The light of autumn on November 15, 2020.
The light of autumn on November 15, 2020.

offtrail.guru

A small blog about offtrail riding, allroad cycling, fatbiking and singlespeeding.

Patrick

MK5 Geometry

Stooge MK5.

The numbers below are from Bike Insights, from Stooge and from Kris' drawings I imported into QCAD, an open-source 2D CAD system. While some people totally geek out about bike geometry and could hold a 2-hour monologue on head tube angles alone, I'm really not a numbers expert when it comes to cycling. Whether the topic is frame geometry or watts and whatnot, I'm not the expert to talk to despite 36 years of cycling. I don't sit on enough bikes to have an expert opinion on what a slacker head tube or longer trail do to a bike. Sure, I have an idea about it, but with the rather small number of bikes I've ridden over the years, I'm still far from having earned the degree of "armchair geometry wizard." The 36 years in the sport have given me the ability to know what works for me; no more, no less. Changes I've made over the years happened gradually. Being limited to riding only the bikes I purchased, my experience and knowledge of the sport are fairly narrow. I know nothing about suspension and bikes equipped with it. I know even less about bikes powered by motors and honestly don't care to know anything about them. When the time comes to look for a new bike, and it's not made to measure by a bike builder, I usually compare the geometry to the bikes I already own. Often, I draw the frames up in CAD and overlay them for comparison. This also helps to figure out what stem to select to achieve a similar position on a new bike.

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Patrick

A Weekday Fat-Bike Ride

Homebound above Prés d'Orvin.

My fat-bike season already started on November 28th with a ride in Prés d'Orvin. When the snow reached the lowlands at the beginning of December, I was able to start my snow rides right from our doorstep for two weekends. The Montagne de Romont and Plagne were my destinations on each of those weekends. Except for Sunday, December 12th, the weather wasn't the best. Fog, wind, and snowfall never bother me. On the contrary, it's much more an achievement to stand under the Chasseral antenna with 100kph winds and heavy snowfall than getting there on a pleasant, sunny winter day.

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Patrick

Building A Bike During The Pandemic (Part III)

Enve aluminum stem.

This is a continuation of Part I from July 18th and Part II from July 24th, in case you missed them. When Andy launched the MK5 in the spring, ETA for the framesets was August. Because a certain percentage of the population has forgotten that living in a modern, democratic society doesn't just come with personal liberties but with responsibilities as well, we live in a seemingly never-ending pandemic. And as long as the Coronavirus has the upper hand, our economies will continue to stutter each time case numbers explode, supply chains will remain broken, and bike components will be in short supply.

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Patrick

Time To Retire A Few Bike Helmets

Lazer Genesis in Orange and Chrome.

Helmets aren’t just head protection, they’re also a piece of one’s cycling wardrobe. When I’m out on the bike, I want my helmet to be somewhat color-matched to the clothes I’m wearing. I, therefore, have a few of them. All the lids I’ve been wearing for road and gravel, are now all beyond the recommended service life for helmets. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends replacing a bicycle helmet every 5 to 10 years. The Snell Foundation states a firm five years, and many helmet manufacturers tell you to get rid of your helmet after as little as three years. My Giro Synthe and Aeon helmets are 5 to 7 years old. While they still appear in good shape, it was time to start looking for replacements.

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Patrick

Back On 700C Wheels

Gravel road to Plagne, Switzerland.

In May of this year, I swapped my 700C Nox Composites wheels for 47° Nord hand-built 650B wheels. While I prefer the smaller wheels in combination with wider tires, I put the 700C wheels back on the bike for the fall and winter months. I did so for no practical reason other than that the 650B wheels needed new tires and the fact that I have the 700C wheels hanging in the basement with a few pairs of 700C tires sitting in my bike parts storage cabinet. In particular, I had a set of WTB Nano Race tires, which according to WTB aren’t tubeless compatible. For that reason, I tried to sell them, but I never found any taker. One evening, I got the tires out and tried them tubeless. Despite the manufacturer’s note, they were easy to mount tubeless. Easier, in fact, than some tubeless tires I’ve dealt with. For the next couple of months, I’ll therefore be on those Nanos. I have a pair of 42mm wide Teravail Washburn tires that may be mounted next.

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