Gary's nickname, "Chainstay", didn't come easily. Gary can break anything. Gary has broke almost everything. Gary has had to fix almost everything. Gary is tired of doing both of those things.
He's spent most of the summer riding a 29+ wheel set on his Borealis Yampa, and immediately fell in love with the idea of finding and building the perfect training bike to go with that carbon set up. It's not as much about actual durability than reducing worry; "I just want something I can thrash in the woods and not care...at all."
Mission accepted, and all it took was a longing glance to the corner, where we have a few Surly Krampii (the plural of 'Krampus') tucked away. It's a bike we have a lot of experience with and love for, especially in the painfully sandy Northern Michigan climes that turn into a beach by the end of July. The 29+ platform, with 3" inches tires, is the perfect solution...and it's a Surly.
But it's also heavy. Gary's new bike, still stock, weighed in at 32.6 pounds. We all took a stab at what the weight would be by the time we finished, and 25 pounds the popular guess and 24 pounds the ambitious one set by Nate St. Onge.
First up, wheels. Gary went the Hope hubs and Velocity Blunt 35s instead of the Duallys. The tire was just a few millimeters narrower on the rim, but we expect the Knards to stretch out a bit, took. The weight comes off quick here, even just between the stock Knards and the 120tpi version. The Hope hubs helped too, but also are bombproof, equally important to Gary.
The other main switch was a Next SL crankset, a massive weight savings and a great set-up for a singlespeed bike. Gary opted for a 32t matched with a Surly 17t cog in the back, a bit lighter than normal to accommodate the bigger wheel.
The rest of the bike included XT brakes, some FSA carbon components, and Cranks Bros Egg Beaters to give the bike a true weight, with only bottle cages missing from a bike that's ready to go do 100 miles.
The final result was pretty impressive. With probably a bit too much apprehension that was necessary, we set-up the scale, lifted up the bike and let it swing. The bike settled almost immediately at 23 pounds, eleven ounces. Bring out the aircraft carrier and roll out the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner! Gary is very excited to get this sweet rig into the woods, and we can't wait to see it in action.