Specialized StumpJumper HT Comp Evo 29 Preview

I recently found my self looking for a cross country bike to round out my fleet and found my self gravitating towards a little black bike called the Specialized StumpJumper HT Comp EVO, a bit of a long name, but a very cool little bike.

It’s the “EVO” tag at the end of that name that really got my attention.For Specialized an “EVO” bike is one that is kitted out a bit more aggressively than your typical stock bike. Wider tires, wider bar, more suspension travel and other changes in spec that work together to make a bike that is ready to charge technical trails right out of the box.

Up front a Fox 32 CTD fork with 100mm travel and a 15mm axle handle the suspension duties. Braking is handled by Formula C1′s with 180mm font and 160mm rear rotors.

A 1×10 drive train is standard on Stumpy EVO with a Sram XO type 2 derailleur and step tooth (Sram X-sync) front chainring providing chain retention with out the need for additional chain guide.

Tires are Specialized’s own Purgatory 2.3 out front and 2.1 Ground Control out back mounted to a fairly wide (28mm) set of Specialized Roval 29 wheels.A nice touch, the wheels come pre-taped for a tubeless set up and the valve cores are in the box. I was easily able to seat the tires and air up tubeless with a floor pump.

Set up tubeless with a generous amount of Stan’s sealant, and  some heavy pedals, my medium bike came in a bit under 25 pounds, not bad if you ask me! But if your fussing about weight too much your missing the point of a bike like this. The slightly burlier build moves the StumpJumper HT EVO a bit away from XC racing and squarely into the realm of trail riding.

My initial impressions are very good and I’m happy with the fit and finish of the bike, Specialized always does a great job with the details and this bike does not disappoint, the black on black pain job may not be for every one but I think it looks pretty bad ass!

I look forward to seeing how this bike handles in the woods and will post an in depth review in the coming months once I get some proper ride time in.

More to come!

- Ryan

Find out more about the bike here: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/mountain/stumpjumper/stumpjumper-evo-29 

First Impressions on my New Fatbike

So, last night I built up my new RSD the Mayor. Went together quite well.

First thing that surprised us all in the shop was the weight. Grabbing the wheels, we almost flung them to the ceiling expecting more heft from them. 80mm drilled alloy rims, Vee Rubber Snowshoe tires in 26 x 4.7″ and some very nice unbranded sealed bearing hubs. Very nice sounding freehub, with close engagement points. Red rim tape to boot! 135mm front and 190mm rear o.l.d.

Next I took the fork out of the box. Full carbon, including the tapered steer tube. And super light! Like, almost road bike light. Looks super stout, though. Through axle. Nice.

Yanking the frame out of it’s resting spot, I bottle brushed the seat tube, greased it and put in the seatpost. After hanging it up in the stand, I got to looking at it. Very clean and simple looking bike. X7 drivetrain out back, with a Race Face Turbine crankset, running a 32T narrow-wide ring. Guess that won’t have to be upgraded! BB7′s with what feel like metallic pads, squeezing 8″ rotors. No need for upgrades there, either. How thoughtful of them. This bike is looking more and more like they read my mind.

After a fairly drama free build, I jammed it in my Yakima Stick Up rack somehow, with bungee cords keeping the tires roughly where they should be, and drove the beast home. Once there, I propped it up in my living room, and creepily stared at it for the rest of the night while my ignored wife watched American Hoggers. How romantic of me!

After a restless night of excitement, I woke to greet the happy morn with some boiled eggs and toast. Some man fuel. Should be enough, I carb loaded on Rappie Pie the night before. Anywho, I was dressed in a flash, didn’t bother brushing my teeth, packed my Camelbak with a 29er tube with hopes I wouldn’t need to figure out if it would fit in a fatty and rode out the back yard and into the wilds of Lower Sackville. God’s Country.

So, what everybody wants to know the most… How does it ride? Well, a lot better than I was expecting. It pretty much rides like a mountain bike should, albeit with some self steering at low pressures while riding the pavement. Close to home, I crossed an open field full of snow. No drop in speed. Smile commenced. Yup, this feels promising. Hitting a paved trail through the neighbourhood, I was quickly made aware of the racket these huge tires were making at 5 psi while booting along at a nice clip. Sounded like a huge redneck truck rolling on big mudders. Not like a normal mountain bike, but actually just the same and as loud as a hillbilly trail truck. Them knobs were spanking the pavement right some good like!

After a short haul to the trail, I got to try it out on some more fun stuff. After ducking down into my local loop, I started getting the giggle fits. This thing was blitzing the trail, just slaying it way faster than the old 29er ever could. Along with having way more control and grip. Ah the grip! Nothing I have ever ridden, EVER, was cornering, climbing and stopping like this behemoth. Holy crapolli. Well, time to get off the foot-pocked trail and take a “shortcut”. We must have had hero snow, because the entire forest floor was one big, rolley fun fest! I could just point and shoot, and this thing would stay on top, and take command. Epic! Just like a human-powered ATV.

Back on the singletrack, I did a lap on my little trail. There were some choppy spots, but the fat meats and carbon fork took a lot of the chatter out of it, and I could have even aired down a fair bit more, but I didn’t bother. I didn’t even want to stop! Couldn’t even squeeze out a few lousy phone pics. Sorry.

After the first lap, I rode onto a nice technical out and back with a loop on the end that went through some primo old growth white pines and hemlocks. The only place it faltered was on some reaaaally off-camber icy stuff, but truthfully, I couldn’t even hardly walk that section, and studs would have barely made a difference. Just a short hike-and-slide-a-bike section to look for chaga on the trees, I s’pose.

Back out to the main loop, and it was back on to monster-trucking over everything in sight, and floating over some sweet virgin pow. I love making first tracks, riding, sliding or even tramping. Good times. Hit a sweet DH section that shoots you back down to the hardpacked crusher dust main trail next to Second Lake, and I was off to the other end of the lake. Found some trails hiding up there, and rode some stuff I haven’t seen in almost ten years! What a perfect machine for just generally rambling around aimlessly and exploring off the beaten track. Trails are super fun, but so far, this thing seems to not even need a stinking trail!

After a bit of a climb back up to the top of Metropolitan Avenue in the 32×36 combination, I was going to head for home, having got a couple hours in, but instead I headed towards Bedford, to drop into work for some tea and to let my toes thaw out.

Riding along on the road, the bike isn’t slow, but let’s just say it tells you to not be in such a hurry. Good way to take it all in, methinks. I thought it might be good to try out the trail along Sackville River for a change, as it’s painfully slow and rough on my commuter, and I’ve been taking an alternate route to work since the snow came. The trail gets so choppy from foot traffic, that it’s not even worth riding. Until now. I can see why folks commute on these in the winter if they are on multi-use trails. Unstoppable, comfy and fast! Well, that was easy.

At the end of the trail, you get spat out at the True North Diner. Normally the trail continues around the parking lot, but there are HUGE snow piles plowed up at the ends of the parking lots. Well, it IS a snowbike, right? So, a good charge up the backside of one, and it clambered right on up! You know what? If you ever get the chance to climb up these man-made glaciers in the mall lots do it! It’s pretty darn neat up there. It’s even neater to be rolling along on a fatbike. So strange, yet so satisfying.

After a really short haul, I got to the shop. The boss is fiddling with the other two fatbikes we have left. I think deep down, he actually likes them. I drove a few cups of hot tea into me, gratefully ate a free slice of pizza that the bossman offered hot out of the box, and put all of my wool layers on again, headed back the way I had came, until I got back to SackVegas. I rolled along behind the cop shop, DH’ed her to the old Walmart, and rode some more snow piles. Weeee! Why is this so much fun!?!

Afer four hours and 30 plus km’s, I was ready to head home. This was the first time I had a bike in the woods since November, and the first ride over 1/2 an hour since New Year’s Day. I am feeling it, but I can’t stop smiling! And I’m already thinking about my next ride, hopefully tomorrow. Please!!!

If you get the chance to ride a fatbike, do it up! Even just a short try will hopefully make you a believer. And make you feel like a kid again.

I’ll let you know more, further down the trail.

Aaron

Tire Studding/Mid Winter Party

***POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE***

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The trails are snow and ice covered, the lakes are frozen and you want to ride your bike, but alas, you don’t have studded tires. And of course, the 2014 Iditabike is happening on February 8 as well!

Well, you can go buy some tires at your local bike shop. Or you can make your own. I’ve been making my own studded tires for several years and I’m willing to open my house up to anyone interested in learning how to make their own tires. Or if you already have tires, or know how to make them, feel free to drop by and hang out for a bit. I’ll have some mountain bike movies from local rides and some production level movies on the go as well.

I ask you to contact me via email at mike@pedaltrout.com to let me know you’re interested in dropping by. I will send you my address and directions to get to my place.

You will be responsible for getting your own tires to stud, and purchasing the studs or screws as well.

I have a couple of drills here, and will make sure there is room in the fridge for you beverages. I might be able to swing a few snacks as well, but feel free to bring your favourite snack to share.

I will post up some advice on tire selection and stud or screw selection soon as well.

When: January 25th
Time: 8:00pm
Where: Email me and I’ll send you the address/directions! mike@pedaltrout.com

Dear 2013, you were great, but it’s almost time to go…

2013 marked the first full year of Pedaltrout under the new management team of Jeff, Aaron and myself. It was an amazing year full of laughs, fun times and awesome rides.

To our sponsors:

We have to thank some folks in the community that help make Pedaltrout and the whole cycling community a great thing.

Sportwheels has sponsored our weekly rides for several years and has always been there with a discount for our weekly riders as well as expertise with hockey, scooters, and other sports.

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Bicycles Plus supplied some great prizes for our first Annual Scavenger hunt. I have to say they went all out and we hope to work with Bicycles Plus on future projects.

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Bromoc Printing really helped us out providing us with an awesome banner to proudly display at events and outings. Huge thanks to Kirk and I look forward to riding with you soon.

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Thanks to the Bedford Parade of Lights for allowing us to participate and it was a great time lighting up the bikes and riding down the Bedford highway in front of so many people.

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McDonald Sports Park provided a backdrop for several of our rides as well as our Digital Scavenger Hunt. The park is a great place for rides, XC skiing and just enjoying nature. There are plans to expand the cycling infra-structure so if you’re interested in helping click the link above.

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Trailflow is an amazing little company doing a lot of big things for mountain biking in our community. They build awesome trails, host awesome events and races, and are doing so much for cycling. Ryan and Michelle are great people and I’m proud to say great friends.

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We have also received a second banner from Cobbco Sign Design. Check them out at

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A special thanks to Sobeys on Sackville Drive. They allowed up to use their community room for our annual Festivus Get Together.

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Special thanks to all the trail builders in all the Atlantic Provinces. There are many doing a lot of work making sure there are trails for us to ride, and there are many trail systems in our part of the country worth visiting.

Event organizers are a special breed. They work long hours, hustle prizes, prepare courses, and make sure everyone has a great time. From personal experience, the financial side of things is not that lucrative. Without the dedication and devotion of these organizers we wouldn’t have the community we do.

Our provincial and local cycling associations are mostly run by volunteers. They work hard to make sure there is a plan for cycling in our region and provide affordable insurance for riders, and event organizers. For more information contact your local provincial cycling association.

To all the riders, and unsung heroes out there. You know who you are!

I realize I’ve forgotten a few thousand folks and if I could I’d buy you all a beverage of your choice. Together we made 2013 an amazing year. We had more events, more rides, more trails, and more fun times in the woods.

Here’s to 2013, bring on 2014!

The Recipe for a Great Cycling Season

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Ingredients:

1. At least one working bike at all times
2. Lots of friends to explore trails, take trips, and share rides with
3. A camera to capture every amazing moment
4. A great site (www.pedaltrout.com) to share your memories

Directions:

1. Make sure your bike and cycling apparel is always ready to go. If the conditions dictate make sure your lights are charged, tires are studded, and you have your skull cap on.
2. Post up your ride before hand. It’s always better with more people to share the ride and get stories from another point of view. (I know it felt like you jumped really far, but…)
3. Make sure you know where you’re going and you have enough provisions (like gas) to get there. Yes, there is a story behind that.
4. Load or charge your batteries and make sure you stop to take some pictures or video. It’s always better to show your friends who couldn’t make it what they missed out on.
5. Post your stories/pics and videos on www.pedaltrout.com so everyone can see what a great trail, ride, and awesome person you are because you ride.

This recipe yields unlimited adventures, stories and memories when repeated frequently. Feel free to share it with all your friends and fellow riders!

A Letter to Pedaltrout from Deloris

Dear Pedaltrout,

I was thinking this morning about how I have been riding for only a couple of years now and about how I used to see you guys wiz by me on the trail at Spider Lake. My thoughts were “wow those guys are awesome and that looks like so much fun!!” Pedaltrout has always been such an inspiration to me. I was happy to discover later on that you had a community website and the resources on it helped me learn more about the sport. I was one of your silent users of the website and I found the trail resources to be really fantastic. They helped me find places to practice my ride. Even though my skills are limited and I ride an entry-level hardtail, you all have been so welcoming on your rides and not judgmental at all. For this, your character shines. I have been given the opportunity to chase down someone who has far more skill and grace on a bike than I do and in my opinion that is the best way to improve. For that I am very grateful. Thank you. You guys are truly awesome. special thanks to Michael Phillips. Feel free to share this with all your trout.

p.s. my knee is ok, just a little bruise :P

Adventure on Two Wheels, or at least two feet…

After a fair bit of thinking about it, I am looking to start doing some more adventury-type riding again. To me, this is riding to neat and sometimes secluded places, that may contain some or all of the following terrain; Singletrack, doubletrack, railbeds, footpaths, dirt/gravel roads, etc. Places that may have historical, geological or some other interesting features. Places like abandoned buildings/settlements, old mills, scenic water ways, secluded beaches, etc. These could be anywhere in the province and beyond, but quite a few are in and around HRM as well. My premise will be mostly riding, with as little to none of hike-a-biking as possible. Might put the odd snowshoe/XC ski invite out, weather permitting this winter, as well. Probably not overly technical, unless otherwise noted, so it can make for a good day’s ride, with some socializing, including learning about points of interest, making some food and hot drinks over fires, home made stoves, ect, some simple bushcraft, and generally just having a good time riding bikes. Some rides might even be doable on a cyclocross or hybrid bike. Depends where I go. Could be longer distances. Might try for a few overnight bikepacking trips as well.

Point to all this is to do something fun, outdoors, on the bike, in fresh air while getting exercise and not worrying about training, latest top-shelf gear, etc. They will be open invites, but you should try to be self sufficient, i.e. bring your own tubes, pump, food and water. Will I help you change a tube if you got one? Sure. Will I share my bannock? Good chance of it. Just don’t bank on me having a full set of spares for your bike. Which reminds me. Derailleur hangers and Powerlinks will be good ideas in the boonies. Anyways, where was I… Oh yeah, self sufficiency. So, be prepared for the worst, bike wise, clothing and food. But don’t expect to have to use it. Just in case.

So, what can you expect? Well, some good memories, epic vistas, meeting new folks, riding new spots, possibly wet shoes and an appreciation for the simpler things in life. This is how I started mountain biking. It was a way to see the wilderness, explore, be self reliant and stay fit. It helped get my imagination going. It helped me track animals. I let me blow off teenaged stink and angst. It showed me the great outdoors at a quicker pace than hiking. And it gave me endless skills to learn and hone. After quitting the race season early, I’m not sure I want to head back into it, quite frankly. Yeah, there are some events I’d still love to hit up, but give me a bike, a slingshot, some tea bags and some unridden territory, and I’ll call you when I get home. And who knows? Maybe we can tramp, slide or paddle a few places as well. Wilderness crosstraining, I likes to calls it.

Feel free to comment and discuss, and I’ll probably start “Aaron’s Adventures” in the new year sometime. Most likely weekends or holidays. Until then, get them tires dirty!

Decorating You Bike for Parade of Lights Tips

Well, good day all!

Looks like it’s almost that time again. Time to dig out old/buy new/more lights and decorations for your bike for this year’s parade, as seen on the forum under events. Just thought I’d pass on a few tip and tricks I’ve tried/failed at, and get the ideas stewing so you can get the balls, or wheels I guess, rolling!

First off are lights. You know you want them. You can start with a few strings of battery powered lights. LED’s are the way to go. They are way better at conserving batteries, and they appear brighter to the human eye. Also, they are a bit more robust, usually. Most even come with different flash patterns, colours, etc. The glass mini bulbs and rice lights might be OK if you have them already, but if you are shopping, get the good stuff right off the bat.

So, you have some lights. How to attach them. I used to use Scotch tape. Then I would spend the rest of the year picking tape off of my bike. Electrical tape works pretty well, but you might still need to wipe the goo off with a rag soaked in WD-40 or something similar. What else works? By far, your best friend will be cable ties, or sometimes called zip ties. You may still need tape in certain areas for certain things, but ties are great, and when you take them off, just snip them with side cutters or heavy shears or snips.

Where to put them? Well, I like to do a set on the bars, fork, frame if it’s a long enough set, as well as a set inside each wheel. Yup. Even the wheels. Some things to remember, though. Keep lights tight and WELL AWAY from moving parts like tires, brakes, cranks, rotating fork crowns, etc. Make sure the battery packs are well fastened as well. I like to put the frame light’s pack under the saddle, and on the wheels I like to stick them on the hubs. Less centrifugal force there, more space and less interference.

Oh yeah… Make sure you have fresh, QUALITY batteries in there before you mount them all!

So, is that all it takes? Yes. Unless you want MORE!!!

You can get all kinds of self-powered lights and lit-up doo dads. Go crazy! Spend spend spend. Or, even repurpose some things. A cheap bike blinky light can be jammed into some cool stuff.

And, you can reflect/refract light as well with tinsel, garland, icicles, etc. Go all Martha Stewart on that poor bike!

What about noise? Well, if you have sleighbells, stick them on there too! Just riding might make ‘em jingle, but a few hops once in a while will really get them singing!

Something else not to be overlooked is glow sticks. You can fasten to your bike ahead of time, leaving one end of them loose until it’s go time. Then, you just break the capsule inside, zip or tape the end down, and away you go! These not only look cool outlining your bikes frame, spokes, etc., but you can wear them as well. Which reminds me…

Dress up! If you have and elf costume, Santa suit, reindeer antlers… Whatever it is, get dolled up! You are half the presentation of your bike! Go nuts here, folks!

At the end of the day, remember, it’s a FUN event, but if fun to you also means 13,569 lights on a Supercycle Hooligan, do it up!

Hope we have an even bigger crowd this year than we did last year. Remember, kids are welcome! And big kids…

Aaron

Summer may be over, but still lots of riding to do…

As we’re enjoying a terrific Thanksgiving weekend with this amazing weather the falling leaves are a reminder of the changing of the seasons.

Rest assured we have a few ideas to keep busy. Here are a few events/rides that we will be hosting in the remainder of 2013.

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Corn Maze Ride:
After Halloween we will organizing a ride at Noggins Corn Maze in Kentville. This is a hoot! We ride at night, and rip around the corn maze as fast as we can. We need to confirm with the land owners when we are allowed to ride our bikes there. Please do not attempt to ride there unless you have permission to do so.

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Rememberance Day Ride
It has been a few years since I started this yearly ride. Working in retail has meant that there are very few days off that everyone in the industry actually has the same day off. It also happens to be my birthday. Traditionally we make the trek to the Links because the trails there are just that good.

We recognize the efforts and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform with a moment of silence of course as
well.

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Parade of Lights
In 2012, Pedaltrout participated in the Bedford Parade of Lights. We are planning on attending again this year. I will update with all the information when the time is more appropriate. If memory serves me correctly, the parade was held in November last year. It was a great way to show some holiday spirit and lots of fun to decorate our bikes.

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Holiday Get-together
Pedaltrout incorporates a holiday get together along with our weekly rides. Last year we rented a room at Sobeys on First Lake Drive, had some great food, told some stories, and overall had a great time. Traditionally, we ride our decorated bikes around a close-by neighbourhood prior to the get together. The reaction to the bikes decked out in lights and decorations are pretty cool to say the least.

We try our best to keep our events calendar up to date with all the events in the atlantic region. Check it out for information on the above happenings as well as other races and festivals. Feel free to post up anything you’re hosting or think could be fun.