Chewing the Fat – reblogged


Love this old blog from Dales on fat bikes (see what i am googling recently)

Fat bikes are gaining popularity not just as niche snow and sand machines, but as everyday bikes for use on natural terrain. Cue the Surly Pugsley, one of the first mass-produced fat bikes. Now that fat offerings are available from various mainstream companies, more and more riders are now asking themselves if this sort of bike could be for them.

I purchased one of the last 2013 complete Surly Pugsleys a few weeks ago, as an alternative to a short travel suspension bike, for use year round and to complement my single speed Surly Troll. So far it hasn’t failed to impress, in sand, snow, mud and on natural and man-made trails.

Its maiden voyage saw me trying to climb some of the fireroad trails around the Pentland hills, which were covered in deep snow. It’s was a baptism of fire/ice, and it took a whole new set of skills to the keep the bike on the straight and narrow. I quickly learned the key was to stay seated to ensure the rear wheel kept traction, and stay in the granny gear to keep the wheels rolling consistently. I found that if you stood up, the rear wheel lost grip, and if you shifted up a gear, the big tyres would slowly grind to a halt. All this aside, the Pugsley impressed, and the narrower tyre tracks veering off to the left and right of the trail showed where lesser bikes had tried, and failed, to muscle their way through/over the deep snow drifts which covered the trail.

Later in the week I went riding in the deep mud which had collected around Arthur’s Seat after the snows had metled. The Pugsley was again in its element, and the impressive float of the 4 inch tyres allowed me to scrabble across deep muddy puddles, and although it was difficult to precisely steer the bike, general stability was excellent, and at no point did I feel the need to dab a foot, which was good, because the mud was thick enough to suck the shoes off my feet. It was like piloting a paddle ship, just spinning the cranks in a low gear, and aiming for the far shore.

My third ride was an extended tarmac jaunt across Sustrans National Cycle Route 1, which runs from the Edinburgh city centre out towards Dalkeith. Obviously a long tarmac ride is beyond the scope of what a fat bike is really built for, but what surprised me was how quick the big tyres wanted to roll once they gathered speed, probably because the contact patch was only along the centre inch or so of each tyre if they were inflated past 15psi. It was by no means fast, and I only managed a 10mph average, but this allowed me to cover 20 miles in a couple of hours, and take in the scenery at a leisurely pace. To critics who say these bikes are just sideshow attractions for use one or two months a year, I’d like to disagree, and echo the idea that a fat bike can make a good everyday bike, and felt no more inefficient than a 140mm+ full suspension bike when on the road or path.

My Pugsley was given its first true test at the new Cathkin Braes Commonwealth Games XC course. Although it carries a man-made vibe, the loop includes steep descents, rocky climbs and great views, alongside the staple berms, doubles and sweeping switch-back climbs. It’s still in a slightly unfinished state, so the trail was rougher, the mud was deeper, and the rocks more prominent than they might be in future.

Despite finding myself in a group comprised of riders on 140-150mm travel rigs, the Pugsley never felt less than sure-footed, and easily kept pace with the full suspension rigs. The super fat tyres offered excellent traction through the berms and on the climbs, outclassing even the stickiest 2.5″ tread on the other bikes. Winching up the climbs was no chore with a 22-tooth front ring, and full 11-34 rear cassette, the paddles on the rear tyre hooked up on even the softest terrain, and would only slip on the slickest of roots.

Interestingly, downhill sections were less of a challenge than expected. Run at 10psi, the Larry and Endomorph tyres offered plenty of float, and an inch or two of “free” suspension, which took the edge of rough descents and drop offs of up to a foot or two.

On the steeper sections I was glad I’d replaced the stock BB7 brakes with a pair of Avid’s more powerful hydraulic Elixir models, which scrubbed off speed quick enough, even with the substantial rolling mass of the Pugs’ big wheels and tyres to contend with. My only other changes had been to the cockpit, for personal preference, and I threw on a pair of Shimano’s new Saint pedals, which allowed me to ride with hiking boots in the poor weather, so I could always get off and push if the going got too tough.

The Pugsley truly shined in the unfinished sections, where deep swathes of mud or water cross the trail. The final climb was scattered with deep, sandy patches, which proved troublesome for the average XC/AM bike

So whilst many fat bike riders stick to sand, and to snow, I’m eager to try out my Pugsley as my “main” bike for 2013, and test the idea that fat bikes can be used as proper trail rigs, rather than just as clown bikes for soft, and otherwise impassable terrain.

So it’s so far so good with the Pugs, and I’m looking forward to trying it out at some of the larger Scottish trail centres, to see how it really measures up against the more traditional all-mountain and cross-country machines in our demo fleet.

Most recently, having seen the footage from the recent “Forth Fat” fat bike gathering in East Lothian (which I sadly missed, arriving on the fat bike scene as recently as I have), I’m also eager to schedule a trip to the beach!

If you can’t wait for the Pugsley, check out the Surly Moonlander, currently available in sizes 18-24″. The Pugsley will be available again from late summer in the UK.

Until then, happy trails!

Another article of why i need a FatBike


as if I needed a reason ….

Fat biking has transitioned relatively quickly from a fringe novelty to a central facet of the mountain bike experience. In my opinion, fat biking is the single biggest innovation to shake up the industry since I started mountain biking–which means it’s more important than 29″ wheels, 27.5″ wheels, dropper posts, thru axles, and a whole host of other innovations that have happened in the industry over the course of the last decade. But just in case you haven’t drunk the fat bike cool aid just yet, here are 5 reasons why you need a fat bike:

Beargrease-GM-27a (1)-2

1. No end to the mountain bike season.

While granted there have always been a few key locations around the globe where the mountain bike season stretches 12 months per year, the vast majority of riders live in places were snow and ice historically made riding a bike all year round either not very much fun or simply impossible. But with the advent of fat bikes, all of that has changed!

Fat bikes more-or-less originated in the cold white north of Alaska, and caught on quickly in places like the upper Midwest. These locations have always experienced long, cold, snowy winters, and they were quick to adopt fat bikes. Mountain biking quickly became a 12-month-per-year sport for these early adopters, instead of just a 5-month-per-year (or less) sport.

If you ever wanted mountain biking season to last longer, start sooner, or simply never end, buying a fat bike is the magic key to making those wishes a reality!

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2. It puts the fun back in mountain biking.

While there are definitely some lightweight carbon fat bikes with mind-bogglingly low weights, most fat bikes are a bit on the heavy side, and aren’t really intended for going super fast. But sometimes–maybe even most of the time–it’s nice to forget about mashing around your favorite loop at top speed. Instead, just go for a spin, smell the flowers, take in the view, drink a beer, and have fun. Fat bikes are helping thousands of riders remember how to chill out and enjoy the moment.

3. You’ll ride places you never thought you’d be able to pedal a bike.

Yes, you can ride in the snow at times you never thought you’d be able to ride before. This even includes riding in the high alpine in the middle of winter, instead of inside the normal 3-month summer window! But even when you’re not rolling on snow, fat bikes open up a whole host of possibilities.

Riders are using fat bikes to traverse muddy, sandy, rocky shorelines in epic adventures. You can even tool around sand dunes in the desert, mud pits in never-dry locations, and much, much more. Fat bikes are definitely mountain bikes, but they’re so much more. It might be more appropriate to refer to these pedal-powered behemoths as “all terrain bikes,” as they allow you to–quite literally–ride anywhere.

4. Rocks are so easy, it feels like cheating!

More and more riders are shredding their local singletrack trails aboard their fat bikes, during the summer. And you know why? Fat bikes–especially suspension-equipped fat bikes like the Salsa Bucksaw and the Turner King Khan–do a superb job of smoothing out the rock gardens and technical features of a trail. In fact, shredding through gnar feels almost too easy on a full suspension or Bluto-equipped-hardtail fat bike. It almost feels like cheating somehow… but it’s not.

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5. You need an excuse to buy yet another bike.

Let’s be honest, here: if there’s one thing that we mountain bikers drool over, it’s the latest-and-greatest crop of bikes that rolls out every year. But it can be hard to justify to your significant other–and your check book–purchasing a bike every year, or even every several years. But if you don’t have a fat bike, ah ha! Here’s a completely new type of bike that you’d be more than justified in purchasing! I’m sure you can find the cash in your budget for a new rig that will allow you to ride all year long–and will, more importantly, give you yet another bike to lust over and continuously upgrade.

OO, carbon

Your turn: Can you think of any other great reasons to buy a fat bike? Add them in the comments sections below!

Once you go Fat you never want back …. (hearsay of course as I am thin)


I am getting tempted by a fat bike that I have never ridden …. this is interesting.

fatbike_infographic_singletracks

fat bike survey from singletrackworld:

We received nearly 1,000 survey responses from dozens of countries and 49 of the 50 US states on the topic of fat bikes. We covered a lot of ground, so here’s the executive summary.

There is a ton of interest in fat biking, even in places where snow and sand are scarce. Survey respondents skewed toward riders who already own fat bikes or are considering buying fat bikes but even among those with no intention of buying a fat bike, 71% at least want to give it a try.

Fat biking is addictive. Sixteen percent of fat bike owners own more than one and, on average, fat bike owners ride their fat bikes 76 times a year. Potential fat bike buyers estimate they’ll only ride 37 times a year, so there must be something about getting a fat bike.

First mover advantage is huge in this market. We’ve seen this play out to a degree with other mountain bike trends (29ers, for example), but in fat bikes, the most popular brands are those who got the wheel rolling in the first place. Surly and Salsa are still big favorites among consumers, and smaller brands are still holding onto some of the top spots despite inroads by megaliths like Trek and Specialized.

Fat bike fanbois. I say this in the most respectful way, but it really does seem the fat bike’s capabilities have been oversold to a degree. Consider this series of responses to the survey (not included in the infographic):

About 60% of the respondents say fat bikes provide excellent handling on everything from rocks to hardpack to mud. At worst, 5% say their fat bikes handle poorly in rocky conditions. It’s actually hard to draw a conclusion about which conditions fat bikes are optimized for from these charts–it looks like fat bikes are great at everything!

Ok, now it’s your turn. What jumps out at you from these numbers? For those who want to dive even deeper, we’ve also made much of the raw survey data available here.

this weather has beaten me


I confess I have been avoiding going out on the bike – hitting the gym and the swimming pool as the rain has lashed down this winter. Forced myself out today and for the first hour it was pretty dry.

click on the pic to go to Strava
click on the pic to go to Strava

I do love my Lynskey Ridgeline and felt that today was it’s day with messy mudguards in place ….

lynskey 29 mugdock-1

 

 

Cyclocross mud worlds bourbon brilliant


 

 

 

 

This is not a baby's diaper. This is a cyclocross course.

 

From the masters at PAVEDMAG

This is not a baby’s diaper. This is a cyclocross course.

Due to flood concerns, the weekend of racing was compressed into Saturday. By Sunday, a significant part of the course was a frozen pond. The fly-over and beer tent remain in the distance but the rest of the course was taken down immediately following the races on Saturday.

Due to flood concerns, the weekend of racing was compressed into Saturday. By Sunday, a significant part of the course was a frozen pond. The fly-over and beer tent remain in the distance but the rest of the course was taken down immediately following the races on Saturday.

I still cannot believe that the World Championships were on American soil. If you weren't there, you blew it.

I still cannot believe that the World Championships were on American soil. If you weren’t there, you blew it.

Rivers of Bourbon City, AKA Lousiville, KY.

Rivers of Bourbon City, AKA Lousiville, KY.

I miss the days when all the World Cup cyclocross events were raced in national colors. Belligerent and nationalistic fans could drink all day and still know who to cheer for simply based on colors. Also, graphically the kits are so much better than the trade team uniforms. Fortunately the World Championships are still an excuse for national colors and belligerent nationalism.

I miss the days when all the World Cup cyclocross events were raced in national colors. Belligerent and nationalistic fans could drink all day and still know who to cheer for simply based on colors. Also, graphically the kits are so much better than the trade team uniforms. Fortunately the World Championships are still an excuse for national colors and belligerent nationalism.

Just like these kids, I really wanted to plop down and watch the race while letting my hangover subside but i had some sort of job to do. My mom thinks I'm a professional photographer so I broke down and wore one of those silly PHOTO vests and took pictures for this Paved magazine web gallery. This photo also features Jamie Driscoll.

Just like these kids, I really wanted to plop down and watch the race while letting my hangover subside but i had some sort of job to do. My mom thinks I’m a professional photographer so I broke down and wore one of those silly PHOTO vests and took pictures for this Paved magazine web gallery. This photo also features Jamie Driscoll.

Never forget to tip your pit crew. Nobody ever hears their names but their elaborate preparations and race-time handiwork is behind every victory.

Never forget to tip your pit crew. Nobody ever hears their names but their elaborate preparations and race-time handiwork is behind every victory.

The first run-up of the first lap of a cyclocross race is always an exciting place to be, especially when a unicorn dancing on a lighting bolt drops out of the sky.

The first run-up of the first lap of a cyclocross race is always an exciting place to be, especially when a unicorn dancing on a lighting bolt drops out of the sky.

The crowd was into it.

The crowd was into it.

Just to be clear, this is a Basque cyclocross fan, not a Spanish cyclocross fan. And he was in Louisville to support the Basque rider Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez.

Just to be clear, this is a Basque cyclocross fan, not a Spanish cyclocross fan. And he was in Louisville to support the Basque rider Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez.

Marriane Vos (center), of the Netherlands, let a couple riders hang out with her on the first lap before she decided to go way faster than everybody else enroute to victory.

Marriane Vos (center), of the Netherlands, let a couple riders hang out with her on the first lap before she decided to go way faster than everybody else en route to victory.

Helen Wyman of the UK. Women's Elite race.

Helen Wyman of the UK. Women’s Elite race.

The mud made for frantic work in the pits. Some riders were changing bikes every half lap. Many of the European pros brought their personal pit crews instead of relying on national team support.

The mud made for frantic work in the pits. Some riders were changing bikes every half lap. Many of the European pros brought their personal pit crews instead of relying on national team support.

Unlike me, I'm pretty sure Elite Men's winner Sven Nys, of Belgium, did not drink a few too many bourbons the night before the race. Probably because of discipline like that, he prevailed over the whole world. Even the obscenity screaming jackass with one of those soccer horns loved this guy by the end of the race.

Unlike me, I’m pretty sure Elite Men’s winner Sven Nys, of Belgium, did not drink a few too many bourbons the night before the race. Probably because of discipline like that, he prevailed over the whole world. Even the obscenity screaming jackass with one of those soccer horns loved this guy by the end of the race.