Pugsley, Alive!


It took a snow day to get the thing done. It had been sitting as a well cleaned, prepped, framesavered frame and fork with headset and cranks installed for about 3 weeks (possibly longer). I busted out the wheels last night, and with the assist of a couple few hours and a fair number of Anchor Steam Christmas Ales, I got it out the door and for a late night really really cold test ride.


Riding conditions ranged from snow packed roads to 4-8 inches of fresh snow in the park to rutty bits to a couple ill advised trail shortcuts that did not end badly. It was about 5F out and my face hurt. I mostly resisted the urge to ride through all my local cyclist pals snow covered yards leaving fatbike tracks. This is going to be a really fun bike.

Note the squishy blue ritchey grips which have been sitting in the box for over a decade waiting for the right bike. They are made out of smurfs. As cool as the flat bars look, I need some much wider riser bars on it. Maybe just swept back a bit.

These were some fun wheels to build.

They were a good challenge. I really like building wheels. I am also pretty darn slow, but the second wheel was a breeze compared to the first. The tricky bits was getting them dished right, the first one laced up way off in dish and truousity. the second one laced up almost dead on. Not sure why, other than I was better after building one. If you are building your own fat bike wheels I highly recommend reading the surly pugsley instructions a bunch and then figure out your spoke lengths with this handy visual calculator at freespoke double check the rim and hub dimensions, vic has a nice post that discovered some error in the large marge calcs. I found the ERD on the rolling Darryl rim is a bit different than surly's spec, but it is easy to play with the numbers and change them. I also HIGHLY recommend not using an ERD that is 15mm to big when you order your spokes. Good thing I have the Tarik's Everful Box o' Spokes at my disposal. No matter how many times you double check your calcs, if you transpose some numbers consistently you will still be wrong.

I had to press out the bushing out of a old canti brake and pair that with a beheaded M8 bolt to get the surly wheel build tool to work with the Paul hub. If I had my unimat set up, I should have just turned down the head of an M8 bolt. But one stupid project at a time. Don't worry if this does not make sense to you. It is not a common problem to have.
I can think of lots of things I would do differently. The most likely one is that I would probably have set up the disc brakes before I put the tires on. You can not get a line of sight on the caliper and pads with the tire on. Your head keeps hitting the tire. I set em up by smell. It feels good to be a gangsta.

Thanks to the Mellow Velo Fellers for helping me put together the highly personalized build kit eons before I could actually get the fat bike built. I shall now commence the riding the hell out of it.


Pat S said...

Great looking snow machine. I know from whence you speak with the brake alignment. I ended up using a dental mirror and a flashlight. I must have looked quite silly. Luckily I was alone.

Anonymous said...

Cool! Love the fat wheels. What gage spokes did you use?

Big Dummy Daddy said...

That's a great looking Pug. Nice and clean. I've always liked the thundercloud gray and am envious from afar, of the fatbikes that you and Pat S. have built recently. I've been given domestic clearance for one once I've gained emancipation from my dissertation.

Out of curiosity, is your frame 18" or 20"? I ride a 22" Big Dummy, and all of my mountain bikes are between 20" and 22". I'm on the size/fit border between the two. I've ridden a size L Mukluk and although it was a nice bike, I like mine steel, so it'll be a Pug for me.

Anonymous said...

Saw you riding in to work today on the pug. Nice bike and I bet it is fun. I'm wondering how those fat tires roll though... are they really slow or ok?

I put my Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires on my Mtn Bike on Sunday. Hope to ride to work later this week. The Marathon Winters are REALLY SLOW!


ssportsman said...

Pug looks great!! You should not have resisted that urge! should've left a track through all of their front yards!

Tarik Saleh said...

Should have used sense of smell.

I used normal double butted 2.0-1.8-2.0 spokes. I was going to use straight gauge, but I screwed up the measurement on those. I think with tires this big and such a burly rim, the wheelbuild is almost irrelevant.

I got an 18 pugs and an 18 BD. I probably could easily ride a 20 in both, but I don't think I would enjoy getting on the 20" big dummy at all, no reason in my mind to limit standover on the BD, as it is hard to get on the bike when loaded anyway. I think increased standover is good on the pugsley too. Vic disagrees:
But I disagree with his disagreeing, when you ride in snow you come off the bike in a hurry into deep snow you need it, at least it seems obvious so far to me that I need it. I think I like the extra standover on both bikes, jury is still out on the pugsley, but so far it seems good. From what i can tell I can easily fit an 18 and 20 in the surly sizing, but I seem to like the shorter toptube on the offroad bikes now. So in essence, I agree with vic, size the bike first, worry about standover last, but where i disagree is that if you are between sizes I would size down to maximize standover. I don't give a flying crap about frame bags though...

Inherently they are slow tires, I would say they are as slow as studded tires. The knobby studded tires I run on my single speed mountainbike (nokian freddies revenge and schwalbe ice spiker) are the slowest tires on the road. But you don't fall. So slow is not the point. I just like riding in nasty weather and snow, preferably offroad. You are welcome to try out my quiver of slow bikes whenever you want. I note I have been the only one commuting this week. get those studded tires on jerry!

You are right. The cool part is that the subsequent high altitude sun melted the fat tire tracks down to the earth, leaving odd fat stripes in my yard. Looks classy. I should have shared.

Thanks for reading all...

Jay said...

Great looking bike. You are really lucky to have Mellow Velo as your local bike store. Dave Bell built up my Rambouillet in Tenafly when he was here. Good luck with your new ride. Jay

Tarik Saleh said...


Pretty cool. I grew up in NJ which is why I think, David and I get along so well. Mellow Velo is more or less the shop I would run if I had a shop, except my shop would probably not be so successful. The only bummer about Mellow Velo is that it is 45 minutes away in Santa fe, but there are no shops in Los Alamos anymore,so it is as Local as I can get...

Anonymous said...

i've been commuting too. just don't park in the rack at 55. my bike is spoiled and get to stay in a warm office.