Sunday, 31 January 2016

Wolf Tooth Singletrack Pogies | More than meets the eye


During the winter fatbiking season I normally get by with wearing a pair of lightweight gloves, possibly doubling up when its going to be chilly.  I find that wearing bulky gloves gives me less dexterity when shifting and braking and makes it virtually impossible to operate the tiny buttons on any sort of action camera.  That worked until a recent ride when my hands got EXTREMELY COLD.  So much so that I could not shift and braking was a problem.  It was not pleasant.

In the cold climate fatbikeing world we are all familiar with pogies and what they do . . . protect our hands from the ravages from old man winter.  In recent years I have noticed an increase in pogie offerings.  From the inexpensive, flat, "neoprene" type material to the premium, ultra cushy models that would not look out of place on a bed at a premium hotel. 

Minnesota based Wolf Tooth have recently entered the pogie ring with their, designed and manufactured in the US, Singletrack Pogie and Fatbike Republic got their chilly hands on a set for testing.



The Pogie

Three key features to the Singletrack are ease of entry and exit, adjustable warmth settings and quick install\removal.  It is well constructed with the 420 diamond rip-stop nylon covering a closed cell foam center with an interior jersey lining.  Although not considered completely waterproof it will keep your hands dry in all but a complete submersion.



Instead of a temperature rating, Wolf Tooth offer three warmth settings based on three configurations of the pogie.  In the warmest setting the cuff is up and zipper closed, the warmer setting has the zipper open and cuff up, and warm setting has the cuff folded down . . . this is also known as the singletrack mode.






Mounting the pogie involves installing a 1/4 turn bar end plug in the bars and attaching a bar end cap on the inside of the pogie. This cap attaches to the plug with a 1/4 turn and keeps the pogie perfectly aligned.  Velcro and a cinch strap also keep the pogie attached to the bars.  Take a peek at the video to see the installation process.



Testing

To test the limits of the pogies I dug out the slightest pair of gloves I could find and hit the trails.  My hands easily slid in and out of the pogies in all warmth settings.  I did not even have to glance at the bars when riding in singletrack mode.



Did my hands stay warm?  You betcha.  I mostly ran them in the singletrack mode and had to move to the warmer (cuff up) and warmest (cuff up and zipper closed) a couple of times when it got extra chilly.  Take a look at the video for conditions and temperatures.



The bar plug does indeed keep the pogied aligned on the bars.  My less than stellar knot tying ability caused the bar end cap to separate and the pogie lost its orientation.  When I retied the end cap I made sure it was not going anywhere.


One unexpected benefit that I stumbled across while riding some ATV "singletrack" was that they protect your hands from whipping branches.  And there was no damage to the pogies besides a couple of scuffs.  Impressive.



Final Thoughts

Before strapping the Singletracks to my bars I was not entirely sold on the whole pogie thing.  I didn't want pillows on my bars nor did I want oven mitts, I was concerned about getting my hands on the bars and I have seen too many pogies wrapped in duct tape to cover rips.

I can describe the Wolf Tooth Singletrack Pogies in one word - AMAZING. Not only did they keep my hands toasty warm, they were also protected from nasty branch whips.  Shifting and braking were not impeded and there were no issues getting my hands in and out.  And they are tough and look good.

So if you are looking for a set of pogies, or even if you're not, head on over to Wolf Tooth and take a closer look at their Singletrack Pogies.  They are definitely more than meets the eye!





Sunday, 24 January 2016

Bikestud.com | Sneak Peek

Many people ask me do they need studded tires for the winter.  My standard reply is "You only have to go down on ice once to get that answer".

There are three primary ways to add ice traction to your fatmobile.  Firstly, you can do homegrown self-studding by inserting screws from the inside of your tire.  Secondly, you can purchase one of several screw in type studs that insert from the outside into the tire's lugs.  Finally, you can purchase a set of expensive pre-studded tires.



There is actually a fourth option . . . purchase studless tires and stud them yourself.

Bikestud.com offer two types of aluminum bodied carbide tipped studs, for pocketed tires, at fantastic prices.  And they have a proprietary tool that makes installation a breeze.



Stay tuned as Fatbike Republic takes a closer look at this ice traction option.

Ride on!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Volume 3 - 5 Fatbike Videos You MUST Watch


This is third installment of the 5 Fabike Videos You MUST Watch series.  

There are literally 1000's of fatbike videos shared by an equal number of fatbike enthusiasts.  Here is another 20 minutes of fatbike fun from around the globe.

Just in case you missed the previous installments:

     Volume 1

     Volume 2

Enjoy !


These guys in the Philippines really know how to have fun (3:00)



I can taste the sand as these folks ride the Sahara.  I must say that camels look sorta goofy. (4:58)



At Val Thorens in the French Alps these two fatbikers fly down the slope to a rocking soundtrack.  Are fatbikes supposed to go that fast? (3:44)



Its not only the guys who love fatbikes.  These ladies cruise the back country with a soon to be converted skinny rider. (5:15) 



Prowling.  An activity best done while on a fatbike.  It involves exploring the wilderness with no clear destination or route. (2:10)



And a short bonus track.  Riding glare ice into the sun with the sound of the wind and studs cutting the ice.  Only on a fatbike. (0:13)




Ride on !


Sunday, 10 January 2016

Race Face Chester Pedal | Sneak Peek

Plastic pedals were once the exclusive domain of department store bicycles.  If you wanted a quality sticky flat pedal you had to look to the aftermarket and your primary material would be aluminum.  Race Face is changing all that with their new aggressive Chester composite pedal.

Here are a few snaps to show you what the fuss is all about.







Fatbike Republic has gotten their chubby fingers on a cool set of orange Chesters to put through the paces.  Stay tuned for the detailed review.

Ride on!



Saturday, 2 January 2016

Wolf Tooth Stainless Steel Chainring | Tougher than nails


Our friends over at Wolf Tooth have been making chainrings for quite some time now.  Their traditional go to material for their components has been the tried and true 7075 aluminum, however in recent months they have added another material . . . stainless steel.

There are other stainless chainrings on the market, but what makes Wolftooths different is that they use 416 grade vs 300 grade stainless which is tougher and more durable.  After extensive machining their stainless rings are further heat treated for hardness and electro polished for durability, corrosion resistance and the ultimate in shininess.



Wolf Tooth sent along a 30T 104 BCD for review on my 1x9 Bigfoot.

Be sure to check out the video review for additional information and test footage.

WHY STAINLESS

Primarily for durability as aluminum chainrings don't last forever.  Extended use, harsh environment and mashing on the crank can all reduce its lifespan. 
Aluminum Chainring Wear
A stainless chainring will last 5 to 10 times longer than an aluminum, but there is one tiny offset . . . weight.  The stainless chainring weighs about 2x that of a comparable aluminum. 


Weight reduction grooves
For example a 104 BCD 30T stainless weighs 72g while the same one in aluminum is only 36g. To put it in perspective, a tiny RAP6 multi-tool over at Lezyne weighs in at 74g. 

Unless you are very weight conscious these extra grams should not make that much of a difference.

FIELD TEST & IMPRESSION

I took the stainless out on the trails going through some pretty nasty stuff. Mud and water is pretty much the norm, but I made it point of aiming my fatbike into some bog.  And as some of you may know, bog is acidic.

I also rode my Bigfoot down the highway so as expose the drivetrain to some road salt . . . yup . . . road salt.  My chain is really not happy with me right now especially since I have neglected washing the Bigfoot since the testing began.



The drop stop technology used in Wolf Tooth's chainrings worked as promised.  No dropped chains . . . even with my 1x9 non-clutched drivechain.  The same result when I tested their Elliptical and the standard aluminum circular chainring. I was not disappointed.



There is no indication of any wear on the stainless chainring.  The only blemishes being rust from the chain rubbing off on the teeth.  If I treated my chain with a little respect the tarnishing would not be present.  Other than that, a quick rinse and the chainring was sparkling.

FINAL THOUGHTS


If you are the type of person who mashes their cranks, rides in harsh conditions, are not gentle on chainrings or just likes things shiny . . . be sure to take a look at Wolf Tooth's new line of stainless steel chainrings.