Schwalbe studded Winter Marathon tires set up tubeless

Last winter I switched to using studded Schwalbe Marathon (HS 396) tires for winter commuting, and I have been wondering whether I can set them up tubeless. My reasoning is that I really don’t want to deal with a puncture in the winter. For one, road side repair is pretty much out of the question because my fingers would freeze off and the patch would probably not adhere in sub-freezing temperature. Considering that I usually dress fairly lightly when I cycle in the winter, the prospect of pushing my bike home is not very appealing.

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Alex Rims SX-44 wheel review

I urgently needed a new rear wheel for my winter bike, and ended up buying an Alex Rims SX-44, the 29″ variant. This is clearly a budget disc brake wheel priced fairly low, but from the description it seemed like a no-nonsense wheel with decent components. My goal was to set this wheel up tubeless with Schwalbe Marathon studded winter tire (HS 396). Below are some facts and thoughts about this wheel.

Continue reading Alex Rims SX-44 wheel review
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Spurcycle bell vs. Crane E-Ne

I have had a Spurcycle bell on one of my bikes for almost three years now, and I can’t say enough just how much I like it. It is very loud, built to last forever, and is very compact. I find it that every time I use it I get the attention of the car drivers, even when their car windows are closed. The only negative thing I can say about the Spurcycle bell is that it is very expensive. To the point that I have been planning to get a second one for my other bike, but can’t bring myself to shell out the money. Last week one of my local bike shops was running a sale on Crane bells, and I picked up a Crane E-Ne bell for half the price of a Spurcycle. This post compares the two and includes a video comparison of the two bells ringing side by side.

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Shimano SLX (M7000) and XT (M8000) single cranks are exactly the same as double

I got an M7000 SLX single crankset for my Krampus, and was surprised to see that it has a second set of chainring mounting holes. Did they sell me a double crank instead of the single? I was perplexed and unsure whether I should return the crankset, so I set out to find out the truth. Continue reading Shimano SLX (M7000) and XT (M8000) single cranks are exactly the same as double

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A case against spoke protectors

There is a lot of dislike among cyclists for spoke protectors. They (the protectors) look ugly and many think that they are only necessary if you don’t know how to adjust your rear derailer properly. I know how to adjust the rear derailer, but on one of my bikes, for whatever reason, the chain jumped off the big sprocket and into the spokes. After replacing 6 spokes because of that incident, I have been firmly in the minority that favours spoke protectors. However, today I observed something that made me want to remove spoke protectors from all my bikes. Strangely, I have not encountered this argument against spoke protectors before, so I decided to type this up. Continue reading A case against spoke protectors

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Rabbit Hole and WTB Ranger 3.0 tires tubeless setup

I took a stab at a tubeless set-up for my Krampus wheels. Here is what I used:

  • Surly Rabbit Hole rims
  • WTB Ranger 3.0″ tires (fast casing)
  • Surly woven nylon rim strip
  • Gorilla tape
  • Stan’s Schrader valves
  • Stan’s Race sealant
  • Park Tool VC-1 valve core removal tool
  • Sprayer bottle with soapy water
  • A 3 gallon air compressor

Continue reading Rabbit Hole and WTB Ranger 3.0 tires tubeless setup

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An improvement on Sheldon’s fixed cup removal tool

I had a really hard time trying to remove the bottom bracket fixed cup from my friend’s Elvish French bike.  I replicated Sheldon Brown’s fixed cup removal tool, although my local hardware store did not carry any 5/8″ bolts, so I had to resort to a 1/2″ threaded bolt.  I believe that I have made two improvements to the tool, which I’ll detail below. Continue reading An improvement on Sheldon’s fixed cup removal tool

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The peril of over-analysing yourself

Last Saturday I was riding in the rain.  I had my helmet rain cover on, like I usually do when it’s cold and raining.  At some point the rain intensified, and I noted that I was feeling rain drops on my skull.  “How funny”, thought I, “I am feeling phantom rain drops on my head even though I’m wearing a helmet cover.”

When I arrived at the destination and took the helmet off… Continue reading The peril of over-analysing yourself

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FSA BB-4000 MegaExo 19 bottom bracket review

My 2014 Specialized AWOL came with an FSA Omega MegaExo 19 triple crank and an FSA BB-4000 bottom bracket.  I bought the bike in October and in March I started thinking about doing some post-winter maintenance.   One of the things that I wanted to do was remove and examine the bottom bracket.  Since I was not familiar with outboard bearing bottom brackets, I did some research about the BB-4000 bottom bracket, and here is what I found out. Continue reading FSA BB-4000 MegaExo 19 bottom bracket review

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Mystery of the Specialized “RCC” hub bearings, or Specialized Twitter support confusion

I could not decipher what was written about the wheel hubs in the official spec sheet for the Specialized AWOL.  For both front and rear hubs, the specs say:

Specialized Hi Lo disc, alloy, RCC bearing system, QR, 32h

What exactly is RCC bearing system?  I could not find anything related to this term anywhere.  So I figured I’d ask Specialized through their dedicated Twitter support account.  The dialogue that ensued was quite comic.

Continue reading Mystery of the Specialized “RCC” hub bearings, or Specialized Twitter support confusion

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