The winter bikes

This page refers to the winter bikes used for commuting, recreation, and exploration during my first winter in Alaska (2011-2012).  This season, I return to Anchorage for another winter of work, with several new tools (2013-2014).

Salsa Mukluk 3

NicholasCarman1-884.jpg

Lael and I are each riding off-the-shelf Salsa Mukluk 3 bikes.  Some improvements have been made, including drilling the rims, lighter tubes, and the addition of Grip Studs to the tires.  While these bikes were purchased with the express purpose of being reliable commuters and winter singletrack trail shredders, there is a chance that one or both bikes will be reinvented as an off-pavement touring bike next summer.  Stay tuned.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

NicholasCarman1-593.jpg

Surly ECR

NicholasCarman1-810.jpg

The Surly ECR will do service this winter as a fast and light alternative to my Mukluk.  With 50mm rims and 3.0″ tires, the bike can handle some snow, without the heft of a true fatbike.  The low tread pattern of the Knard tire bites into frozen hardpack snow conditions and rolls on some of Anchorage’s premiere multi-use trails with less effort than an aggressive fatbike tire, such as the Nate tires on our Mukluks.  A pair of large-volume studded tires on 50mm rims would make this bike an excellent commuter for many of the conditions found in the Anchorage, and other frozen cities across the globe.

More details about the Surly ECR as an off-pavement tourer can be found in my post entitled “Dissecting the Surly ECR”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Shogun Prairie Breaker 2

NicholasCarman1-979.jpg

 

An older mountain bike with studs.  It isn’t mine, a least not anymore, but it lives in the same house and gets some ride time when ice predominates the scene.  This Prairie Breaker 2 has history, and joins the list of older mountain bikes that I have enjoyed.

 

NicholasCarman1-981.jpg

 

NicholasCarman1-1033.jpg

Surly Pugsley20120120-200328.jpg

For most conditions including fresh snow I ride a first-generation Surly Pugsley. The color is described by Surly as “Barney Blue/Purple Pearl Sizzurple”. It rides well, like a bike.

This bike remained in use long after the snow melted.  I rode it all year, including a six month trip from Alaska to New Mexico.  Check out my post “Pugsmorphology” to see the evolution of the bike, and to see how it got from AK to NM.

20111218-231410.jpg

1985 Specialized Stumpjumper

For $100, this was my tourer several summers ago when I lived near Denali NP and was my (re)introduction to vintage, lightweight steel ATB’s. I rode from Anchorage to Denali for a season of work, and toured some premiere dirt tracks on this bike including the Denali Park Road and the Denali Highway.

A superbly nice frame featuring lightweight tubing and a natural, capable geometry.  In 1985, it was one of only a few production frames with a rear spacing of 130mm, which is mostly irrelevent, but a nice feature. Paired with a five-speed freewheel, the rear wheel is built symmetrically, and is thus quite rugged. Note: the lugged Unicrown fork, and the chrome under the paint on the stays and fork. Stem and fork are both Specialized branded but manufactured by Nitto, while the front hub features sealed cartridge bearings. In all, this is about the nicest production ATB from the era. Studded tires are optimal on hardpacked icy roads and trails.

20111218-231450.jpg

20111218-232907.jpg

One thought on “The winter bikes

  1. hey two wheel drive…. like tubeless fatbike cool very cool i live in eugene or. now but in 1995 i bought a proflex 855 from ya after two sets of marshmallows i gave up trying to find replacements …any tips on finding any ? inow have turner burner which i LOVE …my next bike looks to be moonlander and i will go tubeless ;?{> Thanks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s