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Thread: Talk me down...

  1. #1
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    Talk me down...

    hey all. I'm 6'8" & 260 pounds & I'm currently riding a heavily modified 2012 Specialized 23" Hardrock disc 29er. (diff. wheels, stem & bar, seat, tires, pegs, converted to 1x8 from 3x7). I've finally gotten the bike modified so that I no longer worry abut it breaking every time I ride it, but I've come to realize that I've begun to reach the limits of what the bike will do in terms of handling. I'm increasingly frustrated with the bike's sluggish steering, especially in tight, technical sections, not to mention the fork's 20-30mm of travel...
    So, my plan was to upgrade to a Specialized Carve Expert 23" & convert the Hardrock into a single-speed rigid. Then I caught a bad case of Fat Bike Fever. I've got an irresistible lust for a 22" Surly Pugsley. I want one bad. Now i'm thinking about buying one and in the spring, picking up a Rockshox Recon gold and calling that good.
    Pros: fat bikes can go anywhere that a 29er can, and many places they won't: mud, snow sand etc.. They're two wheeled tanks.The Pugsley has excellent components and can run 29er wheels, too. From what I've seen of guys racing them, it's a wash in terms of speed; in fact some people I know, are faster on their fatties. They're fricking fun.

    Cons: heavy- I'd have two heavy-ass bikes. with the recon, the Hardrock will absorb bumps better and that should improve the handling significantly, but the rake will still be slack and the steering sluggish. My LBS mechanic thinks I won't even want to look at the 29er after getting the fatty and is urging me to get it. Fwiw, he doesn't have a dog in the fight- my LBS sells Specialized, but not Surly. lastly: are fat bikes the new fixes? I'm 42 and for****ssake, a fricking super-clyde: skinny jeans & beards don't work for me.

    so, should I go fat, or get the Carve and live with the regret for a season?

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    If you don't get the fatbike, you'll always be jonesing for one...

    Just get it. As for the Hardrock, what fork is on it right now? If, as the mechanic says, you never look at the 29er again, you don't have anything to worry about. If you want to ride the skinny wheels again, look into the Manitou Tower Pro as a fork option. Comes in multiple flavors (80,100,120mm; qr and 15mm axle) and should work well for your weight with the XX Firm spring.

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    it has the stock Suntour XCT, which is heavy, marginally damped and has almost no travel, 30mm max, although it's listed as an 80mm. It's nearly worthless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dnlwthrn View Post
    If you don't get the fatbike, you'll always be jonesing for one...

    Just get it. As for the Hardrock, what fork is on it right now? If, as the mechanic says, you never look at the 29er again, you don't have anything to worry about. If you want to ride the skinny wheels again, look into the Manitou Tower Pro as a fork option. Comes in multiple flavors (80,100,120mm; qr and 15mm axle) and should work well for your weight with the XX Firm spring.
    the tower pro with the XX clydesdale spring will completely change the way you feel about your existing bike. At 6'8" I'm wondering if you even really properly fit on that bike to begin with. I wouldn't go for a puglsley though, I'd be going with the moonlander all the way, especially since it comes in a XXL frame size. Surly doesn't shy away from making bikes for big people. I have a disc trucker and the 60cm frame borders on being big for me and I'm 6'3" they make that bike all the way up to a 64cm too!

    I've really got fatbike envy, I purposefully didn't test ride one when i had the opportunity because I just can't afford one right now having just gotten into mtb with a 29er i built and already sunken $1700 into that. Everything I've read about fatbikes is that they roll so well and smooth and they go faster than people would expect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cpfitness View Post
    the tower pro with the XX clydesdale spring will completely change the way you feel about your existing bike. At 6'8" I'm wondering if you even really properly fit on that bike to begin with. I wouldn't go for a puglsley though, I'd be going with the moonlander all the way, especially since it comes in a XXL frame size. Surly doesn't shy away from making bikes for big people. I have a disc trucker and the 60cm frame borders on being big for me and I'm 6'3" they make that bike all the way up to a 64cm too!

    I've really got fatbike envy, I purposefully didn't test ride one when i had the opportunity because I just can't afford one right now having just gotten into mtb with a 29er i built and already sunken $1700 into that. Everything I've read about fatbikes is that they roll so well and smooth and they go faster than people would expect.
    I put a longer, taller stem on it and a set of riser bars, it fits pretty well, it's quite comfortable, actually.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigantic View Post
    I put a longer, taller stem on it and a set of riser bars, it fits pretty well, it's quite comfortable, actually.
    then def put the tower pro in it but make sure you get the clydesdale spring. that fork can be had now for very good prices.

    Still get the fatbike!!!!

  7. #7
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    I put a deposit on the fat bike. It will be in next week. I'm stoked!

    I'll get the Tower pro in the spring, provided I still want to ride the 29er.

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    Gigantic I as well would love to have a fat bike! I would also love to have a pure XC bike again. I few years ago when I moved into an apartment I promised myself that I would only have one mountain bike and one commuter bike and no more. to be honest its been great because it has forced my to ride the one bike. I have also bought a much nicer bike because I need it to last on its own.

    Also for your other mountain bike I would look into getting a 26", Seriously they have quicker handling and are stronger as well. I know this is probably not what everyone at the shops are telling you, they probably say big bikes for big people. just remember that most of them are not big and therefore don't really have much to say. While I am not as tall as you are at 6'5" I still have a hard time finding bikes that fit well. I also weight in at 260 lbs so I understand the breaking things. its unfortanute that it happens because as are big but at the same time alot of it has to due with how and where you ride. my last XC bike weight 25 lbs and had 100mm of suspension front and rear.

    As for the Fat bike have a nlast on that thing! I would love to experence one at some point in time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sir_crackien View Post
    Gigantic I as well would love to have a fat bike! I would also love to have a pure XC bike again. I few years ago when I moved into an apartment I promised myself that I would only have one mountain bike and one commuter bike and no more. to be honest its been great because it has forced my to ride the one bike. I have also bought a much nicer bike because I need it to last on its own.

    Also for your other mountain bike I would look into getting a 26", Seriously they have quicker handling and are stronger as well. I know this is probably not what everyone at the shops are telling you, they probably say big bikes for big people. just remember that most of them are not big and therefore don't really have much to say. While I am not as tall as you are at 6'5" I still have a hard time finding bikes that fit well. I also weight in at 260 lbs so I understand the breaking things. its unfortanute that it happens because as are big but at the same time alot of it has to due with how and where you ride. my last XC bike weight 25 lbs and had 100mm of suspension front and rear.

    As for the Fat bike have a nlast on that thing! I would love to experence one at some point in time.
    hey man, fat bikes potentially make great commuters! no pothole will stop you, cruise through snow no problem

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    You know that your Hardrock is a Stumpy of yesteryear.

    One of the first things you should have done was to through that fork in the garbage and get the Tower Pro.

    Maybe a shorter stem will pep up the steering?

    I just got done building my 9zero last night, and took it out for a spin. Good times were had.

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    Good choice on the fat bike, I just ordered a 21" Salsa Mukluk 3 from Webcyclery. Don't have it yet but I'm assuming its the best decision I've ever made

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    It will be delivered early next week. I'm looking forward to getting it, I hope we get snow, soon!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gigantic View Post
    it will be delivered early next week. I'm looking forward to getting it, i hope we get snow, soon!
    you really gonna leave us hanging? Wheres it at!!!??

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    "Good choice on the fat bike, I just ordered a 21" Salsa Mukluk 3 from Webcyclery. Don't have it yet but I'm assuming its the best decision I've ever made"

    Yes, you and the OP will not regret it! I got my Mukluk 2 last fall, and only got one ride in the snow thanks to a much warmer than normal winter. It served as my commuter for most of the summer, and some trail riding. Then a few buddies picked one up this fall. Combined with a lot more snow and colder temps, we have been having a blast!

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    I was going to tell you to stop crying and improve your riding.

    You are 1" taller, 10lbs heavier and 1 year older than me. None of your problems are anything to do with the bike(s). Breaking things and bike handling is down to the way you ride.
    However, nobody likes to be told that. But there you go. Improve your technique and you'll ride smoother, quicker and with less damage to your kit.
    But that didn't justify a new bike.

  16. #16
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    actually, it was the bike. Since replacing a bent derailleur hanger and switching the bike from a 3x7 to a 1x8, I have not had a single issue with the driveline. the front wheel was tacoed after the tire, a WTB Bronson race, came off at speed in a corner. Pressures were 30#'s; there's no reason the tire should have come off- it was either because of a defective tire bead or a defective wheel. The rear wheel folded at the seam where it was pinned together after just missing a log-over. I do bear some responsibility there. However, Specialized warranteed both wheels and even upgraded them to their next level of kit. Since they didn't have them in stock, they gave me a credit for $300 and my lbs got me a set of WTB Laser rims, mounted to Shimano XT hubs. They've been awesome.


    As for the handling? The fork IS shite. It has maybe 40 mm of travel instead of the 80 specified, too much stiction and negligible damping. Frankly, a rigid would almost be better. It drifts wide in turns, it's almost terrifying on descents due to a high CoG. It's an entry level bike and as such, the ht angle is slack for noob stability. The bike was meant for beginners, to be taken on paved paths, gravel trails and occasionally onto gentle single track. I've put approximately 1500 miles on it and I've ridden it beyond its design. comparing it back to back with higher-spec machines is like night and day. The Carve I've ridden tracks accurately through corners, even my Pugsley steers better and is sure-footed in steep dh sections.

    I didn't fall off the turnip truck here, I raced BMX in the 80's and mt biked extensively 10 years ago; I am not completely without skill. The bike has served me well, but the oem components simply have not been up to snuff for the heavy use that I've given it.

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    Story of my cycling career as well. The kit that came on a $1750 bike I bought new was not up to snuff. The fork was lifeless, the parts would skip the chain without shifting just trying to crank out a hill at speed. The front wheel would wobble like crazy at like 40km/h+, the back wheel had flat tires every ride just riding pavement.

    New drivetrain, new wheelset, new fork cost me close to $2000 over the next few seasons. But then I finally had a bike worth riding, for $4000? Won't make that mistake again, next purchase I want it to be all kit I can use.

    Really didn't get my monies worth IMO. And when the frame broke the lbs just try to sell me a whole new bike. Lifetime warranty on the frame? What a load of crap, they wanted me to pay $400 just to have them "assess" the warranty. Then I'd have to pay again to install all the parts even if they did warranty it.

    Not using that store, or that bike company again. I found a used Hardrock Comp frame, and with all my parts on there the bike is serving me fine.

    REALLY looking forward to getting into a new 29er and having wheel issues and such all over, can hardly wait

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    Now where's the pics of the new fat bike?

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    As for the Pugsley? That has been pure lust. I wanted it because I wanted it... It has been awesome and has rekindled my pre-adolecent enthusiasm and fascination in a way that I've not experienced since I began roadracing motorcycles 10 years ago. It's hard work to ride, but utterly enjoyable; it's a monster truck of a bicycle and super fun. I'm astounded that the handling is both extremely stable but also incredibly nimble. Chalk that up to shorter chain stays and a wheelbase that is 3-4 inches shorter than the Specialized HardRock that I was on before. Running 8 #'s of pressure in the tires for trail use, the ride is extremely plush and surprisingly, not that bouncy. Riding it does make subtlety less of a requirement- I bombed a medium grade hill and found myself off line; fatbike don't care! It handled a gnarly root in the path and the drop behind it with aplomb. Climbing on the Pugsley is a cake-walk. I found myself clearing hills that I could only make halfway on the 29er, the traction is incredible!

    If the fatbike has any faults, it's prodigious weight. The tubes alone weigh 555g, add to that, tires that weigh between 1600g for the Surly Larry on the front & and the Vee Rubber Mission on back that tips the scales at 1905 and you've got a lot of mass and rotating inertia to propel down the trails. Without pedals, the bike weighs in at a staggering 38 pounds. I also added a few bits to help egonomics that certainly contributed to the weight: A Truvativ DH handlebar and Ritchey 90mm 30 riser stem, with Ergon grips, certainly don't make the Pugsley a weight-weenie ride and combined with a frame bag containing a multi tool, tire levers patch kit, Crank Brothers Power Pump Pro & a spare tube, as well as a Magic Shine MJ808 in the bar, the weight is astronomical.

    In the 3 weeks + since I've taken delivery, I've ridden the Pugsley over a variety of terrain, including dirt trails, suburban parks & cul de sacs, paved & gravel bike paths, inner-city streets and snow-covered single track. Riding singletrack at Valley Forge National Park with my regular sunday morning group from my lbs, High Road Cycles in Wayne that includes an experienced dh & racers, as well as roadies guys with varying single track experience, the Surly Pugsley handled all the obstacles the trail could dish out. It laughed at rock gardens and roots and I was able to easily clear log overs that webecre a serious challenge on my Specialized Hardrock. Climbing was a cinch, with seemingly limitless traction and DH sections that had previously made my sphincter pucker, became casual fun. Pumping the tires up to near 20 psi, the Pugsley made a capable cruiser, worthy of exploring paved & gravel paths and my new neighborhood in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. With more air in the tires, rolling resistance was greatly reduced at the expense of a ride that was a little harsh, reminding me that it's a rigid frame, afterall.

    Riding a fatbike, the only limits appear to be the riders strength, which in my case, I was frequently gasping for air on group trail rides. It's a lot of work to pedal a +40 pound bike and keep up with riders on 24-30# XC 29ers that are in much better shape to begin with. A 25-mile ride down Philadelphia's Schuykill River Trail took 2-1/2 hours, a little more than twice as long as on my 29er and left me achy and sore the next day. However, all the extra work was not for naught; switching back to the 29er for a change of pace this past weekend gave me a new perspective on riding. At a porky +35 pounds stock, Specialized's Hardrock Disc 29 is anything but light, even with a minimal, 1x8 drivetrain and lighter wheels, it's less than svelte, yet I had no problems keeping up with the group at Valley Forge last sunday. Looking at my results Strava, I managed to set PR's on 4 sections without giving any effort at it and finished our vigorous, 11.4 mile loop with enough energy to ride some more. If nothing else a fatbike is an excellent training and conditioning tool!

    Here are a few pictures. Hopefully, I'll have some action shots this week:
    side by side: High Roads Cycle's mgr, Isaac with his 18" NeckRomancer (L) & me with my 22" Pugsley:


    The Pugsley in an urban environment, in Center City, Philladelphia, waiting for the PATCO train to take me to ride at the Kresson Trails in NJ:
    Last edited by Gigantic; 02-04-2013 at 08:45 AM.

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