On the trail to Baulmes on October 30, 2016.
On the trail to Baulmes on October 30, 2016.

blog post (17)

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

New Road Front Light

Magicshine MJ-906S front light.

Since I don't Zwift during the dark season of the year, time had come to look for a new front light. I've been using Magicshine lights since I bought a Magicshine Racer's Special from GeoManGear in 2009. I got two more MJ-808E lights in 2014 and have been using them ever since for mountain biking, road cycling, and most often for nightly fat-bike rides in the snowy Jura.

The MJ-808E series of lights are not super ideal with their rubber O-ring that wraps around the handlebar, particularly on the road. Over time, the lights tend to rotate out of position and have to be re-adjusted. So, for the past few years, I've kept an eye out for new lights but never actually pulled the trigger.

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Patrick

Building A Bike During The Pandemic (Part II)

Onyx Centerlock Boost front hub.

At the end of 2019, my wife and I moved eastwards. Switzerland being as small as it is, it was a move across borders into a different canton. With the move, my bike territory changed. While we're once again living at the foot of the Jura mountains, now slightly elevated at 550m (1800ft), the flanks north of our house are considerably steeper than they were in my old mountain bike playground. They're too steep for my 44 Marauder single-speed, and I quickly discovered that my 44 Big Boy fat-bike was also not the ideal machine for my new trails. So, I sold it in the summer of 2020 and started making plans for a bike that would feel more at home in steep terrain. In May of 2021, I pulled the trigger on a Stooge MK5 and used the following months to purchase components for it.

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Patrick

Building A Bike During The Pandemic (Part I)

SRAM Eagle XX1 10-50T Cassette

The pandemic broke supply chains, slowed production, and threw global shipping into absolute chaos. Combine that with people discovering cycling because their gyms were closed since the start of the pandemic and you have a bike market that can’t fulfill the growing demand. Much has been reported about bikes quickly selling out, component shortages, and long lead times. People can’t get the bikes they would like or build them with the components they would love. Many custom builders can currently not build complete bikes. They happily build frames but have to tell their clients that they’re on their own to build them up.

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Patrick

Pulled The Trigger On An MK5

Stooge MK5 in size 18".

I've always been a huge fan of the Stooge MK series of bikes. There was the plum crazy purple MK1, the redberry MK2, and probably my favorite, the plum crazier purple MK3. The MK1 was specifically designed around a 29×3 front/29×2.3 rear combo, whereas the MK2 received enough clearance on the rear to run 27.5x3" tires. Otherwise, the geometry remained unaltered. A lot of changes were made to the MK3. It had a 44 mm head tube, a tapered steel fork, and a shorter rear triangle. The MK3 was designed around B+ and was up to that point the most agile of the Stooges. With the MK4 Andy Stevenson pushed the boundaries and came up with a pretty radical geometry. It had a slack and low geometry and was designed around an 80 mm offset rigid bi-plane fork. It lost the 44 mm headtube and went back to a straight steerer tube. The frame was designed around a 29x3"/2.6" combo but kept room for 27.5x3" in the back. Whether you wanted a single-speed, an all-mountain trail bike, or a bike-packing rig – it did it all.

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