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  1. #1
    I'm attracted to Gravity!
    Reputation: campredcloudbikes's Avatar
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    Fatigued Fisticuff - a comparison of old and new Vassago Fisticuffs

    Way back in 2009, Vassago had their legendary Black Friday sale, and I picked up a Fisticuff. <br />
    <br />
    Last month, after about 11,000 miles, I noticed a 1 inch long fatigue crack in the weld at the top tube - head tube junction. &nbsp;Rather than risking a catastrophic failure, I contacted Vassago (now under new ownership). They still carry the same crash replacement policy, so I picked up the latest Fisticuff and built it up to replace my old Snickers Brown friend. <br />
    <br />
    Here's some of the adventures the original Fisticuff survived. &nbsp;The write up will finish with a brief comparison of the new and old Fisticuff frame sets.<br />
    <br />
    The build up was very simple, dinglespeed with mostly spare parts. &nbsp;I even ran a v brake on a Mavic A317 disc only rear rim.... and it worked great.<br />
    <br />
    The bike was inspired by the spare parts pile and the screaming deal, and as a commuter/do everything bike.<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XnC3ACEbF-4/SyExtvcbIkI/AAAAAAAABtY/Cg7dKbA9XCE/s640/IMGP5467.JPG" /><br />
    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4y-wIVsoVvE/SyEyE9D6l9I/AAAAAAAABts/r0HikP9N2f0/s512/IMGP5476.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    The bike was soon clad in my third or fourth frame bag ever. &nbsp;My first ever seat bag came along for a 120 mile ride in January from Lake City to Gunnison, CO.<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-VPOd06JpZ1k/S2b_6mPamiI/AAAAAAAADU0/yiImhDUbiBg/s640/IMGP5632.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    Then a great deal on a Phil Wood bottom bracket and DT/S-Works rear hub led to a remake of the bike - new handbuilt by me wheelset, gears,.....<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-KWPYWzyfD-M/S9O7AZ5AyDI/AAAAAAAACQk/6oEf10obA38/s640/IMGP5935.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    During the summer of 2010 a soft tissue over training injury in my left calf inspired the development of a one legged bike system. &nbsp;It turns out that a 31.8 mm stem clamps perfectly onto the downtube of normal steel bike frames. &nbsp;Then cut the steerer tube off an old junk fork for a peg for the left foot, add a toe clip on the right pedal, and you've got it.<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-ulHRMT05jho/TPKxPiijkZI/AAAAAAAACzM/L6N2JgiFrcs/s640/IMGP6433.JPG" /><br />
    <img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-j34Bzv7buBE/TFSi90-2wzI/AAAAAAAACpY/yGaqRrR_Spw/s512/IMGP6516.JPG" /><br />
    <img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-n6_xrl-0KbM/TPKxJQuSU_I/AAAAAAAACy8/7xhVYUwT2Mw/s640/IMGP6464.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    And then I went back to school for Mechanical Engineering and needed a commuter bike. &nbsp;I swapped the 32 mm cross tires for 35 mm slicks, an Old Man Mountain rack, and (embarrassingly) a math study sheet.<br />
    I soon found out that the math study sheet was distracting while biking in traffic.<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-bInccDPGsz0/TH7fB2nuSdI/AAAAAAAACr4/guZMIlGzZxY/s640/IMGP6570.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    The Old Man Mountain rack was "graced" by a Cilogear 40L backpack rigged up to be a pannier (freshmen do weird things... especially former mountain guide freshmen).<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-HMeacOaiN7M/TJFdisVG5HI/AAAAAAAACtE/KtWI_ucd_3Y/s640/IMGP6588.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    Somewhere in there my calf healed up well enough to go back to a normal two pedal bike. &nbsp;I also got smart and made myself a pannier bag/pack.<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-OV5cPRspta8/TSH54wfsQII/AAAAAAAAC6Y/WNpyRs3XFfA/s640/IMGP6874.JPG" /><br />
    <img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-x9tUQlv4aB4/TWA4hgOzTJI/AAAAAAAADG4/hYAdkQn77BM/s512/IMGP7077.JPG" /><br />
    <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-U9Th88qdhFA/TWA53t9F23I/AAAAAAAADHE/sm6HkVRRMJg/s512/IMGP7062.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    There were two advantages to the Snickers Brown paint job....<br />
    An uglier bike is less of a thief magnet.<br />
    The bike looked best covered in mud.<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-rb2Griz7RQE/ThjO2qEhmbI/AAAAAAAADto/1HtplO8k8M8/s640/IMGP7395.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    Cold hands on a wet road/dirt road ride? &nbsp;No problem.... just find some scrap plastic on the side of the road.<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-FYrmc5jCxxE/ThjS1AlcbUI/AAAAAAAADt0/D09KqnMo6gk/s640/IMGP7355.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-4BkvoliJbRI/Tml45wIGjDI/AAAAAAAAD9k/Y_oPTip8xxE/s512/IMGP8295.JPG" /><br />
    <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-7nbxd8BI97M/Tuax4KZdFdI/AAAAAAAAELA/eMNpqdolkzU/s640/IMGP8721.JPG" /><br />
    <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-zKDLzkaIWRU/T1RFLziVkTI/AAAAAAAAESM/RPCmP_0UWfY/s640/IMGP9000.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-XzzIATaMv-Q/UMp_R5pfmCI/AAAAAAAAE1U/EfIo6D3Hr1w/s640/IMGP0106.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-bj6Dhjy-x1U/UZZG_bkLMAI/AAAAAAAAFG4/bvM99gj18OQ/s640/IMGP0772.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GPczChtKw5U/UZZHPlNqIuI/AAAAAAAAFHI/m_eK9K1fA5g/s640/IMGP0811.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-tIS5l8qq7O4/UlAuXDkhX9I/AAAAAAAAFWI/mFlR4mllB3U/s640/IMGP0048.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ENpBf3wTOFQ/UlAuYl5ofZI/AAAAAAAAFWE/0Qnk82BcxdA/s512/IMGP0050.JPG" /><br />
    <img src="" /><br />
    <br />
    <br />
    And then, soon after making a new frame bag for the Fisticuff, I noticed the fatigue crack.... oh no!<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-nJ011mzmT80/Ulxw9YvX9II/AAAAAAAAFbY/ZTU5yZ_VYlM/s640/IMGP0145.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    Vassago customer service (the new owner himself) responded within hours to my customer service request and set me up with a new frame at a nice discount via the crash replacement policy.<br />
    <br />
    The new frame fixed everything I didn't like about the first version. &nbsp;The color options (graphite or white) are much better than Snickers Brown without being too flashy. &nbsp;The rear dropouts were much improved by including built in chain tensioners and an adjustable disc brake mount for the singlespeed crew. &nbsp;The head tube is taller and the top tube and down tube are spread apart more for better aesthetics and reduced fatigue stress in the junction.<br />
    The parts swapped over seamlessly from the old bike and the bike rides really nicely.<br />
    As a nice bonus, the frame bag also swapped over nicely. &nbsp;Not a perfect fit, but good enough to not make another one.<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-GGHCu87MTro/UrDlyJIK8_I/AAAAAAAAFeM/vdtR6xFT3oQ/s640/IMGP0012-001.JPG" /><br />
    <img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-7ZWsxvfQ2BI/UrDl0u25WzI/AAAAAAAAFeY/A_ux7QVh7f0/s640/IMGP0014-001.JPG" /><br />
    <br />
    So there you have it. &nbsp;The first edition Fisticuff did everything you could ask for from a multipurpose adventure/commuting bike (unfortunately most of the miles are commuting). &nbsp;The bike worked great and without the fatigue crack I would have kept on riding it indefinitely. &nbsp;The second iteration of the Fisticuff fixed all the problems I had with the first version. &nbsp;Anyone who wants a steel do everything adventure/commuter/cyclocross/road/dirt road &nbsp;bike and wants the flexibility to run ANY type of drivetrain or brakes should take a serious look at the new, improved Fisticuff. &nbsp;This combination of options is not found on any other cyclocross style frame to my knowledge.<br />
    <br />
    Yesterday I rode the new Fisticuff 14 miles (each way) to go on a 12 mile trail run in the snow.<br />
    <br />
    <img src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-AL9XVi5kp2I/UrDmgIGpnXI/AAAAAAAAFek/j8W0UIDc9aQ/s512/IMGP0020-001.JPG" /><br />
    <div>
    <br /></div>
    <img src="" /><br />
    <br />
    <br />

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: robertdavid's Avatar
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    Nice pics.

  3. #3
    Natural Born Killer
    Reputation: nemhed's Avatar
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    Great pictures and nice history! Glad you got a new frame.
    Quote Originally Posted by Skrufryder View Post
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  4. #4
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
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    Great photos. What happened to your diamondback?

  5. #5
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    Great pics and story. I have an older gen Fisti also...what a great bike aside from the rear disc mount.

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