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Happy Feet 06-09-19 06:47 PM

New off road rig and consolidation ideas
Some ideas about flexible systems:

Over the last while I've been thinking of down sizing my fleet because I want to move and build a smaller house so I've been looking at my touring/riding needs in three sort of ways. Paved, groomed/nice gravel, rougher gravel/off road. I've moved into lightweight trips so heavily loaded isn't that appealing any more. Along with touring I also enjoy trail riding, weekend rambles and commuting so my goal is to get down to three bikes and a couple of projects that come and go.

With paved roads I have a very enjoyable 700c touring bike and have decided to buy a second 650b wheelset with 40mm or so tires to cover groomed gravel riding.

That checks two boxes with one bike but still leaves rough gravel/off road.

For a while I've been experimenting with my trusty old rigid mtb/converted touring bike as my heavily loaded and off road rig. It is rugged and a mule for climbing and hauling with it's upright posture and low geared triple crank. I've swapped out the rigid fork for a suspension fork and put some aggressive tires on it and it has served well, but the lack of ultimate tire width is an issue. Some places I want to go could use some more width than the 26x2.4 max I can get away with.

Over the weekend I finally resolved the issue by buying a fat bike and am now in the process of converting it over to a dedicated trails/bikepacking rig by refitting a lot of parts off my other bikes like saddles and bar ends. This will leave me with two bikes and three wheelsets for all conditions plus my Fixed Gear which is just fun to ride = 3.

The bike as purchased:

I managed to fit my Filzer PR-4 rack and only had to cut a small part of the bungee stay so it would clear the brake lever. To finish I plan to get some titanium bolts and thread them through form the inside so they can be removed if sheared.

I've also added a Blackburn cargo cage to the downtube which clears a 1.5L Nalgene bottle.

Another plan is to share one bag system between both bikes, adding and subtracting as needed. These are basically Blackburn Outpost, Carradice Carradry and a MEC 25L waterproof backpack. I tried a seat bag but with the sprung B67 it hangs too low and rubs the rear tire when the seat is dropped for trails.

Trail riding:

Semi loaded:

Fully loaded:

Both bikes also share the same removable lights

stardognine 06-09-19 08:22 PM

I've never ridden a fat tire bike yet. Does it handle decently, or as slow & sluggish as I've led myself to believe? 🤔
I like your idea though, a one size for all shoes bike.

Happy Feet 06-09-19 08:53 PM

I expected a sluggish ride too as I planned to buy a Gravity bullseye and upgrade components from my own supplies. They have cheap heavy tires and apparently tires make a lot of difference for fat bikes.

I lucked out with this one though and it weighed about 32 lbs stock. Aluminum frame and components. The Ground Control tires roll pretty good pumped up though of course, not like a road bike. I would say no worse than my 26 mtb which is good considering its got 4.5" tires.

Currently its got an 8 speed 11/36 cassette and a 36/22 crank which is purdy low and I have an 11/40 cassette that I will try to swap in as well for climbing with a load.

I've taken it downhilling already and was more confident than on my 26mtb. Most odd is how it goes over large obstacles like boulders and logs. I think of it like one of those rock crawling jeeps in youtube videos.

Spoonrobot 06-09-19 09:05 PM

Neat bike, the downtube bottle clearance reminded me of this story from Dave Moulton: Dave Moulton's Blog - Dave Moulton's Bike Blog - 1970s TT Bike

Happy Feet 06-09-19 09:38 PM

Originally Posted by Spoonrobot (Post 20970759)
Neat bike, the downtube bottle clearance reminded me of this story from Dave Moulton: Dave Moulton's Blog - Dave Moulton's Bike Blog - 1970s TT Bike

Funny link! In the article he talks about the frame that folded because the braking flexed the tire into the downtube. Today I mounted the rack and went for a ride and noticed the rear brake rubbing afterward. Turns out the rack was forcing the rear dropouts inward just enough for the rotor to rub. I put a spacer in and all's well.

That bottle is big but there is about 3/4 inch clearance. I may go to a 1L instead or maybe one of those Clean Canteen 32 ouncers. I don't look forward to the crud on the bottle lid.

DropBarFan 06-10-19 08:35 PM

Looks super-comfy & nice for snow too.

Happy Feet 06-10-19 08:51 PM

Originally Posted by DropBarFan (Post 20972413)
Looks super-comfy & nice for snow too.

Yep. This bike was ok but the tires can't cut mushy stuff like snow or sand.

You can see some of the parts I'm striping off for the fat bike build like bar ends, cargo cage, rack and saddle. Looking forward to stripping this bike back to bare bones as an old school mtb as it was quite light before being set up for touring. I'm thinking of making a small trailer too for the fat bike so I can haul a dive tank and gear to remote settings :)

DropBarFan 06-11-19 09:36 PM

Dive bike idea sounds cool; trailer could work for XC or even downhill skiing too? On drives to Whitetail PA downhill ski spot I was surprised that it's very near the C&O Canal trail so the thought of a bike/ski trip occurred. I don't really have the time but otherwise quite feasible & fun I'd think.

Happy Feet 06-11-19 10:24 PM

I plan on getting/making a trailer for it so I can haul a tank and gear. Tonight I went free diving with it, putting my wetsuit and fins in my backpack which worked ok but the fins (about 3 feet long) kept hitting the back of my head. Tires worked well on the sandy beach though.

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