Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Traction Action

Things have perked up a bit since the soaker on Sunday
These "fat bikes", are kind of funny, because of the mindset folks have about them. It's either one of two things, and sometimes both of them. One- Those tires are huge! What are they for? And then there is Number Two- "I bet those are really heavy and hard to pedal, aren't they?"

These are bad bikes folks. Whatever you do- do not get one. Not because the tires are weird, and not because they are "heavy" and "hard to pedal". No- do not get one of these under any circumstances if you are against fun and mad traction. You'd just better stay away if those two things scare you. Really.....

But seriously- the traction these tires have on stuff that would normally sketch you out is astounding. It makes stuff easy, really. Like child's play. Take for instance the sand pit under the Highway 58 bridge in George Wyth. It's nigh unto impossible to ride a normal mountain bike across it without washing out, dabbing, or going helter-skelter off line. The Snow Dog went across this like it wasn't there. Straight across it, no issues. I thought I'd have to drop the tire pressure from my road-ish 10psi, but nope. I didn't have to do that either. Too easy.

Stopped again to admire some more green stuff.
So I continued on, trundling carelessly across the dried out single track. There comes a section of off camber stuff that is steep, blown out from the drought, and on a 29"er would be a tiny bit of a "pucker-up section". The Snow Dog showed no signs of sliding out at all. Just big time traction like I was on level ground. So rad!

This on Big Fat Larrys, and at 10psi. Had I used Husker Du tires, or Nates at a lower pressure, the traction would have been even better, or should I say "massive over-kill for the situation."? Yes- it would have been far too much good stuff right there for what I needed.

Two other things that jumped out at me while on this ride. First- the Ergon SM3 L saddle is really growing on me. I like that it supports me well, and with no chafing, while allowing my legs really free movement. Better than a lot of saddles in this respect, I would say. I need more long, (as in 3+ hour rides), on this to really give it a green light for me, but so far, I have been happy with it.

The second thing is that on my off camber sections I was hearing a creak-groan noise. I recognized it as an aluminum against aluminum noise. I stopped once in the clear and investigated. Found two loose chain ring bolts, (check your bolts and fasteners often folks!), and that wasn't it. Then I investigated further. The rear QR was tight, but not on the tightest end of the spectrum. So, I really wrenched it over and that did the trick. On that note, I thought that a through axle rear end is going to be in order here for fat bikes used as mountain bikes. The traction, leverages from the terrain, and pedaling forces all conspire to really over-work that poor quick release, which was really designed for a much narrower axle spacing on a road bike. So what I was thinking is we need a 177 X 12 through axle rear hub and frame to accept that.

Otherwise it's all good. Really good.


MrDaveyGie said...

Truer words never spoken.

Jon said...

I recently took my Mukluk to Fruita, Colorado, and rode some of the sandy/rocky trails at the Loma Exit. I was literally laughing out loud as I rode through some of the stuff where I normally get off and push my 29er.

At non-racing speed, I don't think that the extra size and weight of the tire really comes into play. If I was trying to keep up with another rider on a 29er, up the hills, I suppose the big tires would be a hindrance.

As it is, I really like riding the fat tires on dirt!