Browsed by
Tag: fatback

E-bikes and cargo bikes and fat bikes oh my!

E-bikes and cargo bikes and fat bikes oh my!

Day one of Outdoor Dirt Demo. There was dirt and wind and beer and bikes and… The Elliptigo. Maybe next year they’ll come out with a recumbent, E-Elliptigo but until then- I’m out.

Fatbikes. I like them. They are fun. Apparently other people like them too, and the bike industry has been selling lots of them. I also like cargo bikes. They have come a long way in the last few years and I’m trying to get my nephews set up with one so they are of particular interest to me this year. Another style of bike that piques my interest is the folder. Not just for smug commuters anymore, the folder is a great option for those that travel, don’t have much space in their houses, or those that may link up a few different types of transportation on their commute.

After missing the show last year, I was unsure what to expect- curious what changes had been made in the program as far as vendors and more importantly, the sweet deals that they sometimes bring to the demo.

One thing that was easy to notice as soon as you step off the bus, is the growth of the e-bike. I think it’s undeniable at this point that the cycling industry will have to make room for this growing sector of bikes. Like it, or not. Town bikes, cargo bikes, even mountain bikes were cruising up the hills at 20mph, quiet as a mouse with the driver pedaling with little effort and an unavoidable smile on their face. I tested one on a cargo bike platform (which as of this writing I’m going to say that its the only e-bike I’d feel comfortaly riding, unless no one was looking.) An Xtracycle Edgerunner, it had the Bosch gear box system which is pretty great, being a true pedal assist, unlike some that seem little more than electric mopeds. Though I rode it unloaded, I can imagine that with a full load of beer, kids, or potting soil- even steep hills would be climbable, maybe even with ease.

Dirt Demo, for whatever reason, is not attended near as well as Interbike. Some shop people or media folks love it- and why wouldn’t you? It’s 2 days in the desert, riding bikes you could never afford, with lots of trails, a pump track and even a goddamn shuttle. The interest seems to be waning still, with fewer attendees, and some vendors pulling out- maybe saving themselves for the show? Myself, I haven’t taken advantage of the shuttle, and don’t go buck wild on the riding- I just like to go around and snap photos of dirty bikes.

But I digress, the focus is on the bikes. So here it goes…

Read More Read More

The Trio in Talkeetna

The Trio in Talkeetna

Speedway Cycles/Fatback Bikes, and Backcountry Bikes, are thrilled to announce The Trio, a Mike Sterling Memorial Fat Tire Bike Race in Talkeetna, Alaska.

Denali Brewing Company is a cosponsor and is brewing a special beer as well as catering after the race at Sheldon Hanger.

Distances of 20, 40, and 60 miles, fat tires only (3.7″+). No runners or skiers.

The course features beautiful rolling terrain with narrow trails along with some river running and each lap takes you through downtown Talkeetna. Start and Finish will be at Denali Brewing Company.

Registration includes all the beer you can drink, as well as dinner and the band. And you get to do it all in Talkeetna!

Live Music after the race by the Rabbit Creek Ramblers!

Awards will start at 7pm.

TrioFlyer2015-540x700
————————–————————–————————–—–
Registration:

Online: Ends 3/11/2015 at 9pm AKST.

Bib pickup at Speedway Cycles on Thursday 3/12/2014 between 6 to 8 PM.

Registration Day of: 7-8am on Saturday 3/14/2014.

There are no refunds.

More details to come.
————————–————————–————————–—–
http://denalibrewingcompany.com/
http://www.fatbackbikes.com/
http://www.mountainbikealaska.com/

New Bike Day: Fatback 190 Rocker

New Bike Day: Fatback 190 Rocker

If you’ve been reading a while, ya’ll know my affinity/fascination/obsession with fatbikes. I’d wanted one since I moved to Seattle, but since my move back to Alaska it became a “when” not an “if” I was getting one.  I looked around a bit and figured out that the main thing that I was looking for was fatness.  I wanted to be able to float over the soft terrain without having to lose 75 pounds because let’s face it, that won’t be happening.  That meant a frame that would allow for 100mm rims and the fattest tire which is currently marketed at 4.8″.  I also didn’t want an offset wheel, and something that I could throw a 29″ wheelset on in the summer would be nice too.

I went with a Fatback 190 Rocker.

DSCN9911

 

Fatback Bicycles is not a big brand that has a bunch of backing, it’s a couple passionate dudes in Alaska.  At the forefront of Fatback is Greg Mattyas. Greg was born and raised in Anchorage- racing bikes and skis and being awesome.  He opened up Speedway Cycles in 2007.  A busy man, Greg spends his time juggling bike shop dailies, furthering the sport of fatbiking, going on epic adventures, family life, and innovating fatbike technology.  Fatback was one of the first mass produced options offering an alternative to Surly’s Pugsley- with a few notable features that set them apart.

  • They’re a bit lighter than a Surly. Being aluminum, they weigh in at under 4lbs for the frame.
  • They are made in the USA.  The aluminum frames are made in Oregon.  For a while they were doing steel and ti frames, which were also made in the US.  (They have recently added the carbon Corvus frame that I’m fairly certain is made over seas.)
  • Symmetrical rear wheels.  I like them- Surly doesn’t do ’em.  Figure it out. Makes for a nice transition to a 29″ summer bike with the same frame. Nuthin’ on Surly, but I like symmetry.
  • Fatback has been integral in the advancement of fatbike technology.  After starting with a 165mm rear hub, Fatback swapped to the 170mm symmetrical rear hub, which is currently the industry standard (though it’s really looking like 190mm might be the future.)
  • Fatback was a sweet funk band.  No- I don’t think that there was any relation to the brand, but FATBACK was awesome.  Check ’em out:


Anyway…
I met up with Greg at Interbike and asked him what I had to do to go home with a Fatback.

Apparently Fatback production was lagging and demo bikes had a couple more stops to make before they made it back to Alaska- but he’d make something happen.

When I got home, we emailed back and forth (more than he would have liked to, I’m sure.)  Even so, his communication was prompt- which was much appreciated.  I was fixated.  I wouldn’t stop until I was riding along the beach- on sand or snow, with 4.8″ wide tires underneath me at 8psi. Thankfully, things came together.

I’ll skip the part where Melissa got a bike and I didn’t… and just say that we left Anchorage with a Fatback for her- thanks to Robert at Speedway Cycles. He sold her on a a 14″ Fatback Deluxe which-  jealous as I was, I was super excited to see her so excited about a bike.  She loves it!

Well, I got the email about 2 weeks back that my bike was done.  Alaska being Alaska, it helps being creative on shipping.  I made some calls and the Lynden Transport barge was headed out of Anchorage the next day.  Greg had one of his guys bring it to the office and off it was- on a boat across the sound- to arrive between my loving legs a few days later.

On it’s arrival, the folks at the shipping company were all-a-chatter:

“Where’s the motor?”

“That thing is huge!”

“Is that a bicycle!?!”

I just smiled.  My bike was finally here! In all of it’s “mountain bike on steroids glory.”  It had seemingly traveled in the freezer van, as it was covered in frost on receipt of the bike. That’s okay.  It’ll see a lot colder temperatures in the future.

There it was- my Fatback.  All dressed up with a Revelate Designs frame bag and “gas tank” with no place to go (pedals were stored in the frame bag,) I walked it home and made it ready to ride.

The details:

  • Fatback 190 Rocker frame (The Rocker is the rocker dropouts allowing chain tensioning/belt compatibility)
  • Fatback Aluminum fork with hella braze-ons.
  • SRAM X9  2×9 drivetrain with Gripshift
  • FSA Comet cranks
  • Kona WaWa pedal
  • (F) Surly Rolling Darryl rim to 135mm Fatback (import) hub (4.8″ Lou tire)
  • (R) Surly Rolling Darry rim to 190mm Fatback (import) hub (4.8″ Lou tire)
  • Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors (one argument for mechanical brakes is price- the other is field repairability.)
  • FSA bars, seatpost, headset, stem

Overall weight: 32.5lbs

First impression.  It’s big.  Tire pressure was higher than it would be if I were on soft sand or snow- about 25psi.  I was riding alongside a curb, turned the bars and BOOP- up and over it.  The bike just rolled right over it like it was no big deal.  It was almost comical.  Pedaling felt a little sluggish at first- the wheel weight is far more than I usually have to contend with.  Once I picked up some momentum things were going good.  I wasn’t going to set any speed records, but the momentum was decent and once you just get used to the fact that you’ve got two speeds: 1) slow and 2) steady- it’s not half bad.  The 2×9 SRAM drivetrain operated via Gripshift worked well, even with the 4.8″ Surly Bud tires on 82mm rims and a 190mm rear hub pushing the drivetrain so far out.  No chain rub on the tires whatsoever.

I will say you shouldn’t get a fatbike expecting a mountain bike.  It’s a different animal.  Sorry.  It’s fun- but it WON’T BE AS FAST AS YOUR 29″er… Unless the terrain gets soft.  Then? Then I’ll be passing you by as you walk out.

No… I didn’t do anything epic.  I just rode around town. But I had fun.  I got out of the saddle and cranked on the pedals- the super wide bars giving lots of leverage.  Apparently the rocker dropouts weren’t secured, so they slipped  and the tire started rubbing on the frame.  I got it fixed up and tightened down and it was good to go.

Since then I’ve ridden on the mudflats of Hartney Bay, up the Ibek Slough Sands and on the Copper River Banks.  I’m excited about more adventures- when weather agrees to the travel plans.  I’ll be looking into a packraft next, which opens up way more terrain- even just paddling across the Copper River where the bridge is washed out and riding out to the Million Dollar Bridge would be fun.

I was thinking I was going to go with the Clownshoe rims, which are currently the widest fatbike rim available at 100mm.  I was dissuaded at the last minute by two reasons: 1)Lots of folks are going with 82mm rims, and since the frame will still run 4.8″ tires, it was splitting the difference.  2) More importantly- Clownshoes were back ordered and I may have had to wait another month for my bike.  So that settled that.  Rolling Darryls it is.

By no means is the honeymoon over- I am really digging the build and everything about the bike.  What I am seeing though is the insane cost associated with a growing, but still niche market.  Everything costs more.  The bikes themselves aren’t cheap. The Aluminum 190 XO1 bike– basically what I have, retails at $3700.  I got a bit of a deal as it’s a used bike- a prototype, even.  But it’s still more than I’ve plunked down on a bike ever.  I’ve got a boner for some studs, but the only factory studded tires available are the Dillingers from 45NRTH- coming in at $225…  Each.

I’ve got a few things that are on my list of upgrades though.  Things like:

  • 45NRTH Dillinger studded tires
  • I’d like to try 180mm rotors for a little more stopping power.  They come with 160’s to give more heel room, so I may start with the front.
  • A Schmidt SON dynamo hub (laced to a Clownshoe rim) Yeah- they make ’em in the 135mm spacing for the front.
  • A 29er wheelset for the summer.  Likely the Surly Rabbit Hole rims.
  • Jeff Jones H-bars.  
  • A Gates belt drive.  I’ve had mixed feelings on my Gates system on my SSCX bike, but for a beach tour- I think it’d be the best way to go.  Single speed.  The grit and salt can wreck havoc on a chain drive.  Derailleurs and all that- just take it off. It’s all the same grade, you don’t need gears.  A great option to have and one of the reasons I went with the rocker dropouts.
  • A packraft.  Because, that is the next step…

 

Interbike confirmed that things in the fatbike world were, as most of America- getting fatter… Of course there’s a way to lighten the load without dieting – carbon.  The carbon steeds at Interbike were under 29lbs complete with 4.8″ tires.  If that’s your thing then you can look towards the folks working in that medium.  There is the the Fatback Corvus, the 9:Zero:7 Whiteout and the Borealis Yampa to name a few.  Though I do like carbon, I wanted a bike that could be thrown around a bit.  I see the carbon option for the racers more than the adventure tour types.

So get out there and ride your bike.

 

Interbike 2013

Interbike 2013

Interbike 2013.  2 days in the desert at Bootleg Canyon, 3 days at the Mandalay Bay.  In that time I consumed 10 supplement bars chopped into bite sized pieces, 14 energy gels, 9 Dixie cups with some sort of recovery drink, 147 beers, 18 shots of whiskey, 1 shot of Ass Juice, 8 gin and tonics, 19 whiskeys on the rocks, 6 32oz margaritas, and 4 Bloody Susans.  Even with all the liver training I do, my body hurt by the end of it.

Interbike has become something of a pilgrimage for me.  My fifth year attending, it’s a time to see friends that I don’t see often, if ever, outside of this annual trip to Las Vegas.  Interbike is 750+ exhibitors, representing 1200+ brands, selling their goods and services to wholesalers, retailers, and manufactures.  Working Media (the reason GMG is allowed in) is present to cover the new and sometimes exciting products that are available, to help build the buzz about the coming year.  This year was a little different, with the final day being an “invite-only” consumer day- where retailers could invite their top customers to check out the floor.

Along with having a different events company put on the show, Interbike changed location from The Sands Convention Center to Mandalay Bay.  The new location seemed smaller, but also ran smoother on the registration end and I for some reason found it easier to find the venue.  The small venue made the inside feel a bit cramped, like exhibitors were stacked on top of one another. Mandalay is also in a less convenient location on the strip- reducing the number of cheap hotels and bars within a close walk.

Outdoor Dirt Demo:

I had some much appreciated company at Dirt Demo this year, as Felix and Kerry flew in from Seattle to hang out.  We walked in the dust and drank beers in the desert while we looked at bikes.  My focus on a personal level this year, was looking for my next bike which- with my move back to Alaska, is a fat bike (spoiler alert: Gon’ get myself a Fatback.)  Fatbikes have seen a lot of growth recently, with carbon becoming a very popular frame material.  Fatback has the Corvus9:Zero:7 has the Whiteout and Borealis has the Yampa.  Along with new materials- there is a shift in rear spacing- with 190mm becoming pretty standard, allowing for the fattest tires currently available (4.8″ wide on a 100mm rim.) The carbon frames are using through-axles, so the actual spacing is 197mm (3.5mm extra is needed per side)  Felt even had an electric (albeit aluminum) concept bike there, called the FatE.

DSC_0023

 

Broke out the calipers to measure tire width and it made a couple manufacturers nervous.  When I checked the Surly 4.8 Bud and Lou tires on a 100mm Clownshoe rim, they came out to 4.55, for whatever it’s worth.
DSC_0004

The Fatback Corvus is available for pre-order HERE.  They didn’t have one available to ride, but this 3-D printed version was built for mock-up, and I’m feeling confident that it will be at least on par with the offerings from 9:Zero:7 and Borealis.  You may wonder why I’ve got such a boner for Fatback.  For one- they are in Alaska.  By in Alaska I mean- go to Speedway Cycles in Anchorage and talk to Greg, the owner.  They ride here, they tour here and they race here.  The changes these bikes see in them are due to the terrain and environment in Alaska.  Other fatbike builders have an “Alaska Connection.”  Maybe they started here, maybe they went to school here, they likely come back to visit.  Also- Fatback has their aluminum frames made in Oregon.  So there.

DSC_0017

Felix found a bike he liked- the Santa Cruz Heckler.

DSC_0027

Dirt Demo is much mellower than the inside show- fewer people and a much more relaxed feel- but it’s only two days.  So come Wednesday morning- it was off to the show.

I had bold plans to Strava my travels during the day to make some sort of “Blogger Battle” but the GPS signal didn’t work too hot in the basement of a massive hotel/casino.  Oh well.  On top of that- I wasn’t armed with a fancy camera like Felix had (he was the cameraman for the above shots)- I may have forgotten it in Seattle after an extremely late night of pizza and beer drinking with the rest of the GMG posse.  But I did have my phone- and since hey- I’m not a product photographer, I’m a blogger.  I’ll just tell you what I saw, show you some mediocre photos taken with an old iphone and you can look it up later.

Sometimes there are new products at the show that really impress me.  This year seemed to be the year of the fatbike- or the E-bike.  I don’t really know much about the E-bikes and though they are really getting better, I think they have a way to go to really gain a foothold in the younger US market.  Fatbikes, however- are the new fixed gear, it seems.  Bikes become less of a “niche” when companies like Kona, Salsa, Trek, Specialized, and even Motobecane have them.  They are popular for people that live near sand or snow, or just want a big ol’ whip to throw around and play on.  They are getting lighter, and for $1600 you can get some 85mm carbon rims that weigh 590grams (Currently in production/available for pre-order, and yes- that is $800 per RIM) from Borealis.  Also stay on the look out for some lightweight rims from Stan’s NoTubes in the spring.  It will be an aluminum 80mm rim weighing in at 487grams.  It should be available as a complete wheelset as well as the rim only.

For your fatbike rack- look no further than Old Man Mountain.  Handmade in Santa Barbara, CA.

image[7]

Revelate Designs, based in Anchorage, AK can hook you up with outfitting your bike (fatbike or otherwise) with frame bags, pogies (handwarmers) and other bike luggage.

And there was some other, non-fatbike related stuff that was cool too.  Some of the stuff that really stuck out:

  • Feedback Sports has their Rakk Stand, the Velo Hinge (my favorite of their new stuff), the Velo Column and their Pro Truing Stand (which also has a disc brake rotor gauge.
  • Fyxation is gearing up fixed gears, by selling their SixFix.  It adds a derailleur and six speeds to your track end bike.  Now people are converting fixed gears!  It will come as a $300 kit including rear wheel, 6sp cassette, shifter and derailleur.
  • Blackburn is doing some cool things with a redesign on their racks, making some new lights (like the variable power, self adjusting Central Front Light), and is working with pannier security with their Interlock rack and bag combo.
  • Velo Orange has a new frame in the 29×2.1″ Camargue (named for an ancient French horse, known for it’s ruggedness.)  They’ve also got what their calling “Crazy Bars”  a 22.2 handlebar with 23.8 horns.  They’re making a Grand Cru front bar bag– $200 and made in Baltimore.  Also digging the Pass Hunter– basically a rando with cantis.
  • Smith is doing good things in the helmet department with the Forefront.  Available in 11 colors (Wow.) it should be available in March and retail for $220.  It uses Aerocore® design, made with Koroyd™.  Lightweight, “30% more impact resistant than EPS, it’s lightweight- has an optional light/camera mount, is goggle compatible, washable, antimicrobial, their “performance glasses fit nicely in a groove above the visor (which is removeable.) The material is pretty cool, it looks like a bunch of straws glued together, allow for good ventilation.
  • Gripstuds makes screw in studs for the DIY’er.  Not a bad (or cheap) option for those that want to customize their tires, shoes, whatever.  They’re about $1 per stud, but really, you don’t need a whole lot, and they are carbide, and much lighter than making your own studded tires with screws.
  • Swrve makes awesome stuff.  They’ve been making lots of things in the US, but it seems like some production is moving elsewhere…  Check out the new Durable Cotton Trousers, and a beautiful Selvage Denim Work Apron.
  • Slip Not Chains seem a good idea if you don’t want to commit to studs and would be better in snow (but probably not as effective as studs on ice)
  • Brooks had some cool stuff like their Cambridge Rain Cape ($160,) Their VEGAN Cambium Saddles and the Brooks MT21 ($70)
  • Lezyne had a couple new things- notably, the new Digital Floor Drive pumps.  What I like about Lezyne is that their tools are designed to be rebuilt when broken, not thrown away.  Even the new digital display will be backwards compatible with their Floor Drives- if you’d rather look at a digital display- swap it out.  Also cool is their Porta Shop tool kit.
  • King Cage.  Titanium and Stainless bits for carrying liquids and things on your bike.  They had a really cool handlebar flask that has two shot glasses onboard.  It’s in production.  They’ve also got the bar bell- a bell that’s a shot glass.  Ron at King Cage might even drink more than I do…

image[4]I think that about wraps it up.  I made it through another Interbike.  Next year I really hope to get Greg and Bryan down to help cover it.  I also need to bring a stunt liver.

Whether you love it or hate it, Interbike does something for the bike world.  It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.  I see people I like and people I don’t- because after all “Just because we both ride bikes, doesn’t mean we’re friends.”

Fatback introduces the carbon Corvus fatbike

Fatback introduces the carbon Corvus fatbike

As fatbikes get more popular, as well as fatbike races, we are watching these bikes get lighter, with a growing number playing with not only carbon forks, but carbon frames.  Fatback  (one of my favorite on the market) just released their carbon Corvus, and though I haven’t seen a price point, I’m sure these are going to be a popular choice for those looking for light and fat.

I am so stoked to see what they have this coming week at Interbike in Las Vegas- and hope to bring one home with me…  I’ve got my fingers crossed.

FATBACK INTRODUCES CORVUS, A COMPLETE CARBON FIBER FAT-BIKE

Anchorage, Alaska – Fatback announces the addition of the CORVUS CARBON FRAME AND FORK to its lineup of back-country all-terrain bikes. The complete bike, frame, and fork are available now for pre-ordering through the Fatback website.

The Fatback Corvus is made for snow treks and shoreline tours, long hauls and short joy rides, week long excursions and weekend races; it’s ready for any adventure. The frame utilizes the strength of a unidirectional carbon fiber layup, with a monocoque front triangle and bonded chainstays and seatstays. With its integrated rack mounts and maximized storage capacity in the front triangle, riders can carry a wide range of gear while taking advantage of the lighter and stiffer frame that carbon fiber offers.

The Corvus frame features generous standover clearance with a tapered head tube, and a standard BSA threaded external bottom bracket. The Corvus rear triangle is built around the new 190mm symmetrical rear hub spacing that Fatback developed and tested over the previous winter. The Corvus will ship standard with the newly launched Fatback Sterling 4.2 inch tire, but has enough tire clearance to run up to 4.8 inch tires. The frame also has three water bottle mounts, four integrated rear rack mounts, a removable rear derailleur hanger, a 12mm thru axle, and a removable low direct-mount front derailleur spacer so riders can run either a single or double chainring setup.

The Corvus fork features unidirectional carbon fiber monocoque construction with a 15mm thru axle, a molded cable channel, post mounts for 160mm rotors, and a tapered steer tube. The Corvus fork also has enough spacing to handle the 135mm Fatback hub and 4.8 inch tires.

corvus-600x382

 

About Fatback

Fatback has been forging a niche in the market since 2007. The company continues to make tracks by popularizing the 190mm drivetrain for riders who want to roll with even wider tires (4.8 inches). Fatback is a key player in the fat tire market and was the first to offer many standard features that fat tire riders know today, including 170mm wide symmetrical hubs, huge tire clearance, race and epic adventure proven geometry and more than enough standover clearance.

The company continues to keep its lifestyle front and center by creating top-notch products so riders are prepared to conquer back-country mountain riding. Greg Matyas, owner of Speedway Cycles and all-around product guru, brings leadership and experience to this pioneering brand from their Anchorage, Alaska headquarters. Greg is also responsible for the development of many fat tire components including cranksets for e*thirteen and FSA, carbon forks, and single wall aluminum rims to name a few. For more information, visit: www.fatbackbikes.com

Swiped from Fat-bike.com