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  1. #1
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    Building 29er

    I've just decided to build a rigid 29'er for summer and winter use. I've got a line on a used Kona frame (sorry forgot the name but it's about 3.5 lbs) and a White fork. I've been told this frame has good clearance but want to be able to get the biggest rims-tires I can a am wondering if anyone knows of a light frame with the good clearance. I know that the selection of 29er tires is slim but am assuming this will change as they gain popularity. t

  2. #2
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    I am in the process of my own 29er build for summer. I had a 29 inch wheel set made up for my pugsley. As far as tires are concerned I have been looking at the 29er WTB werewolves and the racing Ralph's by schwalbe. I believe either of these would be great choices
    See if you can find a pugs frame if you don't have one already, then next winter you can "go fat " when the time comes.

  3. #3
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    I think the fatbikes are great for places that get lots of snow but Fairbanks doesn't. I'm looking to build a bike that will weigh in at under 25 for winter and not sure how light I can get it for summer. I'm lucky to live close to a 50-100 mile trail system that gets lots of musher traffic and stays in good shape, hell they even drag lots of it after a snow. With 2.7 Timberwolves and SnoCats I can usually cruise around in mid ring 4-7 gear (9 speed) and that's fast enough for me. My winter bike now weighs in at about 23 lbs. and I'm spoiled.

  4. #4
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    I had similar aspirations last summer but could not figure out which frames would provide the most clearance so I accepted the fact that I would need 2 bikes. I'm still not sure how to go about figuring that out without actually trying the wheel on the frame. I ended up with a Salsa 29" frame for the summer which maxes out at 2.35 in the rear. Fine for compact snow but certainly not for breaking trail.

    You gotta have a nice budget, but the FatBack frame is pretty light (3.# lbs) and was designed to be setup as a 29er for summer riding. Not sure if you could get 29" SnoCats or those trials rims on it with the aforementioned Ralph's or Twolves but that might be an option. They seemed to have made a point of designing the frame to be pretty flexible as far as wheel selection.

  5. #5
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    wide rim list

    The 29er Kona frame allows for a 2.5 Weirwolf on the rear with lots of clearance according to the owner. I'd at least want to run a 2.7 but might have to wait until someone comes out with them. I've had good luck with SnoCats, very strong, but you can see from the list below other rims are right there as to weight. I'd love to run something wider but will have to check out the frame, the Uno sounds nice.

    I would like to put this bike together for around 2500 bucks and might be dreaming but with the great price of the frame and fork plus I might have a BB crankset that will work. Well see.

    This wide rim list was put together by Frank Hassler on the Icebike mailing list. I know biking products have a bad habit of coming and going but this list should be fairly current.


    http://www.prairienet.org/~frank.hassler/snowrims.pdf


    http://www.prairienet.org/~frank.hassler/snowrims.xls

  6. #6
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    Tony-

    Cool to hear you're trying something new. As little snow as FBX gets and as cold as it usually is, 29" could be a fantastic all-around bike up there.

    I checked out your rim lists and as far as I know, in 29" the only ones that are available are the Kris Holm at 38mm wide (and nearly indestructible) and the Uma at 50mm wide and reportedly a bit anemic. I rode the KH rims to McGrath in 2005 and have also ridden them on my beat-the-tar-out-of-it-daily bike (including a few lift-served DH days) since then. Try though I might, I can't kill 'em.

    Haven't been able to get 29" Snowcats in ~3 years down here, but having said that I'm willing to bet that if anyone can find them it's someone that lives very close to where you do.

    If the Kona frame doesn't work out for some reason, check out any of the hardtails from Niner. There is actually a Niner forum here on MTBR and if you ask folks there which frame has the most tire clearance you'll probably get a pile of answers within a day.

    I think your $2500 budget is totally achievable and should build up a really, really nice bike. Don't hesitate with further questions--lotsa big-wheel knowledgeable folks 'round here.

    Cheers,

    MC

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    Mike don't give up on getting 29er SnoCats. The SnoCat availability, or lack thereof, has come up recently and I hope to set the record straight. SnoCat 26" and 29" are available through Beaver Sports in Fairbanks, AK. http://www.beaversports.com/content/ Yes the rims have been hard if not impossible to get for a couple of years but that should be over. Simon Rakower inventor of the rims has had problems with his manufacturers but now has a new outfit rolling the rims and the first batch from these folks just came in. They look good and he is now testing them. Simon likes to travel in the winter and in summer is very busy so I'm not going to say there will be no problems getting these rims but they are available.

    Kona Kula is the frame I'm looking at, there's a White rigid carbon fork to go with it. With the price it will be hard to pass up. I know about the Karate Monkey Surly frame but am looking to build a light bike. Those Niners sure get great reviews but again with the price I just can't beat the Kona and the owner has SnoCats (yes 29er's) with a 2.5 Weirwolf on the rear and says there's plenty of clearance.

  8. #8
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    Tony, if you don't want to wait on SnoCat 29ers, the Uma rims seem like a fine alternative. You gain another 6mm of rim width for about the same weight, plus they're immediately available.

    I'm not sure why Mike thinks they're anemic, they really aren't much different than SnoCats; single walled and pinned, the extrusion pattern is shaped differently though. The rim's thickness even appears the same. Maybe Mike will chime in on this with some reasons I don't know of.

    I started out with a set of SnoCats on my Waltworks. I've had a long history with SnoCats in the 26 inch size, and have never had a problem. Likewise now with the 29 in size, two winters of rigid riding and so far so good. I couldn't pass up the itch though to try the 50mm rims, and even though I've only had them a few weeks, they seem to be holding up fine. Time will tell.

    My frame has available clearance yet, even with Weirwolf 2.55 LT's on the wider rims, I have room to spare. I'm hoping for a larger tire to be produced, hint hint to Surly, like a 29er Endomorph in a 2.7 or so size. If it happens, with the 50mm rim I'll be set.

    If the Kona frame has plenty of room yet, I say go big! Here's a couple of pics of both versions.

    Rando
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    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  9. #9
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    New 29er photo link

    Fast. Fast bike. Fast trails. Fast tires. Wow I might have gone faster today on well known trails than ever before. Bike is comfortable, rides light. The only sense handling differences was a series of dips on a fast section of slight downhill trail. With my rigid 26" I have work to keep the bike from leaving the ground on those dips. Taking them faster than usual on the 29er it seemed easy to keep the bike on the ground when hitting the dips. The trails are so hard I rode with summer rims and tires, with tires at street pressures.

    Photos taken today on it's maiden voyage. It felt like I was piloting instead of riding. According to the scale at Beaver Sports the bikes weighs 21.25 lbs.

    Rando those photos of your bike reinforced my attitude about a clean looking bike. I went for the all black look and will pull stickers off of tires and ink out all the stuff on the seatpost and handlebars. t

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/


    White Brothers carbon fork painted glossy black

    Kona Kula 18" frame painted glossy black

    XT BB and cranks

    XT front rear derailliers

    XTR hubs front rear

    Salsa Degato Race rims

    Butted spokes

    Chris King head set

    Magura Marta Hydraulic disk brakes

    Crank Brothers 4 Ti pedals I had these and use them on whatever bike I'm riding.

    Easton carbon seatpost

    True Vitav carbon riser bars I'd never heard of these but the mechanic had a couple of years on his, they have metal sleeve on the ends so can handle bar ends unlike the Easton bars I was thinking of.

    Sram Grip Shift 9 speed They are lighter, simpler and work the best in cold weather. I like the clean cockpit look too.

    Tires Kenda Small Block 8's About 550 grams

    Tubes 26" Performance Luna Light's Yes 26" tubes, again the mechanic said he'd been running them for over a year in his 29er. I couldn't find any light 29" tubes, they were all around 250 grams, these are under 100 grams so that's about 2/3's of a lb right there. We'll see if they hold up.

    I took the saddle off of my f/s 26", it's a WTB Shadow which I don't particuarly like, but didn't want to put my favorite saddle, an old Flite (18 years old), with a little duct tape on the new bike. t

  10. #10
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    SassyFastSexyFastPrettySvelteStealth looking new ride, Tony!

    Funny to see a go-fast summer bike on winter trails, but hey--sounds like the conditions were ideal.

    I hopehopehope that I'm way off on this one, but my experience with the rims you're running has been downright terrifying. I feel safe building them for for non-aggressive ~110lb riders on smooth trails, but they are frightfully soft for anyone of average male height and weight. If you're over ~180lbs BE CAREFUL and check tensions frequently ESPECIALLY the front.

    Nuff said about that...

    More pics of the hardpacked trails and sunshiney day, please...

    I'd post pics of the ride I did today, but most of y'all up there would get angry and we just can't have that.

    MC

  11. #11
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    Rando - what's that green stuff under the tires of you bike in the pic above?

  12. #12
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    Wow Tony, that Kona looks great! And it appears you've got pretty ideal riding conditions, more like a paved bikepath than snow.

    Does it look like you'll have rear triangle clearance if you were to outfit it with wider rims?

    And I'm curious about your Magura brakes. I've got some Louise brakes stashed that I was considering mounting up, but have been hearing the mineral oil may get sluggish at colder temps, causing a braking delay. I've been reluctant to take the Avid mechanicals off just because of this. I have some older four pot XT's that have been fine down to 10 degrees or so, but can't really say I've tested any mineral oil brake at colder temps than that. Any experience on your end? I'm also considering some Hopes just because they run DOT fluid and shouldn't be affected.

    I also just picked up some Schwalbe Racing Ralph's in a 2.4 size. They're every bit as light as the Kenda's you're sporting, large volume, and just enough knob height for snow. They also corner way better in snow than the Weirwolfs pictured.

    Looks nice, may it bring you years of riding pleasure. Oh, I lived in Fairbanks almost 20 years, and never heard of Compeau's Trail. Where is that? Upper Chena Hot Springs road someplace?


    Quote Originally Posted by daveIT
    Rando - what's that green stuff under the tires of you bike in the pic above?
    That was a pic of my initial build a couple of years ago. But I could show you some exposed grass in my southern exposure backyard right now!
    Deceleration Trauma is my middle name

  13. #13
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    The first time I saw the frame it had 2.55 Weirwolves on SnoCats with plenty of clearance.

    I went with the brakes suggested by Chris D. at Beaver sports. They have lots of experiance with cold weather riding. He ran the same brakes for the last year or so and said there was no problem with cold weather. I was pleased to see they were black too.

    I looked at the Racing Ralphs but wasn't willing shell out for them. Plus I liked the tread pattern (and weight) on the Kenda Hard 8's, 38 bucks on Pricepoint. They sure felt good on that hard packed trail. I think they'll work fine for the type of summer riding I do. Might be working a gold mine this summer at the head of Resurrection Trail and will bring it for sure. t

    Compeau trail in only a year or so old. It's a summer trail too as it climbs out of the valley floor quickly. It's mile 29.1 of Chena Hot Springs Rd., just before Twin Bears Camp. It connects to a cat-fire cut on the ridgetops which you can follow for 5 miles or so and drop 2.5 miles and 1500ft. down to the Colorado Creek Cabin. I did that this week on a 2 night stay at the cabin, walked the bike up and had a blast coming down. The Colorado Creek trail has been rendered unusable except in winter by motorheads on 4-wheelers. We're going back to Colorado Creek cabin for 2 more nights next week.

    By the way the trails have been like that for over a month and almost that good for the month before that. It's staying cold so the trails could stay in that condition for weeks yet. It's been an exceptional couple of years for winter trail condtions. t

    Mike I looked up those rims after your comments. They seem to be popular but the mtb reviews had mixed results. These are disk specific and not the same as the original Delgatos. Regardless thanks for the heads up and I'll keep a close eye on them. t

  14. #14
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    hye i am considering a new waltworks....i love yours! would you happen to remeber the paint code for that color?

    thanks!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcrage_2
    i am considering a new waltworks....would you happen to remeber the paint code for that color?
    I just happened to have it. I told Walt I wanted an understated grey, and deferred to his choice. He picked Steel Grey, code number GR02. It's been easy on the eye and goes well with your basic either black or silver components.

    Here it is in its latest rendition. I had a tough time trying to get the original Wily fork to run square. It never was truly correctly aligned. And the disc tab caliper mount forced me to grind about 2mm around the entire circumference of a rotor, it was welded on just a touch low. I got frustrated enough with it that I installed the Bontrager you see here, it's been working like buttah! And the bike tracks really well. The reflective treatment is because I've been night riding a lot lately.

    Quote Originally Posted by awinterbiker
    I looked at the Racing Ralphs but wasn't willing shell out for them.
    For Tony, here's also a shot of the rear wheel with a 2.4 Racing Ralph on the Uma's. They open up to almost 66mm wide and roll fast as heck. For our conditions lately it's been a bomber setup, low rolling resistance yet good traction during climbs, and light enough at around 550 grams that they accelerate quickly too. I notice the lighter weight while climbing also, compared to wire bead Exiwolfs I had on previously. I still think you should keep these in mind.
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  16. #16
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    Thanks for posting those pics. The Racing Ralph looks perfect for our winter trail conditions and I wouldn't even have to hack off lugs. I imagine the 29er has a slightly bigger contact patch and would make up for the smaller 2.4's. Having said that Simon R. told me years ago that tire sizes are deceptive as different companies use different methods of measurment.

    I'm chomping the bit to ride the 29er. Got the SnoCat rims a month or so ago and have been waiting for other parts. It's down to the spokes but I hope to have it on the trail in a week or so. I'll post some photos when that happens.

    Our trail conditons continue to impress. Planning on riding later today, I'd almost forgotten how sweet a ride that Motobecane is. t

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by awinterbiker
    Thanks for posting those pics. The Racing Ralph looks perfect for our winter trail conditions and I wouldn't even have to hack off lugs. I imagine the 29er has a slightly bigger contact patch and would make up for the smaller 2.4's. Having said that Simon R. told me years ago that tire sizes are deceptive as different companies use different methods of measurment.

    I'm chomping the bit to ride the 29er. Got the SnoCat rims a month or so ago and have been waiting for other parts. It's down to the spokes but I hope to have it on the trail in a week or so. I'll post some photos when that happens.

    Our trail conditons continue to impress. Planning on riding later today, I'd almost forgotten how sweet a ride that Motobecane is. t
    WTB, makes the Weirwolf in a 2.5 for the 29er, it would also be a great choice.

  18. #18
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    Inauspicious start to the first ride of the 29er in winter mode. I'd put the tires-wheels on, transfering rotors and then detailed the bike. As always when cleaning the drivetrain, I put it in the big ring and smallest rear gear. Mostly dressed, I got the bike out to load and tried putting it in a lower gear. Tire locked; crap. Rear tire rubbing the front derailleur; crap. Called Jeff at the bike shop and started whining; he says take a breath. I've never had a bike with a replaceable dropout, let alone an adjustable one - that's my excuse for not figuring this out immediately. I made quick work of the rubbing and then realized the adjustable dropout would also allow for a much bigger tire. Lots of clearance on the sides too with 2.55 Weirwolves on SnoCats. Got to the trailhead, mounted up and wow it's fast. Fast trails, fast bike. I added a 3-4 mile loop and still rode it in 2hrs which is what the shorter loop usually takes me. Wonderfully smooth ride, the bigger wheels continue to impress and it seems like the carbon fiber forks, bars and seatpost help too. Trails were so hard I ran tires at pressures I'd run summer tires at. Weirwolves were ok but I think the tread pattern is too busy. With their square profile, letting a little air out results in bulging sides but little noticable change in the width of the contact patch. Tires with a rounder profile seem to open up better. Am I nuts or has anyone else noticed this? Anyway it's a great ride and now I've got a full service bike, summer and winter. Oh yeah on the scales at Beaver Sports it was 23.75 lbs a little over 2lbs heavier than in summer mode. I will probably switch to Racing Ralphs and drop a lb., plus I think they would be perfect for Interior Alaska conditions. t

    Photo from today. http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3056977007/

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