Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Tyre experiment on the SurlyMoonlander Pt 2 of 2


I rode around Tyninghame woods and beach this evening to try out the Moonlander with the On One Floater tyres i fitted after writing some notes on beach riding tyres in  Part 1

Stunning spring day with a bit of heat if out of the cool breeze...



I remember John Climber saying he found the On One Floater tyres useless on the beach, i kind of found this hard to understand as the chunky Surly Nate tyres are ok...

It was nearly high tide so no chance of riding some greasy low tide exposed rocks, but that would not matter after i tried to ride some dry loose sand through the dunes.
I was running 6 1.2 psi in the rear and 6psi front, dropped off down the big dune fine if a little bit loose steering (see film below), then when i tried to cycle through the soft dry fluffy sand the front end would wash sideways as soon as i was on a camber and the rear would not grip-spinning if i pressed to hard on the pedals.
Then onto wet soft sand and again the front washed if i turned, see the pic below...

Could not really understand why, the pressure was low enough...

I reckoned it must be the thicker sidewalls, there is not enough give in them to get that float needed.
And i  thought the Surly BFL tyres were too squidgy and weird steering-which the BFL is until you get onto stuff like i had just ridden and that is when those BFL`s start to work...

Here is some film riding the sand, not very good as the bike slid out on the front and the rear would spin on the slightest soft sandy climb but i still had fun as always!...
Song is `Nosebleed Section` bu Hilltop Hoods
click on the cog icon to view in HD



So if there is not enough float with these for sand on 100mm rims then i may as well stick with using them on the 65mm Pugsley wheels which they not to bad on the beach are fine on for trails etc...


Sandy coastal trails;
I also tried them on sandy single track above the high coastline, they work not to bad!, still a bit vague and drifty as i honked along some of the secret trail...


This film shows the Floater tyres are not to bad on coastal singletrack...
Song is
click on the cog icon to view in HD
Song is `Rooster` by Alice in Chains



I stuck the BFL`s back on once home...

These will stay on until i either buy a new pair of Surly BFL`s and live with the wear on the sidewalls, or maybe buy a pair of Surly Bud tyres both ends, or wait and see if Surly bring out a new sand specific tyre that will also be good for rock crawling. a man in the pub said last weekend there may be something new coming...

Monday, 14 April 2014

Tyre experiment on the Surly Moonlander Pt1 of 2

My Surly Moonlander is over 2 years old now and still on the original tyres!,
The big beastie comes with 4.7" Surly `Big Fat Larry`s` (BFL`s) to mount the 100mm clownshoe rims...

Things have moved along in the 4" fatbike tyre world with various companies own designs but only two 5" tyre designs ,both by Surly are available here in the UK off the shelf, more on them in a bit...

The ideal 4" fatbike beach riding tyre;
For beach riding here in East Lothian and most other areas devoid of mud flats i have ridden i have found the 3.7" Surly Larry tyre to be the best beach riding tyre on regular 4" fatbikes with the usual 65mm and 80mm wide rims, like  Pugsleys, Mukluks, 9zero7`s  Fatty`s etc...

How many times you seen people doing this to a fatbike parked up!... feel the fat!...

The Larry`s deft roll further with less drag leaving hardly any footprint and they have a great surface contact area for grip on wet rocks exposed at low tide, loose pebble beaches like at Marine Villa nr Yellowcraig and the are fast with enough grip on sandy single track like the JMW from Dirleton to Yellowcraig here in East Lothian.

What about the original Endomorph?;
The original Endomorph has proved since using the Larry tyres to maybe being a faster rolling tyre on the rear  on hardpack but has way less grip on wet rocks and pebbles. I rediscovered this again lately having acquired an as new Endo and ran it out back on the black Pugsley for a few weeks. Some sand riders in the USA swear by them, i guess there not riding the low tide rocks we are...

Then along came Nate;
When the Surly Nate appeared most 4" fatbike owners got a hold of these and thought `wow these are amazing`-and they are, and i will say the same thing, i have 2 pairs!...



And if you have ever ridden on clay with the Larry tyres and had them clog like this...

Then you will have no doubt since bought some Nates and kept riding through stuff like this as the chunky tread pattern clears and continues to grip...

Nates on the coast;
So i also ride Nates on the coast, they do drag a bit and leave a clear mark of your passing-still less imprint than a human footprint, and they do allow grip across salt marshes and slime covered mud exposed at low tides around river estuaries, places where before you wheel spun along making slow forward progress on the Larry tyre. While Nate makes an ideal all round tyre and will go anywhere with its grip, the Larry is near perfect on beaches and better for grip on the wet low tide rocks as we ride here.


Back to the big Moonlander;
The Moonlander has proved to be amazing on the coast with its leech like grip on rocks and increased float on really soft sand and riding across bankings of pebbles making it ride places my 4" Pugsley struggles or can be just too much hard work.
It is a bit of a niche fatbike and most folk don`t really need one as a regular 4" fatbike will go nearly most places it can. It is just how easy it does things when the going gets really soft or loose which is the amazing thing when you ride it in these enviroments.
It was on the rocks exposed at low tides and real soft sand and mud flats that it has amazed me. I have found a whole new riding area with this bike..


The BFL tyres are indeed ideal but like with the 4" Larry tyre folks needed more grip for mud and gloop so Surly brought some whopper tyres!

Meet Bud and Lou;
These are like the Nate tyres on steroids, and are huge!, friend Richie had a pair on his Moonie, and now Barry has them too...
Bud up front...


Lou on the rear...


Here is how much bigger they are, BUD on the left, and my BFL on the right...

So it goes without saying that fitting these to my Moonlander would make it even more versatile with the ability to cross salt marshes and tidal mud flats no probs...

2 questions, 1;
But what on rocks?, thing is everyone is saying these tyres are amazing for grip but no one i know rides the same low tide exposed rocks that i do. £170 is a lot of money to spend if it is not as good for rock crawling!

Question 2; drag?
Talk is they do not drag anymore than BFL`s ,  Mmm not sure about that as 4" Nates certainly do more than 4" Larry`s,

The weak point of BFL`s for rock crawling;
While the BFL`s have been perfect for where the Moonie can take you the BFL side walls are too thin for rock crawling and they have scarred and worn quickly rubbing through rocks. Hence why i really need to get some new tyres soon before these go pop!...


These tyres are capable of going as low as 4.5 psi on soft sand. But they need to be kept above 6 psi for rock crawling or you can pinch flat them as i discovered early on. Ideally they would have thicker sidewalls for coastal cycling including rocks but the majority of users of the tyres are on snow or sand only so they are ideal...

Resistance is futile;
The Bud Lou tyres do not seem to be suffering from side wall damage from owners so i will probably get a pair before next winter anyways and just see what they are like on the low tide rocks here.
Getting them on the Moonie will mean i can then ride some places i have struggled to go explore before due to lack of grip around our estuaries,


In the meantime a cheaper alternative/option?;
I bought a pair of orange On One 4" Floater tyres for a giggle for the Pumpkin theme Pugsley.
They come in a very floaty more balloon casing than the Surly 4" tyres, and have a tread design somewhere half way between a Surly Larry and Nate in terms of grip/roll and drag- more of a trail tyre...

So this afternoon i tried one on the Moonlander 100mm Clown shoe rim and it looks possible to use them on 100mm rims as it is bulbous enough from the 100mm rim to hopefully avoid rim strike on rocks and the side wall height is not much lower- A Surly 4" Nate has too low a side wall to safely do this...

Not too much difference in tyre height...


Sidewall height is similar...


Here is the important bit, the bulge out from the rim...


Not quite as much but looks ok to not damage the rims easily...


Pressed against this wood you can see the sidewall is thick enough to lessen pinch flats from rock strikes. I left in the Michelin 21" Desert Motorcycle tubes as they have proved very robust...


So ignore the colour!, and maybe not as good as a pair of Bud and Lou tyres but be good to try them out this week...



Will post up my findings later in the week...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sunday morning beachride with Mowgli...


Sunday dawned with gales again, after yesterdays ride from home i took the car into work for the 2 hour weekend shift (i in 4) then picked up Mowgli, Francis was doing a 40km Endurance horse ride at Tentsmuir in Fife, an excellent days riding a fatbike can be had in the woods, but probably alot of the trails would be used for the horse event so i stayed at home and headed out from North Berwick to zig zag into the westerly gale towards Gullane via some of the John Muir Way and dune enclosed trails mostly avoiding having to winch into the increasing gale as mid morning seen more cloud threatening rain-only got a small shower on the return, prob too windy!...
























Next years new fatbike tyre size...



1 min out of the wind in the sun...


Flew back along the coast the 7 miles to North Berwick with the tailwind!...




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Great seeing horses cantering on the coast...




Mowgli  loves to run along side fatbikes!...




Not many birds flying today!, like these Oystercatchers...


Back to the car parked beside the Marine and it was only 12pm...


Great wee cycle with Mowgli!...

Home for some tinkering in the man cave and a fatbike tyre experiment i have been wanting to try out...

More soon...