Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009: Getting Off to a Crazy Start...

Big Mama gets a new rear wheel... and drops some weight. Nice!

XTR (M975) disc hub laced with DT 14/15 butted spokes to a NoTubes Arch 29 rim w/brass nipples. That's a Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 tire on there. Gnat and Guitar Ted both claim it as among their favorite 29er tires. It sure looks good to me! We'll see how it rolls on the trail. I bet it'll be good.

After taking a luxuriant start to the year, I've had to hit the ground running at work and between that, the super cold weather, the fact that Laura's car is in the shop getting repaired, so she's got my car (and I'm on my bike whether I like it or not) and finally, the crash of my Blackberry, it's been a crazy past ten days or so. At times it feels I'm running to stand still.

Guitar Ted and I have also been able to do a little planning for the Big Wheel Ballyhoo, and there's just a few more details to nail down before we're ready to announce the full details of the 2009 event. It's gonna' be a good one... but mark your calendar now for October 10-11, and plan to be out at Potter's Pasture in Brady that weekend. That's all I'm gonna' say right now.

The good news is that my new Blackberry arrived today and I've got it synced back up, so I'm on my way to being back in-touch with the world. It's amazing how reliant I've gotten on that thing! And to think that I said a couple of years ago that I'd never get a Blackberry... Riiiiiight... That's what I get for saying "never."


kent said...

hola mg. just wanted to give you my experience with running the racing ralphs last season. i ran the 2.25 for 5 months on various terrain throughout iowa. they always seemed to hookup pretty well in all conditions, while still rolling really well. negatively they never stopped leaking stans out the sidewalls, and burped maybe 10 times over the season. my front eventually cut a sidewall this fall, but could still be ran with a tube. you migh think about changing out the rr when riding in rocky conditions, otherwise it should hold up ok.
this year i will go another route simply because i thought about my tires too much last year. hope this helps a bit. later.

EB said...

Hooray for Bikes!

If I'm not in Minneapolis this weekend.
I'll see you Sat.8am on D St.

paxtoncoyote said...

Can't wait for more details on the Ballyhoo, keep me posted with any help you need from me at this end. Looking forward to a fun event with new faces only 55 miles from home.

Jason said...

Big Mama looking great! I'm gonna be rolling one this season too. Anxious to get all the parts and the build going. Fox + Big Mama + XT + X9 = Solo Bike.

Guitar Ted said...

Nice wheel MG! Yeah, those Ralphs are sweet and lightweight. By necessity then they won't be that cool in rocky terrain, so what kent said makes sense to me.

But for that, you might take a look at the Geax TNT Saguaro. Better compound than before, so it's grippy, yet the TNT process yeilds a great tubeless set up with no leakage of sealant, and I'm betting no burping either. Then the sidewall reinforcement seals the deal. Decent volume, rolls well, although not quite as nicly as a Ralph, and ooks up great.

Just a thought.

Glad to hear about the new crackberry! Gots ta talk to you soon about the BWB and get some idea exchange there.

Take care!

MG said...

Man, I was out of the office for the day and look at all the comments! Thanks guys!

Kent, thanks for your perspective on your experience with the Ralphs. I'll be interested to see if I have the same sealant squirting through the sidewalls experiences you had. Guitar Ted had warned me about the casings in the rocks, so I'd been planning on taking it easy with them in rocky terrain, or just swapping them out altogether... maybe for one of those Sauguaro TNTs that Guitar Ted mentions below.

EB, if you end up going up to Minneapolis, travel safely. The cold gives a long trip a little extra sketch factor... but say hi to one of my favorite cities for me if you make it up there! And if you see Jason Boucher up at Frostbike, give him a big 'ol man hug for me!

Yo Matt, you're gonna' be in on the Ballyhoo details, for sure. In fact, I need to get on the phone with you pronto, actually. I'll be in touch soon. I'm sorry it's taken me this long...

Jason, congratulations on making the decision to go Big Mama.. You're not going to be disappointed, my friend. It's an incredible bike. Fun, fast and forgiving. You'll see... and I can't wait to hear about all the fun you're going to have on it.

Guitar Ted, thanks for your thoughts on the Geax and Schwalbe tires. You've been such a great resource for expertise on so many different aspects of my bike set-up. I really appreciate it.

I apologize for not getting a hold of you this past weekend. It ended up getting a bit busier than I'd anticipated and the time slipped away... story of my life. But I'll call you soon. I've gotta' get out of this office now though and get home to my wife...

redstone said...

Second that on RR's on rocky terrain. The Ralphs have got to be about perfect on NE terrain, though. I've no experience on their Stan's worthiness, though.

The Nobby Nic is a little taller knobbed than the RRs if you are ever looking for something with more beef.

Those Arches are sweet, aren't they? All of them that I've had opportunity to play with have built up really well, even with aluminum nips.

MG said...

Thanks Davey... Yeah, that Arch rim built very nicely. I was amazed. For a rim with no eyelets, it just went together lickity split. No weird stuff, just straightforward, true and round stuff.

I like the concept of that Geax TnT casing for the Front Range. Perhaps a 2.4 Ardent on the front with a TnT Saguaro in the rear would be the Colorado solution? Maybe that's what I'll be kickin' for the spring Mancation? Who knows? I don't know if Maxxis will have the 2.4s ready yet, but if so, I'd be game to give 'r a whirl. Otherwise, is the Nobby Nic available in a 29? I didn't think so... But perhaps I'm mistaken. You'd know better than I, more than likely, Dave.

Anyway, thanks for the Front Range perspective, my brother. I'm lookin' forward to the Mancation. We need to get a date on the calendar for that ASAP so I can get my vacation request in at work. The work's startin' to pile up!! A good situation, undoubtedly, but one I need to manage in order to make sure I'm able to use the vacation I'm given. You know what I'm sayin'...

Thanks again,

Bruce Brown said...

Thank God! Now I can sleep because your wheels match in full black. You don't know how much torture that caused me waiting for everything to come together color wise.'-]

Racing Ralph 2.25 rear, 2.4 front is one of my favorite combination set ups on the Dos Niner. I had the same experience as Kent, although at opposite ends of the season. I tore a sidewall early on in May, patched it and ran them without any troubles all season. I tore them on a gnarly course with rocks, cement chunks, pieces of metal and what not (Sylvan Island in Illinois). So that is probably not the best example of your typical midwest trail conditions.

I did have one heck of a burp (almost sounded like a shotgun) during a race hitting a root at an odd angle. I went down hard. My fault, though, because I was running way too low of a pressure in the front that day (something like 18 - 20psi). A few minutes of cussing and fiddling with the can of Big Air while everyone passed me and I was about to cash it in. But the Big Air finally shot its wad in my tire and came to the rescue. Hopped on the bike in dead last place and went at it. I even managed not to get last place in that race. Cool!

I've read reports on MTBR.com that they work better with tubes in terms of not tearing a sidewall. I don't know about that. That's the price one pays for running light and fast race tires.

Either way - they are good tires. I'm riding them now in the snow covered streets and gravel roads (with tubes for the winter because I'm out of secret sauce). They make very decent snow tires.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll like them.

MG said...

Thanks Bruce -- Sorry for the delay in responding to your comment. I missed that you'd left it while my Blackberry was on the blink. Dang thing... Anyway, I do like the 'Ralph -- it's a good tire, and fast too for such a knobby sucker. It's awesome and light, so it really doesn't surprise me that it's a bit finicky as far as durability goes. That's kind of what you get when you go really light. But damn they feel nice... Fast, supple and I haven't had any of that sealant bubbling out of the sidewalls stuff happening yet that others have reported. That's good. We'll see how it all holds up over time. In some ways, having the winter to "ride 'em in" will be good. It'll get a good coat of latex on the inside of the tire, so they might have a fighting chance of holding up once the racin' begins. And by then they'll be worn and even faster by then. Bonus! We'll see how that theory pans out. They might flame out by then... Who knows. But you're right Bruce about them being good on snow and ice... I tried that out last night. Bueno!