Friday, April 24, 2015

Bucksaw review

A couple of people have asked about a review of the Bucksaw, this seems like as good a place as any to put it. Sorry I haven't taken it out on a picture tour yet, so no action shots are included. TL;DR: love the bike, some minor changes were necessary.

I've got about 100 miles on the bike so far, a small percentage of that is on snow (which doesn't really count).

I bought this bike sight unseen, which is unusual for me. Obviously if you're going to drop this kind of money on a bike, you really should ride one (or even SEE one in person!). I didn't. I have a couple of friends who had ridden them and I read a lot of public reviews on MTBR and other places. The one constant in every review and discussion I had about this bike was the word "fun". Anyone who knows me knows that is exactly why I ride. I always say that if mountain biking made me fat rather than fit, I'd be enormous.

So after 100 miles, I'll confirm that sentiment, it's a very fun bike to ride. I was hoping for an "aha" moment the first time I rode it, but I will admit that there was no such feeling, it took me a little bit to figure out exactly what this bike is and is not and how to ride it, just like every other new bike I've ever ridden. Perhaps the only "whoa" moment came the first time I pointed it downhill, whew this thing wants to FLY. With the fat tires you can really haul into corners and stick it - that's a pretty awesome feeling, but I also feel that it will get me in trouble at some point.

My two biggest concerns about the bike going in were that the Nates (tires) were going to be really slow - they look like aggressive motorcycle tires, and secondly that the weight of the bike was going to make it painful to climb.

The former ended up being true. Those tires are beasts, they exhibit very little self-steer, but the first time you pedal (forget coasting) on pavement, rock or hard packed surface you can feel the grip. Surprisingly I also found that they were not all that great on rock slabs (we have a fair amount of that around here). I could easily spin out my rear tire if I wasn't really careful with my weight and power.

On the weight. I honestly don't notice that the bike is heavy, I guess it probably weighs around 33 pounds as it stands now.

I put some lower profile tires on it today (Panaracer Fat B Nimbles) and they are noticeably faster. Given that is a fairly inexpensive fat tire, I'm pretty happy. I'll save the Nates for winter excursions. That is one change I would plan on making if you're considering a Bucksaw.

The bike has a fairly short top tube and low front end, so I had to put a 100mm stem on with a bit of rise to compensate for my stupidly long legs. Prior to doing that the handlebars were just too low.

The SRAM Guide brakes are amazing. It's not single finger braking, it's single thought braking. There's a long technical downhill at Racker and I can honestly say this is the first bike where my hands weren't cramping at the bottom, really amazing brakes.

The 1x11 speed transmission is fantastic as well. I love having access to that kind of range with one derailleur. I have had to get used to doing multiple gear jumps at the top of climbs, with a 2x10 set up if you're in granny and the big cog out back, you can just switch the front, it takes 2 or 3 gears to get to that same gear with the 1x11, not a big deal, it just takes some getting used to. The chain is really quiet, no slapping at all, which is great - the entire bike is quiet, way quieter than the Fatboy (obviously), but quieter than my RIP9 too - the RIP doesn't have a clutch derailleur on it, so that is probably the difference.

My only other complaint about the bike is the rear hub. It's fine mechanically, but it's engagement is laggy, it just doesn't have enough engagement points. For a bike that costs this much, it really should have a better rear hub.

The suspension is great - it's not one of those "couchy" type bikes where you can really feel the suspension working. It's always surprising how far the o ring has moved when I look at it. You do have to get the tires to the right PSI to interact with the suspension in the right way. They said 12PSI, but I found that to be way too harsh, I'm at about 8.5PSI now and that seems to be a good spot where the tires are taking care of the small hits and the suspension is taking the bigger ones. It's really cool when you get them set up to interact, I've never had a bike that was this smooth on small and big hits.

So, the big question - would I buy it again? In a heartbeat. It's a great machine that loves to go fast and is no pig on the climbs. It's well matched to the kind of technical riding I do. I expect we'll have many great rides together.

I may look to put a better hub and carbon rims on it next year, I could probably drop a pound or two of rotating weight by doing that. Those are expensive pounds.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Klein Attitude for sale

For sale 1992 or 1993 (can't remember exactly) Klein Attitude.

The bike was bought new by my brother, and ridden as his regular mountain bike for 5 or 6 years. He stripped it down and sent it back to Klein for refurbishing and painting. If I remember correctly it was originally painted like this bike. You can see evidence of the original paint color on the pictures of the fork. After he got the frame back from Klein he added a Marz Bomber fork. Sale includes both the rigid and suspension fork. Unfortunately the original integrated stem/handlebar broke somewhere along the line, so that is not included - I see those come up on Ebay, if you want to bring it back to original you can get one there.

The bike has been used, but it is still in very good condition. I'm not interesting in unhappy buyers, so please ask questions and request close up photos of any areas you want to see.

The bike has the following parts:
Tires: Velociraptor (front and rear specific)
SPD pedals
Marz Bomber fork - fork has some scratches on the lowers, but stanchions are 100% clean and it works well
Gripshift shifters (in this time frame both Shimano and SRAM were using the same shifting ratios)
XT Vee brakes
XT front and rear derailleurs
8 speed drivetrain - looks to be in very good condition, no skipping
XTR rear hub on wienmann rims
Parralax 110 front hub

The frame has some signs of use, I tried to take pictures of all the scratches and wear marks, I will post more as I go through the bike more thoroughly.

Asking $1,000, I've seen these go for as much as $1,400.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Comparing the fat bike to the RIP9

Up at NEMBA Fest I took the Fatboy on about 1/3rd of the rides, every ride was great up there, the Fatboy was awesome on the Darling Hill trails and I really couldn't say that I was ever disappointed that I brought it on a ride. On one of the Fatboy rides we got over to the Burke side and coming down some of the slightly more technical trails I had to slow way down so the bounce of the tires didn't get to the point where I couldn't control the bike any more. It was fun, but on that same trail later in the weekend I was on my RIP and it was a lot more fun, I could go really fast and there was no issue at all.

I ride Crandall Park a lot because its close, the trails there are largely non-technical (with a few technical spots) so I have ridden the Fatboy there pretty exclusively. Yesterday I took the RIP9 out there just because it was the bike that happened to be on the car rack. It was fun with the RIP9, but the fat bike is way more fun to crank around the corners there - and there are a LOT of corners. I got a KOM on a climb on last night's ride, so I guess that answers the "is it slower" question, but more often than not I'm riding for fun, not speed.

I've got a suspension fork on order for the Fatboy, we'll see how that changes the formula.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A little air on a fat bike

There's a perfect rock ramp out at Crandalls, you don't get up in the air that high, but the landing is perfect so you end up getting some good hang time as you travel down the hill 2" over the ground. I have to get out there and make a proper video with the Fatboy and the Contour.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"What happened do your legs?"

I was at the climbing gym last week and I got the "what happened to your legs" question. As short-wearing season approaches I reflected about this question. Generally speaking my legs are a mess (sorry for the gross picture)

I'll admit that there have been times (and there will be times going forward) when I've had to wear long legged pants to cover up the nastiness when I wanted to wear shorts.

Every one of these scars represents a ride, an adventure, a missed attempt on a log ride (ok I'll admit one of them is a result of me tripping over a log in the garage - I was carrying my road bike at the time, if it helps and the ones on my knees are actually from climbing).

My message to you - embrace the scars in whatever form they take, you wouldn't be you without them.

Monday, May 5, 2014

This just in, riding is still fun

My love of riding, whether fat, road or mountain bike continues. I can't help but feel like a little kid every time I swing my leg up over a bike, regardless of which type and where I'm riding.

I was looking at Strava this weekend and here are my stats so far this year:
Distance 609.2 mi
Time 86h 13m
Elev Gain 51,089 ft
Rides 56

Its not huge numbers by any stretch, but underneath those numbers are some good times. I'm really glad to have biking in my life and to be able to really enjoy my time on the bike. I seem to be getting into this realm where speed is fun, but not the primary goal of riding and I kind of like it.

I did fat bike rides Friday night and Saturday, they were similar in that I didn't feel like rushing for either ride.

Saturday I rode at Case, which proved to me that the fat bike is not the correct tool for every job. 95% of the ride was fine and super fun just like every other fat bike ride I've been on, but man those highly technical sections were tough! I know its just a matter of me working the bike in a different way than with the 29er FS, but that "working the bike" thing wasn't going too well. I had a couple of crashes that were unexpected. More work to be done I guess, but I'm glad I've got the RIP9 to fall back on for technical rides.

I came across a 4-5' long black snake, it seemed pretty agitated and was shaking its tail in the dry leaves making for a pretty convincing rattle sound. I kept my distance, but very cool to see a snake this large in the wild.

 A bit later I came across two deer who, in contrast to the black snake seemed entirely uninterested in me. They went about their business without really moving even as I rode by them. They looked to be just starting to lose their winter coats and were pretty thin, I'm sure that was a tough winter for them.

I also came across a couple of friends I haven't seen for a while we talked for a bit, which was really nice too. The second rider, upon seeing my legs asked why I wasn't wearing leg guards, hmmm probably something I should consider, my shins look like a walked into a blender. 

On Friday the slow ride mentality at Crandalls manifested itself into a picture ride, I suffer for my art, having several crashes while being distracted by the camera while setting up a shot. I caught some good pictures though (none of the crashes):
Sunday I rode Middlesex, no pictures, but that continues to be an excellent place to ride, one of my favorite places in CT. Highly technical in sections, but really different terrain than any other place. A guy on the ride had a trail saw and we took care of three major trail blockages, it feels good to give back like that with a group of guys who are willing to interrupt the ride like that.

Friday, April 18, 2014

New sneakers, new stoppers

I guess I've been slacking on updating the blog, to my six followers, I apologize! 

I have been riding a mix of the road bike, RIP9 and the Fatboy pretty regularly. All good fun! We had a beautiful weekend to ride last weekend and I took full advantage doing 4 rides in 2 days. 

The tires on my road bike had dry rot on the sidewalls, they are 18 months old so I guess that's good life, though I really only had about 1500 miles on them, I would have expected more miles out of a pair of tires on the road. If this was my mountain bike I'd ride them until failure, or more evidence of impending failure. The road is a different animal though, I started to think about those sidewalls on every downhill - a tire failure at 50mph would be pretty dramatic, in a bad way. 

I figured I'd swap out the brake pads at the same time, wow glad I did, the old ones were really worn down. 

I got some new tires for the bike, they were $45 each, which doesn't seem so bad compared to the average cost of a mountain bike tire, but when you take that road tire out of the box and see how little it weighs, let's just say on a dollar/pound basis these things are expensive! I didn't take any pictures of the road bike tires, lets face it one slick tire looks an awful lot like any other one. 

I was really surprised I noticed a huge difference on a short ride yesterday, I expected to notice the brakes with much better stopping power. I was surprised how much of a difference the tires made, the bike is so much smoother. I wouldn't have thought one slick tire would feel different than another.

Speaking of expensive tires, they finally release the Specialized Ground Control tires for purchase on the Specialized website (and to dealers) - $160 per tire - yep PER TIRE! There must be some gold in the construction of that tire somewhere! I love those tires, but I thought for the summer season I don't really need 4.6" tires and considering how the rocks and stuff wear out tires I figured I'd be better off getting some cheaper tires for summer. I had been running On One Floaters on my old FB-4, so I went there again for the new bike. They now have some colored versions of these tires and they're even cheaper than the black tires. I wish they had red to match the rest of the accents on my bike, but orange will have to do.