Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Maiden voyage of the shop truck.

Today was a perfect day to exercise the Chevy shop truck. Dry roads and temps in the high 20's were perfect. I haven't run the truck in about a month, and even then I didn't drive it very far. See in MN you're required to have these things called taillights. Weird. I'm working on that...

It's always a small wonder when things work like you want them too on project cars. With no real history of this vehicle and little engine work done to this point, I wasn't sure it would even start this morning. Sure enough though, the slow cranking six volt starter system had the car running in just a few turns of the engine. Truthfully it started as easily as my Camry!

Making it out of the barnyard posed the next challenge. With super warm temps followed by a solid hard freeze the hill out to the road was glare ice. It tool me about six runs at it before I found the right combo of speed and gas to get it over to the flat drive.

On the road it drive just like you'd expect a 1950 truck in original shape to ride. The term lumber wagon has been applied to similar vehicles, and this certainly is reminiscent of that. Stiffer springs and no weight on the rear make for a bouncy ride. Giant tube type bias-ply tires on split rims make the ride rather dead feeling and harsh. The wheels and tires will be changed soon to a modern set up which will drastically change that for the better.

Simply cruising at maybe 40 mph is a joy though. There's just something about old cars that brings a huge sense of happiness for me. It's easy to imagine driving a vehicle like this just as it would have been 63 years ago. The road, the fields, and the scenery haven't changed all that much since then. Like riding a single speed, there's a huge sense of simplicity. There are no modern distractions, no real creature comforts save for a heater, there's not even a radio. I love it.

I drove the truck about six miles before I broke it, and turned back to the barn. Something in the exhaust manifold broke, and the truck sounded a whole lot meaner! The smell through the firewall confirmed it. No problem though, I simply opened the window and put the hood vent open to max.

It was a great morning. Sure I've got a few more things to fix, but I consider the trip a resounding success. The truck completed it's maiden voyage in fine enough form for me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mid week musings.

Now that we've entered the doldrums of mid-winter, lots of little projects are finally getting done around the shop.

Upstairs were working on our new Project One display and a new consumer computer kiosk. There's painting to freshen up dirty walls, and we're working on a new local ride information center as well. These will condense riding information, bring up the shop appearance quite a bit, and make accessing items and information online much easier in the shop.

Downstairs new fixtures are being built to clean things up, and I'm continuing to work through my personal list of bikes to rebuild. Up on the list yesterday was my Ti Fargo. It was pretty rough after our California tour, and has received very little loving since then.

The brakes on this bike have never worked up to my standards. The cables were lackluster and flexed, and the rear brake had no adjustment left after a OTB crash in a river wash. Since I've been riding this as my main mountain bike and gravel road tourer, I opted to swap the brakes to Mtn BB7's and long pull levers. This set up greatly improves braking performance, at a slight ergonomic downturn. The hood shape on the Tektro long pull levers is not as comfy as the Avid levers they replace.

The drivetrain has help up amazingly well on this bike. The combination of XT crank and front der paired with a SRAM Type 2 X9 rear derailleur and Sram bar end shifters is near perfect in my opinion. Only the shifters needed a little cleaning out, as ultra fine dust had made shifting a bit gritty. Triflow and a soft rag made short work of that, and they popped back together good as new.

I finished putting the bike together last night. Save for the bar tape, which will happen this morning, it's ready to rock. With the Whisky carbon fork installed it's a thing of beauty. I'm excited to start riding it again. With the warm weather coming to kill what precious little snow we have, I think the Fargo will come out very soon.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Morning light.

This hill is a classic one in Northfield. It's a murderously long snowmobile trail climb just out side of town. Still frozen corduroy conditions made it pretty bearable this morning. The light didn't hurt either!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Drop bar SS MTB Pugsley.

In the winter we get bored a lot.  The days are long, and we often fill the time with thoughts of cool bikes, (big surprise there.)  I've been dreaming a lot lately of ripping up fatbikes on Northwest Arkansas trails, namely on my Pofahl fatbike.  I love how that bike rides.  The Woodchippers paired with big grippy tires make mincemeat out of technical singletrack.  Inspired by that bike, I present our latest project build.  


Fit and set up on this bike is nearly identical to my Pofahl.  It'll be a ripper for sure.  The build is a list of a lot of things we really like.  Ashima Rotors, Drilled Rolling Darryls, 45 North's new Escalator tires, and Surly/Sram X.9 hubs.  Weight as pictured is 31.4lbs, and the going price is $1950.  


Give us a shout, or stop down to check out this fine steed.  This bike can be changed to suit peronal preferences, and we can certainly build a similar one up to your specs.

Join us for our Tuesday night fatbike snowmobile trail ride in front of Goodbye Blue Monday in Northfield.  We'll be leaving at 7pm, all are welcome!   

Monday, January 07, 2013

Mukluk breakfast.

With warm temps and even rain in the forecast riding snowmobile trails this morning seemed to be a great idea. The trails were still firm as the sun wasn't quite warm yet. Just north of Dundas I stopped for a spot of breakfast by the river. I broke out my little Esbit stove for some Miso soups and a cup of Earl Gray. It was an excellent way to start the day.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Better than sledding

Mukluk jumping. Perfect hard morning snow on the sledding hill of my youth. Couldn't pass the jump up. Went back for several runs!