Saturday, 27 June 2015

Top 5 Fatbikes You Have Never Seen

I'm always on the lookout for interesting fatbike stuff and I thought I would share with you my top five Fatbikes You Have Never Seen.


Starting at number five we have Daccordi Diavola.  This makes the top five as it is a hand-made steel fatbike from Italy.  Daccordi was founded in 1937 and primarily manufacturer steel, aluminum and carbon road bikes.  I understand that they can offer custom paint that includes florescent . . . so no more reflectors. 


Number four is the Pilgrim by Velotraum located in Germany.  The Pilgrim is not I would call a pretty fatbike.  I would call it practical with its headlight, bar ends, colour coordinated rack and kick stand.  It looks like it would feel right at home cruising alongside a WWII army jeep.


The FAT LARD by Xeed comes in at number three on the Fatbikes You Have Never Seen list.  The aluminum framed, carbon forked beauty can be found in Norway.  The concave toptube and colour make it one sexy looking fatbike.


Number two is this full-suspension masterpiece from Transalps in Switzerland.  The Fat 5 Plus runs the standard Bluto, internal cable routing and the ability to run 5" tires.  It would look much nicer if it were a different colour and had some snazzy graphics.  If you look closely you can see what looks to be a set of tweezers and a toothpick built into the crank arms.


And finally, the number one Fatbikes You Have Never Seen is the FAT SIX from Haibike.  This German beauty just oozes cool with its chunky styling and camo-ish paint.  It also sports a 36v 250w motor with lithium ion battery pack.  At 50lbs it is a little fat, but I know you want to swing a leg over this bike and give it a spin.

So there you have it . . . my top five Fatbikes You Have Never Seen.

Do you have any suggestions to add to the list?  

Leave your comments below.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

What is in my fat toolbox?

When I jumped head first into fatbikes I decided it was time to start collecting tools and doing some of my own bike work.  I still do frequent my LBS for some repairs out of my current skill range, but as my knowledge (and nerve) increase my visits to my bike mechanic will be more to shoot the breeze and drop off coffees and Cliff bars.

My initial bike specific purchases were quite modest: tire levers, bike multi tool, pressure gauge, spoke wrench, patch kit, floor pump, pedal wrench and a three way hex key.  These tools did what I needed them to do allowing me to do small repairs.

It wasn't until my darling wife gave me a bike stand and Park Tool BB3 for Christmas that I realized that I was needing to up my game and get some more serious tools.

The BB3 is an amazing book that explains step by step procedures for just about everything.

I opted not to buy a pre-built bike tool kit, but purchase the tools that I need when I need them.  I buy locally when I can, but most of my purchases are made on-line.

My first real purchase was a chain whip and cassette removal tool from local bike shops.  Pretty much a must have when working on a fatbike.

Then I made a rather large purchase from Chain Reaction.  I spent quite a bit of time prowling their site picking out a pile of goodies that included:

- Crank Extractor
- External BB Tool
- Chain Rivet Extractor
- Chainring Nut Wrench
- Chain Wear Indicator
- Master Link Pliers
- Brake Piston Press
- Crank Bolt Install Tool

Next on the list was a 12 piece metric hex key set from Princess Auto.  No more fumbling with the folding multi-piece hex key set.  Saved a bundle over the brand name options.

Being a woodworker I have no problem buying brand name tools, however I also have no problem saving a buck to invest elsewhere . . . or to buy more tools.

And finally my tool box.  Less than $20 at a big box store.  Unfortunately its getting quite full already.

And there are also bits-n-pieces, odds-n-ends of miscellaneous bike stuff for repairs.  The list includes and is not limited to: master links, chainring bolts, washers, tubes, QRs, etc.  

That's what I have in my tool box . . . what should I add next?


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Wolf Tooth Drop-Stop 1x9 | Experiment

I have been thinking about converting my Norco Bigfoot to a 1x for some time.  Unfortunately all the 1x conversions I could find on-line were 1x10 or 1x11 . . . my bike is a 9 speed.  I know that I could buy a new cassette, derailleur and shifter to get the 1x10, but I did not want to get into that sort or investment.  I wanted a 1x9.

I contacted Wolftooth, the originator of the 1x systems, to see if they were interested if a 1x9 would work with a stock cassette.  Another hiccup was that my rear derailleur was non-clutched . . . not the preferred setup for a 1x system.  They sent me a 104 x 30T Drop-Stop chainring in blue for the experiment.

The fit and finish on the Drop- Stop was top notch and the colour was stunning.  You can get them in many other colours including black for those less adventurous.

Notice the tooth pattern.

Removal of the crank is necessary for the installation of the Drop- Stop. Taking the drive-train apart will give you an opportunity to clean everything up and replace anything else that needs replacing. Check out the video for instructions.

The Drop-Stop mates up to the crank easily and there is no need to use chainring nuts as the holes in the Wolftooth chainring are threaded.

On my initial field test I retained the bash guard and derailleur bracket (it was held in place by the bottom bracket) as "chain guides" just in case the chain decided to hop.  I put the bike through some pretty tough terrain.  

I later removed the bash guard and derailleur bracket and made another modification to make things run smoother for the second rigorous field test.

Was the experiment a success?

I'm not going to spoil the surprise here (you will want to watch the video), but the Drop-Stop is not coming off my Norco any time soon.

Be sure to check out the video for additional detail, field test, and a neat trick to help remove a bottom bracket.

And be sure to check out the Wolftooth Drop-Stop Chainring.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Pump House Loop | Ride Video

Its mid fatbiking season there is a firm base down, the ice is solid and the temperatures are . . . well . . . seasonal.

Ten fatbikes and their riders show up early for what is expected to be a good ride.  We wanted to hit the trails before the snowmachines started buzzing about.

There was steel, carbon and aluminum running 4" and 5" studded and non studded.  A mixed bag to say the least.

The 22 km ride offered mostly "groomed" trails and wide open fields.

I hope you enjoy the video.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Snowshoe XL Review | Field Test

After the unboxing I mounted the XLs up to my Bigfoot and hit the trails.  I wanted to get these tires in as many types of terrain as possible to see if they are more than a snow tire.  I also wanted to run them at different pressures to see if that has any impact on the XL's performance.

I ran the tires at five, seven and ten pounds on 80mm rims with tubes.  I actually noticed a difference in the amount of pump strokes (floor pump) that it took to inflate the tire over a 4".  I would not want to be on the trail and have to inflate one using a mini bike pump.

The types of terrain visited included:

    - pavement
    - concrete
    - groomed walking trails
    - mountain bike trails (soil, roots, rocks)
    - loose rock
    - beach rock
    - water + slippery rock
    - mud
    - rock (Canadian shield)
    - a little snow

I  did find that the lower the pressure and the harder the surface, the more self steer.  Increase the pressure, the contact patch decreases and voila - less self steer with a decrease in traction.

I was not able to find a type of terrain that these tires did not feel right at home.  Fording water, climbing rock, and slogging through mud these tires XLed (get it !!).  Pavement and concrete were not the most challenging terrain, but at the right pressure the tires will rumble down the road drawing all sorts of attention.

Unfortunately I was not able to fully test them in snow.  However, if I were a betting man I would say that they would not let you down.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a 5" fatbike tire you have to put the Snowshoe XLs on your shortlist.

Be sure to check out the video for additional information and snippets of the actual terrain conquered by these amazing tires.