I hinted at this awhile back, but ever since last year, I’ve been sloooooowly working on building a Guerrilla Gravity Pedälhead.
The Salsa Bucksaw I’ve been riding is a great, fun bike…but leaves a bit to be desired in Pisgah most of the time. The particular characteristic that can be problematic is its handling in high speed downhills. What happens is essentially that the suspension isn’t able to completely deal with the undamped rebound from the tires AND deal with high speed, chattery downhills full of roots and small rocks. Maybe part of it is a limitation with the Wren fork I have, but it can’t be entirely that. Either way, last summer I started shopping around for a new bike a bit more appropriate for more WNC conditions.
I apologize if you’ve tried accessing my website within the past month, only to be greeted by annoying messages from the server. I was changing servers (consolidating a few things) and because I’m an idiot, there were a few steps that took some time to get straightened out (partly due to the holidays), after multiple phone calls to my hosting service’s tech support line.
2018 was a rough year for my riding. Winter weather kept me off the bike last year. Less so because it was “bad” weather, and more because I simply didn’t have the right clothes for the conditions. By the time springtime rolled around, I was doing pretty well. Feeling stronger and fitter because my ride frequency was pretty good. Then summer hit – ugh. I started a physically demanding job and I was just too tired to ride very often. So my riding fitness suffered. It didn’t help that 2018 was a brutally wet year in Western NC. May, especially. 20-40″ of rain for the month, depending on exactly where you measured. I picked up frequency again in the fall, but my annual mileage was unrecoverably down by this point.
I can’t believe I made it almost 3yrs before experiencing significant tire damage to the fatbike tires that I run tubeless on my Bucksaw. Of course, they’re not “designed” as tubeless tires, but they work just fine.
Out on a ride a couple of weeks ago, a stick nearly the size of my thumb punctured my tire. Yowza!
Chalk this one up to an initial oversight on ordering. I could have had one added onto my trailer when it was built, but to save a few bucks, I opted not to. I should have had one installed when it was built. But I had in my mind that since I had a couple of extra 20lb propane bottles already, I’d find a holder to put one on my trailer tongue. That didn’t work out how I’d hoped. I couldn’t find one that I could just buy and bolt on. Anything would have required custom welding for proper support, and I just didn’t feel like doing that.
Before you go any farther, realize that this isn’t your typical PMBAR race recap post. No way I’m fit enough for that event. I did volunteer to run the Sassafras Gap checkpoint for the race, however. The checkpoint was far enough “out there” that I needed to camp at least on Saturday night, and then pack out on Sunday morning. I opted to camp Friday night, also, since I’m not so much of a morning person, and I wouldn’t have to get going at 4am to be at my checkpoint by race start time.
This post is several months in development. I’ve been tossing around getting a teardrop camper for several years now. Don’t get me wrong, I love backpacking and bikepacking, but I actually do more car camping. And I’m just not that comfortable sleeping on the ground anymore. Especially now that I’ve found hammocks. For car camping, I often want a bit more, especially for sleeping.
Today seemed like a great day to hide in my basement and work on bikes. In doing a drivetrain swap a couple months ago, I discovered that my hub bearings were gritty. I’m probably a little gun shy over reports of freehub bearings on the Hope fatbike hubs imploding, so maybe I replaced them earlier than absolutely necessary. The new ones are definitely smoother, though. My post isn’t meant to be a step-by-step tutorial on the process. There are plenty of excellent resources available for that. Speaking of which, I found this video to be top notch.
While the Rockshox Bluto fork I’ve been using on my Salsa Bucksaw since day 1 has been effective, it’s been a bit underwhelming. It worked fine on my local xc trails and winter rides, but when I’d ride more rowdy trails, it really began to show its limitations.
It’s a little flexy, and I could deal with that under most conditions. Burping air out of the fork was a problem, though. Finding that halfway down a long, gnarly downhill that your fork has suddenly lost air and that it’s now mush and bottoming out far too easily isn’t good. Thankfully I had my shock pump when that happened, but that initiated a drive to look for other options.
The Bryton Rider 310 has been okay, but since Strava ALWAYS throws out wheel sensor data from the device, and RideWithGPS totally mucks up the distance calculations, I decided I wanted something more reliable and versatile.