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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's the time of year where once again the snow is shutting down my biking. I keep thinking, "If only I had a Pugsley, I could still be riding".

Or would I?

The ride that kicked my butt yesterday has some fairly steep climbs, and trails with lots of side slope. Definitely over 7 degrees side in places. My bike ('03 Enduro with Vertical Pro tires) has most of it's problems with kind of grinding sideways off the snow (4" deep powder). I kept slipping sideways off the trail, leaving a kind of scalloped track behind. I got through about 5 miles of it and packed the ride in.

If the slope was not too steep or especially not sloped to the side much I was able to crank through the powder without too much trouble.

My question is, would a Pugsley do better under these conditions, or am I up against a limit of what snow itself will do? The conditions feel a lot like deep mud to me. Conventional wisdom is that narrow tires work better in mud. I can see where the big rims and tires would float me over crunched down deep snow like a snowmobile trail. But how does it do on singletrack?

Walt
 

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Walt Dizzy said:
It's the time of year where once again the snow is shutting down my biking. I keep thinking, "If only I had a Pugsley, I could still be riding".

Or would I?

The ride that kicked my butt yesterday has some fairly steep climbs, and trails with lots of side slope. Definitely over 7 degrees side in places. My bike ('03 Enduro with Vertical Pro tires) has most of it's problems with kind of grinding sideways off the snow (4" deep powder). I kept slipping sideways off the trail, leaving a kind of scalloped track behind. I got through about 5 miles of it and packed the ride in.

If the slope was not too steep or especially not sloped to the side much I was able to crank through the powder without too much trouble.

My question is, would a Pugsley do better under these conditions, or am I up against a limit of what snow itself will do? The conditions feel a lot like deep mud to me. Conventional wisdom is that narrow tires work better in mud. I can see where the big rims and tires would float me over crunched down deep snow like a snowmobile trail. But how does it do on singletrack?

Walt
I went for my first Pugsley adventure yesterday. Starting at about 2000', I rode up and knew I would hit snow. At 3000', the narrow, car traveled, granite gravel/sand double track I was on became packed snow. Others on small wheeled knobbies were doing what you describe, and I don't think I would have faired much better on 26ers. The Pugs rolled on, no slip/slide, no fuss, no muss. I could ride in and out of the snow ruts with very little sliding. I was running 10-12 psi. I think the big heavy wheels/tires/tubes alone are a pound donuts blunt the acceleration/deceleration with each crank revolution, and there is less breaking loose as a result.

At 3500' the other bike tracks stopped, and the Pugs kept rolling. I was only planning a 15 to 20 minute shakedown ride, but as long as I was still rolling I wasn't going to stop :D The last 1.5 miles of this climb gain nearly a thousand feet according to my wrist altimeter and odometer on other bikes. There are stretches that I know exceed 15%. Despite 3-4 inches of snow, two inches old an icycrusty with 1-2 inches fresh wet snow on top, the Pugs laid down a big foot print and got traction on the compacted wet snow. You could year the ice crust of the lower snow cracking as you went. I don't think any narrow tire would have been able to get a bite on it, the Endomorphs got their traction by compressing a lot of wet snow and imprinting the tread in that, kinda like a snow cat track I think. Usually, on narrower knobbies (Vertical pros, Scorpions, Mosquitoes and others) I was used to the front end hitting a rut, slipping sideways 3", stomping on the pedals to try to keep balance and correct the abrupt turn, and have the rear break loose, stopping all forward progress. This was profoundly less of a problem on the Pugs. I finally did tip over 50 yards from where I usually turn around because I got in a snow/ice rut and got stopped, but I didn't spin out. By this time though I was beat and probably didn't have much oomph left, so my correction was fairly feeble. This was taking a lot longer than it usually does, right around 60-75 minutes when there isn't snow. I was probably 30 minutes beyond that, I didn't wear a watch because I wasn't going far when I set out. Didn't take a camera either, too bad because it was pretty.

Going back down I stuck to the road for the first 1.5 miles and worked up a little speed. Now i understand why it was hard work getting up: there is a lot of rolling resistance in that much snow. I was quite impressed how the Pugs tracked across ruts, and would hold traction in a 15mph downhill tight corner, leaned way further over than would have been possible on narrow knobbies. The Pugs made it easy. When I got down to where there was less snow and flew past some bikers on skinny tires slipping and twisting up the hill, the look on their face was priceless. :D

Back down at the 3500' level, I took the single track route most of the way back. Under the trees there were only occasional patches of slushy snow. More interesting were the tight switch backs, braking stutterbumps/ruts and some tight fast slalom between the trees work. The pugs rolled over and braked on the stutters better than small wheels, but keep your elbows and knees loose; when you do hit a good bump and get the Pugs bouncing up, it takes a few more inches for you to dampen that out than it does on a bike 10-12 pounds lighter. The tight stuff was no big deal, the Pugs just laughs at the narrow braking ruts the small wheeled bikes have made, and heads on around the corner. It does take more effort to turn, but not bad. On the other hand, small bumps dont cause deflection, the Pugs rolls over them. Less mid corner correction needed. On faster bigger turns the gyroscopic effect of the bigger wheels IS noticable, and the Pugs like to stand up if you brake leaned over.

I had a lot more fun on the Pugs than I would likely have had on a 26er with narrower knobbies(I havn't ridden my Walt Works 29er with Exi's in the snow so I can't compare to that yet. Less constant slipping/slidding/correcting. I stripped one of my favorite 26" FS bikes to build the Pugs, and then sold the frame today on ebay. I was feeling a little remorseful, until this ride. That bike was an Ellsworth Id, I thought I'd never stop riding it. When I got infected with rigid 29ers it hardly got any use, so I'm glad someone else will get it out and ride it. So I guess I went from the beauty to the beast, but I have no regrets.

Please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors, I'm too tired to proofread this.
 

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I went out yesterday my first winter singletrack and I used some Specialized ground Control tires and I slipped around quite a bit. My friend had on a pair of Nokian 294's(?) and those things were unstoppable. He could climb up everything I couldn't and cornering was almost as good as on a dry trail. I took it for a spin and couldn't believe it actually. That's my next purchase. I'm sure the Pugs in great also, but for $$$ check out the Nokians for your enduro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks

I appreciate the extensive reply. It sounds like a Pugsley would solve a lot of my problems with snow riding.

I want to get out, but around here (S. Wisconsin) the snow conditions have become worthless over the last decade or so. It's usually too thin/wet/crusty to xc ski, and just deep enough to make bike riding non-fun. I don't expect miracles, just to be able to stay on the bike most of the ride.

One more question. I'm not sold on singlespeed riding, but a derailuer has it's issues with snow. I read that the Pugley needs a special, wide hub. If so that would probably rule out an interally geared hub. Any comments?

Walt

lithiapark said:
I went for my first Pugsley adventure yesterday. Starting at about 2000', I rode up and knew I would hit snow. At 3000', the narrow, car traveled, granite gravel/sand double track I was on became packed snow. Others on small wheeled knobbies were doing what you describe, and I don't think I would have faired much better on 26ers. The Pugs rolled on, no slip/slide, no fuss, no muss. I could ride in and out of the snow ruts with very little sliding. I was running 10-12 psi. I think the big heavy wheels/tires/tubes alone are a pound donuts blunt the acceleration/deceleration with each crank revolution, and there is less breaking loose as a result.

At 3500' the other bike tracks stopped, and the Pugs kept rolling. I was only planning a 15 to 20 minute shakedown ride, but as long as I was still rolling I wasn't going to stop :D The last 1.5 miles of this climb gain nearly a thousand feet according to my wrist altimeter and odometer on other bikes. There are stretches that I know exceed 15%. Despite 3-4 inches of snow, two inches old an icycrusty with 1-2 inches fresh wet snow on top, the Pugs laid down a big foot print and got traction on the compacted wet snow. You could year the ice crust of the lower snow cracking as you went. I don't think any narrow tire would have been able to get a bite on it, the Endomorphs got their traction by compressing a lot of wet snow and imprinting the tread in that, kinda like a snow cat track I think. Usually, on narrower knobbies (Vertical pros, Scorpions, Mosquitoes and others) I was used to the front end hitting a rut, slipping sideways 3", stomping on the pedals to try to keep balance and correct the abrupt turn, and have the rear break loose, stopping all forward progress. This was profoundly less of a problem on the Pugs. I finally did tip over 50 yards from where I usually turn around because I got in a snow/ice rut and got stopped, but I didn't spin out. By this time though I was beat and probably didn't have much oomph left, so my correction was fairly feeble. This was taking a lot longer than it usually does, right around 60-75 minutes when there isn't snow. I was probably 30 minutes beyond that, I didn't wear a watch because I wasn't going far when I set out. Didn't take a camera either, too bad because it was pretty.

Going back down I stuck to the road for the first 1.5 miles and worked up a little speed. Now i understand why it was hard work getting up: there is a lot of rolling resistance in that much snow. I was quite impressed how the Pugs tracked across ruts, and would hold traction in a 15mph downhill tight corner, leaned way further over than would have been possible on narrow knobbies. The Pugs made it easy. When I got down to where there was less snow and flew past some bikers on skinny tires slipping and twisting up the hill, the look on their face was priceless. :D

Back down at the 3500' level, I took the single track route most of the way back. Under the trees there were only occasional patches of slushy snow. More interesting were the tight switch backs, braking stutterbumps/ruts and some tight fast slalom between the trees work. The pugs rolled over and braked on the stutters better than small wheels, but keep your elbows and knees loose; when you do hit a good bump and get the Pugs bouncing up, it takes a few more inches for you to dampen that out than it does on a bike 10-12 pounds lighter. The tight stuff was no big deal, the Pugs just laughs at the narrow braking ruts the small wheeled bikes have made, and heads on around the corner. It does take more effort to turn, but not bad. On the other hand, small bumps dont cause deflection, the Pugs rolls over them. Less mid corner correction needed. On faster bigger turns the gyroscopic effect of the bigger wheels IS noticable, and the Pugs like to stand up if you brake leaned over.

I had a lot more fun on the Pugs than I would likely have had on a 26er with narrower knobbies(I havn't ridden my Walt Works 29er with Exi's in the snow so I can't compare to that yet. Less constant slipping/slidding/correcting. I stripped one of my favorite 26" FS bikes to build the Pugs, and then sold the frame today on ebay. I was feeling a little remorseful, until this ride. That bike was an Ellsworth Id, I thought I'd never stop riding it. When I got infected with rigid 29ers it hardly got any use, so I'm glad someone else will get it out and ride it. So I guess I went from the beauty to the beast, but I have no regrets.

Please excuse any spelling or grammatical errors, I'm too tired to proofread this.
 

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Great read, thanks for that!
So a Pugs can go where narrow wheeled bikes get into troubles on climbs. But can they follow in your tracks?
 

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Internally gear hub on a Pugsley

One more question. I'm not sold on singlespeed riding, but a derailuer has it's issues with snow. I read that the Pugley needs a special, wide hub. If so that would probably rule out an interally geared hub. Any comments?

Walt[/QUOTE]

The Pugs takes a 135mm standard rear hub front and back. The dropouts are horizontal track style. I've never run an internally geared rear hub, but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't fit, and the horizontal dropouts would allow chain tensioning. The only unusual thing is building the wheels with rims drilled 17mm off center, and using a special hub adapter they give you with the frame (it essentially lets you build a wheel with the rim where it would be if it were centered over a 170mm wide rear hub I think. Others with more internal geared hubs may want to comment.
 

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lithiapark said:
One more question. I'm not sold on singlespeed riding, but a derailuer has it's issues with snow. I read that the Pugley needs a special, wide hub. If so that would probably rule out an interally geared hub. Any comments?

Walt
The Pugs takes a 135mm standard rear hub front and back. The dropouts are horizontal track style. I've never run an internally geared rear hub, but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't fit, and the horizontal dropouts would allow chain tensioning. The only unusual thing is building the wheels with rims drilled 17mm off center, and using a special hub adapter they give you with the frame (it essentially lets you build a wheel with the rim where it would be if it were centered over a 170mm wide rear hub I think. Others with more internal geared hubs may want to comment.[/QUOTE]

The shop that's building my Pugs just finished building one with a Shimano Nexus geared hub with roller brake.
As long as it's a 135mm or there abouts hub you should be just fine.

I was thinking about going with a Rohloff Speed Hub but would have blown my entire winter cycling budget in the process so I just went with standard Shimano LX stuff with rapid-fire. Maybe I'll upgrade to a Rohloff next year...
 

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I don't have the time to write as detailed a response as others have, but last year I went riding in the winter a lot on my mtb with 2.1 inch tires, as did a friend of mine. Even with snow chains (home made), we could only ride on the snowy road, and that was at about 4-3 mph. Trails weren't even considered, since it was impossible.

We both tried our pugs a week or two ago during the first snowfall of 3-4" and it was incredible. It handled like a mountain bike. Not only could we actually bomb the fire road, but we could ride trails. We even found that we didn't need the trails, we could ride anywhere in the woods where there was a clear path.

The difference for this bike in snow is like comparing a hardtail with 1.5" tires to a full suspension XC bike in terms of suspension.

Get one, you won't regret it!

Chris
 

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Pugsleys in the snow

ctxcrossx said:
I don't have the time to write as detailed a response as others have, but last year I went riding in the winter a lot on my mtb with 2.1 inch tires, as did a friend of mine. Even with snow chains (home made), we could only ride on the snowy road, and that was at about 4-3 mph. Trails weren't even considered, since it was impossible.

We both tried our pugs a week or two ago during the first snowfall of 3-4" and it was incredible. It handled like a mountain bike. Not only could we actually bomb the fire road, but we could ride trails. We even found that we didn't need the trails, we could ride anywhere in the woods where there was a clear path.

The difference for this bike in snow is like comparing a hardtail with 1.5" tires to a full suspension XC bike in terms of suspension.

Get one, you won't regret it!

Chris
I agree. It is not often that I try something in mountain biking that is a "wow" experience compared to what I had been doing. But riding a Pugsley up a 10-15% climb with 3-4 inches of snow over ice was one of those. I can't wait to hit some sand dunes this summer. :D Paul
 

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Thinking back to my first ride with the bike, the best way I can describe it is the first day you used a full suspension bike....the first time you went on a night ride.....it feels like a completely new experience.

Chris
 

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It is a whole new sport...

ctxcrossx said:
Thinking back to my first ride with the bike, the best way I can describe it is the first day you used a full suspension bike....the first time you went on a night ride.....it feels like a completely new experience.
Chris
Here in So Cal I ride the Pugs (soon to be a Fatbike/DeSalvo) on the beach. My first experience was similar but different. I droppped from the paved beach trail into the sand not knowing what to expect. Amazingly, it felt pretty undramatic. The Pugs floats across deep sand with utter aplomb. In fact, as long as there is any hint of a descent, it does not matter how loose or deep the sand, the Pugs can traverse it.

Climbing in dry sand would seem to be a bit more problematic than snow. There are many types of sand, and different levels of wetness/packing along the beach. Most dry sand does not compact under your tires, and there is never any traction. The key seems to be getting your weight forward (the rear sinks in, not the front), and learning a new level of smooth spinning. Some kinds of sand - grainy, almost gravely coarse stuff - do not even compact when wet. I ride 8 psi rear, 10 front.

My favorite time to ride is low tide. The wide, wet band of sand is perfect to ride on, you almost do not even need a Pugs. Since there is no trail, you are free to ride where you like. I like to play games riding in and out of rock piles that are left at the high tide line, then descending down toward the crashing surf.

I suspect that as more people ride them in the snow and sand whole new bike niches will emerge. How about a Pugs in a XC Skiing area - or a telemark trail? Touring Baja? Or riding across the desert (respecting the environment, blah blah blah.) On the snow, there is no environmental impact to speak of - the trail will melt or get snowed over anyway, you can go where you like, and take different routes each time.

Of course, Surley sponsored a couple adventure rides already. Look up Pugsley and Hope to Homer or Canning Stock Road and you will find two awesome adventures.
 

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Pedaling circles

Has been the key for soft sand for me, too.

Lots of where I live aparrently looks like the Australian desert, judging from kiwibiker's pictures. If you've ever ridden rollers, the feeling should be familiar. Any un-smooth behavior is quickly revealed in deep sand.

This picture is from the top of a fairly steep sand climb with bits near 10 percent, I'd guess. The sand before the summit looks just like the sand in kiwibiker's pic, there are some rocks at the top where the picture was taken.
 

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How is the log coming?

kiwibiker said:
Pug can go through virtually any sand as long as you pedal very smoothly (clipless pedals are a MUST) and keep your speed up. Problems start on very steep climbs (over 30%) in soft sand but it is still far beyond capabilities of any other bike.
www.wildworks.co.nz/csr
How goes the english translation of your log book? I look forward to browsing it when it is available.
 

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Rollers, eh?

Bob the Wheelbuilder said:
Has been the key for soft sand for me, too.
If you've ever ridden rollers, the feeling should be familiar. Any un-smooth behavior is quickly revealed in deep sand.
Rollers you say? I may finally have an excuse to get a set. And a couple of big pieces of foam for me to land on on either side, from what I hear.
 

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DirtDad said:
Rollers you say? I may finally have an excuse to get a set. And a couple of big pieces of foam for me to land on on either side, from what I hear.
They are great training. Just make sure to start in a doorway, you'll need it!

Chris
 
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