Showing posts with label Fargonaut. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fargonaut. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fargo Retrospective

My friend, Jason Boucher, just tripped over his old Gen 1 Fargo frameset the other day and was reminded of all the good times and friends he had and met with that rig. While my time with a Gen 1 Fargo has not been as "world-wide" in scope as his, it has been no less impactful. I was tthinking about all these things as I rode it yesterday to work and back again.

The "unofficial" Fargo Adventure Ride where I was introduced to the Fargo in '08
My introduction to the Fargo actually goes way back to the summer of '08 and the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, where Jason had been telling me he would be showing up on a super-secret, special rig for the ride. He did and it was a stunning bike for all in attendance to behold. Forging his new at the time, "Cagey McCagerson" persona, Jason had the top tube wrapped in black electrical tape to mask the name of the yet to be announced Fargo. We all dubbed the bike "Black Electrical Tape", and that was a fun ride. Well, later on that Fall, Salsa released the details of the new bike and I rode one at Interbike in the Fall. Then in late Fall, on a gloriously beautiful early November day, an old friend of mine and I went up to Minneapolis to join a ride with the Salsa Crew on new Fargos.

It was a really great ride, and was dubbed as the first "Fargo Adventure Ride" by myself and others, but "officially", it was just a Salsa event. The adventure was awesome from my point of view. I had never done anything quite like it before. I had my first taste of trailside coffee on this ride, but there were more firsts. I recall that this was when Obama was elected, I had my first taste of Sriracha sauce on hard boiled eggs, (thanks Mike Reimer!), and I came home with a brand spanking new Fargo, which I have been riding off and on to this very day. Definitely a "red letter day" in my life!

That's me on the left riding the last "official" Fargo Adventure Ride. Image courtesy of GNAT.

There were two more Fargo Adventure Rides and I was able to attend both of them. They were really a great time, and I was able to meet several great folks doing these rides. It was about this time that the Fargo underwent some evolutionary tweaks and the original nature of the Gen 1 design was slowly designed out of the model. In many ways, the Fargo has become a more capable "drop bar mountain bike", but for several reasons, I have not been able to quit on my Gen 1 frame.

My Fargo leaning up against a grocery store on 2009's GTDRI ride.
First and foremost, whenever I have thrown a leg over that Fargo, it feels like an old shoe, or your favorite pair of pants. That Fargo just fits! It feels very natural to me and as I ride it, I feel as though that particular bike was designed for me. I cannot say that about many bikes, if any, and somehow I have bonded with that bike physically to such a degree that I cannot imagine getting rid of it for that reason alone, but I have other reasons as well.

Me at Odin's Revenge last Summer (Image courtesy of M Quigley)
The other reason I would have a hard time parting with this rig now is the same reason I think Jason is thinking about this bike again- the memories. I have so many great riding memories stretching all the way back to 2008 with this bike. Of course, there are those three Fargo Adventure Rides, then there are a couple Guitar Ted Death Rides which stand out for me. I have ridden this bike at the Dirty Kanza, in Nebraska with my good buddy MG, and at Odin's Revenge last Summer.

I have ridden this Fargo through Winters, muddy Spring times, at the Night Nonsense gravel event when it rained all night on me. I've ridden this bike on awesome rides all alone and with groups of folks that were a blast to be with. There are just so many great times associated with this bike.

Finally, I have to say that even in 2014, the Gen 1 Fargo still works as a concept. It is not suspension corrected, which may be off-putting to many, but as a "heavy duty- all road bike" with "mountain biking/bike packing/adventure characteristics, it has no peer at this time. (Well, maybe there is that Co-Motion rig, but those are rare.) Is the Gen 1 fargo "perfect"? Not by a long shot, no. I wish it had the Alternator drop outs, for one thing, but it is dang close to being a perfect rig for these crazy gravel road and dirt road adventures I like.

I know one thing- there's going to be more memories forged with this bike, and I cannot wait to get to doing that! 

See Jason Boucher's take on the first Fargo appearance at the GTDRI and what effects it had on him here. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fargo Lives Again

This is the Fargo (Gen I) that I've been riding since November 2008. There have been some variations on the theme, but essentially, this rig has seen little change in the almost four years I've had it around.

I have to say that for the most part, I was loathe to swap out anything major on this bike due to the fact that it fit me like a glove the way it was. Some how or another, when it was hurriedly assembled in November of 2008, the fellas responsible for piecing this together hit on a close fit for me, and when I popped on an On One Midge Bar a bit later, it was as if the bike had been custom designed for me.

The other thing that influenced that feeling was my Karate Monkey, which I had dialed in over a period of years previous to getting the Fargo and it was my "ruler" by which I measured all other fits by. I started tinkering around with the KM shortly after I received the Fargo and it has never been quite the same since. I didn't want that to happen with the Fargo.

I know, I know- measurements, yadda,yadda,yadda..... I can't say exactly why it is, but a certain mix of components just makes things "right", and swapping out something, even a minor thing, can really upset the "feel" of any bicycle for me. I should say, sometimes that works in the positive direction as well.

I had installed some Origin 8 Gary II Bars on this bike, and it was a step backwards in terms of the feel of the bike. Even certain wheel sets I've used have made the bike "feel" slower, more sluggish, and others have been great, for no apparent reason other than they were different.

Well, all that to say that putting on Retroshift levers/mounts was a risky proposition. Maybe they wouldn't "feel" right. Maybe I'd like them, but you never know unless you try. That and I'd have to re-cable the bike in the process, which hadn't been done since it was built. (About time for that, huh?) Thursday night I was frantically throwing parts at the Fargo and turning wrenches until at about midnight, I was done.

I would have to wait until morning to see how everything would turn out, but I had high hopes. I was missing this bike, and it has been in limbo ever since I broke it down for the old bar end shifters, which ironically were used to make the Retroshifter mounts work for the "Orange Crush".

Oh.....and about these Retroshift levers: These are the newest versions, now becoming available, for use on that fancy-pants cross disc build you are thinking of for the upcoming cyclo-cross season. (You were thinking of that, weren't you?) The older version of the Retroshift lever/mount is a cantilever only design, (or you could run road BB-7's, I suppose). But if you have some BB-7 or BB-5 Avid mountain disc brakes, and want to use those on a frame up build, these newer levers will pull the correct amount of cable.

For me, I was happy to see the Goats at Retroshift decided to use the awesome Tektro RL-520 model levers as their base for the shifter mounts. These levers have a generous and comfy hood which makes for a nice place to leverage on climbs as well. Another cool feature is the contoured lever blade which really feels nice in the hand versus the original lever, which isn't bad. It's just that the RL-520 is about as perfect as it gets for an off road drop bar, in my opinion.

So, the ride to work and a detour for a longer loop home was the maiden voyage for the new set up. I really am going to like these shifters and the levers. Especially for how I am purposing this Fargo now. It is becoming my "gravel adventure machine". It isn't going to be the "go fast" option, but rather the "long, comfortable" option.

The Retroshift levers/mounts make for a fail-safe shifting option which can work indexed or friction style. The dead simplicity of the lever makes for a durable, reliable shifting mechanism, and for gritty, possibly muddy gravel rides, this will survive about anything I throw at it. Plus, for cruising on the hoods, you are right there ready to shift at a moments notice, which beats bar end shifters in the normal position.

Today is the 3GR, and I am using the bike for the ride. Should have a good first impression to write about after that, unless I get rained out, that is. Also, I should have a good feel for some other minor changes I am thinking of for the Fargo too. Stay tuned.....

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday News And Views

Some Local News......

 Salsa Cycles Demo Tour:

Just another reminder concerning the shop's having the Salsa Cycles Demo Tour come through the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area a week from today, June 29th. Details....

  • Time: 4:00pm - 8:00pm
  • Place: George Wyth State Park at the Shelter. (Go all the way back into the park)
  • Needed To Ride: Helmet, I.D./credit card, signed waiver, and your pedals if you run specific pedals on your bike that mate with your shoes.
  • What: Salsa Cycles bicycles including the Fargo, Vaya, Mukluk, and Spearfish. 
  • Ride On: George Wyth's dirt or paved trails. 
Bonus: There will be a mini-Fargo/Vaya Adventure Ride which will be led by me, Guitar Ted. It will go out from the demo truck and include some dirt, pavement, and back roads. The ride starts at 6:00pm sharp and should take about an hour and a half. Any cyclist is invited but you must sign a waiver and wear a helmet to join in.

Hope to have some good weather for this and to see many of you show up and test out these great bicycles.

 3GR Update:

Well, I mentioned there was a strong possibility that 3GR would get moved to Saturday and that is the case. However; there is another major change specific to this week's ride.

Sturgis Falls Celebration is going on now in Cedar Falls, Iowa. That means thousands of folks all over the place. That complicates the parking/gathering for 3GR in the Gateway Park lot. So.......this week we're moving the ride!

If you are fortunate enough to be able to make this one, it's gonna be a doozy! I am going to have the 3GR start at the convenience store on HWY 63 in Traer, Iowa. That's right.......I am going to ride some serious hills this time around! 

There will be a healthy dose of B Maintenance road as well, so if any of that appeals to your senses, head on down to Traer tomorrow morning and meet me at 8:30am on the south side of the BP convenience store. I'll be there and ready to ride, whether anyone else comes or not, but I hope that you do.

The route should be about 25 miles to 30 miles long. It'll start out relatively flat, but then the last half will kick in like a mule in the stall! The image above shows one possible hill we might ride on K Avenue, but we may ride the next one a mile westward which is even steeper, (and was featured in the trailer for the movie "300 Miles Of Gravel") Hope to see some of you there....

Fargo V1 Is Alive! (Again):

I was waiting on one final piece to the puzzle to get my Fargo V1 back together again. It finally arrived Wednesday, but I wasn't at work, so I found the Retroshift  levers when I got there yesterday.

These are new versions meant to run your linear pull, or Mountain BB-7 brakes, and are based on the excellent Tektro RL 520 model levers. (In fact, they are Tektro RL-520 levers with Retroshifts mods.) You'll notice the red anodization here. Retroshift is now offering colored bases on their levers, so you can kind of customize your look. I thought the red would be nice, but you'll see why when I post a full pic soon.

I've got the old girl back together now and I hope to ride it on the 3GR Saturday morning. It was kind of a bittersweet deal working on the bike, since much of what I removed was put there by myself, Jason Boucher, and Captain Bob one November night late at Jason's house. It was just before the first Fargo Adventure Ride, and what a weekend that was. I had fond memories welling up as I worked on the bike last night. Good times with lots of good folks.

In fact, I think that was the weekend I discovered Sriracha Hot Sauce. (Thanks Kid!)

Hope ya'all have a "hot" weekend doin' whatever it is ya'all do. Ride a bike. Take some pics!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


So, here's a nice image from the T.I.V8 course..
Trans Iowa V8 Prep: 

Yeah, like I said a few days ago- You're going to hear a lot about Trans Iowa in the next days. It is only a hair over a week away now. I have been busy with the last bits of preparation in order to not have a last minute meltdown.

Yesterday was all about getting the final form of the cue sheets printed. That happened, and it is the last big hurdle that I had to cross. Now everything else should pretty much fall into place.

Now it is all about assembling the final cue sheets into sets, packing them into zip-loc baggies, and starting to put everything into the bags for the riders on Friday the 27th when they come to the Pre-Race Meat-Up at the Grinnell Steakhouse.

I've got Clif Bar product already here, and Gu Energy product just shipped. I have boxes to pack for the Checkpoints and Finish line supplies, and tidbits to throw into another box for the Pre-Race meeting proper. I started putting together my re-route supplies to go into the truck as well. More details will get sorted on the weekend.

As for other things of note- the film "300 Miles of Gravel" is finished and will be shown at the Pre-Race. If you live in the Milwaukee area, the project might be getting shown up there on Fox 6. I'll post up any details I get on that if it comes true. I forgetting anything? I have a guy driving the first leg of T.I.V8 by the cues, to triple check that sector. Then the day before T.I.V8, I am driving that sector again, plus I am checking on a B Road or two. No "Road Closed" surprises right outta the gate this year!

Salsa Cycles Fargo Adventure Ride
For The Locals: Speaking of gravel road rides, I am going to instigate a bi-weekly, or weekly, (depending upon the interest), gravel road group ride. I'm calling it the "3GR". It's going to be geared at creating more of a community locally amongst those that ride and train on the country roads around here. I know plenty of riders go out, but everybody is pretty much doing their thing alone, which is cool, but this is a group ride option which really hasn't existed here since Jeff Kerkove left town.

There will be bigger, more challenging opportunities as well, including my "Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational" which happens just before RAGBRAI in July. There will also be a Salsa Cycles demo ride connected to this on June 29th. It'll be a "Fargo Adventure Ride", much like the ones that were held up in Minnesota, only shorter in distance. I'll probably call it something else too. Thinking "Fargonaut I" might be good.

The ride will be happening on a Friday afternoon, so doing a mega-mile ride isn't in the cards. Maybe 25-35 miles with a bar-b-cue and adult beverages afterward at some local park around here. Stay tuned for more details coming soon. Got anymore ideas? I'm open to suggestions here. Hit the comments....

and speaking of Fargos....
Fargo Tweaks: 
 I've been riding the Fargo Gen II as my drop bar single track machine lately. I got it set up in late fall last year, and not much time transpired before I had found out I was going to ride in Triple D, and the fat bike took over.

Well, now I am thinking on making a few minor tweaks. The saddle has already been adjusted a bit, and I may get a 10mm shorter stem, but I'm going to play with it as is a bit.

Funny how small changes make big differences in feel. One bigger change I made was going from Specialized Ground Control tires to the Michelin Wild race'r. It has a really squarish profile, kind of like a Hutchinson Python, but not as sketchy. In fact, this Wild race'r seems to deal with the dry hard pack really well. The biggest thing I noticed is how smooth it feels. This is a nicely damped, supple casing.

Okay, that's all the randomness for today.