I’ve been working to get a thwart bag for canoe trips that also is a decent little pack for hikes. As much as I’m not a fan of the Maxpedition company they do make nice gear. So I took a combination of their Remora gearslinger and the 1L bottle sleeve with a couple of tent stakes as molle clips. I think it will work pretty well.

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When I built up the Habanero just about 2 years ago, I went for cheap wheels. This was a budget TI experiment, so I bought the cheapest 29er wheel set I could (I think I paid around $250 for the whole set). These wheels were solid Mavic A317 rims with Shimano Deore disc hubs.

Well, I then proceeded to ride around 9k miles on them through two salty, nasty Minnesota winters. I never serviced them. As I had the wheels off to put my studs on for this winter, I noted that they didn’t roll so fresh anymore. I took them into the LBS and asked them to repack the bearings. Easy job. $70 quote for both. I smiled and went home.

Next day, LBS calls me to tell me that the hubs are shot – the steel race that is pressed into the hub body was rusted and pitted. Ooops. They could replace the hubs with a wheel build, but that I really should consider an upgrade to a cartridge hub. After a lot of thinking about it, I called them back and went for it. A week later, my wheels (same rims and brake discs but with new spokes and DT Swiss 350 hubs) were ready. They rolled very smooth … I walked out with my CC smarting to the tune of $630. Ouch!

They are night and day! I hadn’t realized that so much of the resistance that I felt riding was the grinding hubs! Holy cow! Now I know better and will make sure that my hubs are serviced every 1k or so.

Some first impressions. First, both of these are not sized to go over cycling shorts. they are generally true to size. If you want to put them over regular padded shorts, expect them to be tight.

Movement. The Bicycle Fixation knicks don’t have a gusseted crotch, and bind pretty badly trying to swing a leg over the bike. It’s surprised and annoyed me every time that my leg smacks the rear rack because I didn’t hike up the pants. This is not a problem with the Swrves – which have more stretch and a gusseted crotch.

Features. The Swrve’s have really nice pockets and the reflective belt loops are nice (albeit, hidden under a jacket all winter). The Bicycle Fixation have closing cuffs. The Swrve’s have just a seam. It’s not an oversized opening, but I find myself wishing that the Swrve’s had a drawstring to cinch-up the cuff a little more. The BF knicks have a very nice button arrangement that can get snug – but is a little tedious to get done/undone each trip.

Warmth. I’m not really going to compare them this way. They simply aren’t designed for the same temperature ranges.

So, my adored Swobo woolens are starting to fray. I did some research and picked up a pair of Bicycle Fixation Classic Wool Knickers (link) and a pair of Swrve Winter Softshell Knickers (link). Both at the same (steep) price point of $125. I’m going to ride them all winter and tell you all what I think.

Right off the bat, however, I can tell these two are apples and oranges. The BF knicks are like suit pants, and the Swrve knicks are like body armor. Very different heft and robustness. The Swrve knicks are tanks. First blush, the Swrve’s are a lot better constructed. The BF knicks are constructed well, but seem like they were made by a competent amateur seamster. The Swrve’s are clearly a professional job. For the same price, the Swrve’s are (out of the packaging) clearly in the lead.

Well, my warrantee was expired, but the folks at Selle Anatomica fit my leather to a new frame for $50 (I paid for shipping to them, but it was free coming to me). I think that’s pretty stand-up. And my ass is back in the good saddle (and not in the old Specialized BG thing that was no where near as nice).

This is a little view into my current stable of folders. All of these went back into a drawer, except for the Techno, which went back in my pocket. That says all there really is to say. The ZT350 is just too big for a folder. For that heft, I’d just take a fixed. The Griptillion is a nice light knife, but was just compared (not favorably) to the Techno. The McGinness Tuition is a nice cheap knife, but clearly redundant. And the Fallkniven U2 … might keep that one. It’s a basic back lock, FRN handle, short thin blade. The kind of thing you toss in your pocket when you don’t want to risk losing your Techno. Or not. The laminated SPGS steel is nice, but it’s also eclipsed by the Techno. I think it’s clear that I’ve found my pocket knife, and the rest can find homes elsewhere. ;-)

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http://salsacycles.com/culture/new_for_2013_introducing_warbird/#When:11:00:27Z

For $3900 complete, or $2500 frameset. I recall that my frameset was
$1100 including fork.

To wit, here’s the Warbird:
Warbird Ti side

And here’s my bike (with the dorky addition of rack and fenders):
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Marcus’s comment – “apparently you had a good idea.”

I just took delivery of a Spyderco Techno. This was a much-anticipated knife by YT, because it’s totally over-the-top little big knife style that I love. So, how does it compare to my current EDC pocket knife – the Benchmade 555HG?

Bottom line – the Techno is pricey, but worth the wait. And its out of this world in terms of fidget factor.

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You can see them side by side here. The 555HG is longer, but the Techno rides in the pocket just as well. The factory deep carry wire clip from Spyderco has the Techno nearly as deep in the pocket as my aftermarket deep clip on the 555HG.

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Blade centering is way better on the Techno. I’m not sure that BM was even trying on mine.

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Yep, that’s a massive slab of steel on the Techno, but with a full flat grind and a taper towards the tip, it’s quite handy. Especially with the classic pinch-the-hole choke-up on Sypdercos:
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On a standard grip however, there’s not much more than the thumb jimping to keep your hand from sliding forward:
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The interior of the Spyder Hole is slightly radiused, so it’s not quite as grippy on the thumb skin as I’d like, but the massive reveal of the whole hole makes up for it. Of course, it’s only great if you’re a righty.

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All in all, TI scales, RIL lock (with stout lockup with no blade play), decent ergos, pocketable scale, great fit/finish, and that hell-for-stout build make this the new bad-ass in my pocket. Errr. Something like that.

Linus Satchel Bag

I picked up one of these from Calhoun Cycle, looking for a “briefcase pannier” that was a slim profile and suitable to move from the bike to the office without any fuss.

The construction is definitely high quality, but the features are, frankly, terrible.

The rack attachment hooks are simple springy steel hooks with a rubberized coating. They need to manually pried on/off the rack each time.

There’s no top handle to grab to put the bag from the rack, so you’re fumbling with holding on to it, which is a pain if you’re getting another pannier off the other side as well.

The interior has a padded compartment for a computer, and a front compartment for other stuff. The padded compartment is nice, and has a little leather snap strap to retain it. I don’t think it would actually protect your computer if it fell off the bike, however. The small flat pocket on the divider that is in the front pocket, however, is not a real value feature. There’s no pen pockets, so things kind of flop around.

It is comfortable to carry with the cotton strap, but with no grab handle, it’s limited to shoulder strap use only.

All in all, not remotely worth $80. I’ll be returning it to the store soon.