What a great week in MN! we got about 6" of the white stuff this past weekend, then another 4-5 Tuesday. This is the first time in years that I can remember having good skiing in MN in December. I got in a few laps at Battle Creek Sunday after the first snow and I was amazed how good it was with just that little bit. After Tuesday's snow it's now downright great! My hat's off to the volunteer grooming force at Battle Creek these days, they're doing a hell of a good job.
With snow also comes snow riding. I finally threw away my old studded tires last year but not because the studs were worn after 10 years of service, but rather the sidewalls had rotted out so bad I could no longer latex them up to repair 'em (that's a testament to how long home-made studded tires can last!) So I made up some new ones, but this time I went big. I started with a pair of Kenda Karhma 2.2" 29'er tires and put in far less studs this time, only 50 per tire. That's still enough that there's always at least one in contact with the ground. I may add more later if it doens't feel adequate, but after one ride I'd say they seemed to hook up about as good as my old ones which had a couple hundered studs each.
Usually I line the inside of the tire with a few layers of duct tape to protect the tube and that works great and weights a lot. Never worried about the weight before because these home-made studded tires were always heavy anyways. This time I used far less studs, so the tires weren't too bad for weight, so I decided to try a new approach. Tubeless.
Yup, I'm such a fan of the Stan's tubeless system that I thought I'd give it a go here. They claim the sealant won't freeze until -30F, so I figured it should be ok. Mounted them up on some Bontrager 29'er rims, stans'd 'em and went for a ride. So far they seem to be hold great, even at low pressure. I haven't gone super low pressure yet, but I'm going to try soon. Rode them Tuesday night in the fresh snow with the Large Fella, and they seemed to work as good as any other studded tire I'd used, but weighed about 2lb's less (for the pair). I like the big 29'er tire in the snow too, I think it helps. I ran them at about 25 psi, which worked well, but I'm going to keep trying lower and see if the Stan's holds up.
Last weekend I finally got around to cleaning up the Nuke-Proof rear hub I picked up from the Vitch at his last-of-Kenwood-Cyclery-garage-sale. I also happened to have a Nuke-proof front hub which makes this a set. Not quite a perfect match since the front is the Bombshell suspension hub, but close enough to be cool.
Turns out the rear axle was bent (nice sale Vitch!) but that was fine by me because I never inteded to use it. I bought the hub to make it a singlespeed hub. So I turned out a new solid stainless steel axle for the rear and intergraded the drive side spacer as part of the axle to strengthen it up even more. I needed to move the hub body over towards teh driveside to allow the cog to be in the right spot for good chainline, and to get rid of the dish in the rear wheel Came out great, very Phil Wood-esqe rear axle. They're not super light, but I think they're super cool!
Haven't decided what I'm doing with them yet, I have a set of rims in need of single speed hubs, but I might throw them on ebay first since they're so unique. If any reader is interested I'll sell the pair for $200. You'll have the most unique singlespeed wheels around! (both are 32 hole, rear is bolt-on style)
Hopefully I'll be taking a bunch of pictures this weekend with my new D-SLR camera (if it arrives), so look for some pictures of the homebrew 29'er studded tires soon (and the frame I finished up last weekend).
Till then, enjoy the snow!