Monthly Archives: September 2015

Its Mid Week.

My bench. 910am

I had a window to ride yesterday afternoon and I ditched it. Another one this morn and I ditched that too. I cant complain when my ride hours are not what I wanted this week, But I did spend a bit of time in my happy place this morn. Was a great morning for coffee in the park. My fav bench was open. Its a great spot where the sun hits but the wind is blocked. If the sun is out it can be 30 degrees and I can sit there in a t shirt soaking up the sun.

I spent a bit more time there this morning to help offset the non bike ride. It was very nice.

Its mid week already and about this time I turn to see whats up for the weekend. I had plans to do my first enduro in Marquette. As I expected something came up. Apparently I had a wedding I was supposed to go to. So since I wont go to the wedding I in turn cant go to Marquette. In theory only. Or that’s what it looks like on paper. If I wont take off of work to go to the wedding I cant take off to go to Marquette. Such is the give and take of life. Another time.


Its fall and the ships start running on my side of the lake. Here’s the first one I saw this morn. Its the Samuel De Champlain. Another tug boat bolted to a barge. These guys stay closer to shore anyway. Not a real open sea ship.

This week I will take ski\snowshoe inventory and will put first order in. Ive decided to do a small order due to the weather dudes calling for a weak winter. Ive mentioned this before but I study the all the info on the National Weather Service site. This is the site the local weather guys look at. I tend to use their info over the Farmers Almanac or other crap like that.

Back to the weekend, I cant go to Marquette but I can still ride. I just might take Sunday and drive up to Door County myself. Or something like that. Something anyway.

Thats about it today. Not to much. Weather look great for the next week. Fall is here and its game on. Dont waste a minute.


My Fat Bike History

Fatbike # 1: A 2009 Pugsly

The Pug is the bike that started it all. The first mass produced fatbike. Back then you really needed vision to develop one of these things. Hats off to Surly. You can still buy this bike today pretty much the same as it was back then. Many components  have been updated and are considered outdated by today’s standards. Back then nobody was drilling out rims yet. The thing weighed a ton.

Fatbike#2: 2011 Moonlander

Then the push to go even fatter was my 2011 Moonlander. Still a mass produced Surly bike. Huge 100 mil rims with 5 in tires. But still used a standard 135 mill hub. Was weird to put on the rear tire up thru the needed offset frame. I didn’t like this as much as the Pug. I felt it the bigger tires were a bit much for summer riding. Although that didn’t stop me from hitting up the lake a few times.

Fatbike# 3: 2012 9zero7

Then, several other manufacturers starting popping up. Mostly frame only. I got a hold of 9zero7’s in 2012 and thats when all the bike building started. If you wanted to run a aluminum frame you had to spec it yourself which made it tough to sell. No two bikes were the same, many close tho. But not identical. In fact, this bike used old levers and derailleurs I had laying around. The tire\rim choices were very limited. I went with the Marge lites then so I could rip it up in summer a bit more. Just 65 mil wide. At the time this was a pretty nice fatbike. Even tho I sold it a long time ago its still in this configuration today.

Fatbike# 4 and 5 2013 Farleys

Then boom! The big manufacturers started dabbling and I got on the Trek bandwagon. The Farley came out in two models in 2013. Hard to get. I built, then rode the lite blue frame only to find that the geometry puts a 17.5in frame a little small for me so I got the black frame in 19in and switched everything over. Now a game changer as the bikes could be ordered complete like any other bike. Even tho I choose to build my own but I do that with all my bikes.

I used the Northpaw 47 mill rim. Yup, even narrower than the Marge’s. Still, I was not going for float but a more MTBish fatbike. Yes, there were times that I suffered in the snow with the skinny wheels but not as much as you would think. I can remember maybe 3 times. But the bike was fast and summer worthy. At this time nobody was riding these bikes in summer on dirt. Everyone was still trying to go bigger when I was past that stage and going smaller.

Fatbike# 6. Carbon!

You would think now that Trek is pumping out fat bikes thats where I would stay. But no. In late 2012 I got me a carbon 9zero7 Whiteout. Holy crap a super lite fatbike. Again with the Northpaw rims and XT one by ten. Full XT hydro brakes and at the time everyone wondered how hydro would work in the cold. We all have been on mechanical up to then. I heard the seals will freeze and fail. Well, nothing happened, worked perfectly and I even let the bike outside one nite at about 0 degrees, then rode it no problem. I remember reading about tests others did and thinking that Ive done that test months ago. Anyway, the bike was great and remember racing it in both the Fat Bike Birkie and the Shuammy Fat Tire in Sept 2013.

Fatbike# 7: 2014 Trek Farley 8

Then Trek upped the game with a stock bike that came with a Bluto fork. And pretty much put the end of me having to build bikes to sell. They now came speced great out of the box. Problem was, one could not get enough of them. I loved this Farley 8 and now it was for sure a summer fatbike with frickin’ suspension. Many people said it was not a “true fatbike” with the sissy fork and those riders were just in denial. Fatbikes were now mainstream. Its like when you listened to Metallica all those early years and then they come out with “Enter Sandman” and now your little sister is playing it. Its progress either good (fatbikes) or bad (Metallica).

Fatbike#8: Trek Farley 9.8

That brings us up to today. The Farley 9.8 that Ive written a ton about of late. The best of the bunch. Carbon 27.5 rims and tires. Such an awesome summer bike at 23 pounds. As I mentioned yesterday its in 29plus mode now and Im having a blast on it. The speed that these bikes evolved is crazy. Its not that long ago I was scrambling to build all theses bikes with parts that were rarely in stock. Hub width standards seemed to have calmed down with the fronts at 150m and the rear at 197m (thruaxle). I can remember building bikes where the prior bikes wheels would not fit. I remember stripping down perfectly good wheels just to put a different size hub on it. What a pain.

And while the manufactures still always play catch up in the fall the bikes are, for the most part, easier to get.

That 9.8 has been on the top of my car ongoing for days now, Im riding it almost everyday.

And thus ends (to date) my fatbike history.


Stache vs Farley: 29 plus

Sort of an uneventful weekend. I did get out on 2 MTB rides tho. With a total of 2 and a half hours between them. Still looking for close to 10 hours again this week.

29 plus Farley

Im really starting to like the 29+ Farley 9.8 more and more. The more I ride it the smoother Im getting on it and the faster too. I know its crazy talk but Im actually considering racing in a couple weeks when the MTB races are in town. Im sure I wont but at least Im thinking about it. Im feeling that good on this bike right now.

Racing the big wheels you need to kinda change the way to race. Gone are the quick accelerations in tight corners. When your rolling thru the tight stuff you can really feel the big wheel diameter. Its huge. But then when its flowy and fast you sure can feel it too. Those big wheels/tires have super traction on both corners and hills. You need to learn to brake less and keep your rolling speed up on the corners. More than with a normal MTB. Once you start to brake less you don’t need to accelerate as much as before.

And on the steep but short up’s in the past the first thing that would happen to me as I grinded up in granny gear is the rear tire would spin and Im done. Not anymore. No slippage on any climb. If I can turn the pedal Im good to go.

This theory is not new. Or limited to me. Riding a fat bike over tough terrain just makes it easier. You don’t have to be so specific to your line. Just point and shoot. Either 29+ or fatter.

So now that Im ripping it up on the Farley 29 plus you may ask me about Farley vs Stashe.

29 plus Stashe

First off,  the bikes are really close in performance. The Stashe is more of a trail bike as the Farley does have a hint of race geometry in it. The Stashe is made to go down gnarly stuff. The Farley is made to go fast on the groomed winter race courses. Sadly, I did not have the Stashe when I was in Marquette last month. So I never used the bike for what its made to do. But I rode it enough to know how much fun it was to ride. Of course everything else being equal the nod will always go to the Farley as you can pull off the plus wheel set and put the fatties back on and join in all the winter games.

Thats said, the 27.5 by 4in carbon wheelset that comes with the Farley 9.8 is off the hook. Just a smidgen smaller in diameter compared to the 29+.  Im pretty sure I would be just as fast with those wheels on in the summer. Almost no weight difference if you weigh the wheel and tire. Im only running the plus set cuz I had them made. I could sell them anytime and put the carbon fatties back on no problem.

The 9.8 Farley is lighter but also $1k more than the Stashe. So Im not comparing components here, just the bike overall. The Farley 9.6 would be a better comparison as its even a bit cheaper than the Stashe.

So the bottom line? Here in Wisconsin the winner would be the Farley hands down. Just a more versatile bike being a fatbike. If I lived in a warmer climate it would be the Stashe. Maybe somewhere in the southern States. If you don’t see any winter then the Stache is for you. Im not sure if I would even demo a MTB for me anymore. Since Im retired from (citizen) racing and just trail riding this kind of thing is what I’ll be in from now on.

For me, if I were racing I would actually take the Farley. I like the Bluto fork. It does not come with the bike but its really the only one for fat tires right now. The Manitou that comes with the Stache is a great fork and plenty heavy duty for those 10 foot drops up in the mountains but we don’t have that stuff by me. The Bluto is more cross countryish in design. Less travel. Also, I moved the rear axle all the forward on the Farley to shorten the chainstay and make it a little more snappy in the woods. I did not do that on the Stashe as the geometry had plenty of weight on the rear tire already. I could write another 1000 words on the comparison, and why this scenario is the one for me. Maybe another day.

Farley waiting for the stuff to be installed.

So again, the Farley 9.8 is two bikes in one when you throw on a Bluto fork and a 29+ wheelset. Who knows? If we have the el nino winter that the weather dudes are talking about and we dont get a lot of snow I could just leave the plus wheels on well into December. If I still have them.

Lets hope that’s not the case as I like snow.


Friday Riding

A rare non posting day yesterday. I was in fact out on a bike in the morning, and again this morning, both road rides and both very welcome. LIMG_0041ast Saturday I put a 10 hour saddle time goal on the next 7 days and Im happy to say Im at almost 9 this morn. I’ll take that any week. Its been wet in the mornings with heavy dew so Ive been on the road bike. I’ll throw in some MTBing this weekend.

The weather has been nothing short of spectacular for riding. Cool and sunny. Trees starting to turn means its game on to get outside as much as I can for the next month.

Using any means possible. Im finally putting my extra hour in the morning to good use and plan on more of that for sure. I wont ride tomorrow morn cuz Im in the store all day alone to I gatta have my shit together at 10am. But on Sunday Im planning either a MTB day up to Door County or maybe another closer trail system. I need to get out of our local park. After 750 times around that place its getting old and Im mostly there cuz  its close and easy to do. I need to expand to other trails.

Today I have to check in some winter clothing. The last two mornings Ive started with arm warmers and had to peel them off on the way back. The winds of change are in the air and we are heading into Fall mode which is my fav time of year. The temps are cooler, trees look awesome and the MTBing in the woods is second to none.

Soon the Saturday group ride will change from summer mode to winter and then a small group will leave from the store here. Im not sure what I will ride for that. I was planning the 920 but Im selling it now. I still have Pinky up and running but with a bunch of older parts and sketchy old wheels. Most likely will upgrade that ride and use that. Then at that time I can give Steve D back his road bike he loaned me. I’ll be done with that type of bike till next spring.

I really like change. I like when Im done with one type of bike and get to ride another ongoing. Like the switch for road bikes to cross. And that time is right about now.

Get outside this weekend! I know I am.