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Monthly Archives: February 2010

Here are some pictures of our puggles George (red Harness) and Pierre (blue harness). This is from a couple of weeks ago out at Al Sabo. Our puggles are so high strung that we need to take them out for a long hike at least once a week to let them burn some energy.  I take George with me on trail rides sometimes, but he can only go about five or six miles before he’s ready to call it quits.

The Racer X is finally 100% complete! FedEx delivered the seatpost today and I put it on, it looks great. I love this bike and I can’t wait to take it out! Too bad it’s still snowing outside with huge gusts of wind… It looks like a winter tundra out there. I can’t wait for Spring to get here!

What trails would you like a review of?  Preferably around the Southwest Michigan area.  The closest ones around here that stand out are Fort Custer in Augusta and Yankee Springs in Grand Rapids.  I touched on Al Sabo a little with one of my earlier posts already, so I’d like to cover something else.  Is there any trails that aren’t well known that people would be interested in learning more about?  I’d be happy to travel to a new trail, even while there’s snow on the ground to do a hike and take some pictures to post up.  Leave a comment and let me know if you have something in mind.  I’m going to be doing some looking around to see what I can find also.

I tried finding some ABS piping which is recommended for this project but apparently Michigan is all out of it.  So I settled with some gray electrical PVC pipe, which I think will work just fine.  You need to find piping that is the same outside diameter as your coil spring for this to work properly, mine has an outside diameter of 1″.  You will need a pipe cutter or hack saw to cut the pipe.

1. Acquire the proper tool for removing the load adjustment, some can be taken off with a wrench/crescent wrench and some need a special tool like this.

2.  First adjust the load to it’s softest setting prior to removing it.   Remove the load adjustment dial from the top of the fork by unscrewing it.

3.  Slightly compress the fork so the top portion of the coil spring is exposed.

4.  Removed the white cap (color/appearance may vary) from the top of the spring.  It should pop off fairly easy.  (I recommend taking this cap with you when getting the pipe to assure a proper fit)

5.  Cut a section of your pipe making sure it is nice and flat on each side.  The recommend length is 5-10mm (I went with 10mm).  Once you cut your pipe use sand paper to smooth both ends of the pipe.  It should look similar to this.

6.  Now take some access grease from your coil spring and coat the entire piece of pipe and place it on top of the spring.  Once it is in place and looks flush with the spring place the cap on the top of the pipe like so.

7.  Finally, extend your fork back out so the coil spring retracts back into the fork.  Place your load adjustment dial back on and re tighten it.

Once your load adjustment dial is firmly back in place you are all set to adjust the firmest of your fork, which should be firmer than before.  The total cost of this project was 83 cents.

(Caution!  This may not be a good idea for all forks, it’s best to check with the manufacturer prior to doing this.)

Al Sabo Trail is located in Texas Township in Kalamazoo Michigan. Yesterday, the wife and I, along with the dogs, went out to the trail to hike around a bit. Of course it’s too soon for me to be out on this trail with my bike, but I was surprised that I didn’t see any bike tracks out on the trails here. This is a great trail to ride if you’re close to the Kalamazoo area. Not too big, but if it’s slow out there you can sneak onto some of the hiking only trails and have some fun! With about 6 miles of trail that are intended for bikes it does have some great single track for the beginner biker or anyone just looking to get in a quick ride. The scenery is beautiful and there’s also a few decent climbs out there. If you’ve never been before I would recommend it. Especially if you are from around the area. Here are some shots from yesterdays trip out there.

I’m going to be posting either a video or pictures of how to stiffen your fork without having to buy a spring kit for it. This obviously will only be for coil forks. I was trying to find a spring kit for my Marzocchi fork because it’s just a little too squishy for me. I couldn’t find a kit anywhere so I called Marzocchi and found out they don’t make one for the 22 RLO which is just a basic XC suspension fork. The special Suntour tool (mentioned in previous post) they are sending me is for removing the load adjustment dial on that fork so I can get to the spring. So as soon as I get that tool I’ll give step by step instructions on how to stiffen a coil fork at a cost of only about five bucks. Hopefully I’ll have that tool early this coming week so check back for that post.

Today with it being almost 40 degrees and sunny I couldn’t resist getting out my road bike. So I pumped up the tires and pulled on the thermal spandex, jersey, and shorts. Some of the roads have too much gravel and snow on the shoulders still but my subdivision has a nice half mile loop that was totally clear. It felt great to get back out on the bike after being cooped up inside all winter and having to go to the gym for exercise. I put 10 miles on the Ventura in about 30 minutes, not too bad for the first ride of the year I think. Has anyone else been out on their road bikes yet this year?

Since I started biking I’ve went back and forth with carrying different things with me on the trail and on the road. I’ve used a Camelbak pack which had extra pockets for pumps, tubes, tire levers, and other things. Camelbaks are great but I don’t always want a back pack on. So I started looking for what would work just as an essentials pack for mountain and road rides that wasn’t too expensive. I’m by no means a weight weenie but I didn’t want anything that was bulky or heavy. This is what I found, Rav X Power Pack Combo Kit. For what you get with this kit I couldn’t find a better deal.

It’s not too heavy and you can fit an extra tube in it too. Here is a shot of it on my Ventura and a shot of what I keep in it. The Cateye tail light is also pictured, which I only use on my road bike. It clips right on the back of the pack and is a great safety feature when on any road. I don’t know about where you live but people can drive like idiots here and anything I can do to make them see me better is a plus. Here is a link to the Cateye, Cateye LD130 3Led Taillight. You can find similar lights on Pricepoint or JensonUSA like this one but for a few extra bucks you can get the Cateye, which has a great reputation for making quality products.

I only keep two of the three tire levers in it because I’ve never really had a need for a third while I’m changing a tire. This little seat pack can be swapped out between your road or mountain bike. All you have to do is swap the tubes you have in it for whichever bike you’re using. Then just grab your water bottle and you’re all set.

Have an issue or question about a bike part you have? Don’t be afraid to contact the manufacturer. Every manufacturer has a website and almost always has a phone number listed. A few days ago I call Marzocchi in California with some questions I had about a fork I bought from them. This isn’t always the case, but I needed a specific tool that only Suntour makes for their products (Marzocchi and Suntour are affiliated) and I was able to get Marzocchi to ship me the tool I needed for free. This saved me from ordering the tool or going to a local bike shop to buy or borrow it. So it never hurts to call a manufacturer and let them know what you are dealing with. By doing so I found out that Marzocchi has terrific customer service and obtained a free tool for my work shop.