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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!

I'm new here but not to offroad cycling :D

I am a Dutch world- and expedition cyclist (http://www.itchywheels.nl).
My last journeys and my world tour took me through various remote areas and deserts all over the world, from the sandy hot Sinai desert in Egypt (50C) to the arid, icecold high- altitude Axai Chin planes in Tibet (5000m+, -20C).

I am currently planning a new project, to cross the remote Taklamakan desert in China on a bicycle. It is the largest sand desert on earth and I will cycle from south to north through the heart of the desert following the old Silk Road caravan-trails. As far as I know I will be the first one foolish enough to try.
I will cycle for 1000 km on very lose sandy tracks or even offroad, zig-zagging between the high sand dunes. I will carry a lot as I will have to cope with extreme temperature differences (-10C at night, +50C during the day) and I have to carry all spare parts, food and water.

As the sand is very fine I would like to use a 29´ bicycle with large wheels for floatation and traction.

What type of 29´ bicycle would you recommend me? I only know the the Pugsley and the one made by Wildfire. Are there others?

What tires would be the best for usage in the sand? Endomorphs?

I need the possibility to install a sturdy rear rack and front rack (Tubus/old man mountain) and (if possible) rim brakes (HS-33 or V-brakes) as I will carry around 50 Kilo of luggage (including water and food). Is that possible on the Pugsley and other 29ers?

As the sand in the Taklamakan desert is the finest in the world I would like to use my Rohloff hub. Is it possible to equip the 29ers with a Rohloff?

Thanks all and cycle the world,
Whisky
 

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Don't even bother looking at other stuff. The Pugsley is exactly what you want. It has all the features you mentioned, including compatibility with a Rohloff. Nothing else would be as well suited for crawling across sand dunes (except other fat-tire bikes, but the puglsey is the most affordable and available of these).

MUST SEE WEBSITE <-- Same sort of trip, but in Australia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi!

Thanks for the link!

I already had contact with that guy before (amazing trip!) and he recommended using a 29er and the Pugsley. But there are TONS of other 29er out there with TONS of different tires so who knows...

Are there other 29er bikes similar to the Pugsley and build for touring?

I had a look at the FAQ (just great!) and I don`t see the Endomorph tires listed there:

Okay, some popular choices. All are over 1.9", thus truely 29" :
Street and beach : Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0" or 2.35", Kenda Khan
Trekking and ultra-long distance allround dry surface : Kenda Khan

Are the endomorphs not that good?
Is ´beach' the same as `extremely loose sand`? On the way to the Taklamakan and on the way out I´ll also have to cycle on rough mountain-roads/trails with the danger of snikebites, especially with low psi and I have to cross steppe planes layered with nasty thorns.

Are there any 29 tires optimal for sand and low pressure but with an additional kevlar layer or such?

Thanks all!
Whisky
 

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anyone else smell that?
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i'm taking a guess here, but i would imagine that setting up a bike for loose sand would be very similar to setting up a bike for biking on soft snow. there are 29er snow rims that are very wide and give a tire a very wide, flat stance.

so also do a bit of research into snow bikes....might help you out a bit.
 

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The reason you don't see Endomorphs listed as 29er tires is that they are actually 26", but are so huge the outside diameter is 29". You want a tire as wide as possible for sand. I do a fair amount of sand riding and the Pugsley is the bike you want. Dealing with thorns is problematic for a wide low tread tire that works on sand. Stans or Slime sealant helps, but thorns will be an issue. You can control the pressure on the Endomorph so snake bite should not be a problem. Don't even think about riding a 2" wide tire loaded with gear on soft sand, it will turn into a bike dragging expedition. The guy who knows more about wheels and tires for this kind of think is probably Mike Curiak (mikesee) who will probably chime in at some point.
 

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I would definitely recommend going tubeless with a good sealant (I like stans) I've never done it on a 29er but I'm sure it will work fine. This way you can go down to extremely low pressures; I frequently ride with less then 15psi (~1 bar).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi!

I allready looked to snow bikes before as I ride here in deep snow, too (live near the Alps). However, loose snow and sand behave diferently (hard to explain) when roled over. Snow gets sticky when it is compressed by the weight of the bike, so the tire gets grip. Sand just moves out of the way and the tire will sink.
The best for sand is thus a tire with a low profile and a big surface area (with low psi).
But perhaps ´dry´ powdersnow and sand might behave the same. I´ll have a look around.

The Pugsley seems to be very popular, I think I`ll give it a test.

How are the Large Marge rims? They don´t look that sturdy to me and I cary a lot of stuff and some mountain trails will be hell...

Whisky
 

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The Large Marge rims are tough. If you get the 36 hole DH version, they are bomb proof. The 32 hole XC version is not as tough, but still stronger than most rims on the market.
 

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Get a Pugsley. I live near a giant sand box that I have been riding in for over 20 years and the Pugsley blows away any other bike.
Right now I run heavy duty thornproof large 26 inch tubes in it. You can add slime to them as well. I don't think I would try tubeless.
Another thing is that you can run a wide variety of other wide or DH 26 inch tires on Large Marge rims for the areas where you don't need so much float and want to avoid sidewall tears.
The Pugsley frame is steel, so in the event it should ever break it is easier to fix. Also it is set up with plenty of rack braze ons.
Have a great trip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi!

I`m 1.80m Tall,

Dubbel rimmed? You mean something like this? :cool:




This bike was build for a (failed) attempt to cross the Bering Strait in winter from Russia to Alaska and used THREE nokian tires on the back and THREE on the front :yikes:

I know the creator and he suggested going for a single rim because of the complexity and added weight.

But 4x 29er would ROCK as would 4x Endomorphs.

Whisky
 

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I'd suggest the Pugsley also - the only concern that I would have is that it will likely be nearly impossible to get replacement tires on the trip, but that probably applies to anything you will be looking for. If you use the 26" rim size, then just swap out tires for longer road or more "civilized" sections. 26 x 2.1" street-ish tires for rolling at more speed, put on the Endomorphs when you get to the nasty stuff. Maybe carry one spare Endo and a pair of "gravel road" tires and that should get you through the rough stuff. I wonder how a trailer with an Endomorph tire would work? Is anyone out there building a tire fatter than a 2.55" WW for the 29" yet? Since diameter matters greatly in sand also, a 29 x 3.0 or something might be the best. Using existing equipment though - I'd say get a Pugsley. I wonder if Surly would be interested in sponsoring something like this?
 

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I like your thinking Brant, doubled 36" wheels...

I've been working in my head on a 36" wheeled buggy/quad. First it was "only" an Endomorph buggy. You would not fall over too easily in stand-still, and do well in loose conditions or bad "roads". Singletracks and trial-moves would be a big no, though, till that technology has seen some decades of commercial success.

What the world really needs are Endomorphs, one rim size up.

If people are hand-crafting 36" tires from 29" ones now, I see no reason why it could not be done with 26" Endomorphs to something like an 85cm wheel. Rims would require some help from a rim maker, but size accuracy would be less important with tires being custom-made around it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
ATBScott said:
wonder if Surly would be interested in sponsoring something like this?
They did sponsor the Aussie, so who knows :)

He also used the Endomorph on his Extrawheel trailer and I´ll do the same. I won´t take a BOB with me as those tiny 20 inch wheels will get stuck in the sand no time.

Spares are heavy, perhaps I can send the Endos to Hotan, the city bordering the desert and switch tires there. And after the crossing send them back home. But the mail in Asia is very unreliable (I lost a parcel worth 200$ that way).

What is the FATTEST tire out there?

Whisky
 

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Cloxxki said:
I like your thinking Brant, doubled 36" wheels...

I've been working in my head on a 36" wheeled buggy/quad. First it was "only" an Endomorph buggy. You would not fall over too easily in stand-still, and do well in loose conditions or bad "roads". Singletracks and trial-moves would be a big no, though, till that technology has seen some decades of commercial success.

What the world really needs are Endomorphs, one rim size up.

If people are hand-crafting 36" tires from 29" ones now, I see no reason why it could not be done with 26" Endomorphs to something like an 85cm wheel. Rims would require some help from a rim maker, but size accuracy would be less important with tires being custom-made around it :)
Sorry Cloxxki but sometimes your bigger is better belief gets in the way of reality. My Pugsley with endormorphs blows away any 29er tire that I have tried. Width and air volume do a lot more than rim diameter in loose conditions. I used to have a Hanebrink and the diameter of that rim and tire was under 20 inches yet because of the width and air volume in was superb in the sand.
A larger diameter endomorph would probably have more negatives attached to it than positives, plus then you start talking about custom this and custom that including tires. Right now a 26 inch rim gives you a lot more flexibility and choices than any other size out there.
Besides have you ever riden a Pugsley in the sand and compared it to a 29er??
 

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OK Dicky - just to fuel a fire... Have you ridden a 700c wheel with a 3.7" tire on it and compared it to your Pugsley? In the soft stuff, I would guess it would have to be better, but then again, we are talking a complete re-do of geometry and rethinking toe overlap issues almost like a 36" would require... At today's tech - the 26" Pugs or equivalent is the way to go. But if someone could put together a big "29" Pugsley or something of the like, it would be a great front tire in soft sand. That'd be about a 32" wheel size? I have to say that I am pretty impressed with the way a 2.3" 29'er tire rolls through sand. I figure adding roughly 1.4" in width to that (basically the Pugs size) would be even better... Just wonder what adding another couple of inches to the overall diameter would be like?
 

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richwolf said:
Sorry Cloxxki but sometimes your bigger is better belief gets in the way of reality. My Pugsley with endormorphs blows away any 29er tire that I have tried. Width and air volume do a lot more than rim diameter in loose conditions. I used to have a Hanebrink and the diameter of that rim and tire was under 20 inches yet because of the width and air volume in was superb in the sand.
A larger diameter endomorph would probably have more negatives attached to it than positives, plus then you start talking about custom this and custom that including tires. Right now a 26 inch rim gives you a lot more flexibility and choices than any other size out there.
Besides have you ever riden a Pugsley in the sand and compared it to a 29er??
Bigger is just better :)

The negatives you mentioned were also those Surly had to conquer in conceiving the Pugsley. They picked 26" as their rim standard, but is that convenient for anything else than spoke length? Frame, fork, rim, tire, all is custom for Surly.
I believe you about deep sand and 26"+3.7" vs. 29"+2.4". Of course. 29"+3.0" might already be a different story. Let alone a beast suh as 31"+3.7". A longer contact patch will make the good excellent. It did so for plain MTB's too. Have you compared otherwise identical rim+tire setups in 26" and 29"? That difference, my friend, is huge. The most feathery racer boy on a 26"er has nothing in a sand pit over me on an otherwise identical 29"er plus tall fat lazy ass.
I see no reason why upscaling would not improve things when mated to a fatter tire. It's there for the widest of wide 29" tires now. The weight difference would be a minor as a between regular 26" and 29", just expressed in nominal weight a bit more as the reference point is heavier.

You dislike freak ideas? Run away now then.
[geek]
Make the trailer wheel a bit larger still. Oversize the hubs, and make the axle into a bagage compartment. The wheel then IS the trailer.

I can see it now. Human Powered Desert Races. All is allowed, as long as no energy is stored or generated outside the body. No sail structures. Racers will decide on how many wheels to mount to their buggies when the last condition reports come in. You don't want to carry more wheels than you need (no littering rule), nor do you want to get stuck or fight deep sand when others are floating over.

[/geek]
 

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I seem to have read the 29er Pugsley pi$$ing match in a different thread. I suggest we get back to helping Whisky across the desert instead of arguing over theoretical setups that wont help this guy. Take the slap fight elsewhere.
 
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