While life, in it's manifold manifestations, has kept me from these pages lately, gentle reader, it has not -- I repeat, not -- kept me from fun on the bike.
You all know I spent the winter sneaking out for fat bike adventures on the new Mukluk (and, if not, go to the links in the right-hand column of this page to catch up). As the weather warmed, I got to thinking about how Salsa built the Muks so they could take 29-inch mountain bike wheels as well as the monstrous ones that come stock.
Since I'd originally planned on buying a mountain bike before I fell in love with the Muk, the idea really appealed to me. Friend Will Sytsma, over at Hampshire Bicycle Exchange in Amherst, put his mind to it and eventually found me a great deal on a sexy pair of Sunringle Inferno rims. He also nabbed a Salsa 2 rear hub and a Salsa 3 front, and began lacing them up for me. In no time, I had a pair of all-jet-black Systma Originals, and they looked pistol-hot.
I settled on what seems to be the hot new tire on the block, the Maxxis Ardent, 2.4" up front and 2.25" in back. When I finally got hold of a pair last Friday (which was no mean feat) I ran over the the Bike Exchange and watched mechanic Alex mount them up.
|Mmmm… new tiiiiiires...|
|Bubbles aren't good when you're testing the seal on a tubeless set-up|
|Alex puts the finishing touches on what amounts to a hot new mountain bike|
|New wheel and a favorite trailhead on a Saturday morn… Life is good.|
On flat-to-rolling terrain, this means that I want to stand up and hammer, because the response is so quick. On climbs, the benefits of the lighter rig are tangible. To be honest, there is a slight cost in losing the huge rubber of the Nates, because the latter simply roll right over the rooty, rocky inclines of Western Mass without a moment's thought. I'm going to have to learn a lot about picking climbing lines. All told, though, the 29er Muk will almost certainly out-climb the fat version by a mile, because of the weight difference. I laughed aloud when I picked up a Nate-equipped Surly wheel in one hand, and one of the new Sunringles shod with an Ardent in the other. Rock versus feather.
|The new set-up at a picturesque spot near the high point of the day|
In the meantime, I had the biggest blast Saturday I've had on a bike since I first climbed on the Muk for my fateful test-ride. I climbed way higher than I have before, descended more nimbly, and flicked on the afterburners on nearly every flat section, just to feel the acceleration. More good things to come from this package, without a doubt!
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