Thursday, June 28, 2012

A new bike

I just sold my Gary Fisher Hifi 29 full suspension bike. It was an excellent bike and for me pretty much the ultimate endurance racing bike. Unfortunately, it did not see much use. Last year I rode it for maybe six times in addition to Tahko MTB 180. I tried it once this year as well, but it didn't have the fun factor for me anymore. Having an expensive full suspension bike gathering dust is not what I want, so I sold it.

When I had decided to sell the Hifi 29, I also came up with another plan. A quick check with Foxcomp in Turku revealed that the plan was realistic and an order was sent. Now, having two fatbikes was not what I wanted either, so I sold the Pugsley. The Pugsley was built to be capable of week long solo trips carrying all the necessary camping gear and food both summer and winter, and worked well for this purpose. It was also somewhat overbuilt and heavy, and hence not the optional choice for a do-it-all bike.

Selling both the Hifi 29 and the Pugsley enabled me to get this one:

This is a Salsa Mukluk in size XL. Since I did have some components laying around, I ordered a frame set only and complemented it with the needed components from Foxcomp. Now, why did I get a Salsa Mukluk? The following alternatives would have been available, at least theoretically.
- Pugsley. Because of the offset nature of the Pugsley, I wouldn't have been able to get a light summer wheel set for it. I wouldn't trust the Marge Lite for serious trail riding during the summer with my weight.
- Moonlander. The ultimate winter bike? The same offset system as the Pugsley with even more offset, so no summer wheel set for me.
- 9:Zero:7. The new model is available with a 170 mm rear, but the new hydroformed frame does not have a big enough front triangle for me. I want to have space for a big frame bag for bikepacking purposes.
- Fatback. I've seen only positive reviews of the Fatback, so I'm sure it is an excellent bike. It might be a bit expensive to order to Finland, though, and I didn't consider it seriously.
- Sandman. The Sandman Gobi is a really cool bike with front suspension and all. It is a little too expensive for me, otherwise I would have considered it seriously.
- On-One are releasing a fatbike sometimes in late fall. It should be relatively inexpensive, but does not seem to be aimed for what I do, and the front triangle is very small.
- Salsa Mukluk. Salsa is a cool company and I already have an excellent bike from them, the Salsa Fargo. The Mukluk was actually the bike I wanted when I got the Pugsley almost two years ago, but at that point it would not have been available within a reasonable time. Salsa Mukluk has a 170 mm rear and a large front triangle, and should be very well suited for both bikepacking and general trail riding throughout the year. The fact that Foxcomp, an excellent local bike shop, is a Salsa dealer made the choice pretty easy after all. With some reasonable components, this bike should be significantly lighter than the Pugsley I had.

The bike currently consists of the following parts.
- Salsa Mukluk 3 frame with an FSA Alphadrive ISIS crankset (22/32/bash ring).
- Surly Rolling Darryl rims with DT Competition spokes on Salsa 135/170 mm hubs, winter wheel set.
- Surly Larry tires.
- Onza Mtb FR inner tubes.
- Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes with 185 /160 mm discs.
- Shimano M520 SPD pedals.
- SRAM X.9 9-speed trigger shifters.
- SRAM X.0 medium cage rear derailleur.
- Shimano XT direct mount front derailleur.
- Sunrace 11-32 cassette.
- Sunrace 9-speed chain.
- Salsa Pro Moto 2 seat post.
- Rido R2 saddle.
- Cane Creek 40 EC34 headset.
- Race Face Deus XC 3/4 Rizer 680 mm handlebar.
- Easton EA30 105 mm stem.
- Ergon GX1 grips.

A second lighter wheel set for summer use currently waits for the Hope Pro Evo 2 170 mm hub set to arrive at Foxcomp. I already have a pair of 47 mm Trialtech SL Rear rims waiting at home. The idea is to use the Larry tires on the summer wheel set and the Big Fat Larry on the winter wheel set.

Within the next week I will also make a framebag for the Mukluk and possibly some sort of handlebar harness for easy fastening of a handlebar drybag. I currently also have a RePack WX seatbag on order, but it remains to be seen if a drysack on a rear rack still is a better solution. For someone of my height, I suspect that a rear rack gets the center of gravity much lower than a seatbag, and hence the rear rack might be a better solution, despite a 500 g weight penalty.

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