Yesterday received my new Schwalbe Big Apples tires, so on they went for some sweet road action. Sure, they say on the sidewall “26×2.35,” but damn are they big. Amazingly, there is still room to spare on the Troll frame.
Today, just a quick ride for some pictures in the nice sunlight.
Just keep spinning…
Look Rickey, no hands!
Since March usually is one of the wettest months out of the year here in Ohio, I have started my search for road tires for the Troll. My plan all along has been to keep this bike versatile, and eventually have a second wheel set to swap in and out for road duty. Until that though, I will be wrestling tires on and off of my Sun Ringle rims. With all of the rain here lately, and the rain in the forecast, what better time than now?
My first choice is this:
Photo from utahtrikes.com
Photo from bikemania.cz
Both are around the same price, the Big Apples measure in at 26×2.35″ and the Hookworms at 26×2.5″ respectively. Both are huge! And both are heavy, that is to be expected. But, for the time being, I will be putting on my skinny, cheap, Forte (Made by Panaracer) City ST tires, which measure in a 26×1.5. I plan on running these for my road duty until I can finally make up my mind.
And, just because, here is a quick picture from after one ride last week:
Just keep spinning…
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.