Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and mutant vehicles - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues. For ride and RV shares, please go to Share Resources.

Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby samhandwich22 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:08 am

I have to decide between bringing my primary use bike or obtaining a crappy used one for the event. The question is, will the playa dust destroy my bike or lead to costly repairs? The advantage to bringing my current bike is that it works well, I am comfortable with it, and I am good to go as is.

I will also consider purchasing a crappy used (<$100) bike if need be, one that I dont mind getting wrecked by the dust and can resell after the event. Just how badly will the playa dust damage my bike? Obviously, I would rather not take my primary $600 mtn bike if it might incur costly repairs or major damage.
samhandwich22
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2013

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby TomServo » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:12 am

The playa will destroy your bearings...and possibly chain. If you want to keep your bike running, have them replaced after..or... read up and replace them yourself. With the right tools, it's not that difficult.
anything worth doing..is worth overdoing

Vor Gebrauch Sprengkapsel einsetzen
User avatar
TomServo
 
Posts: 6017
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:17 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: BloodBath&Beyond

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby some seeing eye » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:23 am

It won't destroy your bike.

It will take hours to clean the bike on your return, and you won't be able to do it completely. High carbon steel parts will rust in one visit. But the alloy parts will be fine. Don't use toe clips - I've met several people who hit a dust pile, lost control and injured knees.

A fat tire beater with a flat foot kick stand, handlebar or back cage rack, decorations and illumination, plus a tough lock is a popular solution. There are advantages to exiting and entering with costumes in old style girl frames.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion
User avatar
some seeing eye
 
Posts: 995
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
Location: The Oregon
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Woo

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby misfit » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:11 am

your bike may never be the same. something to think about when making your decission. check craigs list for a classic beater.......
Be happy while you're living, For you're a long time dead.
User avatar
misfit
 
Posts: 465
Joined: Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:45 pm
Location: norcal
Burning Since: 1996
Camp Name: wish you were here

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby mudpuppy000 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:40 am

It shouldn't destroy anything but it will be hard to get it completely clean. The drivetrain will take a beating and probably the cables. Bring some dry chain lube as your chain will get caked with playa dust.

There is also a possibility that your bike could get stolen. Make sure to lock it up, but even that isn't a 100% guarantee you'll keep it through the event.
User avatar
mudpuppy000
 
Posts: 1207
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:54 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Burning Since: 2009
Camp Name: Orphan Endorphin

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Dr. Pyro » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:49 am

Find a $20 beater at a garage sale and be done with it.
User avatar
Dr. Pyro
 
Posts: 3670
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 8:11 am
Location: Newcastle, CA
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Barbie Death Camp & Wine Bistro

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby burner von braun » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:31 am

OK, I'll be the one to repeat the oft stated rule of thumb..

'Never take anything out to the playa that you can't stand to lose'

So I too suggest getting an old bike or a cheap new one. Then you can decorate/modify it as much as you want without concern, light it, and most importantly, not be worried about it while you are there. Also, there is a good chance you'll want to return to Burning Man again, and you'll have your burner bike ready to go.
Another early attempt at success
User avatar
burner von braun
 
Posts: 760
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:37 pm
Burning Since: 2010

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby samhandwich22 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:55 pm

Thanks for the input! Are there typically problems with dust causing the gear and derailer to malfunction? Should I instead focus my search on cruiser bikes that dont have a lot of speeds, or even just single gears?
samhandwich22
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2013

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Savannah » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:11 pm

Beach cruisers are very popular. 1 speed; three speed. :) Big tires! White Lightning Clean Ride is a good dry lubricant for the chain, etc; start with a clean chain though.

Yeah, don't bring your beautiful $600 baby to the playa. It might get damaged, or one of the few bad apples will realize its worth and kidnap it.
*** 2013 Survival Guide ***

"I must've lost it when I was twerking at the trash fence." -- BBadger

"Snark away, ePlaya, you magnificent bastards." -- McStrangle
User avatar
Savannah
Moderator
 
Posts: 10525
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:33 pm
Burning Since: 2000

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby some seeing eye » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:14 pm

Dust causes no immediate failure or degradation in chain drive, gear/shifting systems, steering or brakes. Hub/ front-rear deraileurs will be unaffected by the dust, but will benefit from cleaning post.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion
User avatar
some seeing eye
 
Posts: 995
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
Location: The Oregon
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Woo

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby trilobyte » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:31 pm

As others have said, beach cruisers are popular. What you really want is something that's got fat, knobby tires. The surface of the playa ranges from hard-packed dirt to riding through dunes of fine powder about the same consistency of baking flour.

I've seen recommendations on both sides of the fence with regards to gears. Those who argue against gears have a valid point - no gears means reduced chance of failure, and easier to repair. On the flip side, having a few gears can make life on the playa much easier - pedaling into the wind or powering through soft spots is made much easier when you can downshift, and crossing the open playa is a lot less work when you can shift into higher gear.

For a first-year burner, I'd recommend leaving your awesome bike at home and get something pretty inexpensive for the trip. That way you'll have your transportation covered without the risk (or worry) that you're doing lasting damage to your costly mountain bike. After that first trip, if you fall in love with the event and plan on coming back again you can better decide what direction you'd like to go in future years. Many continually come out with a low-end playa bike, some decide to brave their good bike and step up their efforts to make sure it gets maintained and serviced, and still others (myself included) wind up spending even more on a bike that they primarily use for the playa (after years of doing the cheap bike route, my gf and I went the route of 3-speed trikes a couple years ago and love it).
User avatar
trilobyte
Site Admin
 
Posts: 10641
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2004 11:54 pm
Location: San Francisco
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Eridu Society

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby geospyder » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:57 pm

I have a 21 speed Schwinn mountain bike that was gifted to me five years ago in almost new condition. After each burn I use a power washer to clean it off, give it a decent lube job and it's ready for the next year. If you look real close you would know it's been on the Playa but the average person wouldn't notice. But as others have said don't bring your good bike.
Don't believe everything you think.
User avatar
geospyder
 
Posts: 1685
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:38 pm
Location: South of the Playa
Burning Since: 2009

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby jkisha » Mon Jun 10, 2013 2:45 pm

I bring a pretty pricey bike to the playa, and it costs about $150.00 or so to get it deplayafied. However, no matter how well they clean it and tune it, it never seems to get back to it's original glory; which isn't that important to me, as I originally bought the bike to use in the default world, but as it turned out, the only time it gets used is on the playa. So better to use it up out there then to let it go unused here.
JK
Image
http://www.mudskippercafe.com
When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle.
Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.
User avatar
jkisha
 
Posts: 11403
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 10:00 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Burning Since: 2007
Camp Name: Mudskipper Cafe

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Canoe » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:00 pm

Fat Bikes work for the soft and the hard pack.
No magic for when it rains.

Cruiser version of a Fat Bike:
$200 fat bike = Walmart Mongoose Beast (Walmart U.S. only)
In green, red or blue.
Hard to find a Walmart with them in stock. Order online, shipped to a Walmart store, or your home, or a UPS store. (Walmart U.S. only)
4" tires (they're heavy pigs, even for 4" tires, but the playa has a 5 mph speed limit) on 100mm rims.
It's a POSB, so you'll need to grease the hubs, bottom bracket and steering.
Single speed with a coaster brake (no front brakes), but again, the 5 mph speed limit
If you're tall, you will NEED a drop-back seat post - it's a short cockpit.
A number of sites discuss upgrades, seats, handle bars, even hubs & front brakes added on.

mongoosebeastmeasurment sm.jpg


One with different handlebars, and front brakes added (and beer cans in the spokes, just because)
Despite what this pro did, this is a $200 cruiser quality bike, not a $1,200+ trail quality bike!!!
Beastly.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Canoe » Mon Jun 10, 2013 3:17 pm

P.S.
Virgins, the green Walgoose Beast is the most popular colour, but green is a poor choice given the colour of the BRC Yellow Bikes community bike program.
Gives someone an excuse to say they thought it was a community bike. ALTHOUGH - Always Lock Your Bike!!!
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Savannah » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:34 pm

Canoe wrote:P.S.
Virgins, the green Walgoose Beast is the most popular colour, but green is a poor choice given the colour of the BRC Yellow Bikes community bike program.
Gives someone an excuse to say they thought it was a community bike. ALTHOUGH - Always Lock Your Bike!!!


Hahaha! I never thought of that.

Yeah, I would not willingly bring a plain neon green bike to the playa. Even if you locked it, someone would think you didn't have a right to and call a ranger. :lol:
*** 2013 Survival Guide ***

"I must've lost it when I was twerking at the trash fence." -- BBadger

"Snark away, ePlaya, you magnificent bastards." -- McStrangle
User avatar
Savannah
Moderator
 
Posts: 10525
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:33 pm
Burning Since: 2000

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby TomServo » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:47 pm

If you're tall, you will NEED a drop-back seat post - it's a short cockpit.


I'm 6'1", and mine fits just fine. It is a very large bike. Pictures don't do it justice! Yes, replace the handlebars AND the seat!
anything worth doing..is worth overdoing

Vor Gebrauch Sprengkapsel einsetzen
User avatar
TomServo
 
Posts: 6017
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:17 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: BloodBath&Beyond

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby TomServo » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:49 pm

also..ape hangers seem to be popular with this bike
anything worth doing..is worth overdoing

Vor Gebrauch Sprengkapsel einsetzen
User avatar
TomServo
 
Posts: 6017
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:17 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: BloodBath&Beyond

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Martiansky » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:07 pm

Savannah wrote:
Canoe wrote:P.S.
Virgins, the green Walgoose Beast is the most popular colour, but green is a poor choice given the colour of the BRC Yellow Bikes community bike program.
Gives someone an excuse to say they thought it was a community bike. ALTHOUGH - Always Lock Your Bike!!!


Hahaha! I never thought of that.

Yeah, I would not willingly bring a plain neon green bike to the playa. Even if you locked it, someone would think you didn't have a right to and call a ranger. :lol:


If you look closely at the picture of the yellow bike fleet you can see that they are of the same make/model/men's/women's.
So, unless you have the exact same bike you shouldn't have to worry about having a green bike IMO.
Sorry for the rant......

Oh, and I got a blue Beast(because my sister likes blue :D) but haven't gotten out to ride it yet! :(
So the theme this year is like a giant camp out in the desert? With people bringing lots of shit from all over? uh.. -Marscrumbs
User avatar
Martiansky
 
Posts: 3370
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:24 pm
Location: Brownwood, TX
Burning Since: 2005

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby CornMan » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:34 pm

I bought a Roadmaster mountain bike for about $25 off of craigslist. It has been to the playa 3 times. One or two of those years I hosed it off after the burn, and one year I just left it dusty if my memory is correct. I've done no maintenance to it whatsoever other than pumping air in the tires every so often. It turned out to be my primary bike, and I still use it. Those fat tire Wallmart bikes look super cool.
The camp with a difference
Never mind the weather
When you camp with Plug & Ply
Your holiday's forever
User avatar
CornMan
 
Posts: 882
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:40 pm

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:52 pm

I don't know, Martiansky. I don't think you've been on the playa in a yellow bike year, and I haven't seen you on the board much either. The yellow bikes are routinely locked up or hidden or other wise taken out of circulation by some, and there's some pretty bad feelings created.


And I'm delighted your back, just to be clear.
Simon's real sig line?

Embrace the Sock

Winners never quilt, quilters never win...
User avatar
theCryptofishist
 
Posts: 37437
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 10:28 am
Location: In Exile
Burning Since: 2017

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Martiansky » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:19 pm

No yellow bikes in '05. You are right Fishy. Glad to be back too, thanks!
I understand that people take advantage of the fleet and thats too bad.


I brought a multi-speed bike in 05 and I didn't clean it when I got home and it seemed just fine...that is until last summer when we had tons of rain and the creek behind the house over ran its banks and the basement flooded and the mud scum from the creek got into everything....that's when the bike got rusty!

This time around Im bringing a trike and I will make sure its locked up and when I get home I will clean it off and repack the bearings.
So the theme this year is like a giant camp out in the desert? With people bringing lots of shit from all over? uh.. -Marscrumbs
User avatar
Martiansky
 
Posts: 3370
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2003 6:24 pm
Location: Brownwood, TX
Burning Since: 2005

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Canoe » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:26 pm

TomServo wrote: I'm 6'1", and mine fits just fine. It is a very large bike. Pictures don't do it justice! Yes, replace the handlebars AND the seat!

wow
I'm 5'9" and the short cockpit is driving me nuts. So to speak.

But then, I've got mine setup to sit up.

Walgoose Beast, 47mm trails front with 3.7 inch Surly Endomorph.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Last edited by Canoe on Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Canoe » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:34 pm

Martiansky wrote:...unless you have the exact same bike you shouldn't have to worry about having a green bike IMO...

Yes. You shouldn't. But you do.
Once they see green, they go "Yellow Bike!", "You've stopped riding. Mine Now, Mine Now, Mine Now".

Others see you looking for a Yellow Bike, remember, and will swing by where you were in case you hadn't found one yet. :D
On the South side of the Center Camp Cafe I had two "delivered" to me at the same time after looking for over a half hour.

Martiansky wrote:...Oh, and I got a blue Beast(because my sister likes blue :D) but haven't gotten out to ride it yet! :(

I hope you opened the box up and made sure the welds are good, tubes aren't dinged, etc..
Front fork welds are a known issue.
If you got it already assembled from a store, check it over to make sure you'll have brakes, good welds, grease, etc.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Canoe » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:44 pm

TomServo wrote:The playa will destroy your bearings...and possibly chain...

Savannah wrote:"White Lightning: Clean Ride" is playa-tested, and comes highly recommended to me by folks I trust. (One must start with a clean chain, of course.)

Love this stuff. Seems the wax in it makes it self cleaning. The right way is with a new or cleaned chain, but I've used it on crap bikes without fully cleaning the chain and got very good results off-playa, only you end up reapplying and reapplying.

Somewhere on ePlaya there was a good protective wax for the frame recommended too.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby TomServo » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:48 pm

This is how I have mine set up. Other than the narrow handlebars, fits fine.
Image
anything worth doing..is worth overdoing

Vor Gebrauch Sprengkapsel einsetzen
User avatar
TomServo
 
Posts: 6017
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:17 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: BloodBath&Beyond

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby Canoe » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:51 pm

TomServo wrote:This is how I have mine set up. Other than the narrow handlebars, fits fine.

Don't understand. Look how high I have to have my seat post just to get enough extension so my knees aren't jammed up.
With the drop back, I'm hoping I can get some pull off the handlebars like with the crank-forward types.

I'm cheating though. I threw a rear wheel on off another fat bike on the front. That's a 47mm Trials rim with an Endo. Rolls and steers much much nicer. Drilling out the 100mm and putting a skinny Larry on it to give that a try.
Disc just along for the ride, but I'm looking into making a bracket for the caliper.
*** http://www.burningman.com/preparation/ ***
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.
.
“Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”
User avatar
Canoe
 
Posts: 1778
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby TomServo » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:55 pm

My guess is it's all in how you ride it, or are used to riding.
anything worth doing..is worth overdoing

Vor Gebrauch Sprengkapsel einsetzen
User avatar
TomServo
 
Posts: 6017
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 2:17 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: BloodBath&Beyond

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby nixiebunny » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:28 pm

I've worked on playa bikes in one of the bike repair joints for the last 3 years. The bikes that give trouble are the ones that aren't maintained - dry-rotted tires and dry bearings are the most common failures. If you grease your bearings after the event, you'll be fine. But I've noticed that the playa dust doesn't ever fully wash off the tires, so learn to enjoy your free white sidewalls.

I've been bringing a pair of Schwinn 6 speed cruisers there (with matching leopard fur) for 5 years. They seem to handle the playa dust OK. The chains are the worst hit. That White Lightning chain lube is very nice to bring along, since your chain gets very creaky around Thursday.
--David Forbes
nixiebunny
 
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: Tucson

Re: Will my bike get destroyed by the playa?

Postby burner von braun » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:44 pm

I really like these Beasts! First saw a picture of it somewhere else around here, maybe the 'One Item a Day..' thread.. thanks Tom

I might have to look into getting one too at some point!
Another early attempt at success
User avatar
burner von braun
 
Posts: 760
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:37 pm
Burning Since: 2010

Next

Return to Transportation

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: chuckularone and 1 guest