I liked the idea of using an internal geared rear hub for the build because it would eliminate the problems of a rear dérailleur clogging and freezing up with snow. I checked with a rider in Whitehorse, Yukon who used one and confirmed it worked fine at below zero temperatures. Plus, it is sealed so there is much more protection from gunk. Lastly, it allows greater width to your tires because the chain never moves in and out like on a derailleur-equipped bike. I used a Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub and had Universal Cycles in Portland, Oregon build up a set of wheels.
|Shimano 8 speed Alfine; they also make an 11-speed version now.|
|No derailleur, thank you very much.|
The largest Pugsley frame available had only a 15cm head tube. The head tube measurement is about the only way to compare the size of modern frames with sloping or very curved top tubes. I am 6'2" and have always had a hard time finding mountain bikes that fit and the Pugsley was no exception. The largest they offered was too small for me.
My mountain bikes have always been very uncomfortable to ride on the road because they are so small. The position works OK on single track and I never ride on cross-country courses - only single track. I have been inspired by RLove2Bike's blog because he rides all winter anyway he can. I would like to use the Fat Bike to get out on the roads in winter when the trails have too much snow. Also, I really need more flotation on the trails, hence wider tires are in order.
So I decided to do some research on upgrading the Pugsley. First, I needed a taller frame. I looked at the websites of all the major Fat Bike players and, just like before, even the so-called "Extra Large" frames were too small.
Here is a list of a few sample head-tube sizes:
Surly PugsleyXL = 15cm
Salsa Mukluk XL =14cm
Salsa Beargrease XL = 15cm
Borealis Yampa XL =16.5cm
Specialized Fatboy 21"= 15cm
Trek Farley 21.5" = 12cm
9zero7 135mm = 17.5cm
For comparison, my road bikes have 22cm head tubes. Now, I would never expect my mountain or fat bike to have as tall a head tube as my road bikes but 15cm or less is too small. So the 9zero7 was the largest and a significant increase over my Pugsley. I needed compatibility with my asymmetrical Pugsley so I choose the 9:zero:7, which is asymmetrical like my Pugsley, and I could move over all the parts, except for the seatpost and headset.
Did I mention how cheap I am? Being retired on a fixed income I need to always look for the best solution at the lowest price. I used Surly Endomorph 3.7" on my Pugsley and wanted to try a wider tire on the upgrade to get some more flotation. When I looked at the price of Surly Bud's (26x4.8") I almost choked. I paid less for my car tires than a new Surly Bud. So I looked for an alternative. I found the new Vee Rubber Snowshoe which is the first bike tire to use silica compound to aid traction in snow. It is nearly half the cost of the other wide tires available. I picked up a pair from Chuck's Bike in Vermont. They look like nice tires but on 80mm rims they only measure out to about 4.1". So, I will watch for the new Vee Rubber Snowshoe XL, previewed at www.fat-bike.com, which is supposed to be wider and available soon, because I really need a wider tire.
The new Snowshoe XL
To gain the full capabilities of wider tires, I need wider rims. I could run the new wider tires on my original Large Marge Surly rims but at only 65mm wide I would not get much, if any, increase in width over the Endomorphs. So, I looked for new rims to widen my outlook. Once again I was taken aback by the cost of 80mm and 100mm wide rims. After searching around I found the new Origin8 Pro 80.
Here is my score, a two-year-old XL 9:zero:7 in very good shape. I almost always buy used because the technoweenies always want the latest and greatest which makes their hand-me-downs a great bargain.
Next the build....
100mm BB is moved over from the PUG.
Rear Wheel laced up and ready to true:
Part Two of the Pugsley upgrade:Pugsley to 9zero7 upgrade part 2