Salsa Mukluk by Salsa Cycles fatbike build has started 🙂 This post is about documenting the build of my Salsa Mukluk (2015) as a fatbike for duties as a dirt road touring bike, a bikepacking bike and for fun bike playing on the local trails. The Salsa Mukluk will replace my 2008 Giant XTC 2 which has been my off-road tourer. My touring preference is more dirt road than it is black top hence the decision to go with the Mukluk. I have also completed the Munda Biddi Trail and I am unlikely to ride it much again plus there is really not much else in the way of single track touring here in Western Australia so the Mukluk is more ideal for me than say the Surly Krampus.
Salsa describe the Mukluk as …
our exploration fatbike. It’s taken a few years, but folks are finally starting to understand that fatbikes aren’t just snow bikes or sand bikes—they’re mountain bikes! … Mukluk is only limited by your imagination. Free your mind, and the experiences shall follow. Mukluk. Destination: exploration.
At this stage I am in the build research phase which this post reflects. Once I have sold off my Look 555, the Giant XTC 2, the LoGo P-38 and my Bacchetta Giro 20 ATT the build will go to the next stage. Spending the dollars followed by the build and then bikepacking time 🙂 First trip planned is taking on the Holland Track – completed in September 2016.
My original plans had been to build and ride a Surly ECR 29+ but too much time online has led me down the path from the ECR to a Surly Puglsey/Krampus build (Krampug) to this point, a Salsa Mukluk.
I will update this blog post as I enjoy my bikepacking with the bike.
This blog post was last updated on November 11, 2017 and at 735 kilometres on the bike.
Latest updates in the hubs and setup for bikepacking sections of the post.
Table of Contents
- Build Specifications
- Rims,Tyres and Hubs
- Setup for Bikepacking
- Bikepacking Resources
The build spec my Salsa Mukluk dirt road tourer come bikepacker. Unlike it seems everyone else I am not going with a Rohloff hub. I did seriously consider a Rohloff build but requiring two wheelsets plus the cost has killed off that idea. I did some number crunching on this idea when I was considering the Surly ECR 29+ build and documented in my ECR post if interested.
|COMPLETE BIKE BUILD SPECIFICATION||DATE OF CHANGE||CHANGE TO SPECIFICATION|
|Frame||2015 Mukluk Aluminum - Large - 2,470 grams|
|Fork||Salsa Bearpaw 150 fork 15 x 150mm Thru Axle -1,030 grams|
|Frame Protection||3M Helicopter Tape - Clear - 75 mm|
|Shifter [Right Hand - Rear]||SRAM X9 Zero-loss10 Speed Grey - |
|Crankset||Race Face Turbine Cinch|
|Race Face Crank Boots |
|Bottom Bracket||Race Face Bottom Bracket BSA30 - 100mm|
|Chain Ring||Race Face NEXT SL Direct Mount N/W Single 10spd - Green|
|Pedals||DMR V12 [mg] flat pedals|
|Cassette||OneUp 42T Sprocket + 16T - Green|
|SRAM Power Glide PG-1070 12-36T|
|Derailleur||SRAM X9 Rear Type 2.1 10 speed Long Cage|
|Chain||Wippermann conneX 10sB Black Edition|
|Cable||SRAM Shifting Cable|
|Special Tools||16mm Hex Wrench|
|Special Tools||Rotor BSA30 Wrench for BB Cups|
|Brakes||TRP Spyke Mechanical Disc Brake|
|Brake Pads||SwissStop Shimano Deoro BR-M525/515/M485 Pads|
|Cables||Jagwire MTB Braking Cable Slick Stainless - 1700mm|
|Handlebars||Jones 710 Loop H-Bar - Aluminium|
|Stem||Thomson Elite X4 31.8 MTB - 100mm - 10 Degree|
|Headset||Crane Creek 10.ZS44 Short Cover Top - ZS44/28.6|
|Crane Creek 10.ZS44 Bottom - EC44/40|
|Saddle||Brooks England B17 Standard Classic Leather Saddle|
|Seatpost||Thomson Masterpiece Setback seat post 31.6x350mm 16mm-SB black|
|Seatpost Clamp||35.0mm. Salsa Lip-Lock|
|Rims||Surly Marge Lite 26" Fatbike Rim - black||Novmeber 2017||Ollie 80 26" rim 32H Matt Black|
|Surly Clown Shoe Fat Bike Rim Tape 75mm|
|Stands NoTubes MTB Tubless Presta Valves|
|Hubs - Front||Salsa Fat Conversion, 15 x 150mm||Novmeber 2017||SON 28 15 150 Fatbike Hub Dynamo Disc 15*150mm 32h|
|Hubs - Rear||Salsa Mukluk 2 Rear Hub, 170mm QR|
|Thru Axle - Front||RockShox Maxle Lite Bluto Thru Axle 15mm|
|Quick Release - Rear||Salsa Flip-Offs Fatbike Skewer 170mm - black|
|Spokes||Sapim Leader - Black - Custom Cut||Novmeber 2017||Sapim Race Black JBend|
|Nipples||Novmeber 2017||Wheelsmiths Electroplated Brass nipples Black 12mm|
|Wheel Build||by Adrian at Melody Wheels||Novmeber 2017||Adrian at Melody Wheels|
|Tyres||Maxxis Mammoth 26x4.0" EXO Folding MTB Tyre|
|Tubeless||Stan's No Tubes Tire Sealant Injector|
|Tube [Spare]||Surly Toob Fatbike Inner Tube 26x3-4.8"|
|LIGHTS, ELECTRONICS ETC|
|Pump||Lezyne Micro Floor Digital Drive XL|
|Light - Fron||Busch & Muller IQ2 Luxos B||November 2017||At 734.8 kilometres.|
|Busch & Muller 470LHPB Handlebar Mount||November 2017||At 734.8 kilometres.|
|Light - Rear||Busch & Muller Toplight Line Small LED 53234/1ASK||November 2017||At 734.8 kilometres.|
|USB Charger||Klite Prototype Dynamo - USB Charger||November 2017||At 734.8 kilometres.|
|Revelate Designs Pockets Handlebar Bag|
|Revelate Designs Harness|
|Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag 20L|
|Dave Doust Memorial Jones Loop H-Bar Bag|
|Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbags x 2|
|Alkpit Fuel Pod Large (107 grams) with camera padding|
|Salsa Anything Cages HD|
|Salasa Anything Bags and/or Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag 8L|
|Salsa Stainless Steel Water Bottle Cage|
|Bike Bag Dude Custom 3 Zip Frame Bag|
|Salsa Anything Alternator 170 rack||November 2017|
|Porcelain Rocket Mr Fusion v2|
|Ortlieb Sports Packer Plus Panniers [Used with the rack when required]|
I have a 2008 Giant XTC 2 which has been my off-road touring bike. It is a large or 21” frame and the geometry chart for this model is above. Now this is where the fun started. My XTC -2 geometry does not fit nicely with the Salsa Mukluk. This led me to post on the issue in the MTBR forums where Saul Lumikko introduced me to Stack and Reach measurements. My best calculations of my XTC 2 stack and reach measurements are: Stack = 590 mm and Reach = 428 mm. Transition Bikes [PDF] has a good discussion of modern geometry. Even still I have a variance between the XTC stack and reach numbers and the Mukluk numbers. Add to this mix my height of 5’11” (178 cm) and my in-seam of 33″ (84 cm).
|Recommended Rider Height||147 - 168 cm||165 - 175 cm||173 - 183 cm||180 cm -191 cm||188 cm - up|
|A. Toptube Effective||565 mm||580 mm||605 mm||625 mm||640 mm|
|B. Seat Tube Length||381 mm||381 mm||432 mm||483 mm||533 mm|
|C. Head Tube Angle||68.5||68.5||68.5||68.5||68.5|
|D. Seat Tube Angle||73.5||73.5||73||73||73|
|E. BB Drop||60 mm||60 mm||60 mm||60 mm||60 mm|
|F. Chainstay Length||447 - 464 mm||447 - 464 mm||447 - 464 mm||447 - 464 mm||447 - 464 mm|
|G. Headtube Length||100 mm||100 mm||100 mm||100 mm||100 mm|
|H. Fork Length||483 mm||483 mm||483 mm||483 mm||483 mm|
|J. Fork Offset||51 mm||51 mm||51 mm||51 mm||51 mm|
|K. Wheelbase||1,097 - 1,114 mm||1,112 - 1,129 mm||1,132 - 1,149 mm||1,154 - 1,171 mm||1,170 - 1,187 mm|
|M. Stack||593 mm||593 mm||603 mm||621 mm||631 mm|
|N. Reach||389 mm||404 mm||421 mm||435 mm||447 mm|
|P. Standover||692 mm||704 mm||745 mm||786 mm||824 mm|
 a Salsa Bearpaw fork which is equivalent to a RockShox Bluto at 25% sag.
 a 26 x 4.0" tire measuring 742mm in diameter
 standover (P) measured vertically to top of top tube from a position 50mm forward of BB cent
Based on my height, Salsa Cycles recommended frame size is a medium, but then height is really not a good basis for choosing a frame. After careful consideration of the numbers plus my wish to fit a Jones Loop H-Bar I have gone with the large frame size. The reach is only seven millimetres more than my XTC, the seat tube length is 47 mm less than on the XTC 2 so I may have to have more seat post showing (would be worse on the medium frame) and as a bonus I can fit a larger framebag. Oh I also have 110 mm stem on my XTC 2 so suspect the slightly longer reach on the Mukluk will really not be noticeable. So in summary it is a large Salsa Mukluk frame. Now to the colour.
Salsa like Henry Ford of days gone by offer any choice of frame colour as long as it is sparkly green (metallic) in the case of the Salsa Mukluk frameset. If I want a white frame (or a high viz yellow frame :)) I need to get it powder coated.
The Salsa Mukluk frame is a double-butted AL-6066 frame with Alternator dropouts. Salas describe the frame as
Top-shelf, double-butted, heat-treated 6066 Aluminum tubing optimized for strength and weight. Excellent corrosion resistance.
I appreciate that traditional thinking for touring bikes is go with steel frames and I appreciate that for world expeditions steel may well be the better choice but I think my chances of going on a world expedition have passed and whilst I wish to ride more of the Australian outback it will not be via major outback expeditions for months and months so I suspect an aluminium frame will probably outlast my riding days.
As much for my benefit as anything else, and to have a resource going forward I am documenting the specifications for the 2015 Salsa Mukluk in the table below.
|Frame||2015 Mukluk Aluminum|
|Wheelsize||26" fatbike (closer to 29" in diameter in reality)|
|Tire Clearance||Designed for 26 x 4.0" tires|
|Fork||Salsa Bearpaw 150 fork included|
|Headset-Upper||1-1/8" Zero Stack (ZS44/28.6)|
|Headset-Lower||For Tapered: 44mm External Cup (EC44/40) For Straight: Zero Stack (ZS44/30)|
|Seat Collar||35.0mm. Salsa Lip-Lock included|
|Front Derailleur||Problem Solvers Direct Mount clamp included, High Direct Mount Front Derailleur|
|Bottom Bracket||100mm BSA|
|Crankset||Fatbike 1x or 2x compatible; Max chainring sizes 1x (34T), 2x (36/24T)|
|Front Brake||51mm I.S., minimum rotor size 160mm, maximum rotor size 180mm|
|Rear Brake||51mm I.S., minimum rotor size 160mm, maximum rotor size 180mm|
|Front Spacing||150 x 15mm thru-axle|
|Rear Spacing||Alternator Dropouts - 170mm x 10mm QR or 177mm x 12mm Thru-Axle|
|Bottle Mounts||3 per frame for M, L, XL, 2 per frame for S & XS|
|Derailleur Hanger||Replaceable Alternator plates. Driveside Geared QR FS1312. Driveside Singlespeed QR FS1318. Non-driveside QR FS1313. 12 x 177mm Thru-Axle Kit FS1330|
|Cable Routing||Full housing, under toptube|
|Frame Weight||XS 1870g, SM 1930g, MD 2040g, LG 2100g, XL 2180g|
|Fork Weight w/Uncut Steerer||1030g|
The 2015 Salsa Mukluk 2 frame comes standard with a Salsa Bearpaw 150 15 mm fork which is a tapered aluminium with forward facing dropouts. It has three front-of-leg cage mounts to take a Salsa Anything Cage on each fork leg. There is also a Salsa Mukluk 2 frame-set which comes with the Salsa Bearpaw 135 fork which is a 135 mm x 9 mm quick release fork. I have Bearpaw 150 fork.
The headset specification is 1-1/8″ Zero Stack (ZS44/28.6) upper bearing and for the tapered fork such as the Salsa Bearpaw 150 mm the lower bearing is a 44 mm External Cup (EC44/40). If a straight fork is used the lower bearing is a Zero Stack (ZS44/30). My initial thoughts where to go with a Chris King InSet i7 Grip Lock Mixed Headset for tapered steerers ZS44/28,6 | EC44/40, however following Kris’s comments I have decided on a Cane Creek 40 series headset instead. If I have this right it will be a Cane Creek 40.ZS44 Short Cover Top Headset Upper Part 1 1/8 Inches – ZS44/28.6 and a Cane Creek 40.EC44 Bottom Headset Lower Part 1.5 Inches – EC44/40.
The Salsa Mukluk comes with Alternator dropouts which I feel are better designed than the Surly MDS dropouts. The interesting aspect of alternator dropouts is that it allows wheelbase changes and chain tensioning with no disc brake adjustment required when setting wheel position. So for example with the large frame Mukluk the wheelbase range is 1,153.9 – 1,170.9mm which is longer even than my Surly Long Haul Trucker. The alternator dropouts on the 2015 Mukluk are designed to take a 170 mm x 10 mm quick release hub or a 177 mm x 12 mm thru-axle. The Alternator plates are replaceable. The respective plate models are:
- Driveside Geared QR FS1312.
- Driveside Single-speed QR FS1318.
- Non-driveside QR FS1313. 12 x 177mm or Thru-Axle Kit FS133
The Salsa Alternator Dropouts (2015) instructions are available for download from my Dropbox.
My only “concern” with the frameset as delivered was the mounting bolts for the Alternator dropouts. As you can see from the photos one bolt has been cut flush with the nut whereas the other bolt is not. I will not know until I have progressed the build if this is an issue or not but it does not look like a tidy finish and I will mostly replace the longer bolt anyway.
It pays to read the Alternator dropout information. The longer bolt is for the mounting of the rear disk caliper.
From a bikepacking perspective the medium and upwards frames have three sets of water bottle cage mounts. As I will be using a framebag two of these will probably not see much use but having the mounts under the down-tube will be useful for carrying a fuel bottle. The smaller frames only have two sets of mounts.
The manufacturers weights for the Salsa Mukluk large frame (2015) is 2,100 grams and the Bearpaw 150 fork weight is 1,030 grams for a total weight for the frameset (less headset) of 3,130 grams. My weights are 2,300 grams for the frame and 900 grams for the fork (less headset) for a total weight of 3,200 grams.
With the frame itself sorted the last remaining part is the seat-post and seat-post clamp. The clamp is easily sorted as the frame-set comes with a 35.0mm. Salsa Lip-Lock seat-post clamp. The Salsa Mukluk 2 build kit comes with a Thomson Elite seat-post with a seat-post diameter is 31.6 mm. My preferred choice of seat-post is a Thomson Masterpiece seat-post but I really cannot justify the price so will have to settle for a Thomson Elite SP-E116SB Black 31.6 mm x 410 mm with 16 mm set-back (247 g). I decided to go with the set-back post as I fitted a Brooks England B17 saddle and having set-back is likely to be the better option.
Update on the Ordering Process with my Salsa Mukluk
I have placed the order for the Salsa Mukluk frameset with Bike24.com in Germany (I just hope they do a better job of packing than in the past) as to purchase the frameset in Australia requires a special order to be placed with the Australian distributor, SCV Imports and the cost to me is around $2,000 for the frameset only whereas the frameset as ordered is costing me $1,122 delivered. The frameset as supplied by Bike24.com includes or is meant to include the Bearpaw Alloy fork, seat collar, problem solvers front derailleur direct mount clamp, thru axle, quick release plus a front wheel hub and a rear wheel hub ( I am assuming these are Mukluk 2 hubs).
The frustrating aspect of all this is I would like to support the local bike shop that sells Salsa, Cycles Bespoke but I simply cannot justify paying around $800+ more for a frameset.
Getting back to my order. Bike24.com only sell frames by consultation which was a little concerning, but it turns out consultation means an email from them, asking the following questions to confirm that the frame size ordered is okay.
As you have read we would like to advise you before buying this highly developed frame. To give you a professional consultation for determining the correct frame size we need some details.
– commuter/traveling, leisure, training, competition
2. Body details:
– inner leg/inseam length
– body height
– body weight
– back length (measure if sitting on a chair: from seat to top of shoulder)
We will recommend the right frame size and seat position for you.
Importing a Bicycle Frameset into Australia
My frameset tripped the import declaration process at the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service as its imported cost was in excess of the free import duties & GST threshold of $1,000. What this meant is that my frameset has been held at Customs for a week before I received in the mail a notice from Australia Post. The notice advised that I had a choice of employing a broker to handle the importation or I could complete a simple form (took no more than 10 minutes) which I could download and email to Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. The cost of this service is $48.95.
The processing of the form has taken five days. The result of the processing has been the receipt of an invoice for duty, GST and the processing charge, a total $218. This can be paid online using a credit or debit card. According to Australian Customs and Border Protection Service clearance of the payment and release of the goods can take three working days, which turned out be pretty much spot. Delivery was within a week of paying the custom charges.
The breakdown of the charges is:
Duty Payable $51.75
GST Payable $117.32
Import Declaration Charge $48.95
Credit Card Surcharge $2.02
Total Charge: $219.99
With the frame-set pretty much sorted comes the cockpit and this is going to hurt I suspect as I have gone with a Jones 710 Loop H-Bar in aluminium handle-bar in black. These are available in Australia via bike shops who deal with Dirt Works Australia, the local distributor. The recommended retail price is $185 and my delivered price from Crank N Cycles in Collie was $192.00, a princely sum for a handlebar for sure. One feature of the Jeff Jones 710 Loop H-Bar is the bar is marked to be cut down to 660 if I find it too wide. I haven’t felt the need to cut it back so it is still at 710 mm. For handlebar grips as I am a fan of Ergon grips and Ergon make their Ergon GC1 grips for swept back bars and I am happy with my choice. I do note that Jeff Jones recommends ESI Silicon grips as they offer a more seamless match with the bars and hence more hand positions.
For the stem I have gone with a 110mm Thomson Elite X4 in black as recommended by Jeff Jones.
My intention is to specify my Salsa Mukluk as a bike for bikepacking, a touring bike and just as a fun fatbike and mountain bike so it will be built to run fat wheels and 29+ wheels should I so wish down the track. With this in mind I have decided to go with a 1×10 derailleur drivetrain configuration rather than a Rohloff setup. I also think the Rohloff is steeply priced and I am struggling to see the $1,000 of value in the system.
Salsa Cycles have a very informative Tech Talk on drivetrain options [PDF copy] and rear tire capacity on the Salsa Mukluk and Salsa Beargrease models. Along with the technical talk they have a very useful table listing chainset/crankset options, chainline specifications and maximum total tyre/rim width for each chainset option. Combine this with tyre width information from Surly and 45NRTH and making the right crankset choice is a breeze.
With the Salsa Mukluk I am using Surly Marge Lite rims which are a 65mm rim width. The tyres will be around 3.8” in max width. Based on Surly’s tyre geometries I am looking at a maximum casing width of 95mm. This pretty much counts out a triple crankset with a couple of exceptions so my realistic options are 1×10 or 1×11 or a 2×10 drivetrain. My initial plans had been to go with a 2×10 drivetrain but over time I have swung over to giving serious consideration to a 1×10 or 1×11 drivetrain.
While SRAM has now introduced a lower priced 1×11 and a 2×11 groups, all the SRAM 11 speed cassette require a SRAM XD Driver Body and hence a compatible rear hub. My frameset came with a hub, but of course it is a Salsa Mukluk 2 rear hub rather than a Salsa Fat Conversion rear hub which can be converted to take the XD Driver or the Salsa Conversion 2 XD Fatbike rear hub which is an XD Driver hub.
Even with the reduced pricing on SRAM GX, adding in a new hub and possible SRAM XD Driver has really priced the SRAM 1×11 drivetrain out of the ball park for this build.
Shimano XTR M9000 drivetrain is the other option which has the advantage of using a standard Shimano compatible hub. The downside is that is limited to 40T which is really not going to be low enough for me as the gear inch table below shows.
The third option is to convert a SRAM or Shimano 10 speed 36T cluster to a 40T or 42T cluster. As noted above I do not believe 40T is going to be sufficient so with this option I am looking at a 42T conversion.
One such option is the OneUp 42T Sprocket + 16T conversion which appeals to me as it comes complete with a 16T sprocket to replace the existing 15T and 17T sprockets. Going with OneUp and Shimano also means having to replace the outer cage with a OneUp RAD or RADr cage, another complication. Being a SRAM fan-boy I have decided that with this option a SRAM 1×10 conversion base is preferred. I also like that I can get a single right shifter easily for SRAM.
As the table shows below, the lowest gear inches are the same for the SRAM 1×11 and SRAM 1×10 OneUp conversion at 17” but higher with the Shimano 1×11 at 17.8”. The variance is more at the high-end which may come into play as this bike will be both a fatbike and a 29+ bike.
Using Sheldon Brown’s Gear Calculator I set the wheel to 26 x 4.0 / 102-559 fatbike at 10 PSI and the crank length to 175mm. The resulting gear inches for the different combinations are reported in the table above.
|SRAM 1 x 11||SHIMANO 1 x 11||1 x 10||2 x 10|
|Kmh @ 90 RPM||7.3 to 30.8||7.9 to 33.1||7.7 to 28||8.3 to 30.1||7.3 to 28.0||7.9 to 30.1||7.2 to 21.7||12.8 to 38.5|
One option I didn’t consider with the 2×10 drivetrain is a 22T x 42T combination which would give me a seriously low granny gear I suspect. I will leave that there on the table as a possible option down the track.
As I alluded to above, the more I reflected on my drivetrain setup, the more my thinking was towards the simplicity of a 1×10 or 1×11 drivetrain. J.A. Caldwell at Old Glory MTB argues that running a 1X drivetrain has the following advantages:
- Lightweight – reducing weight on this bike will be beneficial for sure;
- Simplicity – only changing the rear derailleur; no oh sugar in the wrong gear up front;
- Lower maintenance – no front derailleur to maintain;
- More ground clearance due to using a smaller chainring up front;
- Quiet drivetrain – apparently the clutch type rear derailleurs reduce chain slap.
More recently MTBR.com has published a Tech document on 1×10 drivetrains, titled Tech:Deep dive on 1×10 narrow/wide conversion gearing which also shows the advantages of a 1×10 or 1×11 drivetrain.
All this has led me to a deciding to go with a SRAM 1×10/Race Face Turbine Cinch/OneUp drivetrain with a 42T Sprocket + 16T conversion as being the best bang for buck.
The key driver from my crankset/chainset setup was the availability of (1) 26T wide/narrow chainrings and (2) that I consider direct mount a desirable feature and oh the crankset needs to be available to fit 100mm bottom brackets.
The choice for me came down to either a SRAM X9 crankset with a removable spider or a Race Face Turbine Cinch. Both cranksets are 104/64 BCD which means that there is a good range of suitable 64 BCD chainrings. The SRAM X9 direct mount seems to have a wider choice of chainrings than the Race Face direct mount but there are still plenty of choices for Race Face. The key aspect of the Race Face Turbine Cinch that swung my decision in its favour is that is flexible and upgradeable. Oh I also like the way it looks. As it turned out I was able to get a Race Face Turbine Cinch at a good price from Ubyk Ltd in the UK so deal done.
I decided to go with a 26T Race Face NEXT SL Direct Mount Narrow Wide tooth profiling single chainring and a Race Face BSA30 Bottom Bracket to complete the crankset.
I have always been a clipless rider, SPD pedals on my previous mountain bike, a Giant XTC 2, on my touring bike, a Surly Long Haul Trucker and my commuter, a Giant Defy 1. With this build of the Salsa Mukluk as my bikepacking and mountain bike I have decided to give going with flat pedals ago. After seeking feedback from other users mainly at the Bikepacking.net forums I have now fitted a pair of DMR Bikes V12 [mg] magnesium flat pedals. Being magnesium these variants of the V12 pedals weigh in at 350 grams a pair according to my scales, which is a claimed 70 grams lighter than the standard DMR V12 pedals. Other features of the DMR V12 flat pedals are:
- 95mm x 100mm platform which feels a good size to me;
- 16mm low profile with concave foot-bed;
- 10 high traction pedals pins per side;
- Serviceable, with DU bush and cartridge bearings;
- 4140 Cro.Mo steel axles.
I have matched up the pedals with a pair of Scarpa Crux Approach shoes. My size 45 EU / 11.5 US mens weigh in at 868 grams for the pair. They have a fairly stiff Vibram sole which hopefully will work out well as a both on and off bike shoe.
As alluded to earlier, this is a SRAM 1×10 build with a OneUp 42T Sprocket + 16T conversion. The rear cassette is a SRAM PG-1070 12-36T 10 speed cassette with a OneUp 42T Sprocket + 16T conversion.
The rear derailleur is a SRAM X9 Type 2.1 [Clutch] Long 10 speed derailleur and the chain I am going to start out with is a Wipperman ConneX 10sB black edition chain.
Nokon cables will be used to connect the rear derailleur to the SRAM X9 10 speed trigger shifter completing the drivetrain configuration.
This part of the specification is easy or so I thought. My initial plan was a given I thought, Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes front and rear simply for the ease of maintenance when touring. I have learnt my lesson with Shimano hydraulic brakes when touring so will be passing on hydraulic brakes.
This means up front where the maximum stopping power is desired I will have Avid BB7 MTN S mechanical disc brakes with a 180 mm rotor and on the rear an Avid BB7 MTN S disc brake with a 180mm rotor, the maximum size specified by Salsa. Going with 180mm front and rear provides me with the ability to swap a disc to front whilst bikepacking should I need to without having to worry about mounting brackets.
Well today I heard about TRP Spyke mechanical disc brakes and what feedback I can find on these and their road equivalent, the TRP Spyre is very positive. Going from the videos of the TRP Spyre mounting is far simply than the Avid BB7 (no washes to play with) and adjustment is very simple as well; far less involved than the Avid BB7. The other advantage with the TRP is that they use Shimano M525/M515 compatible disc pads which are widely available and common as.
Pricing wise there is not much in so I gone with the TRP Spyke given my intended use. So far so good. Installation and set-up was so easy. I cannot see myself going back to Avid BB7 now.
Update: September 8, 2017: I missed this early on but SP Dynamo now manufacturer a 15mm through-axle dynamo in O.L.D of 110mm, 110mm, and 150mm with the PD-8X-150 being the model of particular interest to me. However, having touched base with Kerry at K-Lite who was in the past, the Australian distributor for Shutter Precision dynamos, I have now gone with a SON 28 15 150 as new front hub as I would really like having a dynamo option on the bike.
Whilst my preference is for dynamo hubs,
no dynamo manufacturer makes a 150mm OLD hub nor a 135mm with a 15mm axle which could be spaced to fit the 150mm fork. Schmidt’s Original Nabendynamo (SON) are the only manufacturer of 135 mm fatbike dynamos, with their SON 28 135 Disc model but it is a quick-release 10mm axle which is no go for my Salsa Bearpaw 150 for. This means I have to re-think my power supply needs which I discuss later in this blog post.
With the decision to go to a SON 28 15 150 dynamo hub, I now only have Salsa rear hub which was supplied as part of the frameset by Bike24.com. I am assuming the supplied Salsa hubs are a Salsa Fat Conversion 150 front hub and a the rear a Mukluk 2 rear hub. For the spokes I will need to discuss this further with Adrian at Melody Wheels as Adrian will be tasked with the wheel build. The front hub comes supplied with a Rockshox Maxle Lite 15mm x 150mm thru axle and the rear hub with Salsa Flip-off skewer.
Update: November 11, 2017:
Whilst I my ghetto build of the Surly Marge Lite rims as tubeless worked just fine on my ride of the Holland Track it was always an “back of mind” concern that it would stay together nicely so for peace of mind and in preparation for my Esperance to Albany Coastal Ride I decided to swap out the rims for Dice Ollie 80s which are tubeless ready rims and also will give me a better profile for the beach and boggy sand tracks on the ride.
Adrian at Melody Wheels has done the build of the Ollie 80s for me, building the SON 28 15 150 hub into the front rim and swapping over the Mukluk 2 rear hub. All went fine with the front rim build but the rear rim is out of round by 4mm. Discussions are in play with Dirt Works to determine if this within tolerances and apparently it is so th wheels are now built up.
I am staying with my existing Maxxis Mammoth 26×4.0 fatbike tyres for the moment and will mount them following the method suggested by Dice Parts Co. For sealant I have now gone over to Orange Sealant.
Rims: The History
First and foremost I want a tubeless wheel set up so ideally a tubeless ready rim would be nice but I am also ready to have a go at a ghetto build. The next issue is the rim size and tyre choice. The standard Salsa Mukluk build comes with Surly Rolling Darryl rims which are a 32 hole 82mm rim weighing 860g each. These are matched to Surly Nate 3.8″ tyres which weigh 1,730 grams.
An alternative is the Surly Marge Lite rims which are a 32 hole 65 mm weighing 690g each or the DT Swiss Fatbike BR710 Big Ride at 680g or the Dice Ollie 55, a tubeless 32 hole rim from Dirt Works Australia own brand, Dice Parts Co. The Ollie 55 weighs in at 596g and the 80mm variant, the Ollie 80 weighs in at 850g. The advantage with the Dice Ollie rims is they are meant to be tubeless ready.
By chance I got offered locally a set of almost new Surly Marge Lite rims with tape for $50 for the pair. Lets just say I know have a set of Surly Marge Lite rims to play with.
In September 2016 I finalised the build of the bike, converting my Surly Marge Lite rims and Maxxis Mammoth 26×4.0 fatbike tyres to a tubeless wheel setup. I followed the steps as advised by Cycles in Life. The only step I found didn’t help was running the tube around the outside of the tyre. With the 120 TPI Maxxis Mammoth this just squashed the tyre out of shape and did not help getting a seal. Otherwise the procedure as advised worked fine and I had no significant hassles converting the front wheel. In fact I only needed to do the Stan’s Shake once to get a good seal.
On the other hand being a smart alec I thought I would try a different approach with the rear wheel, opting to go with a Surly Clownshoe rim tape 75mm [PVC as recommended by Surly] instead of taping the rim using Scotch Tough Duck Tape. Lets just say that was a failure. My next smart idea was to tape the rim with the Clownshoe rim tape in place. Once again I could not get an seal. So having learnt my lesson I when back to the tried and true Cycles in Life method and bingo it work and again a single Stan’s Shake did the trick.
As I don’t have a compressor and really didn’t want to go down that path and as I really “needed” a new floor pump I purchased a Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Floor Pump which has done the trick in terms of getting this conversion in place. I did find however that I need to do three charges for each wheel to get a 30 PSI seal and hold initially (pre Stans injection) but otherwise I am very happy with the pump so far.
For Australian readers I was able to get the recommend Scotch Tough Duck Tape from Bunnings for around $16 a roll. Two rolls are required (one for each wheel).
Finally given my issues with the rear wheel I did get a chance to weigh the tape used, which came in at 107 grams and I used 180 mls of Stan’s sealant. The tube it replaced weighs in at around 505 grams so a fair bit of weight saving there across the two wheels.
Thanks to Adrian at Melody Wheels in North Fremantle my Surly Marge Lite rims are now built up with the Salsa hubs. The build from Adrian looks really good with the Sapim Leader 14G black spokes custom cut to a length of 263mm. Of course a few kilometres of trails will tell the full story but I am impressed so far.
The real big question but is, what colour rim strips to go with? 🙂
After careful consideration of all the options and getting a bit over reading how good xyz brand of tyre is in snow (we don’t get snow here) I have taken an educated guess and gone with Maxxis Mammoth 26×4.0 fatbike tyres. I had planned on purchasing 60TPI tyres to give myself a little bit more protection but ended up with a set of 120TPI tyres with EXO Protection by mistake, a nice mistake but as these Maxxis Mammoth 26×4.0 tyres weigh in at a reasonable light 1,288 grams on my scales.
My bikepacking gear list is continuously updated to reflect changes in gear and what is needed or was used on the last bushwalking, bikepacking or touring ride. That said it is a good overview of my approach. In terms of the setup on this bike, the following describes my current set-up.
On my forks I have mounted Salsa Anything HD cages and on one side I use a Salsa Anything bag which contains my stove etc but on the other fork I carry my food. I find the Salsa Anything bag does not have the necessary capacity so I use a Sea to Summit Big River 8L dry bag. I initially went with a normal dry bag but found it had to secure to the cage and in fact lost it on the Holland Track ride, resulting in an extra two hours of riding to find it. Given that experience I am now using the Big River dry bag as they have what Sea to Summit call, Hypalon® lash loops. This means I can lash or secure the bag to the cage and thus hopefully stop if going on its own adventure.
Handlebar and Cockpit
My handlebar and cockpit setup consists of three zones. Out front is a Revelate Designs Harness matched up with a Sea to Summit Big River 20L dry bag. As with the issue with the normal dry bag on the forks I find normal dry bags harder to keep secure and in place so my preference for the Big River dry bag with the Hypalon lash loops to better secure it. I also have a Revelate Designs Pocket attached to the harness.
In the loop of my Jones H-Bar handlebar I have a Dave Doust Memorial Jones Loop H-Bar Bag which is a custom made bag made for me by the late Dave Doust.
The final zone of the handlebar and cockpit sees two Revelate Designs Mountain Feed Bags on either side of the stem and mounted on the top tube is a Alkpit Fuel Pod Large which I use to carry my Olympus OM-D EM-5 II camera and lens.
My framebag is a custom made ultralight three zip frame bag from Bike Bag Dude here in Australia. Top quality custom made framebag. Very impressed with the finish and durability of the bag. Can highly recommend Kedan’s work.
The final part of my core bikepacking kit is a Porcelain Rocket Mr Fusion v2. Very much a top of the range piece of gear in my view. Rock solid for me so far and being able to just grab the waterproof bag leaving the harness on the bike is a real bonus. All my clothing goes into the saddlebag.
Rack [Used subject to need]
As discussed below with respect to carrying water, I am now trying out a Salsa Alternator 170 rack as way to cross over the gap between what carrying capacity I can get away with on the bike with the limited water bottle cage options and going to the full blown option of pulling the Extrawheel trailer.
With Salsa Alternator 170 rack I will use my Ortlieb Sport-Packer Plus panniers. These will be used for water carrying duties only.
Update November 11, 2017:
Having experienced the hassle of doing water drops on the Holland Track ride and facing a 2,000 km road trip to do something similar on the Esperance to Albany Coastal Ride and not needing the full carrying capacity of the Extrawheel trailer [plus it is not able to take a 4″ tyre] I have now fitted to the bike, a Salsa Alternator 170 rack to allow me to carry 15 litres of water which I need to do on a couple of sections of the ride. I can see the rack only be used when needed for rides so it will not be a permanent fixture.
Early thinking on Carrying Water:
Bikepacking in Western Australia can mean having to carry multiple days of water. For example I am planning riding the Holland Track from Hyden to Coolgardie. There is no re-supply points between the start and finish of the ride which means I need to carry food and sufficient water. Now there maybe/should be water available at a couple of granite rock outcrops, Thursday Rock and Victoria Rock if there has been sufficient winter rains. Thursday Rock is three days ride from Hyden and Victoria Rock is four days ride for me. This means I will need to carry at least three days water early in the ride, about 18 litres when riding in October (spring time), my planned ride time.
Realistically I am not sure I can do this on the bike with a bikepacking setup, so I will be reverting to pulling my Extrawheel trailer on rides such as the Holland Track and other rides where I cannot get access to water within two days of riding.
Riding the likes of the Munda Biddi Track where water is available daily is a different story and one more easily dealt with. My initial thinking is to mount a water-bottle cage on the top tube to carry a water bottle which can be easily accessed. This will provide access to 500ml or 750ml depending on space. Additional water will be carried in the top section of my Bike Bag Dude framebag in a Platypus 2 litre Platy Bottle (36g).
As of November 2017 I have now converted the bike over to a dynamo system for both power and light. The dynamo is a SON 28 15 150 which whilst not cheap are in my experience very reliable and simply not noticeable when riding. I now have three SON dynamos, a SON 28 on my Surly Long Haul Trucker, and a SONdelux 12 [12 x 100mm] to be fitted to my audax ride, a Giant Defy Advanced 2.
Lighting I have gone up front with a Busch & Mullur Lumotec IQ2 Luxos B which I had in my spares box and I mounted on my Jones H-Bar using a Busch & Muller 470LHKAB collar handlebar bracket and my rear light is a Busch & Muller Toplight Line Small taillight for use on the Salsa Alternator rack. I haven’t decided as yet what I will do for a rear light when not using the rack. Most likely will mount a Busch & Muller Secula on a rear stay. With the SaIsa Alternator rack I did incur a mounting problem mounting the rear light. Salsa in their wisdom do not make provision for a rear light, well maybe they do but what the provide are two vertical thread mounts. Pretty useless as far as I can see for mounting taillights.
My solution was to drill a couple of holes to allow me to mount the Busch & Muller Toplight Line Small taillight.
Charging my USB devices: My preferred approach is to charge a cache battery [RAVPower RPB17 6700 mah] during the day and then use that battery to top up which ever devices need charging overnight [Wahoo Elemnt, Samsung Galaxy S8 phone, Samsung Galaxy tablet, Olympus OM-D EM-5 Mark II]. I am currently using a prototype USB charger from Kerry at Klite.com.au.
There is some good stuff getting posted on the Salsa Mukluk and on bikepacking I will link to the various Mukluk and bikepacking blogs and other posts that I have found useful or are worth following/reading.
- Bikepacking setups
- Bikepacking forums
- [How To] Build a Mountain Bike 1X Drivetrain Made Easy – 1×9 1×1 1×11
- Tech:Deep dive on 1×10 narrow/wide conversion gearing
- TPE: Sunrace adds wide range 10-11 speed mountain bike cassettes, derailleurs – Bike Rumor
- Ghetto tubeless conversions for fatbikes
- Tires (or Tyres) – Surly Bikes