Sunday, May 17, 2015

Wider Is Better

Wider is Better.... Nothing sticks with you like an 1980's Pontiac Slogan... and has never been more appropriate.  
So, I took the Monster out for a ride with Troubadour out to the Fall Creek Trail head.  It is about a 900 ft climb over 3.8 miles.  Really it is about a 600 ft climb over 1.6 miles and then just climbs gradually.  We eventually made the summit and paused for a bit to catch our breath before beginning the descent down the Highballer.

Thanks to Troubadour for the action shots..
 I look like the Pillsbury Doughboy riding a frickin toothpick...
One thing became clearly obvious.  The 110mm stem and the 660mm bar did not offer the right amount of leverage to control the 4 in wide tires at speed in the twisty bits...  and then I remembered...  Wider is Better....
And the search was on.. Search all of the local sources, but nobody had the parts I wanted in stock.. Off to the interwebs.. A search on Ebay and I found a good deal on a matched stem and bar.. Dropped the stem length down to 45mm w/ 10*rise and a 780mm bar with 35mm rise.  Both are RaceFace Respond components...
Parts arrived in a week... I was like a kid at Christmas...

Wider is Better!!!!

Ready for test ride..

After test riding.. I found that I was able to move the seat up another 22mm and was sitting much more upright than hunched over.  The amount of control I now had was unbelievable.  It completely transformed the way the bike rode and steered.  I love riding this bike.. I know, it is so typically American.. We have always got to have the biggest baddest stuff.  I feel the way I did when I rode bikes as an adolescent. Pure joy and freedom.  It has the same effect on people as a Ural.. They aren't quite sure what to make of it, but think it is really cool.. More later.. busy riding....


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fat Bike Foolery

So,   I did it...  I waffled back and forth on this for a while..  Couldn't really justify the purchase.. But Dammit, when I rode that Trek Farley,  it was damn fun..  The kind of youthful hooligan kind of fun. You know.. hopping curbs, and goofing off in general.

$500.  Delivered.  What was I really buying and what was I giving up...  I scrutinized every aspect of it.  I checked all of the frame geometry against the  Trek Farley 6.  Nearly identical.. the chainstays are 20mm longer.. I can live with that. CrMo front fork versus alloy.. okay. Tapered head stem would have been nice, but not a deal breaker..  Tektro cable disc brakes.. I can live with that, from what I have put together, it is simpler, more reliable, cheaper and easier to repair.  Note, I did not say they were better than hydraulic brakes..  I can live with that as well.  The Trek was at just over $1000 more than this.. Did I mention the tires.. Glorious 4 inch wide tires.. rolling on 50mm rims vs 80mm on the Trek. 

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.. I can hear everybody saying that it is going to be awful for riding in the snow.   .........I don't snow much down here,  but we have some amazing trails, rock gardens, and sand.. lots of sand....  and mud.....lots, and lots of mud.

So,  I logged into Bikes Direct, added it to my cart. Checked out, and waited.  And waited.  I am not the most patient person, so it seemed like forever, and then there was the whole US Ports being shutdown.. F'ng unions.. that is whole other rant...

It arrived... A huge brown box, with all kinds of warning labels on it,  of which we used to poke fun at one of my more gravity challenged friends.

 Everything was tucked neatly inside.  The rear wheel was already installed,  just had to install the seat, head stem, bars, front wheel, and pedals.  Made a few adjustments to the brake cables and it was all said and done in less than an hour so.

It was off for a quick ride in the dark to shake it down.. Everything seems to be set about right. Just needs a little bit of fine tuning.  Then it started raining... and raining...  I was only able to get in a few short runs after work and general  messing about and terrorizing the neighborhood.  Still fun and was only running about 9 psi.
Suddenly, the sun shone down upon me on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.. Time to see what kind of trouble we can get into.  I increased the tire psi to about 13psi which corrected the self-steering issue that happens with these.. On the pavement, this is just a standard old mountain bike.  Old School, no suspension, no frills mountain bike.  Take it off the pavement though, and it really shines.  It rolls over gravel roads and trails with ease.  May as well be paved, it is that easy.  The giant balloon tyres provide enough cushion to roll over lager rocks, holes and obstacles that are normally avoided on newer bikes.  I did notice an odd side effect of the large wheels and tires.. If I got them rolling fast enough, there was enough flywheel effect to help them maintain without much extra effort.   I am  loving riding Fat...

Can I just say that again.. This is so much fun.  I know its heavy and slow.  I bought it for fun and fitness.. If you can pedal around a 30+ lbs bike for miles and miles... It has got to do something for the fitness.

If you are ever only as old as you feel, this is the fountain of youth.

I love riding this bike...