the back of the bike -- are you using some sort of cable splitter to allow a single lever to control both the trailer brake too? Also, I see a cassette on the trailer wheel -- is this so you can swap your skinny, full-knobby tire onto the rear of the bike for traction while climbing on firmer snow?

    Finally, does the right seatstay have a valve to dispense silicone spray onto the cassette to keep it from packing up with snow?

    I still have more questions than answers I guess.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 04-07-2006 at 10:48 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Whats the story with the fork?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdrunk
    Whats the story with the fork?
    Bontrager--Switchblade
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  10. #10
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    Wow

    I'm going to guess that it is a Moots trailer, that connect to the chainstay, see pic:

    It doesn't look like there is a brake caliper on the trailer, but possibly a spare rear wheel with different gearing ratio cogs, or just in case.
    Looks like the "front" wheel is interchangable as well:


    I'm guessing the petcock on the fork is used to hold/ dispense white gas, or whatever he is using to cook with.

    That is very cool MC, it really shows that you put alot of time into this and Moots delivered.
    I'm looking forward to your ride report.

    Dan
    Last edited by AOF; 04-08-2006 at 07:34 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Curious?

    All the wheels are swappable. Two cassettes, are they the same ratios? It has an odd looking non driveside dropout on the fork. I'm not familiar with that, or the snow is hiding things I can't make out. I noticed rack mounts on the fork and rear stays, but you opted for the Monster BOB trailer instead. Interesting handlebar. Bar ends, like the old Syncros or welded on ends? Foam grips it looks like to me.

    Nice set up Mike. Can't wait to hear the answers!
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  12. #12
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    Yeah give it up....

    give us the answers already!

    What are those strange looking skewer nuts? do you have to take the skewers out to remove the wheels? It looks as if the forks dont have dropouts, but rather holes for skewers to go through...which raises a few other questions.

    NEAT bike.

    It is neat to see something like this even though I couldnt stand the weather that it is meant for.
    My ego is bigger and better looking than yours.

  13. #13
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    neat! All wheels interchangeable just in case.
    Trailer mounts directly to frame!
    Big QR levers for use with gloves.
    Fork legs hold fuel. Why is my rigid fork making sloshing noises???
    Only boring people get bored.

  14. #14
    oaken tub i'm in
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    What are those strange looking skewer nuts?
    Rockshox Maxles, no? A through-axle kinda thing.

    I wonder how long you'd have to drag the brakes to get the fork-stowed gas to ignite. Not a problem on a snow bike of course.
    Comparisons are odious.

  15. #15
    drev-il, not Dr. Evil!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Next batch...
    Yowza! Very cool.

    Just curious, what do you use as your primary source of hydration? Bottles or Camelbak? I ask because I only see one bottle (but you may have others stuffed in a pack...or melt snow?), but it's so far down, seemingly hard to reach without stopping.
    "Keep your burgers lean and your tires fat." -h.d. | ssoft | flickr

  16. #16
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    You guys are good.

    Some answers--I don't wanna give away too much.

    150mm hubs on all three wheels. Remolino Sand Rims--not Large Marge's. Rock Shox Maxle's on all three wheels, for tool-free (hence gloves-on) removal in the cold. No brake on the trailer, just a spare cassette and rotor "in case".

    No pics of the racks yet--but they are Moots Ti. The trailer proved to be about 4 times larger than necessary, so it'll be shortened and modified sometime this summer. Built by Lenz, and NO (his words) he won't make another one.

    Bar ends custom by Walt, and NO (sensing a theme here?) he won't make another pair.

    20oz of white gas in each fork leg, 40oz in the downtube.

    jl--Pipebomb is clever, but Bigwheel beat you to the punch in naming the fork Valdez.

    MiCly--seat tilt is actually just camera angle. It's straight on the bike.

    Lots more that y'all are missing. Keep it up--shouldn't take but a few more hours to get it all figured out.

    I'll give one HUGE hint, which pertains to the wheels, BB, cranks, and frame/fork as well: the wheels are built on-center. Any guesses as to how/why this was done?

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 01-29-2007 at 09:05 PM.

  17. #17
    try driving your car less
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    You guys are good.



    I'll give one HUGE hint, which pertains to the the wheels, BB, cranks, and frame/fork as well: the wheels are built on-center. Any guesses as to how/why this was done?

    MC
    only one spoke length throughout?
    Only boring people get bored.

  18. #18
    Feet back and spread 'em!
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    fuel pressure?

    Are the schrader fittings on top of the fork legs to pressurize the fuel to the stove?
    looks like they hit the down tube as there is a big bump pad there.
    there's a fitting on the down tube too.

    and what's with the white tape on the fork and seat stays? reflective for visibility or rub strip or maybe some sort of snow shedding trick?

    and your stem looks kinda funky. can't really see it, but is that your light mount on the bottom side?
    and your bar-ends look suspiciously fat. are you storing stuff in there?...batteries for the lights or are those the lights?

    On a more general note...if you getting into Long Slow Distance, are you hinting about some sort of super ultra mega endurance outing coming up? Alaska to Patagonia maybe? circumnavigate the US coast on the beaches? I'm sure it will be fun and well documented, whatever it is.
    Last edited by bikecop; 04-08-2006 at 10:44 AM.

  19. #19
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    I want one

    I just don't need one.
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  20. #20
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    Imagine how many socks you could fit into my size 52 Sidi's.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by noslogan
    I just don't need one.
    That's the name of a band out of Richmond, VA.
    Comparisons are odious.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    I'll give one HUGE hint, which pertains to the wheels, BB, cranks, and frame/fork as well: the wheels are built on-center. Any guesses as to how/why this was done?

    MC
    I assume by "on-center" you mean flange center, not axle end center. I would make a couple of guesses. Someone already said to use the same spoke length, which would potentially reduce the number of spare spokes you would carry (if any at all). Can we assume that your frame and fork are dished to one side? Monty and Megamo used to do that for their trials bikes so the rear wheels would be built centered between the flanges.

    With 150mm hubs, aren't the flanges centered between the locknuts anyway?

  23. #23
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    Seems like a waste to not put the fuel in the tires, so much room there :-)
    Klok - XC - Skate - Ski

  24. #24
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    Do I see H2O cage braze ons on the back of the fork legs?

    Building the whole rig and trailer on center should make the design of the trailer and its pivots simpler to keep the thing balanced and turning geometry easier to calculate.

  25. #25
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    The only thing that stood out to me that was not mentioned was the Gripshift.

    Simple, reliable, easily actuated with gloves. The only intelligent choice.

    My preferred shifting method as well.

    Same wheel build so all the wheels track in the same line in the snow?

    Also, super slack HA for toe clearance, necessitating lots of offset, also improving toe clearance.
    Last edited by Enel; 04-08-2006 at 01:22 PM.
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    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  26. #26
    I'm how far behind?
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    I thought the whole family was weird, but your's takes the cake

    Nice build up, definately lots of thought went into those mods. That trailer is is great, how does it ride? I know he said no more, but so did Brad a few years ago.... I don't think I would ever be out long enough to use one, but you never know. I didn't think I'd be doing half the stuff I do now 5 years ago.

    As you can see, I could not resist the great deal on the snowbike, so here is a picture from my first ride this morning. Just a short ride to the back of Keystone. I started to late and the snow was pretty slushy by the time I finished. Tomorrow I'll start earlier and higher. You definately have a beefier fork than mine, I think my crown is either a rockshox or manitou, it is a little flexxy but will definately do the trick for what I'm planning on doing.

    Good stuff,

    jim
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    Hmm. Endomorphs, check. Large Marge rims, check. 70oz fuel-carrying capacity in the fork legs and downtube, check. (Not to diminish this incredible innovation, but we have known about this feature for a few weeks. Very, very cool.
    No, they're not LM's. The LM's are 'only' 65mm wide, and as a result the tire takes on a more rounded shape that makes keeping the bike on line in soft snow (even at 3psi) a handful. But using the 82mm wide Sand Rims, the tires are much more square in profile, so you not only track straighter, you use a lot less effort doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    I see 135mm axles front and rear, for swappability and up-front tire clearance. Or wait ... are the axles wider than 135? I only see the DT 440 available with QR in 135mm, but the the TA versions also come in 150mm and 165mm -- that fork looks suspiciously wide, so I'm wondering if you got one of the wider versions and did some special conversion to QR. Also did you have to go with a 100mm BB shell, a la Pugsley?
    See above (below?) comments about 150 hubs and Maxles.

    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    Fork looks like it has a lot of total offset, both at the crown and again at the dropouts. I presume this is to clear your size 50 Lake boots (I thought they went up to 48?) No surprise -- my regular size 44 shoes have no problem even with booties on, but my size 46 Lakes buzz the tire on my Vulture.
    69 degree HTA, but it seems the fork only ended up with about 61mm of trail. I'd asked for ~92, and the difference is noticable. Gonna ride it a bunch more before I decide if I need to change. 70 degree STA, 11.75" BB.

    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    I notice the front hydraulic and rear mechanical disc brake. Not familiar with the specific disc, being such an avid Avid user. Full length cable to the rear, of course, to keep ice out ... but still, if you were going to do one of each I might have guessed you'd do it the other way. So still scratching my head trying to figure that one out.
    I wanted to test them side by side (back to back?) to see if I preferred one over the other, and also to see if I could get one or the other to hiccup in the cold. The hydro has SO MUCH MORE POWER. Temps only got down to -31 on this trip--no problems to report.


    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    Who built the trailer? Hard to tell w/o closeup pics, but clearly not BOB with the 3.0 Gazzi out back and using some kind of bolt system that attaches it to the frame above the dropouts. Is the "narrow" 3.0 on the trailer for better tracking in deep snow? OK, and whassup with a disc brake on the trailer? There's clearly not just a disc but a brake too. I could definitely see the usefulness, but how is it activated? Wait now I'm starting to see why you're running a cable disc on the back of the bike -- are you using some sort of cable splitter to allow a single lever to control both the trailer brake too? Also, I see a cassette on the trailer wheel -- is this so you can swap your skinny, full-knobby tire onto the rear of the bike for traction while climbing on firmer snow?
    Devin Lenz built the trailer. The trailer wheel is also an 82mm wide Sand Rim with a Surly 3.7 tire, 150mm hub and Maxle attachment. No brake on the trailer.

    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    Finally, does the right seatstay have a valve to dispense silicone spray onto the cassette to keep it from packing up with snow?
    I considered it, but lubing the chain for pure snow riding happens so infrequently that it just didn't seem worthwhile. I rode 700+ miles on this trip, much of it on sanded, icy roads, and still had no need to relube when I was done. Both times I rode the Iditarod I went the full 1100 miles with only one relube, and I don't think I really NEEDED it--I just did it out of habit.

    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    I still have more questions than answers I guess.
    Well, let's hear 'em...

    MC

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jh_on_the_cape
    only one spoke length throughout?
    Ding ding ding!

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikecop
    Are the schrader fittings on top of the fork legs to pressurize the fuel to the stove?
    looks like they hit the down tube as there is a big bump pad there.
    there's a fitting on the down tube too.
    Yes, to pressurize the fuel cells. This will change this summer, but the bump pad won't. The fork crown is so wide and the fork is also non-sus corrected (standover in soft snow was way more important) that the crown will always hit the DT.


    Quote Originally Posted by bikecop
    and what's with the white tape on the fork and seat stays? reflective for visibility or rub strip or maybe some sort of snow shedding trick?
    Reflective.


    Quote Originally Posted by bikecop
    and your stem looks kinda funky. can't really see it, but is that your light mount on the bottom side?
    and your bar-ends look suspiciously fat. are you storing stuff in there?...batteries for the lights or are those the lights?
    Stem has velcro tape underneath to help stabilize the bar pack. Good eyes. Bar ends are fat because more surface area equals less pressure on hands. More comfy.


    Quote Originally Posted by bikecop
    On a more general note...if you getting into Long Slow Distance, are you hinting about some sort of super ultra mega endurance outing coming up? Alaska to Patagonia maybe? circumnavigate the US coast on the beaches? I'm sure it will be fun and well documented, whatever it is.
    The Alaska part is right, but it's only a small part of it.

    MC

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nonracerrichie
    Do I see H2O cage braze ons on the back of the fork legs?

    Building the whole rig and trailer on center should make the design of the trailer and its pivots simpler to keep the thing balanced and turning geometry easier to calculate.

    Yes, there are bottle bosses on both fork legs. Each cage (King Iris) holds a stainless thermos, so that I can have two hot meals during the day (helps to keep my core temp up) without having to stop and cook.

    The on-center thing seems to be throwing people. Perhaps I should have written it differently. The wheels are not offset. Ring any bells?

    MC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soloracer
    As you can see, I could not resist the great deal on the snowbike, so here is a picture from my first ride this morning.
    Congrats on the score. For god's sake man, RUN (don't walk) down to your nearest LBS and order a pair of Nokian 3.0 Gazzaloddi's. Much more control, much more traction, much less fighting the bike. Oh, and they'll last a season or three, where the Remolino's are good for ~800 miles.

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Well, let's hear 'em...

    MC
    What lube are you using?
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee

    The on-center thing seems to be throwing people. Perhaps I should have written it differently. The wheels are not offset. Ring any bells?

    MC
    150 hubs build dishless, don't they? So you get equal spoke length, as previously mentioned, and you also don't have to use a spacer in the truing stand like you do with the offset Pugsley wheels.

  34. #34
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    Thinking out loud

    "The on-center thing seems to be throwing people. Perhaps I should have written it differently. The wheels are not offset. Ring any bells?"

    Yes, it is throwing me. The wheels are not offset, spoke lengths are the same, flange heights all look pretty similar, rear hubs are used all the way around, 150mm, and you have a good chainline.

    The Pugsley and Fatbike "emulate" a 170mm wide hub by using a 135mm hub and offsetting the frame 17.5mm on the non drive side, plus the fork is offset. See the Pugs here:



    By going with a 150mm hub, you could move the non drive stay out another 15mm compared to a 135mm hub, and would only need 10mm offset in the frame. If you could get drivetrain clearance with something less than a 148mm bb spindle, perhaps you could reduce the offset further, perhaps to the point where frame offset would not be necessary. This kind of thing makes my brain hurt, but it is fun.

    Your stays and fork look pretty symmetric in the pics, but are they? Is there any offset in the frame or fork? How about some head on pics of the rear stays and the fork.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel
    What lube are you using?

    VooDew:

    http://www.mpc-home.com/products-cycling-voodew1.php

    MC

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtDad
    Yes, it is throwing me. The wheels are not offset, spoke lengths are the same, flange heights all look pretty similar, rear hubs are used all the way around, 150mm, and you have a good chainline.

    The Pugsley and Fatbike "emulate" a 170mm wide hub by using a 135mm hub and offsetting the frame 17.5mm on the non drive side, plus the fork is offset. By going with a 150mm hub, you could move the non drive stay out another 15mm compared to a 135mm hub, and would only need 10mm offset in the frame. If you could get drivetrain clearance with something less than a 148mm bb spindle, perhaps you could reduce the offset further, perhaps to the point where frame offset would not be necessary. This kind of thing makes my brain hurt, but it is fun. Your stays and fork look pretty symmetric in the pics, but are they? Is there any offset in the frame or fork? How about some head on pics of the rear stays and the fork.
    If I wasn't in the middle of refinishing wood floors (sanity break at the moment) I'd go out and take those pics. But there's really no need--everything is symmetrical. No offset anywhere. There is a SMALL catch--the 135mm BB that I'm using gives me chain/tire rub in small ring/big cog. I've already contacted Brent at PW and he's gonna swap my 135 BB for a 140. That should solve that.

    So the combo of all the above mentioned factors adds up to a good chainline, no offset wheels, no offset frame or fork, no silly ISIS BB, and no E-type front der. I'm using a 20 x 29 up front, with a 12/34 out back.

    Make more sense?

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by dr.welby
    150 hubs build dishless, don't they? So you get equal spoke length, as previously mentioned, and you also don't have to use a spacer in the truing stand like you do with the offset Pugsley wheels.
    Yessir.

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    Puzzled

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Everything is symmetrical. No offset anywhere...gonna swap my 135 BB for a 140.

    So the combo of all the above mentioned factors adds up to a good chainline, no offset wheels, no offset frame or fork, no silly ISIS BB, and no E-type front der. I'm using a 20 x 29 up front, with a 12/34 out back.

    Make more sense?

    MC
    So this then is the puzzle. I am missing something. If you build the wheels as described, they would look something like this, schematically (I did this in like 2 minutes in Word, so feel free to flame away):



    Mounted on a symmetric bike, it would look like this:


    (that is actually the opposite, a centered wheel mounted in an offset frame, but the effect would be the same).

    You must counter this somehow to get everything centered again. And you do not do it with the frame/fork itself. Is it some kind of cleverness with the Maxle? Are the mounts for moved over to recenter things? Does not look like it in the pics.

    Is it the coriolis force? Can you ride the bike in the southern hemishere, or do you need to turn the left to go straight? Do you take advantage of the magnetic pole, and that is why you like to ride in Alaska? Do the spokes protrude 1 inch into the rim just for the sake of being the same length? Do you use alien technology or hyperspace travel?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtDad
    So this then is the puzzle. I am missing something. If you build the wheels as described, they would look something like this, schematically (I did this in like 2 minutes in Word, so feel free to flame away):



    Mounted on a symmetric bike, it would look like this:


    (that is actually the opposite, a centered wheel mounted in an offset frame, but the effect would be the same).

    You must counter this somehow to get everything centered again. And you do not do it with the frame/fork itself. Is it some kind of cleverness with the Maxle? Are the mounts for moved over to recenter things? Does not look like it in the pics.

    Is it the coriolis force? Can you ride the bike in the southern hemishere, or do you need to turn the left to go straight? Do you take advantage of the magnetic pole, and that is why you like to ride in Alaska? Do the spokes protrude 1 inch into the rim just for the sake of being the same length? Do you use alien technology or hyperspace travel?

    I think what Mike is saying is that he's using a 150mm hub in order to build a wheel with no dish. The flange spacing is the same on the drive and non-drive, hence the matching spoke lengths.

    Then, to compensate for the wider hub he's using a super long spindle. This also helps in the chain/tire clearance department.

    That scenario makes sense to me....unless I'm missing something here...

    Mike?

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    Mike:

    Is a longer stem an advantage on a snowbike....tiller effect so to speak? Slows down inputs and decreases feedback from the trail.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel
    Is a longer stem an advantage on a snowbike....tiller effect so to speak? Slows down inputs and decreases feedback from the trail.
    I run an 80mm. In the above pics I was running 100mm, but that got pulled off as soon as I got home from AK.

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by donkey
    I think what Mike is saying is that he's using a 150mm hub in order to build a wheel with no dish. The flange spacing is the same on the drive and non-drive, hence the matching spoke lengths.

    Then, to compensate for the wider hub he's using a super long spindle. This also helps in the chain/tire clearance department.

    That scenario makes sense to me....unless I'm missing something here...

    Mike?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel
    Same wheel build so all the wheels track in the same line in the snow?
    Yes, but also so that as the miles add up and the sidewalls start to wear down, I can rotate wheels to get a fresher tire on the rear of the bike.

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    Steering, offset and head angles...

    ... wouldn't a Hopey Steering Damper really be a helper in the snow?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparrow
    ... wouldn't a Hopey Steering Damper really be a helper in the snow?
    Yep. Right up until it froze.

    MC

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    Nah, Tim would custom valve and/oil it for ya'

    If you can make a star ratchet run at 50 below, surely Hopey can revalve and/or change oil for you to make it work in those parameters. NOT something to just jump on with such short notice, but maybe get the ball rolling testing one out (extreme cold weather Hope Damper, that is) for next year.

    There are steering dampers at work on satellites and aircraft right now at temperature lows we don't see on earth. Should be doable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparrow
    If you can make a star ratchet run at 50 below, surely Hopey can revalve and/or change oil for you to make it work in those parameters. NOT something to just jump on with such short notice, but maybe get the ball rolling testing one out (extreme cold weather Hope Damper, that is) for next year.

    There are steering dampers at work on satellites and aircraft right now at temperature lows we don't see on earth. Should be doable.
    I'd be interested in trying it, but skeptical for sure. At 60 below a King headset barely turns--what's gonna happen when you add fluid damping to the mix?

    Star ratchet? No problem--degrease it and it'll go thousands of miles, loaded, without issue. I'm just skeptical of anything with liquid in it that wasn't specifically designed to go to those temps. Like my body, for example...

    Why would you need a steering damper on a satellite?!?

    ??

    MC

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    Mike, a few more questions. I saw where you mentioned that you are using a Phil Wood bottom bracket, and switching from a 135mm spindle to a 140. What is the width of the bottom bracket shell, and is it offset to the drive side or centered? Also, are you running the Endomorphs tubeless?

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    Quote Originally Posted by VT Mike
    Mike, a few more questions. I saw where you mentioned that you are using a Phil Wood bottom bracket, and switching from a 135mm spindle to a 140. What is the width of the bottom bracket shell, and is it offset to the drive side or centered? Also, are you running the Endomorphs tubeless?
    The BB shell is standard 73mm. It is centered.

    I ran an Endo tubeless for about a week, but it wasn't "bomber" and the new crop of thick FR/DH tubes is darn close, so I went back to tubes.

    MC

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    Dampers on Satellites

    I suppose it isn't a Hopey damper, but rotary dampers are used in lots of aerospace applications, stops vibration on flaps, thrusters, and even the bay doors on the space shuttle. Aircraft have them on rudders and flaps, plenty of applications where you want to move something fast, but not overdo it, then have to re-correct to the over correction and on and on, like bike steering can be! But those rotary dampers are operating at lower than arctic temps. Just theorizing.

    Wonder if certain bits on a bike (headset) intended for extremes of cold ought to be re-engineered. Once the seals, bearings and races contract, plus the grease gets firm, it just can't work right. I could imagine a bushing headset that'd be made for the cold, perhaps even downright loose and floppy at 70 above, but fine below zero. Since your aren't doing bar spins, headsets just don't need to have smooth turning bearings like a hub or bb.

  51. #51
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    More ?'s

    Love your fascination with wheels MC and I'm benefiting from that big time right now - rock solid set from you and I beat them hard today on some gnarly downhill - still as true as the day I got them.

    You touched upon the grease issue with the headset and Hopey. What kind of grease are you using in hubs, etc.? I could see that creating drag as it got colder.

    The first and possibly last (global warming ? ) person to ride to the North Pole on a bike?

    Ed E

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    Quote Originally Posted by edemtbs
    Love your fascination with wheels MC and I'm benefiting from that big time right now - rock solid set from you and I beat them hard today on some gnarly downhill - still as true as the day I got them.

    You touched upon the grease issue with the headset and Hopey. What kind of grease are you using in hubs, etc.? I could see that creating drag as it got colder.

    The first and possibly last (global warming ? ) person to ride to the North Pole on a bike?

    Ed E
    Glad they're working for you.

    As far as grease, I just use whatever I have laying around for summer stuff. Never noticed a difference, as long as there was some grease in there.

    For winter, it gets trickier. Many of the bearings on the bike get completely degreased and left that way, others get degreased then I put a light oil back in. Still others get a low temp synthetic grease. YMMV.

    No, I have no interest in going to the pole. Too much risk, too little reward, too much anxiety (polar bears, open water), too little fun.

    MC

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    have i missed something about the rear drop out/ or perhaps both drop outs on the non lever side? they seem very thick and solid without the usual bolt on derallieur hanger? is that something to do with the skraxle type arrangement?

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    race face right and old lx left crank?

  55. #55
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    Mike C. Meets Santa???

    "The Alaska part is right, but it's only a small part of it."

    MC[/QUOTE]

    Mike,
    Are you possibly planning a trip to the North Pole and back? Sounds kina far-fetched. But I have a feeling that's what you have up your sleeve. Come on... time to fess up.

    C-Hog

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    Quote Originally Posted by C-Hog
    Mike,
    Are you possibly planning a trip to the North Pole and back? Sounds kina far-fetched. But I have a feeling that's what you have up your sleeve. Come on... time to fess up.
    C-Hog
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...45671#poststop

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    Quote Originally Posted by dRjOn
    have i missed something about the rear drop out/ or perhaps both drop outs on the non lever side? they seem very thick and solid without the usual bolt on derallieur hanger? is that something to do with the skraxle type arrangement?
    Rock Shox Maxle's running through 150mm DT FR 440 hubs on all three wheels. In other words, I wanted a 150mm hub so that I could build a dishless non-offset wheel, and so that I'd get the drivetrain clearance I wanted. In order to use the only hub I trust, I had to go with a 12mm thru-axle. The Maxle's get me back to being able to use a tool-free QR with that setup. Make sense?

    MC

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    Quote Originally Posted by dRjOn
    race face right and old lx left crank?
    The left RF crank is very low profile (hence the LP in the name designation), and as a result it hits the chainstay. The left LX crank has plenty of offset, and clears by ~6mm. Both are 170's, and I was way more concerned about function.

    MC

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    No, I have no interest in going to the [North] pole. Too much risk, too little reward, too much anxiety (polar bears, open water), too little fun.

    MC
    Try the South Pole. It's been done on a bike...though I can't remember if it's been done successfully by bike. No open water (except for the occassional lens & melt pool) and no polar bears. There are crevasses but the stratugi is the real ***** though.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF
    Try the South Pole.
    They're beating out a path to the South Pole from McMurdo Station. I have such a fascination with the South Pole -- could care less about the North -- that such a ride might have to go on the list of life goals...
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeT
    They're beating out a path to the South Pole from McMurdo Station. I have such a fascination with the South Pole -- could care less about the North -- that such a ride might have to go on the list of life goals...
    Been there, done that. One of the last things I did before I left the US Antarctic program was the feasability study & logistics chain on resurrecting the SP Overland Traverse to support the logistic and resupply issues of the new SP Station. It was a go. Flying everything in via LC-130 as it's been done since the 60's has always been an expensive proposition.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF
    Been there, done that.
    You've got to have some stories to tell -- care to share any about cycling in Antartica? It would seem to be relevant to this thread.
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  63. #63
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    That is the coolest, purpose-built bike I have ever seen.

    Somebody may have axed above, but did you consider the Rohloff or are you concerned about extreme low temps?
    Professional Amateur

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Where can it be purchased?

    bb

  65. #65
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    very neat. the whole bike is. it must have taken about 16 days or so just riding along thinking to iron out all the details needed .... !

    i have a big thing for form AND function and that takes the biscuit...

  66. #66
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    Can fork offset not be relatively easy be corrected, with a nice small curve to the legs? My 1993 Litespeed Ultimate has a mighty curve to a pipe like that (seat tube).

  67. #67
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    For the sweet love of bob (Who's bob?) you brought back some memories.

    I won't bore y'all with stories of adventures years ago. I'll just say that mine were climbing and backpacking in the back country instead of on a bicycle. Seeing your photos and reading your story just brought it all back in a rush.

    Thanks Mike. I'm gonna go dig up some Alaska and Russia Slides and bore the hell out of my Wife.

    Pete
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    Quote Originally Posted by Objectionable Material
    Thanks Mike. I'm gonna go dig up some Alaska and Russia Slides and bore the hell out of my Wife.
    My pleasure. My wife has watched some of my slideshows 5+ times, and hasn't complained yet. I guess I won't give her grief next time I catch her sleeping during one...

    MC

  69. #69
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    From Russia with love??

    Mabe a ride acoss sibera.... In the winter? I have read abunch of book about that part of the world and it's very interesting. I think it would be cool to do any time of the year.
    Read my BLOG!

    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

  70. #70
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    Awesome bike. I used to do a lot of winter riding, but never had much for specialized equipment. I'm kinda curious about your choice to not go Rohloff also. I suppose you would have maybe an extra pound and a few more gears than you need. I've run mine about ten below zero and that was about the limit with the winter oil, but I hear kerosene works well in her at temps below that. The kerosene is so thin that it will weep past the seals, so maybe for your planned distances you are worried it might run dry? The chainline would be great with those tires, but no being able to swap wheels around... It would be a tough choice, but I sure have a lot more faith in a Rohloff than a mech in the backcountry. Anyway sweet bike built for even sweeter adventures.

  71. #71
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    I'm diggin the tire/wheel combo on that!
    Bob

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  72. #72
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    Alaska is a small part of it...

    Too much open water on the way to the Pole...

    Coast to coast, west to east, arctic circle-style?

    Wintertime land equivalent to a Northwest Passage trip?

    I know, Nome to Nordkapp, via the Bearing Straight and Siberia!

    Plenty of bears any way you look at it.

  73. #73
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    Incredible build up, I can't wait to see what you do with it.

  74. #74
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    Not a choice on the front ...

    Quote Originally Posted by jh_on_the_cape
    neat! All wheels interchangeable just in case.
    Trailer mounts directly to frame!
    Big QR levers for use with gloves.
    Fork legs hold fuel. Why is my rigid fork making sloshing noises???

    Is wider spacing really a choice on the front? With the width of the tires, the fork has to be wider which requires a wider axel.

    Convenient yes. A choice ??? I doubt it. The Surly Pugsley runs the same configuration on front. We'll have to wait to see if they add a fuel resevoir to their fork.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi
    Is wider spacing really a choice on the front? With the width of the tires, the fork has to be wider which requires a wider axel.

    Convenient yes. A choice ??? I doubt it. The Surly Pugsley runs the same configuration on front. We'll have to wait to see if they add a fuel resevoir to their fork.
    My hubs are 150mm. Surly uses 135. Wildfire/DeSalvo have been at this a long time and they still use 100mm up front/135 out back.

    So yes, there is a choice. I chose my compromises based on my needs/desires, and the others have done similarly.

    MC

  76. #76
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    Thanks....

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    My hubs are 150mm. Surly uses 135. Wildfire/DeSalvo have been at this a long time and they still use 100mm up front/135 out back.

    So yes, there is a choice. I chose my compromises based on my needs/desires, and the others have done similarly.

    MC
    Thanks for the correction.

  77. #77
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    Did you chose standard sprockets/derailleurs (as opposed to a closed system like a speedhub) due to cost or the potential for the oil in the hub to freeze? Mabybe they wouldn't work with your specs?
    Fitting all your wheels with speedhubs would be expensive, around 3K for the two bike and one trailer wheel. This project looks pretty expensive already though, maybe that wouldn't be a problem for you.
    A closed transmission seems like a natural for snow travel.

  78. #78
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    Absolutely beautiful bike. I saw it in the Moots article in Dirt Rag. I love how you use the fork tubes to store fuel. Brilliant!

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by ripplemuncher
    Awesome bike. I used to do a lot of winter riding, but never had much for specialized equipment. I'm kinda curious about your choice to not go Rohloff also. I suppose you would have maybe an extra pound and a few more gears than you need. I've run mine about ten below zero and that was about the limit with the winter oil, but I hear kerosene works well in her at temps below that. The kerosene is so thin that it will weep past the seals, so maybe for your planned distances you are worried it might run dry? The chainline would be great with those tires, but no being able to swap wheels around... It would be a tough choice, but I sure have a lot more faith in a Rohloff than a mech in the backcountry. Anyway sweet bike built for even sweeter adventures.
    With an internal hub like that wouldnt you need to disconnect and reconnect the cable to change wheels? I assume using tools like that is hard ot do in gloves, and not an option in bare hands at that temperature. Secondly, is the interneal bolt on or qr, Im not very well versed on it. Lastly, does it come in 150mm, that was important to the build.

  80. #80
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    good to see interest in an interesting bike

    from the initial posts, you had an issue with the trail. did the fork get altered?

    any hints as to what you are planning in terms of exploratory rides on it?

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by dRjOn
    from the initial posts, you had an issue with the trail. did the fork get altered?

    any hints as to what you are planning in terms of exploratory rides on it?

    Nothing has changed with the fork. I need to ride it more on soft snow before deciding if it needs altering. I'll probably install a Hopey damper as well, which may entirely negate the issues I was having on hardpack.

    Hints? Cold, remote, snowy places...

    MC

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    Go with a Rohloff in-frame, then just have single cogs on each of the 3 wheels.

  83. #83
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    Mikesee I just know put two and two together... The Moots did it seeing as how I just finished reading the article about it in Dirt Rag... Your Mike Curiak! Famous endurance racer nut and proponenant of the big wheel!! Now I know the connection ..."MikeSEE" and 29" wheels etc.. right on I am working on one now myself
    Last edited by Brandon448; 10-06-2006 at 11:36 PM.
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    Great bike! I know there have been a lot of posts, so maybe I missed it. Maybe it is the most closely guarded secret... What did it cost????

    Thanks

    Yamabiker

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    What type of bottom bracket is used on this bicycle? As I understand standart square BB with 135mm and 140mm width are not present. It is simpler to do an axle for the adjustable BB. Or it cartridge type.

    And as I understand for the winter use it is better to have less plastic details including in BB.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nandarou
    What type of bottom bracket is used on this bicycle? As I understand standart square BB with 135mm and 140mm width are not present. It is simpler to do an axle for the adjustable BB. Or it cartridge type.

    And as I understand for the winter use it is better to have less plastic details including in BB.
    I think Mike is using a Phil Wood square bottom bracket. Shell is most probably 73mm.

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    Mike, CS length?

    So, I finally got to try a Pugs with Endos on some softer snow... I'm impressed by the float! There were a couple of hills that I couldn't quite get up with my Snowcat-mounted Nevegal that were a breeze on the Pugs. There was one super steep one however that I couldn't make on the Pugs. It got me thinking that a shorter CS than the Pugs' shortest position (17.6") would help get some more climbing traction.

    Mike, the CS length on your setup looks shorter than most... can you divulge?

    We rode part of the course for the Jay Winter Challenge...

    http://forums.mtbr.com/blog.php?do=showjournal&j=93
    In the summer I build trails: www.sinuosity.net
    In the winter I build these: www.fatbikeskis.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nandarou
    What type of bottom bracket is used on this bicycle? As I understand standart square BB with 135mm and 140mm width are not present. It is simpler to do an axle for the adjustable BB. Or it cartridge type.

    And as I understand for the winter use it is better to have less plastic details including in BB.
    It's a Phil Wood steel spindle (square taper) with a 140mm length.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dRjOn
    from the initial posts, you had an issue with the trail. did the fork get altered?

    any hints as to what you are planning in terms of exploratory rides on it?
    Nope, I just needed more 'on snow' time on it. Lots of turn-in on paved roads or really tacky dirt trails. But get it onto the snow and it really shines. Stable and nimble--just like a snowbike should be.

    First big exploratory ride is about a month away. Self-supported attempt at the South Route of the Iditarod Trail. Pic below shows some of the testing that's going on with the load carrying. 3 weeks worth of food/fuel/gear ain't lite...

    MC
    Attached Images Attached Images

  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikesOnSnow
    So, I finally got to try a Pugs with Endos on some softer snow... I'm impressed by the float! There were a couple of hills that I couldn't quite get up with my Snowcat-mounted Nevegal that were a breeze on the Pugs. There was one super steep one however that I couldn't make on the Pugs. It got me thinking that a shorter CS than the Pugs' shortest position (17.6") would help get some more climbing traction.

    Mike, the CS length on your setup looks shorter than most... can you divulge?
    Hey Brooke-

    The float of the Endo's is super impressive. Too bad they go sideways as fast as forwards! What I would give to have had the ear of the Surly guys when they were designing those meats!

    CS length on a snowbike is (IMO) less critical than on a regular mtb. Body english on a snowbike is way more important. But both are trumped by the ability of the tire to stick (instead of slip). Bet if you had a 3.0 Nokian Gazza on the Pugs you'd have cleaned that climb with ease.

    MC

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    update

    Since the next chapter in the life of the Snoots is about to start, I thought some here might get a kick outta the fruits of the last few months worth of fiddling, fabricating, and fine tuning.

    The trailer was fab'ed by Brad Bingham at Moots, with several seemingly contradictory goals in mind. It had to be able to carry ~80lbs worth of gear, yet remain very light weight. It had to hold ~200oz of fuel (white gas) inside it's tubing, to feed my stove for most of the ~3 weeks I plan to be out. It needed to accomodate some custom panniers, a tent, a jacket, and misc other gear that won't fit on the Snoots proper. Of course, it uses a DT 440 FR 150mm hub w/Maxle just like the Snoots' wheels.

    At the factory. Note the 5-position dropout, for fine tuning ride characterstics as the load and trail change.


    At home, using the built-in kickstand while measuring for the panniers.


    Fully loaded--everything for 3+ weeks on the trail.


    At camp--unloaded. Tent, sleep pads, kitchen, sleeping bag, jacket, etc... are off and in-use.



    Read some more details about the upcoming trip.

    Happy spring.

    MC

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    I know this might sound crazy (and is too late in any case) but did you consider making a sled trailer with a retractable wheel for the dirt? I really don't know much about this sort of riding, since it never snows in Western Australia, but I would imagine it would me much easier to pull a ski than a wheel through snow.

    Anyway, cool bike and good luck on the upcoming trip.

    Cheers,
    Graeme
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  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalgrm
    did you consider making a sled trailer with a retractable wheel for the dirt?

    I would imagine it would me much easier to pull a ski than a wheel through snow.
    Yes, it was considered. But the reality (aside from mondo complexity issues) is that sleds/skis pull much harder on the snow than a wheel does rolling over the top of it. And while, in soft snow, a sled would float better than the wheel could, the trailer wheel is not the limiting factor--the rear bike wheel is. It sinks before the other wheels do.

    The rear bike wheel (being the power transmission of the bike, as well as the recipient of much of the weight of the rider) will always be the limiting factor in a snow bike.

    I've got an idea on how to improve this, but it's gonna take a few months to work out...

    MC

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    That is so cool!

    Can't wait to hear about your adventure!
    Read my BLOG!

    just a guy who loves bikes and exploring

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Yes, it was considered. But the reality (aside from mondo complexity issues) is that sleds/skis pull much harder on the snow than a wheel does rolling over the top of it. And while, in soft snow, a sled would float better than the wheel could, the trailer wheel is not the limiting factor--the rear bike wheel is. It sinks before the other wheels do.
    Ah, that's a pity. I thought of a way to simplify the fitting of a sled (basically strap a ski to the wheel) but if that's not the limiting factor - or even a method of reducing drag significantly - then my lateral thinking was all in vane .....

    Thanks for not laughing too hard, anyway!

    Cheers,
    Graeme
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    Longer chainstays would unload the rear wheel a tad, but it must be quite a balancing act between having enough weight to maintain traction but not so much that it digs in too much. Transferring a greater portion of the load to the trailer wheel might be good, but that can introduce some stability issues. 2WD would be nice to have under certain conditions, but the added complexity and weight make it a difficult choice. If you didn't have such a potentially soft surface to contend with a "Big Dummy-like" solution might be good, but then you are loading that front wheel with that much more weight, and you lose a spare wheel in the process.

    Nope, it ain't simple!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daner
    Longer chainstays would unload the rear wheel a tad, but it must be quite a balancing act between having enough weight to maintain traction but not so much that it digs in too much. Transferring a greater portion of the load to the trailer wheel might be good, but that can introduce some stability issues. 2WD would be nice to have under certain conditions, but the added complexity and weight make it a difficult choice. If you didn't have such a potentially soft surface to contend with a "Big Dummy-like" solution might be good, but then you are loading that front wheel with that much more weight, and you lose a spare wheel in the process.

    Nope, it ain't simple!
    You've got a pretty good handle on all of the issues being dealt with. Also--the placement of the load on the trailer dramatically effects the handling of the bike. Centered and low is best, but fore/aft have advantages in certain snow conditions.

    I like the *idea* of 2wd, although it's never really shown itself to be beneficial and the complexity issues will keep me scared of it for years to come.

    Bottom line is that there will always be compromises. Some snow situations (most?!) just aren't rideable, so although it's possible to keep designing and redesigning to tweak things further and further, unless you have unlimited time and $$$ to throw at a project, the returns diminish quickly and you just gotta get comfortable with walking.

    For 98%+ of the population, even hard core snow riders and racers, the Surly Pugsley with their rims and tires is perfect.

    The Big Dummy/Xtracycle route has been suggested ad infinitum. Great at carrying a load, not so great at floating.

    Cheers,

    MC

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    great write up. Looking forward to reading about your adventure.

    FWIW, I found a source for WIDE 26" rims, of all places, a "chopper" bicycle shop.
    I just receieved an 80mm wide rim for a project, and thought you all might want to know this guy had 100mm wide (!) 26" aluminum rims available, ...I figured, that maybe, just maybe you could find a wide enough tire to throw on and experiment with:
    check it out here- http://www.choppersus.com/store/prod...-26-x-4-Black/

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    Quote Originally Posted by C.P.
    great write up. Looking forward to reading about your adventure.

    FWIW, I found a source for WIDE 26" rims,
    The 4" rim will fit a Surly Endomorph tire, giving it a casing width of 106mm at 10psi. Which is great. Except that it'll take a custom frame (from an experienced snow bike builder) to make use of that without clearance (chain-tire, crank-chainstay) issues.

    Won't fit a Pugsley. Clears my fork and trailer, but not between the chainstays. Doh.

    The 4" rim weighs ~1600g.

    MC

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    But that 4" rim and greater casing width might be a good ticket for people like me who might want to turn a Big Dummy into a snow bike. Wonder if a Gazza 3 on a symmetric LM will fit out back...

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