in·CH+

Riding big wheels in Switzerland Frankly, because bigger is better

One More Lubricant To Keep The Bike Going
No peeps, my bike still runs without gears! Automatic transmission fluid isn’t a lubricant typically sitting on a shelf of someone’s bike workshop. But ATF is exactly what a True Precision Stealth hub needs to keep running smoothly. In fact, it’s the only permissible lubricant for the roller clutch hidden inside a rear True Precision hub. A spoon-full should be added once in a while. Depending on the frequency one rides and the climate one lives in, this should be done more or less frequently. Since I’m not living in a dry part of the world, I think I’ll be doing a hub service about three times a year, possibly four in 29er heavy years. Now, the fantastic thing about the Poacher hub is that it takes a single allen key (3mm) to disassemble the whole thing. Heck, the cog can stay on the free-wheel body to pull the axle out. To reach the roller clutch the steel free-wheel body can be pulled out by hand. Clean everything up, add a scoop of ATF, push everything back together, screw on the bearing preload cap, adjust and tighten with the 3mm allen key - done! To note that absolutely no dirt or dust had made it past the dust cap/seal in the months I’ve ridden it. Zoom

One More Lubricant To Keep The Bike Going

No peeps, my bike still runs without gears! Automatic transmission fluid isn’t a lubricant typically sitting on a shelf of someone’s bike workshop. But ATF is exactly what a True Precision Stealth hub needs to keep running smoothly. In fact, it’s the only permissible lubricant for the roller clutch hidden inside a rear True Precision hub. A spoon-full should be added once in a while. Depending on the frequency one rides and the climate one lives in, this should be done more or less frequently. Since I’m not living in a dry part of the world, I think I’ll be doing a hub service about three times a year, possibly four in 29er heavy years. Now, the fantastic thing about the Poacher hub is that it takes a single allen key (3mm) to disassemble the whole thing. Heck, the cog can stay on the free-wheel body to pull the axle out. To reach the roller clutch the steel free-wheel body can be pulled out by hand. Clean everything up, add a scoop of ATF, push everything back together, screw on the bearing preload cap, adjust and tighten with the 3mm allen key - done! To note that absolutely no dirt or dust had made it past the dust cap/seal in the months I’ve ridden it.

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Two Peaks Late Summer Loop
After I tried to do this loop in mid June only to have to cut it short due to a broken bottom bracket, I returned to the area today to climb both the Mont Tendre as well as the Dent de Vaulion. It was a little chillier this time, but I prefer it that way. My sleeveless vest was enough protection from the winds that usually howl across the mountain peaks. Heading into the first climb, I made a little error and ended up hiking a short abandoned trail. It looked fine at first, the trail had a name plate and looked a little over-grown, but soon disappeared into nothing but forest. I climbed through it with the bike on my shoulder and was quickly back on the right track. Near the top of the Mont Tendre I joined up with a local rider and rode with him for a short stretch. After eating a fruit bar on the mountain peak, I hit the descent on the backside to head towards the Col du Mollendruz. It’s a fun, bit technical trail that was made more difficult by a humid and sometimes muddy ground.
Once at the mountain pass of the Mollendruz, I wanted to ride towards Chalet Dernier only to be stopped by a farmer at the Pré de Joux. He handed me a map and indicated the the Canton of Vaud had decided to close the whole area off, no biking permitted. So instead of staying on the signed hiking trails, I tried to cut across to Vaulion on paved mountain roads. I climbed to La Mâche also on pavement and was for once happy to be on such a surface. It was pretty steep. The hard pavement under the rubber kept me pedaling at least. Once the pavement ended, I was back on trails, rideable for a bit more than the first half, all hiking for the remaining stretch to the top of the Dent de Vaulion. This is one heck of a busy mountain as a paved road leads all the way up to a restaurant near the peak. Descending from the top I had to slalom around folks who walked the 400 meters from the parking lot to the peak in flip-flops, no kidding.
As soon as I got off the paved road and back onto the hiking trail, I had to share it with only few real hikers. The trail’s a fun descent full of rocks and roots. Most of it was dry, but a few wet spots were a little sketchy. From Pétra Félix, I wanted to take sort of a straight shot to Châtel. My old map printed in the early 90ies was missing some trails, so I ended up taking a wrong turn once. Ultimately, I ended up somewhere unplanned and discovered a nice, narrow singletrack. I couldn’t pass up on this one and added a small extra loop. From Châtel I hopped onto the cool downhill to Montricher, this time not missing the turn I didn’t notice the last time. The trail has a whole bunch of difficult, ultra-steep passages. Being alone, I didn’t take big risks and got off my bike a few times. This is a great technical descent. Last time I had to ride it with a seized bottom bracket, this time I was able to have fun with the terrain.
Distance:56.4 km (35.1 miles)Elevation:2’268 m (7’440 feet)Time:04:32:50Speed (avg/max):12.4/7.7 kph (50.0/31.1 mph) Zoom

Two Peaks Late Summer Loop

After I tried to do this loop in mid June only to have to cut it short due to a broken bottom bracket, I returned to the area today to climb both the Mont Tendre as well as the Dent de Vaulion. It was a little chillier this time, but I prefer it that way. My sleeveless vest was enough protection from the winds that usually howl across the mountain peaks. Heading into the first climb, I made a little error and ended up hiking a short abandoned trail. It looked fine at first, the trail had a name plate and looked a little over-grown, but soon disappeared into nothing but forest. I climbed through it with the bike on my shoulder and was quickly back on the right track. Near the top of the Mont Tendre I joined up with a local rider and rode with him for a short stretch. After eating a fruit bar on the mountain peak, I hit the descent on the backside to head towards the Col du Mollendruz. It’s a fun, bit technical trail that was made more difficult by a humid and sometimes muddy ground.

Once at the mountain pass of the Mollendruz, I wanted to ride towards Chalet Dernier only to be stopped by a farmer at the Pré de Joux. He handed me a map and indicated the the Canton of Vaud had decided to close the whole area off, no biking permitted. So instead of staying on the signed hiking trails, I tried to cut across to Vaulion on paved mountain roads. I climbed to La Mâche also on pavement and was for once happy to be on such a surface. It was pretty steep. The hard pavement under the rubber kept me pedaling at least. Once the pavement ended, I was back on trails, rideable for a bit more than the first half, all hiking for the remaining stretch to the top of the Dent de Vaulion. This is one heck of a busy mountain as a paved road leads all the way up to a restaurant near the peak. Descending from the top I had to slalom around folks who walked the 400 meters from the parking lot to the peak in flip-flops, no kidding.

As soon as I got off the paved road and back onto the hiking trail, I had to share it with only few real hikers. The trail’s a fun descent full of rocks and roots. Most of it was dry, but a few wet spots were a little sketchy. From Pétra Félix, I wanted to take sort of a straight shot to Châtel. My old map printed in the early 90ies was missing some trails, so I ended up taking a wrong turn once. Ultimately, I ended up somewhere unplanned and discovered a nice, narrow singletrack. I couldn’t pass up on this one and added a small extra loop. From Châtel I hopped onto the cool downhill to Montricher, this time not missing the turn I didn’t notice the last time. The trail has a whole bunch of difficult, ultra-steep passages. Being alone, I didn’t take big risks and got off my bike a few times. This is a great technical descent. Last time I had to ride it with a seized bottom bracket, this time I was able to have fun with the terrain.

Distance:56.4 km (35.1 miles)
Elevation:2’268 m (7’440 feet)
Time:04:32:50
Speed (avg/max):12.4/7.7 kph (50.0/31.1 mph)
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Freedom To Roam
The above photo taken on yesterday’s bike ride exemplifies the freedom to roam I enjoy in my neck of the woods. When I lived in California, most often a private property or no-trespassing sign would greet me dangling from a barbwire fence. Here in Switzerland, fence crossings like the above announce a whole different greeting - “welcome, come on in”. While there were many things to love in Northern California, the extremely limited access to the outdoors was something that always bugged me. Here in Switzerland, one can hike through farmland, across pastures and through the woods unhindered thanks to a guaranteed right to roam, just like in many other European countries. I was reminded of this invaluable public right while visiting Norway, which grants the right to roam in perhaps its purest form. Norway’s allemannsrett makes uncultivated land and the wilderness accessible to everyone. The right goes as far as prohibiting landowners from erecting fences or other barriers. Attempts have been made to introduce “tolls” for using groomed cross-country skiing trails and the Norwegian government stepped in and stopped it. With the growing sharing economy, where people share their cars, apartments and homes, I wonder if sharing land will ever become a thing. But as long as landowners in the United States can be held liable in the event of injury, it’s much more likely that it may not.
Distance:60.0 km (37.3 miles)Elevation:1’903 m (6’245 feet)Time:04:42:12Speed (avg/max):12.8/7.9 kph (56.2/34.9 mph) Zoom

Freedom To Roam

The above photo taken on yesterday’s bike ride exemplifies the freedom to roam I enjoy in my neck of the woods. When I lived in California, most often a private property or no-trespassing sign would greet me dangling from a barbwire fence. Here in Switzerland, fence crossings like the above announce a whole different greeting - “welcome, come on in”. While there were many things to love in Northern California, the extremely limited access to the outdoors was something that always bugged me. Here in Switzerland, one can hike through farmland, across pastures and through the woods unhindered thanks to a guaranteed right to roam, just like in many other European countries. I was reminded of this invaluable public right while visiting Norway, which grants the right to roam in perhaps its purest form. Norway’s allemannsrett makes uncultivated land and the wilderness accessible to everyone. The right goes as far as prohibiting landowners from erecting fences or other barriers. Attempts have been made to introduce “tolls” for using groomed cross-country skiing trails and the Norwegian government stepped in and stopped it. With the growing sharing economy, where people share their cars, apartments and homes, I wonder if sharing land will ever become a thing. But as long as landowners in the United States can be held liable in the event of injury, it’s much more likely that it may not.

Distance:60.0 km (37.3 miles)
Elevation:1’903 m (6’245 feet)
Time:04:42:12
Speed (avg/max):12.8/7.9 kph (56.2/34.9 mph)
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29in.CH Turned Four
While away traveling through the beautiful country of Norway, 29in.CH had its four year anniversary on August 11th. No bikes were ridden while vacationing, but the country would make one fine destination for road, mountain, gravel or fat biking. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity one time to visit that nation on two wheels. For now, I’m looking forward to fall and winter in my local Swiss Jura. Bikes are ready and legs are itching. Zoom

29in.CH Turned Four

While away traveling through the beautiful country of Norway, 29in.CH had its four year anniversary on August 11th. No bikes were ridden while vacationing, but the country would make one fine destination for road, mountain, gravel or fat biking. Hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity one time to visit that nation on two wheels. For now, I’m looking forward to fall and winter in my local Swiss Jura. Bikes are ready and legs are itching.

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Let’s Have Some More Rain, Please

Skin fryers aka sun tanners must hate this July. It’s been raining almost nonstop since the month started. Rivers are high, creeks are flooding and trails are soaking wet. Did I say wet? Sun paid rare visits and I absolutely love it. Seriously, being able to climb in mild temperatures without a blazing sun but a constant drizzle or rain is something I much prefer over a sunny hot day. Today, rain was a constant companion and the ride turned out to be probably the best one of the year so far. I didn’t hit particularly special trails nor were my legs spinning in any spectacular way, but the calmness and solitude up there just made this bike ride something awfully special.

Distance:51.3 km (31.8 miles)
Elevation:1’648 m (5’406 feet)
Time:03:53:40
Speed (avg/max):13.2/8.2 kph (53.6/33.3 mph)
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Sneakadee Peekadee
Some big blue stuff is going to roll through my fatlands this coming winter.Photo courtesy of 44Bikes. Zoom

Sneakadee Peekadee

Some big blue stuff is going to roll through my fatlands this coming winter.
Photo courtesy of 44Bikes.

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A Singlespeed Cog Design
My True Precision Stealth Poacher rear hub came with a 19T heat treated stainless steel cog. It does what it’s supposed to well, but the simple design sort of lacks the ooh-aah of the incredible hub. So, here’s a cog concept that would match the wicked hubs. It would be sweet to have one made, preferably in 6AL-4V titanium, though the bill would be a bitter one to swallow. But this is a Tumblr site, so why let this CAD rendering collect digital dust somewhere on my harddrive? Feel free to share! Zoom

A Singlespeed Cog Design

My True Precision Stealth Poacher rear hub came with a 19T heat treated stainless steel cog. It does what it’s supposed to well, but the simple design sort of lacks the ooh-aah of the incredible hub. So, here’s a cog concept that would match the wicked hubs. It would be sweet to have one made, preferably in 6AL-4V titanium, though the bill would be a bitter one to swallow. But this is a Tumblr site, so why let this CAD rendering collect digital dust somewhere on my harddrive? Feel free to share!

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Squealing Like A Pig

What a day! In the morning I had to run to the post office to pick up a new SIM card for my phone. I changed phone companies. Got home and realized I freaking ordered the wrong SIM. Ordered a Nano SIM while my phone still has a larger one. Duh! Guess I haven’t been keeping up with the miniaturization of SIMs. It doesn’t seem all that long ago, when those plastic cards were even bigger. Oh well, a few more days without a cell phone. No big deal, really.

Being without a phone, I opted to keep my ride short and stay in my backyard. As soon as I started climbing, my brakes started squealing like a couple of mad pigs, especially the rear. I had just changed pads and bled the brakes. In doing so, I set the brakes pretty tight. Too freaking tight as it turned out. After a bit of braking, I managed to shut up the front by readjusting it. The rear however kept squealing like there was no tomorrow. It was mildly embarrassing to say the least. After the first downhill, the brake noise was slightly reduced. I hit another climb, then opted for the only cure to the constant disturbance of hillside tranquility - a long and hard downhill. Back in town, the rear brake had shut up as well.

Distance:45.2 km (28.1 miles)
Elevation:1’634 m (5’361 feet)
Time:03:17:41
Speed (avg/max):13.7/8.5 kph (66.2/41.2 mph)
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Ridea Oval Chainring First Look

Saturday morning was wrench time. On my last bike ride, my front brake was squealing like a pig. I knew the pads were just about gone and somehow one brake cylinder had moved out more than the other. After the bike had been washed off the dirt it had collected on Thursday’s wet ride, the front brake got new pads, the cylinders were centered and the brake was bled. Since I had the bleed kit out, I bled the rear brake as well. Everything clean and adjusted, I figured I might just as well do some more wrenching.

I pulled out the oval Ridea chainring I presented in my post last week, and put them on my fat-bike. Using the included spacers, the chainring ended up a tad too close to the chain stay. It had some air, but not quite enough for my liking. When you have a fat-bike with chain stays as short as mine, things around the bottom bracket get a little tight and with the chainline I run, a 32 is just about the maximum chainring size I can run. The Ridea ring grows to a 34, hence the close proximity to the chain stay. Fortunately, I found some chainring spacers in the dresser that houses all my spare parts. They happened to be about half as thick. That half millimeter won, allowed for enough chain stay clearance. Next, I had to file down two of those spacers as their outer diameter was quite a bit larger than the Ridea spacers. With enough material removed, the chain ran cleanly around the chainring. Due to my dresser-picked spacers though, the chain now barely clears two of the spider arms. Once assembled, I tested every gear in the workstand and took the bike around the block. Well, so far so good. Only a trail ride will show if my setup can handle dirt and snow.

Speaking about tightness around the bottom bracket area. Many of the more recent fat-bikes have gone to 190mm rear hubs, 5 inch tires and 120mm crank set axles that can accommodate the wider rear end. I cannot see myself jumping on that bandwagon. A 170mm rear with a 100mm bottom bracket ist about as wide as my hip joints can handle. For pedaling purposes, my body is most comfortable with a narrow Q-factor. My body does okay on my current fat-bike, but it would most likely not do all that okay on an all day adventure. Throw 5 inch tires between my legs, and I’d probably have to saw my pelvis in half to widen it an inch.

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Ridea Oval Narrow/Wide 104BCD Chainrings

If your a fan of ovalized chainrings and happen to ride a SRAM 1x11 drivetrain with a single chainring up front, your options have been pretty limited. Rotor has the QX1 which is compatible with their Rex 1.1 or 2.1 cranks as well as SRAM XX1 and Specialized cranks. But if you run a more common 104BCD crankset, you’re regrettably out of luck with Rotor. Fortunately, there’s another player who jumped in to fill the gap. Meet Taiwan-based Ridea, who offer the M4-S1 from 32 to 38T in 104BCD as well as various sizes for 80, 88, 94 and 120 BCD. Besides the oval 1-speed ring with a narrow/wide teeth, these guys offer a huge selection of oval and round 2-speed and 3-speed chainring sets. Got XTR cranks and want oval rings to match? They have them too.

I purchased a 32T Ridea Powering for my 44Bikes Big Boy. Out of the box, the chainring makes a superb impression. High quality precision machining and a clean finish. The chainring comes with 4 thin aluminum spacers as the chain often won’t clear the arms of the crankarm spider due to the oval shape of a 32T chainring. Remember, in the dead spot this ring is basically a 30T and in the powerzone of the pedal stroke it’s comparable to a 34T. I’m looking forward to testing this one out this coming winter.

And remember, the post about oval Ridea rings for XX1 drivetrains appeared on 29in.ch first.

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