Borealis Yampa Fat Bike Is A Pure Joy To Ride

I didn’t know geared fat bikes could get this light ….. Wow

Dedham Bike's Blog

We recently got out on a ride on a Borealis Yampa Fat Bike that we had the pleasure of selling and building for a valued customer.

In short let us just say that this bike is a pure joy to ride.

We built her up with a Sram XO kit and HED Big Deal Wheels.

In doing so we were able to keep the bike under 23 lbs!! Yep, you read that correctly. Insane.

The bike is just awesome! It climbs like a race oriented hard tail while descending like a short travel dually. Due to the performance of the bike we would feel comfortable making this our daily rider if we had to pick one mountain bike to own. It just does everything well..and of course it has a big advantage in deep snow that would slow non fatties down.

Borealis Yampa Front Tire 45NRTH Dillinger 5 tires are giant tires with…

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Long beach loses its cycling icon

Octavio Orduno, known as the oldest cyclist in Long Beach, if not the world, has died. He was 106.

The retired aerospace mechanic from Santa Paula was a local celebrity among cyclists in the south bay. Every day, he would pedal down Ocean Boulevard to the beach, park or farmer’s market — ignoring the roar of lawn mowers and growls of pit bulls, but always smiling as he passed young women in flowery skirts.

Some days he would get stuck on an incline and had to will his legs to pump. Drivers from passing cars used to cheer him on, “You can do it!”

“He was our Superman,” said his daughter, Angelina Orduno. A stubborn one.

The father of six preferred a two-wheeler. But at 100 years old, his wife, Alicia, insisted he get a tricycle.

When the city’s bike coordinator, Charles Gandy, learned about Orduno’s enthusiasm, he promoted the centenarian’s story online. Orduno became the grinning symbol of cycling in the city. Fans would greet him at bike-lane ribbon cuttings and bike festivals.

At public events, he soaked up the attention. He used to greet the men with tight handshakes and approach the ladies with gentle hands and puckered lips.

He had trouble seeing and couldn’t hear well, but each time someone asked him his secret to a long life he gave the same answer: “Keep moving and eat healthy.”

He seemed to live on vegetables, fruits and nuts. He also had an appetite for Mexican telenovelas.

His own life, too, was pretty dramatic.

As a teenager during the Great Depression, he ran away from home, wandering from Oregon to Wisconsin by freight train. Later he became a gardener to the stars: Claudette Colbert, Charlie Ruggles, William S. Hart. During World War II, too old to enlist, he taught women how to build airplane engines. At his 104th birthday party, he jitterbugged to his favorite mariachi music.

“He just loved life,” Angelina said. “And he wasn’t going to go down without a fight.”

Cycling became the highlight of otherwise uneventful days in his later years.
Alicia, his wife of 60 years, got used to him coming home scraped and bruised. Once, he arrived in the back of a police car. Another time, he crashed against a two-wheeler and ended up in the hospital. He had a concussion and could not recognize anyone for days.

Soon, though, he was back on his red Torker tricycle. His usual ride was to Bixby Park, where he watched the skateboarders do ollies and flips.

He quit those journeys two years ago because no matter how hard he tried, he could no longer get his trike up his building’s inclined driveway.

That didn’t stop him from riding, though — in tight circles around his building’s parking garage.

What finally stopped him was the theft of his bike’s front wheel.

“He was upset,” Eddie said. “But I think, by then, he was too old to keep going.”

Orduno spent days by the window, watching the world go by. Gradually he became weaker, and on doctors’ advice, the family put him in a convalescent home.

The old man was not happy. One day, he got up, determined to head out the front door, Eddie said. He fell and broke his hip.

Several days later, on Jan. 16, he died due to complications of the fall. He was two months short of another birthday party.

“If he could, he would have been riding still,” Eddie said. “He would have made it to 107.”


Ride in the kilpatrick hills

So the kilpatrick hills are just outside glasgow and I have never been there to walk or ride but the Facebook meetup group were going there today although later so I decided to stop there this morning to have an early ride.

Road was pretty icy but once on the bike it was great and then I started to climb

And climb right to top of ridge. The genesis caribou has a 1×10 setup but up top it hits 13% ave gradient (makes note to check on gps track) I was having to sit back and pedal as standing or leaning forward meant the tyres were starting to slip. But sitting down meant the front wheel lifted on every pedal stroke …. I confess to 2 brief halts. Then the top ….

Nice pretty untouched snow – luckily someone had passed yesterday so I had an indication of where to go – it was all new to me. Fat tyres only sunk in 2-4 inches but when I stepped off it was 6-10 deep ….. Ooooft

Then the path led down


By the bottom I was grinning ear to ear.

Screenshot 2015-01-30 14.25.38

Fat Bike Fun part II

Fun indeed


I´ve been planning to do a re-cap on my old fat bike fun video. Local trials but during winter. Yesterday i finally had some time off to do it. This video is shot just in the near surroundings of where i live.

Here is the first one i did a couple of years ago. Gotta love the contrasts of winter vs summer.

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Fat bikes don’t fit

Well the roof racks on the car have had to resort to straps to secure the wheels …..


Went down the beach for a test ride on the sand with the bike whilst waiting for the wind to kick in for kitesurfing. It is good on sand but as I discovered also very good over seaweed strewn rocks and kelp. Cycled right on the edge of the water with spray going everywhere – all I could think of was RUST which is stupid as bike wouldn’t be left with salt water all over it. In fact I had the sprayer in the car so rinsed it down on my return. Only did 10km but on sand that felt longer – riding down the dunes on the very soft sand felt very strange and I worked out that turns had to be gradual and carved to stop the tyre digging in.

Screenshot 2015-01-29 20.07.41
Great fun

Afterwards the wind kicked and had a great hour and a half on my small 6m wave kite. Top day.

Screenshot 2015-01-29 20.07.07

Dream Bike: Stunningly sexy steel Merckx Masterpiece

Eddy Merckx Cycles relaunches steel-bike production. With the launch of the EDDY70 racing bike Eddy Merckx Cycles is opening a new chapter. That is, one of modern, high-quality steel racing bikes.

Screenshot 2015-01-28 11.27.16

The first fruit of this project, of which only 70 examples will be produced, is the forerunner of a new Heritage collection, which will be available from September at a selection of bike stores. The EDDY70 bike can be ordered from 7pm on January 28th exclusively via and will cost $17,500. (OUCH)

With the Heritage Line Eddy Merckx Cycles is drawing on the past, but only in terms of the design and color, as the new steel bikes cannot be compared with the race machines from Eddy’s glory years. They are ultramodern, state-of-the-art racing bikes improved with the best Columbus steel alloys and designed for superior performance.


The EDDY70 bike is built completely according to the wishes of Eddy Merckx, and on Jan. 27 the first example, which bears the No. 1, will be handed over to Eddy himself, who turns 70 this year. From Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. precisely, enthusiasts worldwide can order their own example via, where they can choose their personal number (between 2 and 70), as well as the place where Merckx can put his own signature on the steel.

In the months following the order they can follow the whole production process via the Eddy Merckx Cycles Facebook page until they are finally invited to come and collect their personal bike in Faema colours at their local Eddy Merckx Cycles Dealer. At the same time they will receive a unique photo book that has been signed by Merckx. Nice detail: the first bikes will be delivered on June 17th, which is Eddy’s birthday.


For the steel frame of the EDDY70 the newest Columbus XCr seamless steel tubes are used. The ultralight and rigid RFS (stainless steel) lends itself perfectly to the production of racing bikes. The steel is TIG welded in the Eddy Merckx Cycles workshops and fitted with a carbon fibre Columbus front fork, after which the frame is painted.


The bike is then fitted with a Campagnolo Super Record set and Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 wheels; both with the unique EDDY70 signature. The same icon is also printed on the cockpit, seat post and Cinelli seat.

“Everyone knows that I was always obsessively focused on the equipment that I rode on. That is still the case now. And as a result, I wanted only the best and most modern components and materials for this bike. The aim was absolutely to make a high performance, contemporary racing bike and not a replica of my old racing bike,” according to Merckx.


Every release by Eddy Merckx Cycles is a tribute to the rich heritage created by the greatest racing cyclist of all time. That is why Eddy Merckx Cycles wants to produce the best racing bikes and sell them to the widest possible cycling public. The rich history of man and bicycle is thereby linked in a contemporary and self-perpetuating way to the promising future of the brand. The company was created by Eddy Merckx in 1980 and is still based in Belgium. Eddy Merckx Cycles sells high-end racing bikes in more than 25 countries via 20 distribution partners. At the Benelux level the brand is sold by around 110 official Eddy Merckx Cycles dealers.

The Value of a good Run Ramble

This morning i dropped the girls off at their school in my running gear – I was aiming to do a 10km run (my first of the year and first in a few months) and i didn’t want to let January slip past without me completing it.

I headed out to routes quite well know and then as I was running I decided to piece together two separate parts of a run (joining a river to a canal) I ambled up the hill and then wove between streets and a makeshift park to hook the bits together …. I had to stop at one traffic light waiting to cross but otherwise it was all good fun. Small loop at the end to make sure i hit 10km and then stopped the gps at the bottom of the road as the watch said 10km.

Lovely Morning

Strava screengrab
Strava screengrab

How to get fitted – bike – mtb – reblog

from single tracks – a reminder on how to do it …


So, you’re planning on purchasing or assembling your dream bike for the upcoming MTB season. What size should you choose? How long of a stem do you need? Should you get a setback seatpost? What’s the right bar width? I’ll try to answer all these questions and more in this article on mountain bike fitting.

Most bike shops do a good job helping customers find the right frame size and you can always double check by taking a peek at the bike manufacturer’s website or catalog. The size chart below is an example and as you can see there is a range for every frame size. Beyond height, this chart doesn’t take into account specific body measurements (torso size, leg length, etc.) and that’s where component fitting comes in.


So… it’s really up to you to get the perfect fit. Some bike shops offer fittings, usually at a cost nowadays (not including parts which is an additional cost). But looking at your body and sitting on the bike with someone holding you on, you can get a good idea of what fits or what feels best for you. But before you spend your cash, let’s cover the list of things we can change on the bike, what those changes will feel like, and what a retailer shop should be able to do to accommodate you when you purchase that shiny new bike.

Frame size: #1 most important item

Getting the right frame size is paramount. If you’re in between sizes and are planning on really riding rough, you may want the smaller size rather than the larger (easier to bail when things go wrong). Use a sizing chart to get an idea of where you fit, then check the actual bike. Hop on the bike and if possible, go for a test ride. You should also be able to get a sense of what’s going on with the fit just by sitting on the bike and pedaling backward.

At this point you should feel more or less comfortable: not up too high and stretched or too low and cramped. You should also be able to place your feet flat on the ground when you dismount the bike. Stand over height is a bit more difficult to gauge these days due to the newer, sloping top tube frames which give the illusion that the frame is smaller than it is. Instead, I focus my attention on the top tube length.

To find the right seat tube length, take your inseam (legs 6 inches apart) and multiply by .67 then subtract 4 inches. For example I have a 33 inch inseam. Multiplied by .67 I get 21.75 inches, take 4- 5 inches away I end up with a 17.5 inch frame set (which happens to be what I use).


MTB handlebar width

Sometimes due to your specific body type or riding style a wider than stock bar can be a good choice. As the bars widens, it allows more steering torque (great for nasty terrain) and slows your steering down. A bar change on its own will also pull you forward a bit. A wider bar also makes it easier to breathe as it encourages you to open your chest more when huffing up a hill. The good news is that most bike shops are willing to change to a wider bar if necessary. Once you have your bar width, work on shifter and brake positioning. Try to set both so your wrist is not bent in an awkward angle and there is a small degree of freedom there – about 15 degrees. Anything more than that and you are at risk of hurting yourself.


Stem length

Riders with disproportionate leg to torso sizes will want to take a look at changing up stem length for a more comfortable riding posture. A longer stem typically pulls the rider forward and flattens the back. The result is slowed steering and more traction to the front wheel.

Shortening the stem moves the rider toward the center of the bike and adds curvature to the back, leading to a more upright riding position. Ideally the rider should have elbows slightly bent when riding straight ahead which acts as a natural upper body shock absorber. Proper stem length and positioning alleviates upper body soreness and removes excessive force from the wrists. Most XC stems range in length from 70mm to 130mm. AM and DH stems can range from as short as 25mm to about 55mm+.


Seat post height and setback

Once you have the right frame size it’s time to set the seat post height and setback (for you folks who ride DH, FR, and DJ this does not apply). Starting with the seat parallel with the ground, set the cranks so that they are in line with your seat tube, projecting a straight line through the BB and to the floor. Hop on the bike and have someone support you while you position your feet on the pedals – ball of the foot on the axle and foot slightly pointing forward a couple degrees. You should not have your leg fully extended – there should be about 10-15 degrees of movement before your leg locks straight.

You can also use this formula as a decent starting point: Take your inseam measurement and multiply by .883. The result is the ballpark measurement from the top of the lower pedal to the top of the saddle. From here you may need to go up or down a quarter of an inch until it looks and feels right.


With the basic seat height position set, it’s time to check positioning front to back. With the cranks set at 3 and 9 o’clock, get a piece of string and tie a weight to it. Sit on the bike in your riding position and pedal backwards a few strokes and stop at 3 and 9 o’clock again (you’ll need a spotter to help). Hang the weighted string from the bony protrusion just below your knee cap and have a look at where the string intersects your crank – it should fall right at the pedal axle. If the string falls forward or behind, just slide the seat on the post to fix your positioning.

If you can’t adjust the seat far enough you may need to change your seatpost offset. There are seatpost offset options you can purchase from zero offsets all the way to 25mm offsets (see images below).


Handlebar height 

You may find that your handlebars are too low or high. By adjusting bar height you’re trying to achieve:

  • A comfortable back angle, depending on your degree of flexibility.
  • A natural feel to look ahead without craning your neck.

There are a few solutions here. Firstly take a look at where your stem meets your steering tube. You may see a few spacers – if so great! You can adjust the shim stack position relative to the frame which will raise or lower the stem and bar. For example, placing all the shims below the stem will raise your bar up by that amount. If you don’t have shims, you may need to get either a riser bar or a riser stem. Easton sells the EA50 stem with either 6 or 20 degrees of rise. You can also choose from flat bars, mid rise bars (about 20mm), or full rise bars (from 35mm to 45mm depending on the model).

Crank arm length 

You may want to consider changing up your crank arm length as well. Most manufacturers offer MTB cranks from 165mm to 180mm, usually in 5mm increments. The proper crank arm length is typically dependent on the rider’s height and inseam. So a short person (5′ – 5′.5″) may want to consider 165- 170mm cranks. For someone from 5′.5″ – 5′ 10″, a 175mm usually works well and taller folks may want to consider 175mm+ cranks. Now if you have short legs, a shorter crank arm may be a better choice. Or if you’re a quick peddler, a shorter crank arm may be the way to go as well.


This next section will help you consider a few items that can give you that “at one” feeling with your bike. There are really just 3 spots where body meets machine: handlebar grips, saddle, and pedals.

Handlebar grips 

Before we talk about bar grips you should understand the two basic classes of grips. There are the lock-on types that are gaining popularity and the conventional style that holds onto the bar with friction. The difference? About $15.00. Seriously though, the new locking grips do work a bit better because they don’t slip and are easily removed and installed using an allen key to tighten.

Saying all that, there many MTB grip choices on the market today. When choosing consider a few things: What is your riding style? Are you an epic kinda person who will spend hours on the bike or are you a DH / FR type who needs maximum grip?


Pedal and cleat positions

Setting up your cleats is probably (in my opinion) the second most important fitting task. After all, the wrong positioning will increase strain in the knee and results in a less-than-ideal pedal stroke. Ideally you want the cleat set up so that if you draw a line from the center of the pedal axle up it will intersect with the widest part of your foot (where you apply the most force).


Use a mirror to take a look at the front of your feet and make sure they run parallel with your crank arms. This position will ease the load on your knee and ensures your feet will release from the pedals. One final note: many pedals feature adjustable tension and it’s often a good idea to start with the lightest tension where your feet barely wiggle (float). What you don’t want is a super solid feel to the pedal-shoe interface that hinders your foot’s natural tendency to twist on the back stroke.



Selecting the right MTB saddle depends on a few things. For one, consider the type of riding you’ll be doing: racing, long epic rides, DH, etc. Do you need extra padding because your current saddle is killing you?

Aside from padding and support, take a look at saddle width. In short, your pelvic bone should match up to the widest part of the saddle. So if a saddle feels good, it’s probably the proper size for you.

This is by no means a definitive article on bike fitting but it’s based on years of personal experience fitting myself and others on their bikes. If you have question feel free to ask and I can clarify further as there are many more variables that can change a measurement or two in relationship to what was mentioned in this article.

A quick thanks to the good folks at OPUS for the sizing chart.


Bikes of Cuba

Back from holidays which wasn’t cycling a month ago and just finished going through pics.

There are lot of pictures with bikes in so here are some to share. Al photo ©Richard Crawford but get in touch if you want to use any any release could be free or cheap.

bikosofcuba (1 of 21) bikosofcuba (2 of 21) bikosofcuba (3 of 21) bikosofcuba (4 of 21) bikosofcuba (5 of 21)

Some semi pro serious road bike race
Some semi pro serious road bike race

bikosofcuba (7 of 21) bikosofcuba (8 of 21)

start young
start young

bikosofcuba (10 of 21) bikosofcuba (11 of 21)

we rented some
we rented some

bikosofcuba (13 of 21) bikosofcuba (14 of 21) bikosofcuba (15 of 21) bikosofcuba (16 of 21) bikosofcuba (17 of 21) bikosofcuba (18 of 21) bikosofcuba (19 of 21) bikosofcuba (20 of 21) bikosofcuba (21 of 21)

Misc V. 24 The Difference Between Privileged and Spoiled

I agree with the sentiments ……

Scribble on the Roadside

A friend of mine might have used the phrase, “privileged backpackers” in a derogatory manner. I won’t link the post to keep her privacy, but none the less, I wish I could show the disappointment reeking from her comment. There seemed to be a passive aggressiveness within the context implying that travelers are spoiled and possibly, ungrateful. Ironically she failed to mention her own travel experience to Vietnam and Ethiopia, which makes her a traveller in her own right.

There is no one right way to travel but to explore, is indeed a privilege. Not everyone has the opportunities, means, will, or desire to visit another country. But there is nothing wrong with being financially stable enough to see what is beyond our own borders. Whether it be with the help of our families or achieved through our own hard work.

Like many backpackers, I am financially dependent but worked…

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Fat-Biking on Ice

Tips for the ice ……..


bike on ice path I learned two things today. Number one was a lesson that was taught to 12 year old boy scouts all over our wonderful land but failed to be engrained in my small, feeble yet under-developed adult mind- probably because my scouting days were limited to a half year of of activities, none of which had ever allowed me to achieve my merit badge goals. I digress. The credo I speak of is “Always be Prepared”.

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reblog* After a Bike Packing GPS the Garmin eTrex 30

I need a gps which has batteries so no need to try have charging ability but that also can take maps ….

this review from here .

After well known eTrex Vista HCx Garmin has produced the new generation of GPS units including eTrex 30. Most of them have used touch screen technology. New eTrex xx and 62 series are the exceptions. In muddy and dusty conditions a touch screen isn’t my choice. Below is the first look – review of eTrex 30.


The new eTrex 30 unit like Vista HCx is equipped with the key control buttons and thumb stick. On eTrex 30 the thumb stick is placed on the right side. The main advantages of eTrex 30 are included functions for basic fitness parameters and custom maps & BirdsEye images (kmz & jnx raster maps). eTrex 30 is GLONASS ready and can operate in GPS + GLONASS mode. The provided user manual doesn’t mention many important functions and details like handling of jnx&kmz maps, tracklog limitations, fitness parameters recording etc and in this review I would like to present most of them. The official Garmin data & specification are available here.


1. What is in the box?


eTrex 30 GPS unit, USB cable, Quick start manual.


2. eTrex 30 body is made by well and precise designed plastic material.


3 keys (zoom in/out & menu) are placed on the left side and 2 keys (back and power on/light) on the right side. Thumb stick is placed on the front. It is a miniature joystick helping us to navigate and select the menue items. Furthermore, thumb stick can select and mark any point on the map much more precisely than the finger on the units supplied with the touch screen. On the old Vista HCx the joystick is placed on the left side. I am right handed and I prefer to handle with GPS unit by my left hand. In this case my right hand is free for the moving and doing some other important tasks.

At the back side of eTrex 30 body there are battery and mini USB connector covers. The battery cover is fixed by locking ring and by plastic slot at the opposite side.


In comparison with the old eTrex, the additional plastic slot and the shape of the cover improve the rigidity of the cover during vibrations special in the case of MTB rides. The next good news is that Garmin no longer uses the laminated rubber on the sidewalls of the unit. The pulled back laminated rubber made a lot of troubles on old eTrex series.

New eTrex 30 uses the same bike holder as Oregon/Dakota series.


This holder is very simple and sturdy. Can be easy fixed on any position on the handlebar. This is the next improvement over old eTrex series.

Based on my experience with the old units I mounted the additional tubing to protect my eTrex 30. A piece of tubing preventsslipping on smooth surfaces and protects against impacts (see more details in comments section).


Mini USB port is covered by rubber keeping IPX7 waterproof standard of the complete housing.


It is important to know that eTrex 30 uses basic USB 1.1 standard only. High speed USB 2.0 is missing. It’s a pain to upload big files of the maps on the unit. USB 1.1 slows down the process when you experiment with some custom designed maps. For example to upload the map of 200MB it takes about 2-3 minutes. The option is to remove the micro SD card but in this case you have to remove the batteries too.

Micro SD card slot is placed below 2 standard  AA batteries.


NiMh, Alkaline or Lithium types batteries can be loaded. Each type should be confirmed in Setup – System menu.


3. As far as I know eTrex 30 is the first Garmin unit GLONASS ready.


eTrex 30 can work in 2 modes: GPS and GPS + GLONASS. However, GLONASS ready unit helps to Garmin to sell new eTrex 30 in Russia without additional taxes.


4. In addition to vector maps eTrex 30 can display 2 types of raster maps: jnx maps and kmz custom maps. More details about these types of raster maps are available here


Depending of the map scale factor and active zoom each uploaded map can be displayed or not. The scrolling & zooming speed of vector maps on eTrex 30 and eTrex Vista HCx is almost the same. The scrolling & zooming speed of raster maps (jnx & kmz) on eTrex 30 is much slower than on Oregon 550. Despite low resolution of the screen the processing power of eTrex 30 is not enough for fast redraw. In this respect Oregon 550 is much faster and using the same vector map I didn’t see any improvement over Vista HCx.

5. eTrex 30 can display heart rate and cadence.


Like on Vista HCx on the map screen maximum 4 data fields can be set. During active tracklog both heart rate and cadence are recorded in gpx file. On 19-Apr-2012 I tested Garmin Connect and eTrex 30. Garmin Connect can detect eTrex 30. The data from the stored gpx track file can be exported to Garmin Connect via manual upload only. After that Garmin Connect can display the route on the map, speed, elevation, heart rate & cadence.



The optional cadence/speed sensor and heart rate belt are on the above image. The heart rate belt senzor is the old one, coming from my Oregon 550. I guess this type of heart rate senzor is not available any more. Both senzors are supplied with standard CR2032 battery. The battery can be easy replaced. My cadence/speed sensor setup uses cadence function only. Speed option is not supported by eTrex 30. On eTrex 30 speed value is recorded/calculated from GPS tracklog. I fixed the magnet & cadence sensor with tape too. This is the backup in the case when plastic strip brakes. The pairing of eTrex 30 and sensors is simple and fast. The cadence sensor can be easy mounted on different type of bikes. It’s very sensitive and minimum distance of magnet isn’t an issue.



eTrex 30 supports different profiles for different activities. In each profile you can define different screens with different type of fields. The setup items are stored in each profile too. Above are typical map and trip screen configured for MTB activity. The profile is stored under MTB name.


6. eTrex 30 is equipped with sun readable screen. Below are the images of Oregon 550 (new version with better readability of the screen), eTrex Vista HCx and eTrex 30 at 0% & 50% backlight during cloudy day. Compare the size of the housing, size & readability of the screen. The scale factor is 120m on all units.



The readability of the screen under the sun:

eTrex 30, Vista HCx & Oregon 550 readability under sun

Good to know that the readability of eTrex 30 under the sun is very good. Click on the image to get the high resolution image.


7. The roughly current consumption measured with ampermeter.


Roughly current consumption (mA) 0% backlight 50% backlight 100% backlight scrolling the map adds
eTrex 30 90 120 190 + 30 mA (raster map)
eTrex Vista HCx 90 135 190 + 10 mA (vector map)
Oregon 550 (new version) 130 165 230 + 110 mA (raster map)

eTrex 30 power consumption is almost the same like Vista HCx. Due to more processor power, scrolling the map adds more power consumption. Preliminary, Oregon 550 zooming & scrolling speed is almost x2 than eTrex 30.


8. eTrex 30 is equipped with 3 axis electronic compass like Oregon 550. The old eTrex Vista HCx has 2 axis compass. New 3 axis compass of eTrex 30 is slightly more responsive to direction changes than on eTrex Vista HCx.

After the calibration I compared 3 units with classic compass.


The approx error of the azimuth in degrees is:

eTrex 30: 0°

eTrex Vista HCx: 1°

Oregon 550: 1,5°

Probably this is related to the compass chip and the error could be different from unit to unit on the same model……


9. 2D precision test


Above is the image of the measuring place. The distance between Vista HCx & eTrex 30 and eTrex 30 & Oregon 550 is 4 meters under the opened sky. The direction of the placement is from south to north and the place is at UTM 33 (N) zone. I did 10 minutes GPS tracklog and 10 minutes waypoint averaging tests. Please note this is not the test of accuracy! The test were performed with firmware version 2.40. The data were imported into my GIS program and the results of precision are on below map:


Click on above image to get the high resolution image of the precision test. There is no benefit in precision from GPS+GLONASS and WAAS/EGNOS modes on eTrex30 in my zone. During the precision test Vista HCx outperformed eTrex 30 & Oregon 550. However, eTrex 30 GPS+GLONASS mode can help to speed up cold start and to increase the number of available satellites on the places with limited clear sky.


10. Elevation

The altimeter of eTrex 30 can work in automatic or manual mode. In automatic mode altimeter/barometer is calibrated with GPS elevation data. The details about automatic calibration are not available in the operating manual. After several runs and comparison of recorded elevation data  I can confirm that my eTrex 30 has less spikes than Oregon 550 and even less than Vista HCx. The main issue is that eTrex 30 calculates a fake total ascent value. I did the test with firmwares 2.40, 2.50 & 2.70. The total ascent value is 5-12% more than on Vista HCx. Hope Garmin will resolve the issue in the next firmware upgrade. The good point is that total ascent value can be displayed even on the trip screen. This option is not available on Vista HCx and Oregon 550. I tested total ascent value with firmware 2.80 and the issue of fake total ascent calculation is resolved. I removed the issue from (-) list.

12. My conclusion

Like some other Garmin models eTrex 30 includes some important characteristics for outdoor activities: standard AA batteries, IP protection, good outdoor readability of the screen, altimeter with barometer option etc. eTrex 30 offers many standard navigation functions. You can use them with vector routable and non routable vector & raster maps. Geocaches support is available too. Due to the size of the unit and available functions, eTrex 30 could be very popular for hiking and MTB.

During last few months I have compared Garmin eTrex 30 with Vista HCx & Oregon 550. Just few (+) and (-) are below:

(+) raster maps compatible (not available on Vista HCx),

(+) ready for heart rate & cadence option (not available on Vista HCx),

(+) 3 axis compass (2 axis only on Vista HCx),

(+) improved body materials and much better bike holder (better than on Vista HCx),

(+) fast cold start time (better than on Vista HCx),

(+) instead touch screen eTrex 30 is equipped with key command buttons and a thumb stick. In muddy & dusty conditions and with glows on my hands I prefer this setup. The same is on Vista HCx,

(+) total ascent field is available on trip & map screen (on Oregon 550 & Vista HCx total ascent is available on elevation profile screen only). Total ascent value is direct proportional to fatigue so this value is very important parameter for long rides or long hiking routes,

(+) different profiles can be set like on Oregon 550 (not available on Vista HCx),

(+) huge internal memory of 1.7GB can be extended with external micro SD card,

(-) very bad operating manual (nothing new from Garmin),

(-) slow redraws (zooming & scrolling) of the maps on the screen (Oregon 550 is much faster, no any improvement over Vista HCx, see above video at point 11),

(-) for precision no benefit from GPS+GLONASS mode (at least with firmware 2.40 and in my UTM 33N zone),

(-) slow USB 1.1,

Adjust Your Winter Ride Mindset

What the man says


fat bike on trail therapy after dark

Fatbikes are not fast. Yes there are more nimble options for navigating trails. Yes, they may feel a bit clunky. Yes, believe it or not there is actually a learning curve on how to set up and ride one to get the most out of it. And yes, and if you are out to find the most efficient all around ride for the most part, this is not it.
But if that is what you are seeking then you are missing the whole point.

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What a great first (snow) ride

Saturday morning 7:30am alarm goes. Wolf down some muesli and get the bike out.

bike adventures-13

It says -3C on the thermometer and snow is forecast so today i have packed my snowboard goggles and mitts along with roadie neoprene overshoes into my handlebar roll – JUST IN CASE.

rolling to the meet up
rolling to the meet up

There is carnage on the 2 mile stretch of road leading up to Mugdock as idiots in cars forget they are 2WD (4WD wannabes) cars with low profile tyres – so they have slidden and created some entertainment for me (and probably higher insurance premiums)

kissing cousins
kissing cousins

Meetup with pal Stu then off to meet the rest of the guys. This was my first rolling on snow with the fat bike and it felt so smooth and tracked so easily once there was powder. The other boys were on a 29er normal a 26 full sus and then two 29+ bikes running 3″ tyres. First we went up to the boards and my pal said the 15psi I was riding was way too high so I dropped it to 8psi then immediately slammed it into a board and gave myself a puncture. I told them to head on but they waited the 5 min for me to change the tube. Then onwards we went. The route they went involved lots of single track sections through the woods so I felt i was not getting the terrain I wanted.

A lot of trees were down so handsaws came out sections were rerouted or trees dragged out of the way ….

tree blocking the way
tree blocking the way
fat tyre little snow
fat tyre little snow

2015-01-17 11.23.16So after 3 hours of lots of stops and starts i headed off by myself to enjoy the crunch. Went upwards towards the Campsies and the West Highland Way were there is a great descent but it was not snowy more sludge and mud so I headed straight across the heather up to a stone fence for a spot of cold leftover pasta. Then a few more loops before heading home ….

Snow wasn’t too deep but still that lovely crunch.

bike adventures-21

My thoughts on the Genesis Caribou so far: (2 rides in)

  • Gearing seems about right, struggled slightly on some hills but i think I just need to man up.
  • Tyres although wide have little grip so wet roots will still slide. Think it was specced more for weight
  • Bottom bracket quite low so a few pedal strikes – but this may be a contrast to the 29er
  • Despite strikes actually pretty flickable on technical sections – I thought steering would be slower but has a good feel.
  • Tubes … uuugh … how last century – will need to convert to tubeless sometime in the future but this might also mean changing the tyres
  • Slow …. the sections to trailhead even on tar are painful (man up once again and get over it)

Overall – a keeper ….. more once tested for more than 80km.

Strava slowness
Strava slowness