Lately, I have been spending a lot of time on the Troll, mostly on the road due to SW Ohio being underwater this past month. While out and about on the road, it frees up your mind to wander a bit, and figure out all of life’s problems. Or just what to do next when it comes to bicycles. Even though I just recently finished the Troll, I am bouncing ideas around as to what my next bike move will be. Here are a few things that I have been contemplating:
A new wheel-set keeps popping up on these rides. It would be nice to have a second wheel-set for the Troll so I do not have to wrestle tires on and off my Sun Ringle wheels. A second wheel-set, like the Mavics above, would be WAY cheaper than another bicycle and it would make the Troll even more versatile. One set with MTB tires, the other with my road tires. Makes sense right?
On the topic of a second wheelset, I have started to think of something like this:
A more specialized wheel-set, specifically a fat bike wheel-set, like the Surly Large Marge rims. This would enable me to have a larger footprint for off road excursions, with the rim being 65mm wide. That would stretch out my Maxxis Ardent 2.6s out quite a bit. This would essentially make the Troll a lite version of a fat bike. If I went this route, I would no doubt end up with a Surly fat front fork, giving me the option of running the much larger Surly Larry 26×3.8 front tire. But, why go through all of that trouble, when you can just get one of these:
A true fat bike. I have wanted one of these since the first moment I saw one. If I would go this route, which model would I go with? Of course the Surly would be on that list, but another company that is on my short list is 9 Zero 7. Look at this beauty from the great white north:
There are a few other ideas that keep bouncing around in my head, but to keep this somewhat focused I will save those for a later date. At this moment though, a fat bike is what I am shooting for in the near future.
Now I need to figure out how I can sell this idea to my wife…
Just keep spinning…
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.
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 fresh out of the rumor mill is that Surly has a few tricks up it’s sleeve that will be coming out in the next couple of months. There is lots of speculation from lots of folks like myself, but the consensus seems that Surly will be releasing a larger version of their Larry tire, at a whopping 26×4.5. Yes, I said 4.5. As in four and a half inches! That is crazy. And supposedly there will be a frame to handle such a beast. That frame will be called the Moonlander so they say. Now I would like to believe that it will just be a larger version of their famous Pugsley, but Surly likes to be a little different with things. So after looking at a few pictures of some lunar rovers throughout history, it got me wondering if they are going to throw out something completely unexpected. Lets look at some photos:
This picture got me thinking of a four wheel bicycle that I saw not too long ago, can’t remember the name of it, but it basically was a four wheeled mountain bike. Independent suspension all around, disc brakes all around, a very interesting dual rear derailleur gear setup, and shod all around in Surly’s Larry 26×3.8″ tires. It was quite an interesting setup, and I feel like that could be a possibility for the Moonlander. One can dream right? Anyway, I wish I could remember the name of that company, I would like to check out their website again and give them the proper credit…
This picture is of the Soviet unmanned moon lander. I am not sure how Surly feels about communist Russia, but you never know, this could very well be the inspiration for their new bike. What would that bike be? Possibly an off road, fat tired recumbent? My only reasoning for that is due to the weird frame shapes of recumbents, compare that to some of the weird shapes of different moonlanders out there, and there you have it. I am sure I am way off base with that one, but that would definitely be unexpected.
Another guess that I would love to see, is a fat tired cargo bike, based off of the Big Dummy. That would be amazing, and if you look at the first picture in this post, it might make some sense, then again, it might not.
So what is Surly going to do? Probably just make us wait. I will definitely be watching though, because I am sure it will be an amazing bicycle. And probably a little off of the “norm.” Rock on Surly…