Thursday, January 16, 2020

Ti Muk Testing

 Since I have had the Ti Muk 2, I have gotten to ride it in snow only a couple of times, and even then it wasn't all that exciting since the snow was not around long, and there never was much of it to start with. However; now that we have had two snows in the span of a few days, we have a modicum of snow, enough to play on and get a better handle on......well, the handling! 

My first impression last year, (that seems weird to say now), was that the Ti Muk 2 was pretty good. This all kind of hinges upon what sort of snow you have and how much of it there is to ride on. My first impressions were based upon drifted in snow. That's generally the toughest type of snow to ride through/over. It's so fine and shifty, that wash-outs and fish-tailing rear ends are usually what you'll experience. The Ti Muk exhibited this to a minor degree, so I was heartened that this bike would be at least as good as the first Ti Muk. 

We'd gotten snow over the weekend, and then again on Sunday night. We probably had a total of four, maybe five inches. The temperatures were rising Monday morning, so I figured this snow would end up becoming "mashed potatoes", which, by the way, is the next most impossible type of snow to ride over/through. Well, for whatever reason, (I'm thinking because these storms came from the Pacific, not the Arctic), the snow had enough moisture that it actually set up and you could ride over it. Wow! 

We haven't had a lot of snow like this over the past decade. In fact, more often than not we've gotten the dried up, powdery stuff that acted more like sand than snow. The sort of snow that was almost impossible to make a snow ball out of, no matter how hard you tried. It was almost impossible to pack down and to ride a fat bike on as well. But Monday was a throwback day. It was awesome.

Kind of reminds me of the Triple D race.
  I decided to trundle on over toward the Green Belt via some alley ways and then using the "short cut" to Sergeant Road Trail which goes over Highway 63 between Fletcher and the junction of University Avenue. I traveled the bike path toward Fletcher then doubled back on the two-track service road just hard against the dike on the East side. I rode that completely which takes you up against University Avenue, then I turned up on to the dike itself. Doubling back again I rode the dike top towards Fletcher, then down into the park, around the dike end, and back to the bike path. 

This gave me a three layered "back and forth" course which was almost all untraveled  snow. I got a great handle on just what the Terrene Cake Eaters would and would not do. I also got a better read on the drive train's usability. Finally, I got a better judgment on the bike itself. So, with that I will start with the tires.

Maybe you've had Cake Eaters? If you have, you already know that they ride fast on harder surfaces. You probably also know that they don't have a ton of bite on loose, unpacked snow. I had to really exaggerate loading up the rear wheel with my weight so I could get traction on even the least bit of "up". I still have the tires that came on the bike, Dunder and Flowbeist, and those would have had a lot better grip. It's okay, because I so rarely have need of a ton of grip with a fat bike the way I typically use it. For a four inch wide tire, I was happy. 

The drive train is fantastic! The Rohloff has such a low gear, I doubt I'd ever even use it. I climbed the dike in 3rd, and that was probably one gear too low, but since I had to limit any chances of spinning the rear tire out with too much torque, a lower gear was better. Spinny was better than mashy. Of course, you have to know how to dance with a Rohloff, and I've had enough practice now I can whip into gears fairly seamlessly now. But honestly, I'm not sure where or in what situation I would ever use 1st or 2nd gears on this rig. On flats, pushing through the snow, the Rohloff's gear selection let me find a spinny gear which made for a nice, comfortable traverse of the three sections I rode. 

The entire bike is super stable and I was glad to be on a bike that didn't require 100% concentration to keep it moving forward and not wash out. Of course, maybe it was the great snow I was on too. Either way, the bike is really good. As good as the original Ti Muk, which I finished a Triple D on? Hmm..... That's yet to be determined, but so far my answer would be "yes", it is. 


teamdarb said...

You mention exaggerating the rearward load to get traction. This is the first real winter I have ridden my fat bike. Previous years it has just been a frameset. I can only ride one bike at a time. I, too, am having to shift rear quite a bit to get traction. I am starting to understand why folks are tending to longer wheelbase rigs. Folks keep suggesting a seatpost with more set back, but my tiny body does not like the position at all. I am more of a body over the peddles kinda guy, even on the cruiser. This may explain why the JJ Spaceframe is such a failed rig for me. The fat bike is the smallest Ritchey Commando with Bontrager Hodag, Gnarwhals, or Surly Nate (low buck model).

Jon BALER said...

If you are don't need more range, having your Rohloff geared easier than you need can be a good thing. It means you will spend more time in the more efficient upper 7 gears. Gear 11 is the 1:1 gear, so it is equivalent to whatever you chainring/cog you have.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jon BALER - That makes sense. I can feel that the #7 and below don't feel as nice. With the fat bike, I find the range I have now on the upper end is fine.