Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey Burner 2011

The last few years the typical Burner has been about 38 degrees with a nice steady rain with maybe an inch of snow on the ground mixed in nicely with some mud.

This year was not the typical Burner

Gina had to be up pretty early for the Humane Society adopt-a-thon so I got an early start on Black Friday but for completely different reasons than all those other tools.  I took the scenic Sanbornton route to avoid Tilton and got on my way down to Auburn, with a short detour through Heaven...

don't go towards the light!

Lots of the usual suspects in play: Bully, Carl, Alby, Andy Gould (our local/guide), Marty Allen and a few other young guns went out for our own little loop courtesy of some of Andy's local knowledge.  Great stuff and much better than the double track cruise along the lake.  Not that that cruise is bad but shredding a bit more singletrack at a good pace is always nice especially when unexpected.

I had made some slight tweaks to the Y since the maiden voyage at FFD last weekend.  Different 175mm cranks made a HUGE difference.  I would have been dead meat on some of the stuff we were on today with the 180's.  I also changed up how the tension is applied and it works awesome and the chain felt smooth and didn't drop once.  It was also nice to ride the bike at a good pace with good riders to see how it holds up under 'real' riding conditions and I am happy to report that the Y is the real deal.   Probably to the point that I will indeed be dumping some additional funds into this thing at some point and it will probably be around for a bit longer than originally planned.

It is just plain fun to ride, a great addition to the stable.  Very pleased.  And you can't beat the looks in the parking lot.

Still getting used to the small hoops.  Rode up to a stream crossing today and just went to own it and my front wheel got eaten for breakfast and I went down pretty efficiently and got my left foot completely soaked with freezing cold Nov stream water.  I was worried that my day was quickly coming to an end and that my foot had maybe 30mins before turning into a solid block of ice.  Good thing about riding with a group of mostly Elite riders is the constant pace and the resulting heat output.

I had to bail before hitting a bunch more of the classic FOMBA singletrack to head north and buy a new generator and get that squared away but it was a stellar day and a great way to start winding the riding season down.  Skiing tomorrow!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Trek Y. Survey says!?...

Gotta make some slight adjustments and tweaks but this thing is going to be DAMN FUN (except when you have to climb a lot).

Things I took away from today's ride:

- 180mm cranks work great on a 29er, not so much on a FS 26er.  Had some serious issues with pedal strike.  Probably going to have to figure out some alternative if I am going to ride this thing somewhat consistently.  I might have something laying around that could work...

- Rear shock needs more air.  Thought I had the sag dialed in correctly (and maybe I do) but I felt like I was riding a bit low.

- Bike is definitely too small for me, it works but I feel pretty scrunched up.  A longer stem would help, I think I am going to see if my layback seatpost will fit for now to get me a bit more reach.  OR I could throw my thudbuster on there.  Suspension seat post on a full suspension bike?  Go big or go home.

- I definitely noticed the increased maneuverability.  When I converted to 29ers exclusively I jumped right in at the beginning of a season so I didn't have a close comparison period.  Its nice to be able to whip the thing around but I still don't think that outweighs the other 29er benefits and I would still prefer a 29er in almost all riding conditions.

- DMR STS works great. I dropped the chain twice but that was due to it stretching considerably towards the end of the ride.  I think if I take one more link out and readjust things it will be good to go.

The weather was phenomenal.  November this year has been quite kind.  Payback for a foot of snow the last weekend in Oct?  Perfect Fall riding weather.  I'd like to get on snow soon but if it stays like this I'm not going to complain.  Tied Matt for the KOM on Mighty the very least I am hoping I'll get one more try to get bragging rights for the off season on that one.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

URT Single Speed!

Unbelievably Ridiculous Trek?

Something like that. I have to reserve a lot of judgement in this post for now because my only experience on this bike so far is on the stand and standing over it and doing track stands in the shed.  But its complete!  And I like the way it feels right now (other than the fact that suspension feels all wrong to me now)

The setup feels 'solid' and the fit seems like it should at least work for me.  26ers officially feel like clown cars to me now as well which will take some getting used to.  I am really pleased with the DMR STS tensioner so far, again it hasn't been field tested at all yet but it was a snap to install and dial in.  It practically dialed itself in and its adequately smooth and actually pretty quiet as well and the red roller matches the color scheme of the bike which is just a bonus.

I was able to at the very least test how the tension would react as the suspension did its thing and we are good to go.  Unfortunately it is raining tonight otherwise I would have ridden it around the yard.  I am hoping to sneak in a ride at Franklin Falls this weekend to see how everything performs on trail and I'll have a full report on all the pros and cons of my newest creation.

Friday, November 4, 2011

"That's a lot of frame"

AND a spicy meat-a-ball!  Got the Y11 all stripped down and cleaned up last night and daaaaayyyyyyuuuum is it looking good.

mike you will appreciate or hate that I took these pics with HDR, no epic landscape but doesn't that Trek just pop?!

Upon closer inspection everything is indeed in great shape.  No hidden cracks, dings or other show stoppers.  Even the old Judy fork is actually still working quite well and I stripped the decals so unless you look close you might think its a SID race.  And really all that matters when you are riding a bike is that people THINK you are on really expensive weight weenie parts.

After cleaning it up and giving it some thought I have my plan at least for version 1.0 and based on what I've come up with I think it removes the eventual need for a 2.0, I think the end product will actually be pretty awesome and hopefully very rideable.  I will be retiring the Redline for the season and stealing a few parts that are due for replacement anyway.  The cranks/BB/pedals will come over (with a newer/used chainring I found in the shed).  That BB is pretty whupped but will work just fine for this ride.  I'm also stealing the stem because I want to use the old aluminum flat bars from the Redline from before my carbon upgrade and I need the oversize clamp diameter.  I would just use the bars it came with but Naro, in true mid/late 90's form, rode his bars incredibly narrow (PUN INTENDED).

For some reason the rear canti studs and brakes were missing when I got the bike but luckily when you work on bikes long enough you amass tons of random tidbits that you keep in a bin.  Including a few sets of canti studs and heaps of old V-brakes.  Only real thing left was some sort of tensioner.  Designs have evolved quite a bit from when I first converted and I had to do some tech vs. cost balancing.

I was very intrigued by the Yess ETR/V but the price point was just a tad too high and it actually seems a bit overbuilt for what I really need.  But that vid demonstrating how it works with actual current full suspension designs is pretty impressive.  I wanted to stay away from any spring actuated stuff because those never seem to hold up and almost always end in zipties.  So I went with one of the simpler designs that I could find at a pretty reasonable price somewhat locally.

 DMR STS (Simple Tension Seeker)

Slap it on, dial it in and then tighten it down.  Changing rear flats will not be enjoyable but I really don't flat that often (knock on internet wood).  Should have it in about a week and then the bike will be ready to ride for anything I get in before the real snow starts to fly.  Showing up at the Turkey Burner on this thing could be real funny and if/when I do the winter race at Fort Rock this could actually be a good implement for that.  Gina wants to call it 'HoneyBee', thoughts?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All Hallows at SMBA

Shot on out to 'toga last weekend for some good 'ole SMBA shredding and some halloween good times.  Got a pretty classic fall ride in on Saturday followed by all kinds of shenanigans Saturday night including winning scariest costume AND several inches of snow.

Got some ok footage using the chest mount.  Last time I tried using it the angle was looking down too much.  I added an additional linkage piece thing (what the hell are those things called?) to bump the camera out a bit so I could tilt it back a bit more to look more forward.  Worked to a certain extent, if I'm sitting the angle is good but standing its still looking a bit more straight down than I would like.  I think you really need the slacker geometry of a freeride or downhill bike for the chest mount to truly work.  But I still got a fun little edit out of it...thank god I remembered to turn the camera on when Keith decided to do some beaver dam maintenance.

Fall Ride at SMBA from Kevin Orlowski on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Old URT Full Suspension Single Speed

I really hope I'm starting a trend here.  Well 'starting' probably isn't the right word but definitely facilitating on a regional scale at the very least.  Full suspension single speed is nothing new but it is being pondered much more heavily lately at least as far as I can tell from my own blog reading and seeing the various new tensioner designs that are coming out.

I was of course drawn to the concept because its in that limbo area of not ideal, why would you build that, doesn't that defeat the purpose, dude are you nuts?!  It's been in the back of my mind for awhile and lately I've been getting the itch for an off season fun build project.  Two years ago was the goofy 96er monster cross which morphed into my now very functional touring bike last year.  So now in a normal cycle I am back to 'goofy'.  A few weeks ago the FS singlespeed idea popped back into my head so I started poking around for ideas.

I stumbled across some folks pondering the use of old URT (Unified Rear Triangle) bikes from the mid 90's or so.  URT was one of the earlier rear suspension designs that has since been completely abandoned for the most part.  Most contemporary designs are far superior with far more pro's and way less con's than URT.  URT has one huge pro for this application however.  URT bikes were sometimes also called 'floating drivetrain' because the bottom bracket was part of the suspension swing arm and would pivot along with everything else.

This keeps the distance between the cranks and the rear hub intact even when the suspension is doing its thing.  No chain lengthening or shortening = SS friendly.  So now I have a concept I like and is definitely a bit goofy now I just have to find a bike...

Queue memory banks and I have a flashback to poking around in the attic space above Naro's parents garage a few years ago looking for bike parts (how appropriate) and coming across a relic from years past that I thought was quite hilarious at the time.  You guessed it, that relic was an old Trek Y11, one of the finest URT frames of it's time.  A quick call to Naro along the lines of "is that thing gonna just sit up there for the rest of time?....if so can I frankenbike that thing and get it back SHREDDING?"...we work a quick barter deal and TA-DA!!!

It is in surprisingly awesome shape considering it is probably pushing 15 years or so.  I'm still trying to decide how much $$ I actually want pour into this thing.  I'm thinking more along the lines of giving this thing some hand me down parts and maybe a few fresh parts here and there.  It would be nice to find some of the old purple/green/pink/ridiculous anodized parts from the mid/late 90's but finding stuff like that will probably be a lot of work.  Maybe it makes sense to whip up a "version 1.0" just to see how it rides and then pimp out a version 2.0 later.