First Impressions are Lasting Impressions - My First Ride on The Mukluk, and a Comparison to the Fat Sand Bike
Yesterday, I built up the Salsa Mukluk (finally), and finished it about the time the sun went down. I would have been done in time to get some decent photos and take a ride, but the build turned into an illustration of Murphy's Law. Still, I persevered and got the darn thing together. Today, I set it and the FSB out for some family photos.
I couldn't get a real good angle to take a "comparison" photo of the Fat Sand Bike and the Salsa, today. There is so much snow piled up on the yard and at the edge of the drive that I was a little constrained on positioning. The two bikes are very similar in layout, with the cockpits being almost identical. The FSB has a slightly higher bottom bracket height, and, of course, the extended rear triangle.
The Truvativ Hussefelt Crank (and the correct Howitzer bottom bracket) are also SRAM products. I like the 22/32/bash-guard combination on the crank. I don't foresee needing a big ring, a whole lot, on this bike.
The 100mm rims on the FSB give the 4" Innova tires a sidewall width of 4-1/2 inches. The 80mm Fat Sheba rims give the 4" Origin8 Devist8er tires a sidewall width of 4 inches, on the nose, according to my calipers. This gives the bike a slightly less "monster truck" feel, when rolling, I think.
And, even though the Origin8 tires are known to be pretty heavy, the bike seems to accelerate a bit more easily than the FSB. Of course, other things could factor into that, as well, such as the internallly geared hub on the FSB versus the derailleur and cog system on the Salsa, the weight of the bikes, etc.
Speaking of the IGH on the orange bike, I think it is a good idea for sloppy conditions. I did have a bit of chain skip, today, after riding through slushy areas and getting ice in the cog stack. But, the Salsa is incompatible with any commonly available IGH, as far as I know.
The hub on the FSB has been excellent for the terrain, here in town, so far. I have never used either the lowest of the highest gears during normal riding, which means I have some reserve gearing for unusual conditions in the city. And, I have enjoyed being able to shift under all circumstances - pedaling, coasting, or stopped at an intersection.
But, I think the wider range of gears and higher efficiency of the derailleur and cogset system on the Salsa will make up for the differences.
One interesting thing about alternating between the two bikes is dealing with the shifters. Both have a twist-grip shifter for the rear. But, they work in opposite directions. The Nexave shifter on the FSB requires a twist to the front in order to go to an easier gear. With the standard GripShift and derailleur, that direction takes you to a harder gear. I predict that backward shifts will be fairly commonplace for me...
I rode to the REI Flagship Store, at Confluence Park, and turned back toward home.
The Fat Sand is obviously a more "cruiser" style bike, and the ride and handling reflect that. The Mukluk seems much more like a mountain bike, albeit a mountain bike with some big shoes. I look forward to getting it on some singletrack trail, this summer, and rolling over whatever gets in my way!
I am still debating whether to keep the Fat Sand, or sell it. I could use the money, but it works so well as a commuter that I hate to give it up. If I keep it, it will get fenders and a rear rack for workhorse duty. I think I will keep the Mukluk in more "offroad" trim, sans fenders. Though, I might put front and rear racks on it and do a little bike camping with it.
Fat, my friends, is where it's at!