Just in case you don’t read the Surly blog….
Well done Surly! Bar raised again…
So now that I have finally secured the funds to start my new bike build, I am unfortunately at another crossroads. This time, I am still leaning towards the Troll, but also leaning towards a full fledged fat bike. I seem to go back and forth with this, over and over, and waiting is not helping me one bit. So, for this installment, here is the next round of my bike comparisons.
As for why I am leaning towards a fat bike, it all started with this:
Gary Fisher Rig SS
This was my first taste of the big wheels. Only ridden around 100 miles, in a haste I dismantled it and sold it off, only to buy another single speed to then sell off, etc. I regretted it after the fact, but hind sight is 20/20 right? Anyway, after riding this bike, I really wanted to try out a full on fat bike. So recently, in my planning stages for the new bike, I found a used Surly Puglsey on the local Craigslist that got my mind rolling on the big wheels again. Unfortunately I was not as quick as I should have been with it, and it sold. So that leads up to the comparison.
We will start with this:
This is the current model that I am leaning towards. I will not go into details, since I have talked about this frame numerous times, like here and here. The frame is very versatile, and I feel like it would be a great fit for my riding style, and also the type of riding that I have been doing. Also, it would give me a bike that is ready for the woods, which is what the Xtracycle was lacking, thus it’s departure. Two things make me not want to go this route though:
First, there is newer model coming out later this year. From what I have read on a cycling forum, it will be in the fall. The newer model adds bottle/cage mounts on the fork, and another bottle mount on the underside of the downtube. I would like those options, but I am not sure that I can wait until then. Patience is a virtue that I do not possess. This is not a deal breaker for me though.
Second, the Troll fits big tires. I plan on using the 26×2.6 Maxxis Ardents on the frame, should I get it. But this could be the opening of Pandora’s Box for tires. It could only lead to wanting a little more rubber (enter “That’s what she said” joke here) and the Troll would be maxed out. Not a true fat bike. The Troll would always be lacking in the tire department.
For the fat bike route, I will not go into too much detail again, since I will only be repeating myself. Click here to see my comparison of the Pugsley and the Mukluk, which would probably be the route that I would take. In a perfect world, I would buy both. Hmmm, if only…
The next few days will be tough on the cycling decisions, thankfully that is the worst thing in my life that I have to worry about. For that, I am thankful.
Just keep spinning…
Surly Troll picture from their site, click the link to the right to have your mind blown on their products.
So the new parts are starting to come in for the upcoming build. Every time that I order something online it is like Christmas morning when it arrives. Such a good feeling, thanks postman!
The past couple days have brought in a couple important pieces. First up was my Chris King headset from eBay. Apart from the faded finish, and some unexpected “hidden” shipping costs from the seller, it was still a great deal. eBay is a gamble sometimes, for example, when an item is listed as “Like new, excellent condition!” you would not expect fading right? Neither did I. Like I said though, it is in great shape still, and was a great deal, just a tiny hassle. Buyer beware I suppose.
Next up came two different packages. One carried my new Brooks B17 Narrow saddle. After lathering it up with some Brooks Proofhide last night, I took a 10 mile or so spin on it today with the T500. Right out of the box, I was quite surprised at how nice the Brooks fit me. Maybe it is due to me riding a little stiffer of a saddle as of late, but the Brooks was not at all terrible. If I am liking it now, I cannot imagine how comfy it will be once broken in.
The last package was one of the most important for a bicycle, tires. Those came in the form of two Maxxis Ardent 26×2.6″ beasts. After installing them on my Sun Ringle Singletrack rims, I would guess that they do not measure out to 2.6″ wide, but they are big nonetheless. Not a bad tread pattern as well:
I am planning on running these front and rear for MTB duties, but I do have the thoughts of putting a Maxxis Minion DHF 26×2.7″ tire on the front. The Troll has big tire clearance, why not use it all up? I think with either of those setups it will make a nice “fatbike lite.” This is probably a bad road to start down though, because it only ends at this:
Photo from Surly’s site.
QBP, purveyor of cycling goods, has brought the masses many great fat bike related items. The Surly Pugsley, the fat tires, 45NRTH, the Salsa Mukluk, the Moonlander, and now this: Check it.
To give you the rundown, a new Salsa dual suspension fat bike. Granted it is still a prototype, but this is a big step for the fat biking world. I would imagine if this goes to production, a bunch of hardtail fat bikes will be popping up on eBay and Craigslist. Very nice Salsa!
Photo from Salsa’s site.
As of late, I have been selling off my childhood one piece at a time via eBay to fund my next bicycle purchase. Who would have thought that a bunch of toys and games from the 1980s would enable you to buy a bicycle? Fascinating. As in the poll to my right, here are the current contenders for my hard earned money:
I really like the Troll, as you can check here and here. It is crazy versatile. Load it up with racks, fat tires, and hit the trail for an off road jaunt to the next county over. Or, put on some road shoes in the form of 26″x2.5″ slicks and eat roadies for breakfast. It is nice, and it is orange, which is important this time of year in Ohio.
Complete price around $1300.
26″ wheels. For me this is a pro due to the fact that I could use the same tube size that I already use for my HaroX.
Rack and fender mounts.
Clearance for large tires.
Solid component spec with durable, quality parts.
Rigid. A rigid 26er does not sound like much fun in the woods, my old rigid 29er was pretty rough.
Salsa Fargo 2
Drop bar 29er with rack and fender mounts, built for heavy off road touring. Sweet bicycle, very similar to the Troll in my opinion, difference being 29″ wheels as opposed to 26″ and drop bars and road style shifters. I would call this an adventure bike.
Complete around $1600
Rack and fender mounts.
Enabler fork with anything cage braze-ons.
29″ wheels. I do like bigger wheels for dirt duty.
Might be overbuilt for what I am looking for. Especially if any time is spent on the road. Also might be overkill since I now have the T500.
Rigid. Can you tell I am not digging a rigid bicycle for off road duties? I must be getting old.
Price. One of the more expensive on the list.
Airborne Zeppelin Elite
This bike is pretty amazing in my opinion. Good, quality components. 5″ of suspension travel. Nice, comfy trail bike, all in a budget price. I have wanted a dually for a while, I am sure it would be a different ride than the rigid 29ers that I have grown used to. Easier on the back for sure!
Complete, mail order for $699.
Price! Seriously, 5″ travel dual suspension for $700? That is amazing. Definitely in the budget, with room for upgrades immediately.
Good components spec, SRAM X7 and X9 drive train.
Company based out of Dayton. I think it is cool that a company is based out of this part of Ohio, I guess state loyalty runs deep!
Suspension. I am not sold on the fork and shock for this bike. No pedal platform on the shock that I am aware of, so there has to be some sort of pedal induced bob.
Mountain bike only.
The Surly Pugsley. What an amazing bike. I love the idea of fat tires. Just the idea of riding in the snow or on the beach, or basically any place that in inaccessible to most bicycles is tempting by itself.
Complete around $1600.
Big, fat, wide tires. Ride over most things. Extend the normal cycling season.
Price. Along with the Fargo, one of the higher prices on the list.
Heavy. Big fat tires come with big heavy wheels.
Mountain bike only, unless you buy the new Black Floyd slick tire, which would make your fatbike a fat road bike.
Step back in time with this bike. Rivendell makes some amazing bikes, but unfortunately they are a little out of my price range. Someday though, maybe for my 40th birthday, I will own one. That gives me ten years to save…
Frame only around $1500.
Beautiful, mobile, work of art.
Not something that you see everyday. Or ever.
Frame only. Unfortunately, I do not have the parts to do this frame justice, thus putting it out of my desired price range.
Road, gravel road bike only. No heavy mountain bike duties.
So there is the complete bicycle shootout. These are five very different, very nice bicycles. For me, the Troll and the Fargo are very similar. So similar in fact that I would go with the lower price of the Troll. The remaining three are very different bikes that each have a different personality. The go anywhere slowly but surely Pugs. The classy, gravel grinder in the Hunqapillar. And the wallet friendly, make you smile trail bike with the Airborne. Out of those three, as much as I lust for a fatbike, the Airborne has an edge. It is hard to compete with that price. That would leave some money left over to do some upgrades on the Zeppelin, and also the T500 and HaroX. So for the time being, the Airborne has the definite advantage.
I would like to hear your opinion about these bikes, or any others that you might think might compare to these. Also while you are here, do your duty to your country (or just this blog) and vote on which bike you would go with in the “Help me choose my next bike” poll.
So again, changing my mind on my next bike purchase, back to the board with a nice fat bike comparison. I have wanted a full fatty since converting the Gary Fisher Rig to a fat front last year. The half fat really piqued my interest in a full fat setup, so as of now, the next bike will be a full fat bike. There is just something about those large tires! And now that Surly has released the Black Floyd slick 3.8″ there is now a suitable road tire option to mix it up a bit from the knobbies. So, that said, lets compare:
The fat bike that started it all. Okay, maybe not. I am sure there were some folks up in Alaska doing this way before Surly. But Surly brought the idea down to the rest of us folks that are not in the Great White North. Anyway, here are the pros, in my opinion:
-Steel frame and fork
-135mm front and rear hubs, giving you a bail out SS hub in the front in case you wreck your rear derailleur out in the wilderness. Being able to easily switch wheels, shorten the chain, and ride home is a BIG plus in my book.
-Good parts spec for the price point, around $1600 complete.
-Rack mounts front and back.
-Easy single speed option, with track style horizontal dropouts.
-The only cons for this bike are the rim width and the steel frame. Yes, I have the steel from on both the pros and the cons list. I do like steel. But steel can corrode a little easier than aluminum, so therefore it is also a con.
-The Large Marge rim is 65mm, which now is one of the smaller rim sizes for fat bikes. This does not turn me away from the Pugsley, but it should be noted. Upgrades are inevitable, this would probably be my first step if I go this route. Or, I could just spend the extra money on the Pugsley option, The Black Ops Pugsley:
The Black Ops version comes with a little different specs, including the wider Rolling Darryls, which are 82mm. It also comes with a bigger price tag…
The Salsa Mukluk 2
The Mukluk 2 is the mid level of the Mukluk family, between the Titanium version and the Mukluk 3. Here are the pros:
-Nice looking bike. I love the matte black finish with red decals.
-Rolling Darryl rims, on dishless wheels. The rear hub is 170mm, and the front is 135mm. Big, wide wheels.
-Good parts spec, very similar to the Pugsley.
-Salsa Enabler fork. I love this fork. I think it is the perfect rigid fork for a bike like this. And with Salsa’s Anything Cage that mounts directly to the fork, this bike is ready for adventure!
-No SS escape plan, no swapping of the wheels if you trash your derailleur with different size hubs. I guess you could always just shorten the chain, but no horizontal dropouts.
-Grip shifters. I hate grip shifters. Sure, easy to switch, but just not my preference.
-Price. The Mukluk 2 is priced higher than the Pugsley at just around $2000. Ouch. Also, just read on an online forum that the Mukluk 2 has already sold out. So that leaves the very pricey Ti Mukluk, or the lower spec’d Mukluk 3. Too bad. If I had the cash though, I would buy a Ti Mukluk in a heartbeat! Gorgeous bike.
So that is where I am on the next bike decision. Now I know that there are other companies that make fat bikes, but I am limiting myself to these two companies just on buying complete. I really do not feel like building a fat bike from the ground up. Call me lazy. That’s fine. But speaking of other companies, here is a quick list:
And the fat bike specific Fatbikes.com
All pictures of the Puglsey, BO Pugs, and Mukluk are from Surly and Salsa’s sites respectfully.
Last week I was lucky enough to get to spend some time with my family in wonderful Emerald Isle North Carolina. Perfect weather, great company, and quite the cycling infrastructure. It absolutely blew my mind that a tourist based community could have such a strong cycling culture. If only major cities would take notice. Anyway, while driving around from one nature hike to another I happened to stumble upon a gem of a bike shop. Enter Bikes R In…
Now normally while on vacation, I try to stay out of bicycle shops unless I need that random part to fix one of my bikes, but while driving by this little shop, a certain bicycle caught my eye. Sitting out front of the shop was a Sun Spider AT (Click for specs.), a beach cruiser fat bike! I had never seen one of these before, but I had to take a closer look. This bike was made for cruising around slowly in the sand, with 26×4.0 tires, a relaxed geometry, a Sturmey Archer 2 speed coaster brake hub, and did I mention 26×4.0 tires? This bike really made my day, and for the price of around $800, it almost went home with me. The main reason that it did not was due to the fact it is a cruiser bike only, no rim or disc brake mounts on this rig. Still a very cool bike.
Once inside the shop after drooling over the fat bike, I was blown away with the amount of bikes packed in the store’s space. Everything was covered, from the dedicated road ride, to a dual suspension mountain bike, folding bikes, recumbents, even unicycles hanging from the ceiling, every cycling discipline was covered. The shop also has rental bikes to keep you peddling even while on vacation. This is the type of shop that every cyclist wishes they had in their area. If you are in the Emerald Isle area, stop by and check them out, I know that I will the next time that I am visiting family. Who knows, maybe I will take home a new fat bike…