Friday, 29 July 2016

Axiom Barkeep DLX 16 | Easy Access

Axiom Barkeep DLX 16

A short while ago Fatbike Republic had the opportunity to test the Axiom fatbike specific cargo rack called the Fatliner.  Its is a tough and versatile way to carry extra cargo on your fattie.

In addition to bicycle cargo racks Axiom Cycling Gear also carry a multitude of bags and baskets to accentuate your riding experience. Fatbike Republic was given the opportunity to review the Paddywagon EXP 19 and the Barkeep DLX 16.

Click HERE to take a look at the Paddywagon EXP 19.

AXIOM

As mentioned in the Fatliner review, Axiom Cycling Gear not only design and develop cycling gear that works . . . they are also committed to the environment.

Whether the goal is daily commuting, granfondos or weekend recreation, we make bags that cover a lot of ground. Axiom panniers incorporate only the highest quality materials and are assembled using cutting edge manufacturing processes, so they're incredibly lightweight and last a lifetime. Every bag we make reflects the extraordinary attention to detail that is Axiom's hallmark. We sweat the details so riders can relish in the journey.

And Axiom stands behind their products with a guarantee warranted against manufacturing defects for the lifetime of the original purchaser.

BARKEEP DLX 16

The Barkeep DLX 16 is the most feature rich of the Axiom Handlebar Bag lineup. With a retail price of $129.99 this semi-insulated bag has multiple pockets, a clear touch compatible pouch and a quick release mounting system.

Additional details:

 - Constructed of 600D polyester with 3M reflective panels
 - Water resistant
 - Quick release bracket that fits 22.2 – 31.8 mm bars
 - 16L/490 cu in of storage
 - Branded rain cover included
 - Shoulder strap for carrying

Although the Barkeep DLX 16 has a smaller capacity than the Paddywagon EXP 19 it is quite larger, mainly because there are no expandable sections. What is does have is a water bottle bag (or feed bag) on the left, a dual chamber pocket with Velcro closure on the right and a mesh pocket on the front. A clear pouch graces the lid and it is suitable for a phone or gps as it is touch compatible. And finally, there are D-rings to attach the shoulder strap and a carrying strap under the cell phone pouch.

Axiom Barkeep DLX 16

The Barkeep DLX 16 opens away from the rider so that you do not have to dismount to get at your stuff. The inside is insulated to keep things cool\warm with hidden rigid panels helping the bag maintain its shape. Inside the lid there is a zippered mesh pocket and a huge compartment (with Velcro divider) to store your goodies.


Axiom Barkeep DLX 16

The Barkeep DLX 16 weighs in at 758g which is slightly lighter than the 860g as claimed.

Axiom Barkeep DLX 16

The Barkeep DLX 16 gets a matching bright yellow rain cover for when things really get wet. It also has a reflective stripe on the front and four snap closures to secure the elasticized cover to the bag. I’m thinking nothing short of a typhoon will tear off this cover.


Axiom Barkeep DLX 16

I ran into a little difficulty installing the bar mount . . . until I found the instructions on the Axiom site.  I had initially popped the bar mount over my 31.8mm bars and the clamps would not fit. This was quite odd until I discovered that there were two positions for the lower jaw.  Pushing out the pins and relocating the jaw to the hidden lower position, the mount installed as expected.  And with that the bag snapped into place very easily.

Axiom Barkeep DLX 16

IN USE

The Barkeep DLX 16 was strapped to the nose of a street based Norco Bigfoot (Fatrod) and an off-trail Norco Sasquatch 6.1 for testing.

Scooting around on the blacktop and city trails on the Fatrod (with rigid fork) the Barkeep was barely noticeable.  Although it did obstruct the view of the front tire, the higher center of gravity of the packed bag did not have much of an effect on the smooth trails.

Axiom Barkeep DLX 16

Heading off the beaten track the Barkeep DLX 16 became more noticeable on the bluto equipped Sasquatch.  The additional weight on the bars caused the bluto to engage more often when negotiating the humps and bumps.  Adding more air to the fork tempered the bluto’s reaction.  The higher centre of gravity does require a change in riding style when approaching twisty bits in the trail.  The Barkeep did bounce when going over rough sections, however its internal bracing/support allowed it to maintain its shape and the bracket mounted to the bar did not even think about moving or twisting.

Axiom Barkeep DLX 16


Axiom Barkeep DLX 16
Whether running the Barkeep DLX 16 on smooth trails or in the back country, it was super convenient to have the extra storage literally at your fingertips. When riding it was actually more convenient to reach for the water bottle attached to the Barkeep than the one attached to the bike frame.  It was also much easier to access camera gear instead of trying to wrestle it out of a backpack or shorts pocket.  The touch screen friendly pocket on top is great for those who need to be connected.

I did encounter heavy drizzle while testing, and while the outside of the bag did get wet, the contents inside (and the phone in the pouch) stayed dry.  And the quick release bracket allows you to remove the bag from the bar in mere seconds.

While not tested in winter conditions, the insulation in the Barkeep DLX 16 does indeed keep water from freezing.  I placed a bottle of water into the bag and placed it in a chest freezer for three hours.  The water did not freeze . . . it was just cool.  By that token it should also keep other goodies from freezing during winter rides.


Axiom Barkeep DLX 16

When closed the lid of the Barkeep fits snugly over the bag opening, extending down the sides about an inch.  This will keep out any snow during blustery conditions or winter tumbles.

FINAL THOUGHTS

While not a specifically dedicated fatbike product, the Barkeep DLX 16 does have applications in the fat world.

While riding in technical twisty and uneven surfaces, especially with front suspension, the Barkeep DLX 16 will require changes to your normal riding style.  On smoother trails . . . and undoubtedly during the winter months . . . this is not a concern.

Either way the Barkeep DLX 16 does offer fingertip access to a huge amount of storage.  The shoulder strap can be attached while mounted to the bike so it can be easily remove and carried on your person. 

Like its Paddywagon EXP 19 brother, Barkeep DLX 16 is extremely well constructed and the insulating properties of the bag will keep stuff cool during the summer and more importantly . . . from freezing solid during the winter. 

If you want quick access to goodies or gear, head on over to the Axiom site to take a closer look at the Barkeep DLX 16 or visit your favorite on-line retailer or local bike shoppe.

Ride on !

Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19 | Compact Expandable Storage

Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19

A short while ago Fatbike Republic had the opportunity to test the Axiom fatbike specific cargo rack called the Fatliner.  Its is a tough and versatile way to carry extra cargo on your fattie.

In addition to bicycle cargo racks Axiom Cycling Gear also carry a multitude of bags and baskets to accentuate your riding experience. Fatbike Republic was given the opportunity to review the Paddywagon EXP 19 and the Barkeep DLX 16.

Click HERE to take a look at the Barkeep DLX 16.

AXIOM

As mentioned in the Fatliner review, Axiom Cycling Gear not only design and develop cycling gear that works . . . they are also committed to the environment.

Whether the goal is daily commuting, granfondos or weekend recreation, we make bags that cover a lot of ground. Axiom panniers incorporate only the highest quality materials and are assembled using cutting edge manufacturing processes, so they're incredibly lightweight and last a lifetime. Every bag we make reflects the extraordinary attention to detail that is Axiom's hallmark. We sweat the details so riders can relish in the journey.

And Axiom stands behind their products with a guarantee warranted against manufacturing defects for the lifetime of the original purchaser.


PADDYWAGON 19 EXP

The Paddywagon EXP 19 is the Cadillac of the Axiom Trunk Bag lineup. At a MSRP of $129.99 CAD this insulated trunk bag is expandable, has multiple organizer pockets, a top-load bungee and a pump mount.

Additional details:

 - Constructed of 600D polyester with 3M reflective panels
 - Water resistant
 - Universal Velcro attachment system
 - 19L/1160 cu in of storage
 - Weighs only 613 g / 1.35 lbs
 - Branded rain cover included
 - Handy shoulder strap for carrying when off bike
 - Expandable: Main compartment and hidden panniers


Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19
This is one well though out and well constructed piece of equipment. 

The exterior of the bag contains a zippered pouch on the rear, pump mount (non drive side), embroidered grab strap on the front, and an adjustable bungee net on the top. 

Four velcro straps secure the bag to just about any bike rack, and in this case it’s a Fatliner.

As its difficult to visualize 19L of storage I grabbed a 1L tetra pack of one of my favorite non alcoholic beverages for scale.


Opening the top to the carnivorous interior there is a mesh pouch on the underside of the lid, a small pouch at the rear of the bag and an adjustable divider for the insulated compartment.

Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19 Trunk Bag

A
nd this is where this Paddywagon EXP 19 gets really interesting. In the top there is a second zipper that when opened almost doubles the interior storage capacity.  For additional space there are mini panniers hidden in the side pouches. These zippered bags also have bungee hooks that secure the base to the bike rack. Good thinking.


Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19 Trunk Bag

I decided to weigh the Paddywagon and it actually weighed in 558g which is 55g lighter than the claimed 613g.

Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19 Trunk Bag


To keep things dry when it gets extra wet, just wrap the bright yellow rain cover over the bag. In addition to having a reflective stripe on the rear, there are velcro straps to ensure the elasticized bottom stays put.


Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19 Cover

The Paddywagon EXP 19 installs to a rear rack with four Velcro strips . . . one in each corner. This is not a proprietary mounting system so it will easily work with just about any rear rack. And it stays put as well. I forgot to remove the bag one day, before the drive home, and after 30 minutes at 100kph it was still strapped to the rack.

Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19 trunk bag

IN USE

The Paddywagon EXP 19 was mounted to a street based Norco Bigfoot (Fatrod) and an off-trail Norco Sasquatch 6.1 for testing.


Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19 trunk Bag
Hitched to an Axiom Fatliner, in both on and off-road conditions, the Paddywagon did not budge from its perch.  The pump did have to be cinched down tight as it tended to migrate slightly (sliding back a forth), but there was no chance of losing it.  The more vibration the more often the pump moved.

Food and beverage items thrown inside the bag did stay cool, and the divider did keep items separated.  If carrying squishable items, like bananas, you may want to add some padding so that the items do not dance around and become mushy.  I used a couple of zip-top sandwich baggies filled with air. The rougher the terrain the greater need for the mush protection. I discovered this the hard way.



Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19 Trunk bag
The built in panniers did come in quite handy on several occasions.  I headed out wearing a light rain jacket one day and when it cleared the jacket stuffed neatly in the pannier.  Another time after fixing a flat tire, the slightly inflated tube was jammed into the pannier so I could get back to riding more quickly.  The attached hook, when clipped into the frame kept it from flapping around.

I did get caught in some extended duration heavy drizzle, and while I did have the rain cover with me, I never thought to slip it over the bag.  The outside of the bag did get wet and the contents stayed dry.

While not tested in winter conditions, the insulated bag does indeed keep water from freezing.  I popped a bottle of water into the Paddywagon and placed it in a chest freezer for three hours.  The result . . . cool water and nowhere near frozen.  It should also keep your granola bars nice and chewy as well.


Axiom Paddywagon EXP 19

The water resistant material and zippers will also prevent the white stuff from getting inside the case and getting the contents damp and soggy.

FINAL THOUGHTS

While not a specifically dedicated fatbike product, the Paddywagon EXP 19 does have applications in the fat world.  

For day trips, heading out exploring, or wanting to get the gear out of your backpack . . . the Paddywagon EXP 19 is a great option. Each pannier can comfortably carry a jacket and a few other small pieces of clothing.  Throw in some food and other necessities in the bag and off you go.

You will not have to scramble to strap on the rain cap as it is relatively waterproof on its own, and the shoulder strap makes carrying the bag a breeze.

The Paddywagon EXP 19 is extremely well constructed and the insulating properties of the bag will keep stuff cool during the summer and more importantly . . . from freezing solid during the winter. 

Head on over to the Axiom site to take a close look at the Paddywagon EXP 19 and the Barkeep DLX 16 or visit your favorite on-line retailer or local bike shoppe.

Ride on!





Saturday, 16 July 2016

Cane Creek - Thudbuster LT | Awesome !



A fully rigid fatbike is the essence of simplicity when gliding over a velvety covering of white snow.  Now shift a season and that velvety smooth trail has transformed into a rock infested, root strewn and hole pocked path that screams for suspension. 

There are a handful of full-suspension fatbikes on the market to smooth things out and there are several front shock options that will ease things on the nose of the bike.  But what can you do to stop the spine numbing pounding from a rigid rear end?  Standing is an option . . . but that sorta gets tiring after a while.

I was searching the interweb and found the Thudbuster by Cane Creek. Reading through their literature the benefits of the Thudbuster were touted for just about every type of bike . . . except fatbikes!

I reached out to the folks at Cane Creek and they bounced one over for some fatbike testing here on Fatbike Republic.


THUDBUSTER

There are two versions of the Thudbuster
  • LT (long travel) that provides 3” or 76mm of travel 
  • ST (short travel) that provides 1.3” or 33mm of travel 



The Thudbuster is manufactured from aluminum with stainless steel axles and bronze bushings. The parallel linkages that sandwich elastomers (rubber) provide the actual cushioning effect. When the rear wheel bounces upward towards the rider, the Thudbuster compresses downward and back sucking up the impact. Its pretty cool actually.

The elastomers do differ in shape between the LT and the ST versions with both Thudbusters available in a multitude of diameters that will fit just about every fatbike seat tube.

UNBOXING

Its great reading about all the technical stuff on the Thudbuster, but getting it in your hands you get a whole new appreciation to the thought and engineering that went into this bump absorbing device.


The Thudbuster LT comes preloaded with two #5 medium bumpers for a recommended 165-190 pound rider.  In addition to the detailed and well written set of instructions, there are two additional elastomers (#3 soft and #7 firm) so you can fine tune your ride. 

Be sure to take a look at the chart that outlines the recommended elastomer combination for weight ranges.   If you ride with a backpack take that into consideration when gauging what weight range you fall into. There is also a maximum weight limit of 250lbs.


Dropping the 31.6mm LT on the scale it weighs in at 611g.  I happened to have an extra seatpost kicking around and that weights 275g . . . so in essence the TB LT will only add about 336g to the overall weight of a bike. That may be unacceptable to some, but I think its quite reasonable given its benefits.



Installation is a breeze.  It installs like any other seatpost with the most time involved in finalizing the location of the seat.  When the Thudbuster engages, it slides backwards, and the seat slides backwards as well.  I found that it took a couple of short rides to get the seat in a comfortable position.


ON THE TRAILS

When I off loaded my Sasquatch at a local trail I stood back from the bike and looked at the Thudbuster and though to myself . . . I wonder will this actually work. The trail that I was heading for is peppered with rocks, mud holes, stumps and small drop-offs.  

As I entered the trail head and the first rocky section . . . nothing.  Nothing at all.  No jarring thumps to the spine, no rattling teeth, no seat bucking . . . nothing.  The Thudbuster LT's 3" of travel soaked up everything.  It was AMAZING!


Just because you have a suspension seat does not mean that you can tackle every obstacle sitting down.  Common sense will still have you standing for obstacles that require standing . . . even with a full-suspension bike.

After some riding I did find a little “sag” in the seat as it would compress ever so slightly with medium to light hand pressure.  I’m guessing this is attributed to a break in period.  I made some tweaks to the preloader adjustment which increases the force needed to initiate travel.  After I reached the maximum adjustment (7 threads past the locknut) I decided to swap out a #5 (medium) elastomer for a #7 (firm) and return the preload to the minimal setting (1 thread).


I continued testing the on other trails, gravel grinds and even on a mountain bike trail where the preferred method of travel is full-suspension bike.  The Thudbuster LT soaked up all the nasties I encountered while in the saddle.

I did notice, that even with fenders, mud did find its way into the Thudbuster’s moving mechanisms.  So you need to be a little extra diligent when cleaning your ride, or you could invest in the Crudbuster . . . a neoprene sleeve designed to keep the Thudbuster clean in nasty conditions.



Although not tested in the winter, its unlikely that a suspension seat post is needed for the winter months.  Actually, a fully ridged frame is generally the preferred option for pure snow riding as all the trail obstacle are generally covered by a carpet of white stuff.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Cane Creek Thudbuster LT is probably one of the best investments you can make to increase your comfort level during the non winter months.  It will not interfere with seat bags or rear racks and will fit just about every fatbike frame - with available seatpost shims for the odd dimension frames.  And it adds about one pound to the overall weight of the bike.

There is a little bit of tweaking to get your seat in optimum position and you may have to adjust your elastomer selection and/or the preload after the initial break in period.

Granted the Cane Creek Thudbuster not the same as having a full-suspension fatbike, but for less that $200 USD you can retrofit your current fat ride to make your excursions much more comfortable and a lot more fun.

Thanks Cane Creek.

Ride on!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Axiom Fatliner | Rack the Fat


All fatbikers carry some sort of gear/supplies when they go riding.  It could be as simple as a cell phone to call someone when you get in trouble, or piles of gear and parts making you the person who is called.  Most of the time it can be carried on your person or in a small bag or pouch on the bike. However, there may come a time when something a little more substantial may be needed . . . like a rear rack.

Having some experience with Axiom Cycling Gear when I played in the skinny tire world, I creeped the Axiom site and discovered that they carry a fatbike specific rear rack called the Fatliner.  I reached out to them and they sent one for review here on Fatbike Republic.

About Axiom

For 25 years Axiom Cycling Gear has been making quality bike products for cyclists that actually work.  Not only do they employ cutting edge manufacturing techniques using premium materials, they use environmentally sensitive processes and materials in all their products and packaging.  Their fabrics are free of heavy metals and toxic dyes and even the packaging is printed with soy-based ink.

Not only are these folks committed to cyclists, they are also committed to the environment.  Two big thumbs up!

The Fatliner

As part of Axiom's Streamliner family, the Fatliner is designed specifically for fatbikes.  According to Axiom the Fatliner is a "disc compatible rack designed specifically for fat bikes that centres loads closer to the rear wheel for improved stability and bike handling."

Details include:
  • Hand welded 6061 T6 aluminum
  • Sweepback feet maximize heel clearance
  • Fits dropouts spaced 170 - 190 mm (208 mm clearance at feet)
  • Mounts to eyelets or quick release skewer
  • Caliper/fender mount capability
  • Adjustable Versalock arms (280 mm)
  • 26" wheel size and up to 5" tire
  • 982g / 2.16 lbs (including hardware)
  • 50 kg / 100 lb capacity
  • Lifetime guarantee (can't get much better than that)
As you can see from the pictures the clean welds, matte black paint with red accents make this one sexy looking rack.  It would look at home on any fatbike.



The measured dimensions of the top surface are about 6.75" x 14".  Plenty of surface area to strap down just about anything.


And dropping it on the scale it weighs in at 807g which is 175g lighter than advertised.



Installing the Fatliner

If you are looking for instructions on installing the Fatliner, you are not going to find them.  Axiom do have instructions on installing a Streamliner DLX, however you do not need to be an expert bike mechanic to install the Fatliner.  All you need is a #4 and #5 allen wrench.

Included with the Fatliner are several bolts, washers and nuts to make the installation that much easier.



The first installation was on my 2014 Bigfoot "Fatrod".  This bike has a 170mm rear end with a QR and disk brakes.  In order to fit the 170mm spacing I removed the sweepback feet from the outside of the Fatliner's legs and mounted them to the inside.  This reduced the spacing to 170mm.

I used the Axiom supplied bolts to loosely attach the feet to the bike frame. The Versalock arms then attach to the upper end of the seat stay.  Not only do the arms slide in an out, but they also pivot allowing them to be compatible with many bikes.



With the rack in place it was time to level it (fore and aft) and tighten up the eight bolts (four on bike frame, and four on the Versalock arms).  This is a very sturdy rack and looks really nice on the street based fatbike.



Installing the Fatliner on a 2016 Norco Sasquatch was completed in pretty much the same manner.  As this bike has a 197mm rear end the sweepback feet had to be remounted to the outside of the Fatliner's legs.  I am aware that Axiom's literature indicates a maximum spacing of 190 . . . however the rack mounted up with no problem.



If you run a rear fender such as a BeaverGuard you may have to remove it for rack clearance.  However, I did devise a solution to mud/dirt deflection (see below).

In use

Riding with the Fatliner, either on or off-road, the rack was virtually unnoticeable.  The sweepback feet eliminated any possible heel strike, even when your feet are not optimally placed on the pedals.  As for aerodynamics . . . well this is a fatbike rack . . . if concerned about wind drag you may want to switch to something with skinny tires.



The Fatliner also makes a pretty decent camera mount and a place to grab and lift the rear of the bike when doing a 180 on a narrow trail.  With the rear fender removed for rack installation, muck and dirt does tend to migrate.  A flexible cutting board, a couple cuts with a pair of scissors, a few holes and volia . . . a quick and dirty Fatliner mud guard.  Hint hint Axiom.



I was heading out to do some trail maintenance and I spied a long forgotten set of panniers in the shop.  What better way to get the gear to the trail.  So I loaded up miscellaneous tools, folding shovel, axe and buck saw and headed out on the trail.  I also threw in the gear I normally carry in my backpack.  The Fatliner worked like a charm.



Final Thoughts

Whether its carrying trail clearing gear, groceries, or bikepacking stuff a rear rack is an excellent way to increase the carrying capacity of your fattie.

The Axiom Fatliner is easily mountable to multiple fatbike platforms, sturdy, has multiple areas for tie-downs, and is pretty slick looking as well.  With a claimed 100lb weight capacity this rack can carry a lot of gear . . . pedaling would be an entirely different issue.

At a suggested retail price of $79.99 CAD, its not a heck of a lot of coin for a whole lot of usability.

So if you are looking for a way to carry some substantial gear on your fattie be sure to check out the Axiom Fatliner and visit your favourite on-line retailer or local bike shoppe.

Ride on!