Tuesday, February 9

Awesome Strap VS The Mud Man

So about that "mud test" on the Awesome Strap....

I had some folks comment here on the blog and email me regarding the use of the Awesome Strap in muddy conditions. While I've been using it since last July I've yet to encounter any truly nasty conditions, so I could not attest to exactly how things would go when the going got sluicy. I've had some similar experiences from back in the day when I used to utilize multiple toe straps to affix a tube to my seat rails, but I didn't want to assume anything and talk outta my ass (more than I usually do).

One comment I received summed up most of the questions I have been asked:

1) What keeps shit from falling out of the bottom of the 'awesome' strap? Having raced and ridden mtb since '94, I can't see how a strap - no matter how much grippy shit it's coated with - is going to hold onto your shit after a solid 4 hour hammering in the woods if nothing is underneath the shit. Ditto for road riding.

2) Have you tested this product with the 'serving suggestion' configuration of two air canisters, a tube, a multi-tool, and tire levers? Not to mention, unless you're riding a fender your shit will get all dirty. Ever try to install a mud coated tube with mud coated tools? I think you owe your readers a testimonial, especially for a product of such dubious utility.

The first question I've addressed multiple times. My shit has never come loose or even budged or slid down the post. With the new "Overlock" strap feature I doubt any mishap could ever dislodge your stuff from your bike unless it involved trained monkeys, a wizard, or spontaneous combustion (or a poorly installed Awseome Strap, and being that there is an instructional video there is no excuse for that).

On the second question I'll skip the part about how much stuff an Awesome strap can carry since I've already loaded down an Alpha Niner with a ton of shit, and it stayed put on a ride just as well as my usual "race load".

This post is about mud, so let's get dirty. Although the ride I went on last Sunday was muddy enough to do this to the Death Stick...

it was not enough mud for what I was trying to prove, so I packed in a bunch by hand to make my point.

I do not think this is an unreasonable amount of mud (ask anybody who did the 2009 Dirt, Sweat, and Gears).

Here I have undone the Overlock strap. Things are looking good around the mid section.

And with the whole kit and kaboodle removed from the bike the way you would do it if you were in the heat of the moment in a bike race (on a hard wood floor course).

FYI: I did do this test in my house, but The Pie is outta town so she doesn't need to know about this. Let's keep it between us, okay?

So here it is with the tire levers removed and the CO2 set aside. I twisted the threads of the cartridge in my fingers to clean them off, and the Genuine Innovations Air Chuck SL inflator threaded right on.

Now I figure this is the point where some folks are gonna bitch about all the mud on the tire levers, the CO2, and the tube. Whatever. If this stuff is that dirty I have a feeling your bike, wheel, and tires will be covered in mud too. If you can manage to keep everything sterile and wholesome while you pull the wheel off the bike and unseat a tire bead you are truly talented. I'd be willing to bet that some mud will get into your tire and everywhere else you don't think you want it. Let's move on...

Here is the tube unfurled fresh outta the strap:

Notice there is only mud in a few places. The other side of the tube is clean.

So I took a couple seconds and brushed the dirty sections with my hand...

and that's what I ended up with. There were some tools wrapped inside the tube. How did they fare?

Hardly any mud to be seen. That tool is about 17 years old, it is a chain tool/tire lever made by Giro, and it was part of a three part multi tool... the only part worth a damn.

Now saddle bag lovers can stick to claims of cleanliness when it comes to keeping the contents safe from the elements. I can't disagree there, but I have had plenty of saddle bags with stubborn zippers clogged with mud that were hard to open and harder to close. I've been through enough saddle bags in my time, and I won't go back to using them for anything. No matter how hard I cinch them down and secure them they always manage to wiggle just enough to have holes eventually worn in them, and they've also done a decent amount of cosmetic damage to my seatposts. I've already ranted about saddle bags, so let's just leave it at that.

The folks at Backcountry Research currently suggest putting your stuff somewhere else if you really wanna keep your gear clean... like here:

If folks wanna go mounting their gear in places other than their seatpost (like their top tube or stem) that's fine with me. I like mine just where it is. Like Johnny Castle says...

Nobody puts baby in a corner... or on a top tube.*

*Sorry, I'm too tired to do a decent photo chop on that one.


Luis G. said...

You can always wrap the tube in a sandwich baggie if you're really paranoid about mud...

allan said...

or saran wrap it.

clay said...

I've been putting my pump and tube in a baggie since I started using the awesome Awesome Strap I won in your photo contest. I'm not worried about the mud on the tube, it is the pump that concerns me - I don't want to be trying to clean mud out of my pump when I flat!

The strap is truly awesome!

Uri Nizan said...

Where do you stick the Genuine Innovations Air Chuck SL inflator?

Anonymous said...


your test is flawed since the mud is dry. Most of the time the mud is going to be wet.

Then you can just shoot it with a water bottle to demuddify it a bit.

easy peasy, lemon squeezy

TheMutt said...

It appears as if you've done your job, Dicky. I am convinced. I think it's time I ditch the seat bag and order up some Awesome Strap awesomeness.

Anonymous said...

or use an old, stretched out condom. perhaps the 'big worm' has one.

adamC said...

Im down for the used rubber,plentiful at most trailheads.All you have to do is shake the F#@! out of it and reuse.

matt mccluskey said...

You're welcome for the photo.

Keepin' it AWESOME!

-matt mc

Anonymous said...

I can confirm that the used-trail head/service station/rest stop-rubber approach works great. Just make certain you pack everything in there 'balls deep' or else it's going to still get all messy.

Anonymous said...

Yeah that Awesome Strap looks pretty awesome. But I'd like to see test results on a carbon post. I'd consider one if it works on that medium, but I'm already having problems with slippage and losing length with almost every stroke. I keep cranking on it, over and over. But I if continue much longer I'll probably break it.

Perhaps if they came out with an Awesome Strap that featured some sort of ribbed sheath that was a bit tacky on the outside to keep it from slipping down the post or getting lose and coming off.

Perhaps feature a large resevoir just incase you need to pack some extra nuts and berries for those long rides.

That sounds pretty awesome.

dicky said...

I'll answer all ????'s in tomorrow's post.

Leyonce said...

For the nonbelievers. I have had ZERO occurrences of losing stuff since Captain Dick introduced me to the Awesome Strap last year. Not one, not two….ZERO. Yes, I use the normal 'serving suggestion'. I rode the ORAMM, The Cowbell, The Shenandoah 100, and mile after mile of Pisgah and local trails and have never had an incident. OK, I know, I just jinxed myself. I am not affiliated with Backcountry Research in any way. I’m just telling you, as a single speed rider that doesn’t like Camelbak’s, in my opinion, it is truly AWSOME.

Anonymous said...

ha ha. mc dicky i am verys sorys for your fighthings the mud man! looks veris crazy! ha ha. i dont know.

ting ba dho

Anonymous said...

Are you still talking about your bike? ... "I'm already having problems with slippage and losing length with almost every stroke. I keep cranking on it, over and over. But I if continue much longer I'll probably break it."

I thought these posts were PG13? Might want to consider a girlfriend or a little more finesse? Im just saying.

So back to bikes. I just ordered this strap thing and am going to give it a shot. I am recently off the seat bag bandwagon. Last weekend's ride got back to the car to find the zipper had completely opened up. Items lost (in order of value): tube, CO2, ID, multi tool, Iphone 4 and car key. Hoping this strap thingy works!

Anonymous said...

I'm all for the awesome strap

as for saddle bags have you looked at the lezyn quick releases?
I have one and no holes. I ditched it though, since I couldn't fit everything in it.

dicky said...

I'm done with saddle bags... for like... ever.