If you wanna know the truth behind the core motivation behind this new NBN series, then you need to look no farther than the bicycle in the photo above. Do you klunk? Are you at least klunk curious?
I’ve been a fan of curved tubed bikes like this since I was a kid shopping at Bade Bikes in Des Plaines. My first singlespeed mtb was built up from parts I had laying around and a cheap aluminum paperboy bike frame that later cracked. I’m a big fan of custom builders like Don McClung, Curtis Inglis at Retrotec, and Burnsey at Oddity Cycles. My current Klunker is an Asylum Cycles Hank with some strategic upgrades. You might be able to find a Hank used, but they were only made for a short time, about five years ago.
I love riding singlespeeds and I guess klunkers are a sub-niche of the singlespeed niche. A bunch of my oldest and best friends are dyed in the wool singlespeeders. There’s something about it that just hits a note that might not work for everyone but somehow is delightfully instinctive and speaks directly to my inner seven year old. Hank is an amazingly capable yet very simple two-wheeled fun factory! It’s not perfect and I guess that’s exactly what makes it so much blessed fun. 27.5 x 2.1 wheels coupled with a steel frame and fork make Hank a unique ride that always gets comments wherever I go. Comments like “that’s the coolest bike ever!”
If you’re intrigued with klunkers and want to see something that you can actually order – Check out the REEB Hooptie! – https://reebcycles.com/bikes/klunker/hooptie/
We’re testing a series of gravel bikes this spring/summer. We’ll be reviewing the Framed Basswood and the Kona Libre, both carbon gravel crushers. Greg Gentle is scheduled to check out the stainless steel Otso Warakin and there’s more to come. I’ve spent the last twenty years mixing gravel rides into my mountain bike rides to keep my old bones and tender vittles from getting too beat up. It’s always been there in my ride schedule. My gravel roots run deep into my childhood, riding old steel balloon tire cruisers on the mile square flat gravel roads of rural Indiana. My first forays of childhood freedom escaping the farm. The days back when riding around the block was a big adventure.
I bought a black Surly Crosscheck from Hurl Everstone, when he had a bike and coffee shop up in MPLS some years back and set forth to haunt every rail-trail that I could find with that black bike. The cross-check is the bike that launched the Bike Black Ribbon Society and a Latin boy band called Los Graveleros. Back in the 90’s, my friend, Cale and I had come up with this theory that if everyone had to ride the same bike, the Surly Crosscheck should be that bike. It can do everything in a sort of handicapable demeanor. It’s done a fine job over the last dozen or so years but now we’re going to look at what’s available today in the gravel market. Look for reports coming up over the spring/summer!
Below are a couple of reference pages that I found helpful getting the Framed Basswood gravel bike set up tubeless.
- Enve Composites – Tubeless Tire Air Pressure Recommendation Chart – https://www.enve.com/en/tirepressure/
- Trek – Recommended Sealant Amount for Tubeless Ready Tires Chart – trek.com/sealant
Gravel and Fat Bike Culture have a lot in Common
Gravel culture reminds me of how fat-bike events felt in 2012-13. It was a family reunion of friends that loved bikes beer and fun! It’s something that I like to call ‘Belong’. Everybody wants to be cool and belong. Here’s a pretty great story that hits a harmonious note from Gravel Worlds about – Gravel Family – https://gravel-worlds.com/gravel-family/gravelfamily-josh-shear/
Otso Waheela C Redesigned
|The Otso Waheela C has a new look with new paint colors and graphics, as well as an upgraded base build spec featuring Shimano GRX. The Waheela C is available as a frameset for $2,550 or as a complete bike with Shimano GRX for $3,600.|
Get all of the details at – https://otsocycles.com/collections/waheela-c
|You want some wide drop bars? Are you wide-drop Bar Curious? Are you tired of traditional road bar widths? Well, have we got the bar for you.|
|I like big bars and I cannot Lie – Curve Walmer Bars come in widths of 460mm – 600mm|
|Yeah, that’s right, the widest raddest drop bars on the planet are in stock, forget those 440mm roady bars, these are full-on offroad touring and adventure bars and wide-eh-t-wide – the biggest is 750mm in the drops! Go click here for your new bit of fun and adventure. |
They include extra-long bar tape, but I can’t guarantee you’ll be super rad, but these bars will help.
1000 Miles to Nome has been accepted into the Spring Grove Main Street International Film Festival. This is the second festival “1000 Miles to Nome” has been accepted into. Submitted films go through a rigorous screening process by the festival’s committee, with a select number of films then battling for honors like “Best of Festival” and “Audience Favorite.”
Cyclists that have participated in the Almonzo will be familiar with the area. The three-day film festival takes place in the heart of Spring Grove Minnesota. Fall colors will be on full display and if you find yourself in the area middle of October, the festival and all its films will be open to the public. A great opportunity to ride some local gravel and catch some fantastic films. Keep your eyes open, you may even bump into Ed Asher who will be the honored guest of the festival.
- Grueling and unforgiving terrain.
- Wolf and bear tracks reminding you that you are not the king in this place.
- Unimaginable and humbling beauty.
- Unpredictable weather that tests even the most seasoned adventurer.
- Isolation and self-reflection.
- Constantly fighting, reaching, crossing, and expanding both mental and physical limits.
1000 Miles to Nome tells the story of the Iditarod Trail Invitational and is now available. Use EYP25 at checkout and receive it for 25% off the normal price.
Bicycles & Bird Watching
This might be a really small niche but I know that I’m not alone, when it comes to the abundant aviary life that we all see from the saddle of a bike. It’s always a special day when I get to see an eagle. I regularly get to see vultures, hawks, owls, cranes, geese, turkeys, ducks, herons and currently, we have white pelicans migrating along the Rock River. So if you like that sort of thing (damn nature!) Here’s a little something to help you out with your cabin fever.
I’ve been watching this pair of Bald Eagles in West Virginia raise an eaglet. The sound is even soothing with all of the songbirds and the eagles call to each other, especially when one of them brings a fish back to the nest.
That’s all for this episode if Niche Bike News. I’m gonna gear up and roll out on our Framed Basswood demo bike to the Osprey Nest in Korth Park out on Rock Lake for a little bicycle bird watch. ¡Felices Caminos Amigos!
Sweet Free Bags! – C’mon people!
We have four of these insulated bags from Stashers that we’ll award in the next four NBN Updates coming this spring. Each bag comes with a mini reusable ice pack, a waterproof inner pouch, and a can koozie! You can bet your bippy that we’ll include a delightful array of fat-bike stickers to each of the winners’ prize packages as well. To enter send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Stashers Contest in the subject line.
Check out the full line of Stashers bike bags at – https://getstashers.com/
Contest Rules – Prizes are available to US Residents only. We’ll choose a random winner from the entries that we receive and announce a winner within the Niche Bike News Updates (till we run out of bags to give away). The winner(s) will be notified via email. We don’t sell your data and you won’t be added to any list.