Saturday, August 05, 2023

Fat Tires On Gravel: From Krampus To Gryphon

A Brief Look At The Fat Fargo

 Continuing on with this series concerning my thoughts and experiences with 29+ tires and gravel, today I am going to tell the story behind the Fat Fargo. Well, a little bit of that story, at any rate. 

See, I covered a lot about the Fat Fargo in a post I wrote recently for the "GTDRI Stories" series which runs on Sundays here. You can read that post HERE

In this post I will talk a little bit about how the bike came together and why I ultimately quit using it. So, with that said, let's dive in...

Going back a couple of weeks ago you might remember me talking about the B+ idea and how I was swapping those wheels and tires out into all of my 29"ers. Well, one of those bikes was my Gen 2 Fargo, which I had previously set up as my "mountain biking" Fargo. This set up had an 80mm travel 51mm offset Rock Shox Reba fork on it to keep the axle to crown height in check.

The first test ride of the fat Fargo set up in January of 2015.

My initial test ride was very promising. I was critical of the B+ idea because it was a slightly smaller diameter than 29" wheels and that caused the wheels to have a lack of momentum and as a single speeder, I find that to be a benefit. But, I was pretty encouraged overall. Here is what I wrote about my first impressions back in January of 2015:

"These still seem like a good choice for really rough, looser, back road events like Odin's Revenge to me, but if I cannot live with how they feel on gravel then I think my experimenting will be done. If they make it through that, then they stay on. Time will tell."

Then, as I stated in that linked GTDRI Stories post above, I was injured in 2015. I had a bad shoulder, and this bike ended up being one of the only bikes I had that I could bear to ride for longer than an hour or so.  With a scheduled appearance at the tenth DK200 coming up, I chose to take this and try to just finish the event. But before I got there, I shed some weight by taking off the seat post and fork. 

The Fat Fargo in its final form in the late Summer of 2015.

By the end of 2015 I had pretty much recovered enough that I was able to move back onto my other bikes. Then when 2016 rolled around I was on my Raleigh Tamland Two for gravel along with some Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross action and other test rigs for Riding Gravel. Meanwhile I had the Fargo Gen I, which I was not ever planning on getting rid of, a Singular Cycles Gryphon Mk1, and that made me wonder why I had either the Gryphon, a single speed, or the Fat Fargo just sitting around most of the time. 

Despite a a stellar season of riding in 2015, where I made 152 miles of the muddiest DK200 ever, a big chunk of what turned out to be my last Odin's attempt, and a GTDRI finish, I just found no reason to ride the Fat Fargo at all in 2016. I mean, zero rides at all. 

So, my policy is that if a bike sits around too long with no reason to ride it, and especially if I have no emotional connection to the bike, it has to go. The Fat Fargo was torn apart, the components and wheels used elsewhere, and the frame and fork went to a new owner in the Summer of 2017. 

The fat tires on gravel idea was on hiatus for a bit. Especially so because starting in 2017 I was hitting the pause button on a lot of extracurricular stuff due to an impending job change on the horizon. (Yes....I knew Europa was coming to an end far before it actually happened) So, things like experimenting with 29+ wheels was not feasible at that point. That would all have to wait. 

Next: Another Fat Fargo Idea

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