Fat Tire Frenzy
Last month, I bought a little beater car (1986 Subaru GL Hatchback) off of Craigslist, with the thought that I might go mountain biking more if I had something other than the behemoth Dodge truck (10 mpg) to drive to the trailhead and back. Today, I finally decided to forget all of the bike builds, band stuff, and whatnot and just load up and go.
I had gotten a nicer crank for the Walgoose, last week, and actually rode it to work on Thursday. The nice crank made my derailleur mount look even more ghetto than before, so I followed the lead of Tater, on the RatRod Bikes forum, and made a new mount for it, yesterday.
The new mount uses a 31.8mm clamp mountain bike stem, and a piece of the original seat post from the bike to ho;d a clamp-on derailleur (actually, a clamp-on brazed derailleur type mount and a braze-on style derailleur, if you want to get technical). It took a bit of futzing around, but I got it working just before band practice, last night. It seemed to work fine, on the street, so I figured I might as well put it to the test on singletrack, to make sure it was good. (I'll try to make it look more "finished", later.)
I loaded it on the roof rack of my little car (technically a truck, according to the emissions standards, since the GL hatchback is built on the Brat drivetrain and chassis), and strapped it down for good measure. The bike is pretty hefty, and Parmalee Gulch Road, which takes you to the entrance for the top of Mt. Falcon, is very twisty-turny. I didn't want to over-tax the somewhat flexy load bars of the factory Subaru roof rack...
In order to accomodate the wider fork spacing of the fat bike, I modified the head from an old Yakima rack, and did a bit of engineering to attach it to the tray of the rack on the car. That leaves the standard 100mm clamp available for "regular" bikes, and allows me to carry 135mm forked bikes as well.
As if we needed more evidence of the WalMart weirdness on this bike, the front hub on the Beast is actually 130mm. You can see that I arranged the spacers so that I can place the thinner spacers to the outside of the dropout, and clamp the Beast fork, securely. I didn't just set it up for the odd spacing, since I have a new fork for the bike, which will allow me to run disc brakes, So, I will soon have 135mm spacing on the bike. (Did you get all of that?)
I got to the trailhead with no mishaps, and started to get ready to hit the trail.
It was a gorgeous, late-summer morning on the Front Range of Colorado. The temperature was already into the low 80s, by my guesstimation, but a pleasant breeze was blowing.
I took off down the Parmalee Trail, which is one of my favorites. There is a bit of rocky downhill,
then some more rocky downhill, followed by a climb to
a side-hill trail along the south side of the mountain, which offers some nice views.
It's not a long loop, but I didn't want to be gone all day. Even though I blew off all of my builds and whatnot to go riding, I still needed to work on some things, afterward. The ride took a total of 45 minutes, 17 of which were spent letting air out of the tires to get the right pressure for the conditions, taking photos, and answering questions from other riders.
That left 28 minutes of riding, which doesn't embarass me too much considering the fact that I am running a 22x22 low gear. That gives me a low gear of just over 30 inches, compared to a 20 inch low gear on my 29er. The low gear on the Beast is pretty equal to the gear you get on the middle ring and big cog. on my 29er.
To all of the haters who say that you can't ride one of these WalMart Beasts off-road, I say, "Looks like you are mistaken!"