44HQ Tactical Field Manual

1UP Quik Rack in Review standard

The first rack I ever had was a Yakima roof rack. Mounted up on my old aqua Honda Accord! (Also my first car…) You know the kind: Trays, towers, clips to adapt to your car. I was working at Nestor’s Full Cycle bike shop in 1998-99 in Quakertown, PA. Every year, they had their annual swap meet where they’d sell leftovers and such from the previous season. They allowed employees to sell their ski/snowboard gear during the weekend. Conditions in PA were getting atrocious during the winters and I decided it was time to let go of my Ride board, bindings, and boots along with all my gear. Thing is, Nestor’s then allowed you to use those sales for in-store ...

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Marauder Ti UTE standard

As a kid, I was a Boyscout. I was a member of East Greenville Troop 108 and my friends and I in the Apache Patrol raised hell every month on our troop hikes and campouts. You see, our troop was a bit special in the fact that we had a very dedicated scoutmaster, Karl “Moose” Winsch and his assistant scoutmasters were equally dedicated. What made our troop special was we had a log cabin and several Adirondacks (aka lean-to’s) deep in the woods just outside of my home town of East Greenville, PA. And every month, we’d have some sort of thing planned for a weekend that started on a Friday evening and went through till Sunday morning. Some times, ...

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PNW Components Dropper in Review standard

Early in the Fall of 2018, one of the founders from PNW Components reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing one of their dropper posts and their Loam Lever. Sounded like a fun project so after a few questions I settled on their Bachelor Dropper in 150mm of drop and 30.9mm compatible post. The post arrived just in time for the real cold here in NH to settle and the first snow to hit. The wait was on for snow-free trails. Fast forward to Spring 2019 and the trails were dry and that meant rolling up my sleeves on this PNW Bachelor Dropper. After a good solid 3 months of use, I’m ready to give ...

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Trespassing standard

I’m sure we’ve all had our brushes with the law.  A recent article I read about a bikepacking trip in California left me scratching my head a bit.  I get it: Sometimes, you get to where you’re going and are met by a gate with a NO TRESPASSING sign. You’re out in the middle of nowhere. No one in sight. To go around this may be completely unreasonable. So you’ve got act now and request forgiveness later. Whether you simply just don’t agree with the law or you think it’s BS that a landowner has restricted access is immaterial. Most times, if you are caught, being respectful, explaining your situation and requesting permission after the fact is AOK.  Until it isn’t and you’re ...

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Terrene Johnny 5 & Wazia 4.6 First Impressions standard

Over the past 3 winter seasons, the weather here in NH has been getting more and more unpredictable. We’ll have drastic temperature swings overnight. Snow will turn to rain, then to freezing rain and back to snow. Huge melts which leaves terrain coated with ice. Then snow. Then rain, etc. Basically, our winters have been tough to get consistent riding conditions on a fat bike. I’ve been jonesing for a set of studded tires because of this trend. But what I’ve come to find in my neck of the woods is our local trails don’t get ridden all that much during the winter. Often times, I’m laying first tracks and breaking trail. We have plenty of snowshoers and hikers, but ...

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Marauder Ti FAT standard

Every year I try and build a new prototype to test new geometry out on the trail and try out new set up tweaks. This past season, I built a new mountain bike that totally had my mountain bike world turned on its head. I immediately went back to the drawing board and slugged it out in the heat of July, being forced to weld late into the night due to the high heat. But the result was what I’ve come to call “44WRD” geometry. From that new pair of bikes (I built one in steel and another in Titanium for a total of 4 prototypes this past summer) it got me to thinking a bit about how some of ...

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The Big Six! standard

I’m going to begin a new series of long overdue posts which will contain as historically accurate information about the Upper Perkiomen Valley and the three towns that were the stomping grounds of my youth: East Greenville, Pennsburg, and Red Hill. These will be categorized in a new group of posts called the Upper Perkiomen Valley. Anyone who is interested can click to the right on that category and sort all the articles. I’ll intermingle these with my usual bikes and builds and reviews but there’s so much history that I know and my father relays to me (and his father to him) about my hometown in Pa, I can’t NOT sit on it and not share it with all ...

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In Review: Maxxis 27.5 Rekon and Ikon 2.8 standard

Over the years, I get a recurring question: “Hey Kris, what are your thoughts about XXX tire?” One of those tires that keeps popping up is the Maxxis Ikon. I don’t know why so many keep asking me about this tire, but when it came time to choose tires for a new prototype earlier this spring, I decided to pair a Maxxis Rekon 2.8 up front with a 2.8 Ikon out back. I’d ridden an Ikon in a 29×2.3 paired with an Ardent 2.4 up front a while back but after a summer of riding, I swapped back to my trusted WTB’s. One thing that stood out with that pairing was the sidewall’s abrasion resistance. So with this new bike, ...

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Fruits of Labor standard

This past winter, I decided to build a new Marauder prototype to try out a few new to me concepts. Most important of these concepts was a short stem/long top tube with a slack front end. I was curious about what effect wheelbase played when it came to handling. During that same time span, I also had planned out a 3rd Marauder prototype in Titanium. Not much in terms of change in that bike but more of a refinement in how I was building with Titanium. Both of those frames were finished up early in the spring of 2018. I wound up building the steel Marauder, which had the longer/slacker concept applied to it first and it completely turned everything ...

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25 Years of Going Forward standard

It was 1985 or 1986 and my best bud and I were headed to the Upper Perk Pool to play a little session of Home-Run-Derby followed by a dip in the pool. However, we had to head to Kuhn’s Drug Store before heading to the little league diamond. We needed some big league chew as our stocks were low. Kuhn’s was an old drug store with a set of large glass display windows with a set of steps inside that led you up and into the store. There was an old soda fountain and bar to your left, drug store in the back and magazine rack to the right. Old exposed wooden floors creaked with every step. The bell rung ...

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