Salsa Cycles Mukluk fat bike I dubbed the "Snow Dog". It's a pretty special bike to me for several reasons.
I've always wanted a fat bike, for one thing. Ever since I saw Dave Gray's Surly Pugsley prototype sitting in front of Quality Bicycle Products warehouse. They have always been something I thought would be fun to ride, but the cash outlay to get yer mitts on one was too high, or so I thought.
Then late last year Salsa announced the Mukluk. I jumped on the ordering list for one. The asking price was too attractive, and I knew that Salsa would have the bike dialed. They did get it dialed, but unfortunately, a certain part of my Snow Dog isn't quite so dialed.
I sprung for an "upgrade" to my Mukluk that I had on order. I thought owning a set of Phil Wood hubs would be a no-brainer on this bike. I mean, they have the quality and reputation that most companies would kill for. That doesn't come just because they make high-dollar, good looking parts either. They certainly earned their keep over the years with a lot of folks.
Ben Witt loaned me his brand new, unridden wheel with a blue anodized Phil Wood hub in the meantime. What a great friend! I was able to put in several rides on the Snow Dog while I waited for my own wheel to return.
When the wheel did come back, I swapped out wheels and components, and went for a ride the next day. Much to my disappointment, the hub exhibited the same popping and snapping noises that it did from the get go. Five miles to work, and it popped about 10-12 times. On the return trip, I counted. It popped and snapped 24 times in five miles, and slipped once.
It was no good.
I contacted Phil Wood again, and they sent out a call tag, (last time shipping was on me), and today the wheel goes back to California. It really bothers me because it's Phil-freaking-Wood, and this isn't supposed to happen to their stuff. Everyone tells me they have never heard of anything like this about that company. (Well, now they have, and so have you.)
Secondly, I was super-stoked to finally get a fat bike, and now that I have one, it isn't rideable. Pretty ironic, that. Added to this is the fact that several friends, met and un-met, had collaborated to bring me the frame and fork for my birthday, and now their efforts are sitting in a corner gathering dust. That bothers me a great deal.
Finally, and not least importantly, I do not trust that hub. Ben Witt's Phil hub was flawless for me, but the one I own is cursed. I am afraid Phil Wood is simply going to try to fix it......again, and I don't want to even try it.......again. I haven't decided what I will do, if they decide to simply fix it and send it back. I have an idea or two, but I am pretty convinced I know that hub will never be right again. One thing is for sure- By the time Phil Wood and Company does anything and gets it back to me, it will be well into March, and fat bike prime time will be gone until winter 2011. I've got time to weigh my options.
It was good while it lasted, Snow Dog, but I am afraid you'll be hanging from a hook for quite awhile now. See ya next winter.