Sunday, 28 February 2016

Bikestud.com | Carbide Bike Tire Studs




Its pretty simple really, if you ride on ice you need studded tires.  Its just not the lakes and ponds you have to worry about either, its the hidden stuff under a light dusting of snow that can whip your fatbike out from underneath you.  And ice is hard.

You can easily purchase tires that have been pre-studded, however I have seen them fetch an $80 premium over the same tire that is studdable. That's $160 per pair.

The folks over at bikestud.com carry carbide bike tire studs for studdable (pre-drilled) fatbike tires.  They sent along a selection of their studs for testing here on Fatbike Republic.



Bikestud.com

I was chatting with Andy (the head honcho) who is also an avid biker and bike builder.  Supplying tire studs started as a personal need to find affordable and quality bike studs for his own use. After tracking down a quality supplier, he purchased a quantity for himself and repackaged the extra.  Within 36 hours they were snapped up and bikestud.com was born.

More recently he has designed and is manufacturing an installation tool (resembling a screwdriver) that has been getting positive feedback.

The Studs

Fatbike Republic was provided with 250 Pointed Tip and 250 Flat Tip studs (plus the installation tool) for testing.  This is enough to completely stud two Vee Snowshoe XLs.   



The stud is actually comprised of an aluminum jacket with a carbide tip. The flange on the bottom of the stud "hooks" into the pocket at the bottom of the pre-drilled hole keeping the stud securely in the tire.  From a traction perspective, my initial thought was that the Flat Tip would offer more traction just because of its larger surface area.

Installation

The insert in the packaging provides good written instructions on how to install the studs, however take a look at the video to see how its done.  To aid in the process I dipped each stud in vodka, and surprisingly it aided in making the stud slip in and seat a little more quickly and easily.



Installing the studs is a lot quicker\easier if you have unused tires.  Used tires will require removal of all the rocks and dirt from the stud holes and that can be a real pain if not impossible.  Having perfectly clean pockets is imperative to get a good seat on the stud.



When I got "in the zone" I could install 70-80 studs in 30 minutes.  It does give your arms a workout so I did it over a couple of evenings.  I had both tires completed in 3 hours.

Testing

I mounted up the tires on my Sasquatch and headed out looking for ice.  I did not have to look very hard as the freeze and thaw cycle had ice just about everywhere.  



On my first ride I had the Pointed Tip mounted on the front of the bike and the Flat Tip in the rear. 



I quickly realized that although ice traction was increased on the front, it was noticeably less than the traction in the rear.  The greater traction of the Flat Tips was confirmed when mounted to the front of the bike.

If you have never heard the sound of studs on ice be sure to check it out. Its really cool.

Final Thoughts

While both types of studs provide additional traction on ice when compared to a non-studded tire, the Flat Tip studs are indeed superior.  If you do intend on purchasing the pointed tip, my experience is that you keep them on the rear of the bike where traction is less critical.

I found that the bikestud.com screwdriver installation tool is superior to the traditional plastic T-handle version.  See why in the video.

If you are looking to stud your pocketed (pre-drilled) fatbike or non-fatbike tires head on over to bikestud.com.  They have a great product, a super installation tool and fantastic prices that keeps more money in your wallet.

Video

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Beaver Guard | Sneak Peek




Since getting my first fatbike I have mucked around with making fenders to keep me and my bike clean.  Some have been successful, some have been dismal failures and all have had that "home made" look and feel.

The folks at Beaver Guard have been making fatbike (and other bike) fenders for some time now and they have sent along a pair (front and rear) for review.

Here are a couple of pictures of the snazzy white and orange mud flaps.





Ride on !

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Race Face Chester Pedals | Who the [BLANK] is Chester?


Pedals.  One of the three main points of contact on your fatbike, unless you have an unscheduled dismount and then the number of contact points can increase substantially.

Fatbikers ride during all four seasons, in all sorts of terrain and in all sorts of weather . . . with the same bike.  Therefore, we need a pretty versatile pedal, and and my opinion that would be a flat pedal with removable pins.

Until recently if you wanted a quality flat pedal with pins you would be looking at some sort of aluminum alloy.  They work quite well, however they are rather expensive, can be quite costly and they start showing their battle scars after only a few rides.  Race Face now offer a premium non-alloy option in their Chester Pedal and Fatbike Republic have secured a pair for testing.

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

The Pedal



Available in a rainbow of colours (and black) the Chester pedal is thin, lightweight (claimed 340g per pair), is 100% serviceable and spins on a cromoly axle.  The eight replaceable pins per side offer lots of grip on this nylon composite pedal.  And . . . they are considerably less expensive than a comparable aluminum alloy pedal.

A Closer Look

Dropping the Chesters on a scale we can see that they weigh slightly heavier at 350g.  However, a pair of decent quality alloy flats with removable pins weigh in at 438g, while an inexpensive set weigh in at a whopping 572g per pair.  That's almost a 1/4 lb savings over the decent flats.





The Chester pins are also grippier than the decent quality alloy flats measuring in at about 1/32 inch longer.





Although prices do vary, the Chester pedals are about 1/2 the price of a comparable quality aluminum alloy.  This leaves more money in your pocket, or more to spend on your fatbike.

Testing

I mounted them up to my 2016 Norco Sasquatch 6.1 that came stock with a sprinkling of Race Face gear.  The orange pedals really looked nice against the orange bike accents.



Most fatbikers, including myself, wear heavier lugged footwear when riding in the winter and I have actually studded my boots for traction on icy touchdowns.  Did the Chesters grip and hold the boots?



There was certainly an odd mixture of weather and trail conditions during the weeks of testing.  From cold weather and perfect snowy trails to warm temperatures with soft snow and icy water runoff.  Did the composite Chesters freeze up?

And don't forget to check out the video for test footage.

Final Thoughts

When comparing the Chester pedals to a decent quality alloy pedal, they perform the same if not better.

There is plenty of grip (even with heavy lug boots), they do not freeze up and are available in a rainbow of colors.  You will save yourself about a 1/4 lb and they are considerably less expensive than a comparable alloy.  

What more do you want in a pedal?

So head on over to your favorite on-line retailer or drop in to your local bike shop to take a closer look at the Race Face Chester Pedals for yourself.

Ride on!





Friday, 12 February 2016

Whiteway Pond Loop




Parking at the top of Peter's Place off Indian Meal Line, I followed the old road until I got to a fork and turned right.  This ATV trail meanders through the woods until it hit another junction.  


Turning right will take you back to Indian Meal Line, left will take you to a nice swoopy downhill section that took me to Birchy Hill Nap Road.  I crossed the bridge over Route 20, turned left following the ATV trail and riding several hundred feet until I hit the underpass for Robin’s Pond Hill Road.


Once through the underpass, a quick right to ride parallel to Route 20 again, and crossed the top of Whiteway Pond.  Turning left on Whiteway Pond Road that joins into Great Pond Road and a slow climb to the gravel pit. When at the top of the pit its pretty much a downhill to Peter's Place.



The ride is about 5 km and takes about 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Ice Desert Ride Video | Fatbiking on Ice


Scroll down to bottom for video!



This is a rather large lake in our area and I always wanted to ride it.  The conditions were good, although a bit cool and windy, so I geared up and headed out.  



2.5 hours and about 20 kms later I ticked this ride off my to do list.

Enjoy and please share the video!





Sunday, 7 February 2016

Vee Snowshoe 4.5 PSC | Sneak Peek


The folks over at Vee Tire Co. have revamped their venerable Snowshoe for 2016.  It now comes in a 4.5 width and with Pure Silica Compound (PSC).

Fatbike Republic has secured a pair of these white beauties to see how the grown up version of the Trail Taker fares in winter conditions.

Here are a few pictures to give you a closer look. 







Ride on !