Prepping a Fatbike for Beachriding…(sponsered by Coppergrease…)

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  • Prepping a Fatbike for Beachriding…(sponsered by Coppergrease…)
  • coastkid

    Folk keep asking me about prepping a fatbike (or normal MTB) for beachriding and the bikes exposure to salt water etc… so i did a post for my blog and thought it may be of interest to some to post on here. Folk ask how i keep my Pugsley rolling through all the salt water and how parts haven’t seized and the bike has not rotted in half…

    sam,beachride 087 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    With a bit preparation a bike can be used in sand and salt water without coming to too much grief…here’s what i have done to keep things working and what i have found works, and doesn’t work in over 3500 miles riding the Pugsley mostly along the coast…

    For 99% of fatbike owners here in the UK the Surly Pugsley is the easiest and cheapest choice of fatbike frameset to obtain, and now this year a complete build Pugsley bike is available for around £1500 which is good value,
    A few other manufacturers fatbikes have been imported over here by folk incuding bikes/frames from Sandman, Salsa, and 907,
    Manufacturers like Speedway cycles Fatback and Chain Reaction Cycles Alaska`s 9zero7,Salsa and Sandman offer rust free frames in Alloy and Ti which are more ideal than the Pugsleys 4130 cro-mo steel for beach riding and salt water exposure but with postage to the UK and import tax to pay they are a more costly option…

    So The pugsley fits the bill on the cost and availability here in Europe, if you use it on the beach it will get surface rust, what ever you do to prevent this it is unavoidable…

    006 (3) by coastkid71, on Flickr

    009 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    010 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    But if you bought a fatbike to polish and nurture then you have bought the wrong bike for the wrong reasons,
    Coating the inside with frame proofing or as i used a car wax spray under shield will help prevent the frame rusting away from the inside out…

    Drive chain/gears;
    While some frames now use a 170mm wide rear hub (and 135mm front hub & fork) for an inline wheelset (allowing 29er wheels to also be used),
    The Pugsley and the Alaskan 907 use the 1st generation offset wheels as 1st used by Wildfire designs fatbikes, using a regular 135mm rear hub allows the most choice of gears set up- single speed, cassette and mech or internal gear hub…

    sat beachride 011 (2) by coastkid71, on Flickr

    Single speed is the obvious choice for simplicity and reliability but gears open up a lot more terrain possible to cover-from low gears in soft deep sand in dunes…

    coast picture thread 101 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    To flat out in top gear down a rock hard beach with a howling tail wind…

    seacliff to peffersands nov09 031 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    I’m 50/50 on the choice of mech gears or internal gearhub options, I ride an 8 speed Shimano Alfine internal gearhub and do like the clean uncluttered mech free chainline and it is a lot quieter when covered in wet sand…

    BLOG 015 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    The Pugsley also comes with a 135 offset fork allowing a rear singlespeed hub to run up front-giving swappable wheels in the event of a mech failure or single speed gear options (the small cog is because i lost a spacer!)…

    012 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    But for me i like the possible swap to single speed if the gearhub fails- the Alfine hubs have only been used for a year or two offroad and in sand so long term reliability is untested-but so far so good,
    Mechs and Cassette gives a bigger gear range and this is of course a bonus…
    If you run a regular cassette then instead of running the free hub/cassette interface dry- cover it with coppergrease, i had a SLX cassette seize onto a Hope freehub,it destroyed the freehub trying to remove it, (£57 to replace)
    My front SS hub has seized spacers on it but luckily the sprocket is in line when i swapped it onto the back to check alignment…

    If you go for an Alfine 8 or 11 speed you will have to fit really low gears if you want to ride really soft sand, spinning out on the road with a tailwind is unavoidable here but its not what the bike is for anyway,
    I run a 24tooth steel hub sprocket with 32tooth Surly stainless front chainring with a rustproof BMX pitch chain for a bomber set up…

    001 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    Reliability and strenght being priority in my builds…

    001 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    Chains and chain lubes;
    Probably the most asked about thing after Tyres,
    Rustproof chains are available in BMX,8 and 9 speed sizes and range from cheap (3 for £24) KMC chains to stainless chains…

    BLOG 013 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    Before fitting you have to totally degrease the chain for obvious reasons then once dried lube with a good dry lube. I have found the wax lubes best, i have been using Squirt chainlube for a couple of years but the large bottles are unavailable this now in the UK so been using Rock n Roll Absolute Dry lube as my local Edinburgh shop The Bike Chain stocks it (and Pugsley`s!).
    You dont need to degrease the chain a after a beachride,just spray your bike cleaner over the bike,hose down then dry the chain (i use an airline) and add more lube,
    If your on a mega big day out take an old eye drop bottle full of dry lube to top up the chain if your riding a lot of water or through inlets…

    There seems to be mostly one choice made of Disc Brakes by most fatbikers for beachriding- Avid BB7 Mechanical Disk brakes, cable operated and low maintenance gives hassle free reliability even in exposure to salt water, also the pads can be wound away from the disc reducing grinding of wet sand, stop on a dime brakes arnt needed for beachriding and BB7s are ideal…

    Here`s some tips to setting them up;
    Take the outer cable end caps and pack them with Copper grease.
    I know cables are to be run dry inside the teflon lined outer cable but coat the whole inner cable with Copper grease as you thread it through the outer on the bike.
    You wont get sticking cables on gears or brakes…
    Coat the caliper pistons in Coppergrease like you would a car or motorcycle before fitting the pads to prevent them seizing to the pistons.

    Bottom Bracket,Headset & wheel bearings;
    These really have to be double sealed, Most Head sets are as well as Wheel bearings,
    I cant comment on reliability of External outboard BB bearings though i did have a Truvantiv Giga DH BB and though cheap at £40 was shot after 400 miles…
    i use a Phil Wood 100mm BB imported from the USA which uses SKS sealed bearings, it is a work of engineering art, should be at around £150!…

    003 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    However i got 1500 miles out the 1st set of bearings and the second have about that now and still no play, replacement SKS bearings were £14 the pair and were pressed off/on using sockets and a vice…

    workshop 004 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    Phil Wood supplies thread lock for the retainer cups but i could hardly shift them after 1500 miles of riding so they went back in with coppergrease and have never worked loose….

    All the sealed bearings on the bike have been opened up,degreased and then repacked with Wurth Graphite grease, and so far so good…

    workshop 003 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    The idea behind this grease is if it is washed out there should be enough graphite left to lube the bearing and prevent heat seizure…

    Tyres and Tubes;
    it seems Surlys recommended tyre set up of there original Endomorph rear and the new Larry tyre up front seems the best set up, i fitted Larry tyres front and rear after reading about better rear grip on natural trails etc…

    BLOG 003 (4) by coastkid71, on Flickr

    But while the larry cuts into the ground (as a front tyre should) the Endomorph spreads its footprint better so is better suited on the rear…

    seacliff april09 004 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    I ride with Continental 2.5 Down Hill tubes which are a lot lighter and i can remove the Scraeder valves and add a squirt of Stans Tubeless Juice which seals thorn punctures from the Roadside Hawthorn Hedgerows we have here in our County,
    Rubber rim tape will perish in time with the salt water so i have cloth rim tape fitted, Spoke nipples so far haven`t seized being brass.
    Ideal tyre pressures?, anything from 12- 5 PSI with 1 or 2 PSI more in the rear,2 low and you may feel your front rim hammer into rocks but i have never pinch flatted a fat tyre yet…Dice caps are optional!…

    IMG_6793 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    Flat or clipped in is a personal choice, But again need to be sealed bearing.
    I can recommend Time Atac`s for lasting…

    011 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    And DMR V12s, for both i coppergreased the spindles and both makes have been fine, i just use flats now as prefer the choice of footwear for walking over exposed slippy rocks at lowtide…Hip Flask is optional!…

    003 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    Staying dry;
    various mudgaurds from crudcatchers to a cheap & light rear 26″ MTB rear rack help keep cold seawater spray off you thrown up by the huge tyres, not much fun on a cool day riding with a cold tailwind and wet backside…

    117 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    BLOG 015 (3) by coastkid71, on Flickr

    The rubber O rings on crud catchers will perish and fail but cable ties will rub through the framepaint, Cycra Gaurds used a thick rubber fixing strap which so far have been fine and not perished…

    Keeping it all together;
    As you can now guess Coppergrease is the secret!,
    cut down a 1/2″ paintbrush and leave inside the tin, its ideal to cover stuff without covering your self…

    004 by coastkid71, on Flickr

    Coat every single thread and bare area like inside the BB shell, Fork Steer tube, stem spacers, handlebar,lever,shifter clamps, seatpost, seatclamp, nothing should loosen off after the bike has been exposed to salt water,
    washing the bike after is a normal affair-spray down with hose, spray on bike cleaner,hose off, dry chain with cloth and airline,lube chain-job done…

    How Long do Parts last?;
    3000 + miles out Surly Tyres make the £85 each outlay seem not to bad…
    Brake and Gear cables-as a normal bike,once the outers split,1-2 years,
    Brake pads- sintered last a lot longer without any noticable disc wear, im trying out a pair of Superstar sintered pads which at £8 ( 4 for £24) seem to work just as good as £18 Avid pads, if the life of them is decent then they are a bit of a bargin, as are there discs at £8 each!, also tempted to try there flat pedals as a friend has them and recommends there reliability…
    Before this bike i had a Santa Cruz Heckler full suspension do it all bike as my main weekend warrior, a great bike with simple mechanicals (single pivot linkage) and hope parts, mostly ridden at Trail Centres it was a great bike and a lot of fun…But running costs of drive chains,brake pads,tyres then annual suspension servicing mounted up,
    The Pugsley is cheap as chips to run once bought- 1 set of tyres in 3500 miles?, 3 chains on the mech gears then 2 so far on the hub gear,
    Though of course i live 4 miles from the coast and having access to around 45 miles of pugsley perfect coastline no it was a no brainer switch in bike and riding for all year round fun…never looked back…

    IMG_6204 by coastkid71, on Flickr


    Has someone redirected me from ?



    On a bike?

    Prepare for the haterz!

    Premier Icon firestarter

    Why ? I always use coppergrease




    coppergrease druidh…its the future 😉 😀


    I really wouldn’t use copper grease on rubber/plastic parts.

    I would either use an anti-seize that won’t degrade polymers – eg get a big tub of shimano stuff or I would get some red rubber friendly grease (big castrol tub for a few £) that can be used on car and bike brakes without risk of damaging piston seals.

    Moly (CV joint) grease is also very good but gets everywhere.

    tbh I would go get a big tub of marine grease for a bike used on the beach.Make sure it is plastic friendly though if used in contact with plastics.


    lanolin FTW and FYI aluminium corrodes like **** in salt, I’ve seen a gear cable stop fall off a down tube!


    Do they make stainless steel fatbikes?

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