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  1. #1
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    Upset Carver Trans-Fat Review and Ongoing Issues

    Long post warning.....

    (tl;dr: Be very careful working with Carver on a bike)

    Some previous history....

    After that rather inauspicious start to our relationship, things have gone decidedly downhill…

    After the thaw, I started using the Trans-Fat on the trails in my area. This was the major (but not only) reason I wanted this bike, as the Carver hardtail I had (and loved) handled snow duties pretty darn well, and was still a blast on the dirt. I was kinda trying for a “fat” Racer-X, to mirror/replace one of my other favored bikes. Well, almost immediately I started pedal-striking at an alarming rate. Now, I have a steel Jones Spaceframe with an EBB set pretty low which also has a propensity to pedal-strike when I lay over a bit and try to pedal over roots/rocks, so this was not an unknown phenomenon, but the T-F was pedal-striking when going straight over small bumps or roots. I found this annoying (at the least), and changed a few things (rear shock pressure, riding technique, and even sourced a set of 170mm cranks to save the 5mm). I also got in touch with Carver WHQ to see if there was anything further I could do. They offered to sell me a custom set of rockers for $290. I was kinda thinking that given the issue seemed to indicate a design flaw, they should really do what they could to make it right without incurring even further cost to a customer.

    While I mulled this over, I participated in a 4-person relay race (Tree Farm Relay) in which I was the last of 4 racers on our team. Not even a mile into the course (which most would describe as beginner to low-intermediate level), I had a minor pedal strike on a dirt roller around a curve. Almost immediately, I heard noise when pedaling hard. I stopped, and found evidence my drive-side crankarm started contacting the drive-side chainstay (again). I was using some duct tape as an lazy-man’s chain-slap protector, and it was rubbed off where the crankarm was contacting the chainstay (pic). It was subsequently determined that the swingarm was jacked over to the right, and there was sufficient play to allow the swingarm to swing laterally and contact the crankarm. (See this and this to see difference in crankarm clearance.)

    I was unable to finish the race, and therefore garnered myself and my teammates a DNF.

    And so we had yet another roadblock keeping me from riding this bike. First it was the original crankarm/chainstay contact issue, which ended up costing me 3 months and $$$ to replace the original crankset because Carver initially had nothing saying that a specific crankset was required for this frame. Next, when the pedal-strike issue was brought to their attention, their solution to what I see as an engineering issue was to attempt to *sell* me a set of custom rockers to fix it. And the aforementioned engineering issue has resulted in an even larger problem affecting the integrity of the frame itself (a crack was eventually found on the front triangle adjacent to the pivot).

    When contacted about the newest problem with the bike, Carver was quite happy to tell me about all the ways this was my fault (since they gave me a drawing), but that they would honor the warranty and I should send them the frame at their expense. Subsequently, I had the frame packaged up and shipped to Carver WHQ in Maine.

    After some further consternation over shipping charges, they once again tried to shift blame from the the designer/manufacturer (them) to the retailer/customer (my shop/me) since they sent drawings. I once again reiterated that I, nor my shop, are bike design professionals, and shifting responsibility for defective stuff is generally frowned on in this society (just ask GM, or any auto company). I let them know that I wouldn’t stand for it. I also let them know that if they were not willing to deal with all of the issues with the frame, I would accept a full refund. The tone, but not the execution, changed somewhat after this exchange.

    I finally heard from them after they had the frame for a ~week (with no acknowledgement) where they informed me of the discovered crack. They informed me that the builder has the discretion to rebuild or repair the front triangle, and if they rebuild, he will ask them to raise the BB (just for reference, the BB drop on the bike he sold me is 46.2mm, compared to the Bucksaw’s 26.2mm; he essentially copied the Racer-X number without regard for the differences in Q-factor or linkage design). He quoted 5 days shipping time to the factory in China.

    After hearing nothing for 2 weeks, I was told that nothing had been communicated from the builder due to the Moon Festival shutting down the country. Previously, the Dragon Boat Festival was blamed for an untimely quote on custom rockers. Geez, where have I heard this stuff before. Oh yeah! Various festivals, and their consequent country-wide (alleged) shutdowns, were blamed for the frame not getting done on time. With all these festivals, it’s a wonder China produces anything!

    When the builder finally ended his radio silence (this was now a month after it was received by Carver), he stated that he just then received it (remember, shipping was previously quoted at 5 days), and that it would be ready in 2 weeks. No mention was made about the BB issues. When asked about this, Carver once again tried to blame me for the problem, and stated it was at the discretion of the builder.

    Three weeks later, when asked for a status report, yet another week-long country-wide shutdown due to a festival provided yet another excuse for no information. Seriously.

    As you can imagine, I was less than pleased to hear that tired old yarn again.

    Three days after that (now almost 4 weeks after the builder’s email, and 2 months after Carver received the frame), I was informed that the frame is back in the states (it must have been a surprise ), with a new larger seat tube and lower pivot. This was quite a surprise to me as well, in that one of the initial requirements for the frame was a 27.2mm seat tube (rather than the current 31.6mm).

    Nothing was said about greater BB clearance, but a new set of rockers was mentioned, kinda indicating that nothing was done in that regard. This, also, was not welcome. The builder subsequently stated that they would provide the rockers at no charge.

    Unfortunately, the frame no longer matched either the initial specifications, or the drawing with which Carver had been trying to pummel me. I had on several occasions proposed a full refund as an alternative to all this angst; now it was a demand.

    Of course, that idea was dismissed out-of-hand, so I proposed the alternative of the frame in its current state, plus a seatpost, plus the rockers. Carver stated the frame and seatpost were already on the way, but the rockers would be “a while yet” (as yet undefined). As the frame is all-but useless without some way to raise the BB, it will sit in a box until the new rockers arrive.

    Except now, it may not arrive. After no sign of the frame in ~2 weeks, I inquired, and Carver sent me a tracking number showing that the frame was delivered on 10/21. The tracking info also showed that delivery was attempted twice before someone was available to sign for it. This raised a red flag, as I know the shop was open when they allegedly attempted delivery.Consequently, I asked for the address to which they sent the frame.

    Carver sent the frame to the wrong address. As if this tale of woe could not get any more ridiculous, they had sent it to the shop’s old (like, >1.5 years out-of-date) address. Not even the address to which the frame had originally been sent (my shop has 2 locations), but the old address of the other location.

    My frame is now in limbo. I have not heard from Carver or UPS since I informed them that they sent the frame to the wrong address. I am hoping to see a frame or a check soon. TBH, I would prefer the check. This frame has been a debacle from the outset.
    Last edited by utabintarbo; 10-30-2014 at 12:01 PM. Reason: added tl;dr
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  2. #2
    Living the thug life.
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    My buddy has a very similar story with one of their hardtail fatbikes.
    I proudly ride for these guys.

    My blog.

  3. #3
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    That really does suck! I am hoping they just give you a full refund and move on.

    BTW, I have 2 Carver frames (not a Trans Fat) and a few components from them and have had all good experiences dealing with them.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by utabintarbo View Post
    ...They informed me that the builder has the discretion to rebuild or repair the front triangle, and if they rebuild, he will ask them to raise the BB (just for reference, the BB drop on the bike he sold me is 46.2mm, compared to the Bucksaw’s 26.2mm; he essentially copied the Racer-X number without regard for the differences in Q-factor or linkage design).
    Holy sh!t...

    Sorry you're getting jacked so badly, bud.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (as of 2016). As a profiteer of the bicycle industry, I am not to be taken very seriously.

  5. #5
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    That there is an ugly tale, sorry to hear it....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    That really does suck! I am hoping they just give you a full refund and move on.

    BTW, I have 2 Carver frames (not a Trans Fat) and a few components from them and have had all good experiences dealing with them.
    FWIW, I have a hardtail frame, 2 forks, a seatpost and a handlebar from them, and they've all been fine. I put more miles on the hardtail than any of any other bikes. But this bike, and the service after the sale, has been ....disappointing.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by utabintarbo View Post
    Long post warning.....

    (tl;dr: Be very careful working with Carver on a bike)
    For a full suspension fat bike, check out out the new Turner King Kahn. I rode it at outerbike and I was blown away!

    Also, check your PM

  8. #8
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    A number of years ago the cleaning lady at our company had her printer stop working. After spending some time on the manufacturers support site I determined that the problem was they weren't ever planning on releasing a driver for the then-new Windows 2000 operating system and that all their "suggestions" were nothing but crap. After a couple of nasty notes on my part to this effect (and us being a reseller of their laser printers) Nan got a brand new inkjet in the mail within a week and my comments were conveniently erased. I have to thing that a bad thread like this is on a legitimate board is far worse than a thousand bad Amazon reviews. I hope they finally notice this and do what's right.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reverborama View Post
    ... I have to thing that a bad thread like this is on a legitimate board is far worse than a thousand bad Amazon reviews. I hope they finally notice this and do what's right.
    Given their generally surly attitude and the summary dismissal of the idea when first mentioned, I can't really start holding my breath for that. While it is the preferred result, I can't see them backing down at this point. I'm sure they still believe that sending that drawing absolves them of all responsibility for their crappy design.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  10. #10
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    Man that sucks.

    If it makes you feel any better, the whole holiday crap is at least reasonable for China this time of year. From my experience at work, those three holidays that you ran into all tend to be more of the major ones for the factories leading up into new years and then Chinese new years. They could have still probably communicated things better around that.

    Anyways, hope they figure something out for how to find the frame and get it back to you at least.

  11. #11
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    A bit of an update....

    The company that now resides in the old address is an interior design outfit that is only available by appointment, so they are rarely available to allow UPS to pick the frame back up. So the frame had been sitting in their office since 10/21....

    After a somewhat heated call to Carver GHQ they generated a pick-up order for UPS on 10/29. As the office is not usually occupied, UPS made their 3 attempts to no avail. This caused another pick-up order to be generated by Carver. It was finally "refused" and sent back to Carver on 11/7. I finally received a tracking number that shows that the frame will be delivered to the shop on 11/14. Still no word on upgraded rockers.

    So it looks like I might get my frame back this weekend. Maybe. I take nothing for granted regarding this project. More to come...
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  12. #12
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    That stinks: (
    I am curious though, you mention the pedal strikes and low bb. Is that Carver design, or because you asked for the same geometry as a racer x?

  13. #13
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    Bummer
    I've only had mostly good experiences with Carver. I imagine Carver might have another take on the situation, but if you paid with a credit card it might be time for the nuclear option of disputing the original charge and refusing the frame when it finally shows up.

  14. #14
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    Carver actually named a product "O'Beast". Shouldn't that tell you all you need to know about their judgment?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by utabintarbo View Post
    A bit of an update....

    The company that now resides in the old address is an interior design outfit that is only available by appointment, so they are rarely available to allow UPS to pick the frame back up. So the frame had been sitting in their office since 10/21....

    After a somewhat heated call to Carver GHQ they generated a pick-up order for UPS on 10/29. As the office is not usually occupied, UPS made their 3 attempts to no avail. This caused another pick-up order to be generated by Carver. It was finally "refused" and sent back to Carver on 11/7. I finally received a tracking number that shows that the frame will be delivered to the shop on 11/14. Still no word on upgraded rockers.

    So it looks like I might get my frame back this weekend. Maybe. I take nothing for granted regarding this project. More to come...
    i wouldn't trust it even if it does show.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    That stinks: (
    I am curious though, you mention the pedal strikes and low bb. Is that Carver design, or because you asked for the same geometry as a racer x?
    FTR, I did not ask them for the same geometry as a Racer-X. I asked them to "More-or-less replicate the 2009 Racer-X 29er major dimensions with the MCS Lefty kit in mind" . That "more-or-less" allows a fair bit of leeway, as I was mainly interested in the ~24.75" ETT of the Racer-X. Given the other changes required to make a fat bike fat (especially BB width and Q-factor), one would reasonably assume that a designer would account for those differences. For instance, the BB is ~20mm higher on a Bucksaw. That 20mm would likely have made all the difference with this bike. But Carver didn't do his homework, and apparently didn't account for the workings of the suspension.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbasinger View Post
    Bummer
    I've only had mostly good experiences with Carver. I imagine Carver might have another take on the situation, but if you paid with a credit card it might be time for the nuclear option of disputing the original charge and refusing the frame when it finally shows up.
    Unfortunately paid by check in March of 2013. A fact that makes me even more upset.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nvphatty View Post
    i wouldn't trust it even if it does show.
    Well, the alternative to its use as intended is having a very expensive piece of wall art, or selling it to an unsuspecting rube. No, I'll have to make it work, somehow. If it breaks again, I will send it back again. (And update this thread again.)
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by utabintarbo View Post
    FTR, I did not ask them for the same geometry as a Racer-X. I asked them to "More-or-less replicate the 2009 Racer-X 29er major dimensions with the MCS Lefty kit in mind" . That "more-or-less" allows a fair bit of leeway, as I was mainly interested in the ~24.75" ETT of the Racer-X. Given the other changes required to make a fat bike fat (especially BB width and Q-factor), one would reasonably assume that a designer would account for those differences. For instance, the BB is ~20mm higher on a Bucksaw. That 20mm would likely have made all the difference with this bike. But Carver didn't do his homework, and apparently didn't account for the workings of the suspension.
    Gotcha.
    Unfortunately you know the saying about hindsight being 20/20....

    Hopefully they take care of you. S*&^ happens, but it's all in how the company handles the situation.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReXTless View Post
    Carver actually named a product "O'Beast". Shouldn't that tell you all you need to know about their judgment?
    No, that tells me nothing about their judgment.

    Every experience I've had with Bikeman.com and Bath Cycle (same people) has been excellent. Something obviously went wrong with this design or sale, but there are many other people raving about their Carver bikes. To the OP, hopefully it all gets resolved to your satisfaction.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by utabintarbo View Post
    Unfortunately paid by check in March of 2013. A fact that makes me even more upset.
    This might be the most unbelievable part of the story...Check? Was this after you called n the order from a pay phone booth? :
    Sorry, just kidding....couldnt resist. Hope they work this out. I would continue to push the refund issue...wouldnt want the frame now.
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  22. #22
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    So the frame had been languishing in my living room over the Winter while I was busy with life and other projects. I finally got it back together, and decided to take it out on one of the usual group rides I attend. This is on another Beginner to low-Intermediate trail (that's pretty much all we have around here)(ref: https://www.strava.com/activities/308543862). Shortly after completing the first (very Beginner-level) section of the trail (the "Pines"), I noticed the drive-side crankarm would contact the chainstay if I "stood on it" going up a hill. As it was (at that point) pretty unobtrusive, I was charged with "sweeping" the ride, and I was already out there, I decided to go on with the ride.

    As the ride went on, and we got into the (relatively) hillier parts of the trail, the incidents of contact increased, such that I adjusted my riding style to compensate. Regardless, I noticed a slight increase in the frequency of contacts as the ride progressed. FTR, no pedal-strikes on this ride.

    Upon returning to my car, a friend was checking out the bike and noticed something odd near one of the welds on the drive-side chainstay.



    Yes, that is a crack at the weld on the chainstay.

    Yet more evidence that I was sold a lemon (defined as "products that repeatedly fail to meet standards of quality and performance").

    The attached picture was posted on Facebook, and started a rather spirited discussion among friends and friends-of-friends who work in the automotive industry (including one professor of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University), the consensus opinion was that it is likely a bad weld that failed due to fatigue, the fatigue caused by a too-flexy rear triangle, that being a function of its design.

    So once again we come to the design of the bike, a sad refrain sung often in my previous conversations with Carver. Here, I get a freshly "repaired" bike, and it breaks, again, on its first ride. I paid for this bike in March of 2013. I have ~188 miles on it (yes, I keep track) and I am pretty sure it has been out of my hands for a majority of the time since I paid for it, even considering the time it was sitting un-built in my living room. As it is right now, it is more functional as wall art than it is as a bike. The only problem is, I thought I was buying a bike.

    And so the back-and-forth with Davis Carver started. Initially, I was dead-set on getting a refund, as I didn’t relish the idea of yet another four month sojourn across the Pacific to have the welders look at it, then sit on it during their incessant festival-driven work stoppages (bread and circuses FTW! ). As expected, Carver pooh-pooh-ed that idea straight off.

    However, Carver informed me that the wait on a new swingarm would be only two to three weeks. This kinda changed the calculus. I backed off my position a bit, and proposed that I send the frame back to him, and if it takes more than 30 days to turn it around, or I get it back and it breaks again, he refunds the purchase price. He countered with an agreement on the time limit for the return of the rear swingarm. We agreed on a time frame, and he sent me a UPS label for the frame.

    And that is where things currently stand. He has until July 6 to get my frame back to me in good working order. Given the (rather paltry) communications I have received from him to this point, I have serious doubts he will make that date. Of course, I will keep you all apprised.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  23. #23
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    Aluminum. Next time.

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    Man, talk about a sad thread getting sadder. Hope everything works out!

  25. #25
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    Sheesh! They need to give you a refund already. Sounds so frustrating

  26. #26
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    what a sad tale, I'm absolutely dumbfounded, you have more patience than me.......

    although its unlikely I would ever have a purchase from Carver, this thread guarantees I never will.
    I understand a product can be defective, it happens, but the customer service here is ridiculous and that's the important part.
    always mad and usually drunk......

  27. #27
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    I couldn't imagine a BB that much lower than my Bucksaw, horrible. This is way beyond the point of a full refund and apology, shame on him.

    I don't understand the reason for titanium FS frames, aluminum and carbon are lighter and stiffer. Hardtail, yes as you take advantage if it's good qualities that are pretty much wasted on FS.

  28. #28
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    RMB,

    You are right. Aluminum or carbon makes more sense for full suspension than titanium does. That said, there WERE no production full suspension fat frames on the market in late 2012, when our customer contacted us. It was a total custom frame per the rider's specs, and was actually ordered through his local shop. We have stood by our warranty, and replaced his frame last year with a new upgraded frame that featured a larger seat tube, as well as a free titanium seat post. We have also had a new swingarm built, which is on it's way. We have build over 350 custom frames, of every description, over the years. As always, we will stand by our warranty with this rider, in the same way that we treat every rider.

    Davis Carver

    CarverBikes

  29. #29
    rmb
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainemud View Post
    RMB,

    You are right. Aluminum or carbon makes more sense for full suspension than titanium does. That said, there WERE no production full suspension fat frames on the market in late 2012, when our customer contacted us. It was a total custom frame per the rider's specs, and was actually ordered through his local shop. We have stood by our warranty, and replaced his frame last year with a new upgraded frame that featured a larger seat tube, as well as a free titanium seat post. We have also had a new swingarm built, which is on it's way. We have build over 350 custom frames, of every description, over the years. As always, we will stand by our warranty with this rider, in the same way that we treat every rider.

    Davis Carver

    CarverBikes
    I rarely post when I see situations like this, and it is clear that you did not walk away from the issue. My reason for posting is in your reply with respect to the year that the OP contacted you. The frame was received in 2013 and has been problematic since that time, and even though the warranty has and is being honored, it seems like too much down time and trouble during the process. Once the upgraded frame cracked, a refund would have been fair with the return of the frame and seatpost. It is just my opinion but it seems that this will never be right for the customer.

    My comment on the frame material was more of a general statement as there have been other FS ti frames (non fat) and wondering if I'm missing something regarding the choice of material.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainemud View Post
    RMB,

    You are right. Aluminum or carbon makes more sense for full suspension than titanium does. That said, there WERE no production full suspension fat frames on the market in late 2012, when our customer contacted us. It was a total custom frame per the rider's specs, and was actually ordered through his local shop. We have stood by our warranty, and replaced his frame last year with a new upgraded frame that featured a larger seat tube, as well as a free titanium seat post. We have also had a new swingarm built, which is on it's way. We have build over 350 custom frames, of every description, over the years. As always, we will stand by our warranty with this rider, in the same way that we treat every rider.

    Davis Carver

    CarverBikes
    Well, it is good to know that the swingarm is "on its way". I suppose an email to that effect is in the works. In any case, the clock is still ticking.

    And yes, I am somewhat a victim of my own impatience. I saw an opportunity to have a bike very few have even seen, and (what I thought was) a good builder with which I had a previous (good) relationship. Even now, this issue seems anomalous. But a company is often defined not by its successes, but how it deals with its failures, no matter how rare. I will let the comments of the rest of the marketplace here tell you how you did in that regard.

    And I suppose one should be gratified to hear that you will continue to stand by your warranty, even if that means I will never actually get to ride the bike you built due to its being, once again, repaired. And perhaps I should be as well, but your promise rings hollow if I can never fully trust this bike not to break if I treat it like an actual mountain bike.

    As to material choice, rmb, I will fully admit that I am a bit of a Ti snob. But hindsight being 20/20, had I to do it over again, I would look at aluminum a bit more charitably for a full-suspension application. However, at the time, that wasn't an option. Also, I had test-driven a friends Ti FS 29er (a Titus Ti Racer-X), and found it pretty nice. The one (seemingly major) difference is that the Ti Racer-X had an aluminum swingarm. As the swingarm flex on the Trans-Fat seems to factor into the issues I seem to be encountering, perhaps a Ti front triangle and aluminum swingarm (and rockers) seems to be the best of both worlds.

    Crabon, however, frightens me a bit. Likely irrational, but I gotta be me.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

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    So he got the frame back to me on time, in a manner of speaking... I sent him a complete frame, and he sent back a frame less the chainstay portion of the swingarm, and had the chainstay sent to me directly. Of course, this meant I had to assemble it (and therefore assume the risk of said assembly possibly affecting my warranty, I imagine). Given that I kinda wanted to see whether this bike will ever actually work, I accepted that, and had an LBS put the bike together for me. Hopefully, I will take possession tomorrow, and try it out in the same group ride environment that proved so destructive the last time.

    If it fails, you can be assured I will report back quickly. If not, it may be a bit longer, 'cause life and sh!t.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  32. #32
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    Take it to the DH bike park and test it out off jumps

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Urkel View Post
    Take it to the DH bike park and test it out off jumps
    That thought had occurred to me. But alas, I am old and brittle, and too scared of breaking a hip. Or something.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  34. #34
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    Frame survived ~10 miles of singletrack. Did not seem nearly as flexy as I seem to recall. The race that broke it the first time is coming up in ~1 week, and as I am a glutton for punishment, I plan to give this thing another shot at it.

    I do plan to have a back-up bike, just in case.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  35. #35
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    hopefully this ends the whole "drama", but my guess is the sour taste will last a while

    Im not sure I could ever trust that bike.....
    always mad and usually drunk......

  36. #36
    All fat, all the time.
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    Ride the hell out of it! Good luck this go around.

  37. #37
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    I plan to ride the hell out of it (well, at least as much as I ride the hell out of any bike ), but I can say that I really don't trust it yet. Every odd click or squeak has me wondering if the head tube will fall of or something. Maybe if it survives to the Winter I will ease up on that. Maybe.

    In any case, I will try to keep this thread updated (though I'm sure it will be updated faster if something goes awry vs. if everything works out - such is the nature of reviews ).
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  38. #38
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    No doubt the Bike Patrol, with full first-aid kit, will be chasing you through the Tree Farm... just in case

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjdog800 View Post
    No doubt the Bike Patrol, with full first-aid kit, will be chasing you through the Tree Farm... just in case
    Last year, I had Jeremy V. behind me until the bike broke. I wonder if they will be on high alert this year as well.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  40. #40
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    I was the first owner of a Carver trans fat full suspension and in fact was their beta-tester as there was no one else willing to build what I had envisioned. The story started 7 years ago after riding a rigid fat tire on railroad tracks on the Erie canal. I had a revelation that 10 pounds of pressure on 4 inch tires with full suspension would provide me with the ultimate ride to keep me glued, safe, and comfortable as an old mountain biker approaching 60 years. In Carver's defense they were the only ones willing to take on this project after contacting multiple custom bike builders in the US. One of them told me it was "the niche of the niche" and thought there would not be a market. Clearly with the rave reviews of the Salsa Bucksaw they were wrong.
    I started this process in 11/11 and a bike was delivered by Carver a year later.
    Davis Carver designed this bike to my specifications but clearly it was not ridden before it was delivered; on my first ride the rear triangle was so flimsy that even on the flats the rear tire rubbed. I sent it back with Neal from Cycle Monkey's help directing Carver how to re-make it and after a long wait was delivered what you see on their website with the Trixie fork. It turned out to be awesome, delivering the same kinds of rides you hear about from the Salsa bucksaw. Glued to the trail, rides over anything. Sadly as built it weighed nearly 50 pounds with a Rohloff hub. The weight caused something called PMS or pectoralis minor syndrome (look it up, it sucks) from having to break so hard on steep rugged down hills in Marin County causing me to give up mountain biking for a year.
    I contacted Davis and son after the Bucksaw came out; Carver's website promotes an under 6 pound titanium transfat frame. I asked if I could trade in my old original transfat for a new lighter model since Dave assured me I had essentially an unlimited warranty as their beta tester. I never heard back from them and I have the Salsa bucksaw carbon on order from Miguel at Krakatoa bikes in Fairfax, great shop.
    Hope to get back to serious biking soon.
    The original trans fat is for sale; now with a Carver front fork (turns out to not be nearly as good as the Trixie but the triple header kept creaming my knees, Chinese knock off);
    who knows it may be a collectors item, make me an offer.....

    Sadly the bucksaw does not allow a Rohloff hub too date though Neil at Cycle Monkey tells me it will be available next year. The hub is a huge advantage for us mountain bikers who like steep hills.

    Happy riding!!

    and for those naysayers out there the money is worth it to keep us old men on the trails; the fully suspended fat tire is the ultimate ride.

  41. #41
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    Well, the frame has survived several hard rides with no ill effects. Not willing to declare an "all-clear", but things look to be better.

    What it appears that they did is replace the welded DS chainstay (as seen here


    With a curved and ovalized tube.




    This has resulted in a much stiffer rear triangle, and no cracky-cracky. So far.

    Now, I just need to get a Lefty on the front of this beast so it feels ...complete.

    FWIW, I won't say I am happy with this thing, as there has been waaay too much angst generated. But I do, finally, seem to have a somewhat usable bike now. Not exactly a happy ending, but neither does it end in tears. Yet.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  42. #42
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    utabintarbo, sorry about the hassle with this bike. Despite the problems, I'm hoping Carver has fixed the rear triangle, and I'm seriously considering one of these things.

    How has it been riding? How is the suspension design working out? Pedal bob, responsiveness and what not?

  43. #43
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    Well, this past Winter it has been my only fat bike (too busy/lazy to put the hardtail back together), and while we didn't get a lot of snow here in SE Michigan, it worked pretty well on what we did get.

    I have yet to get it out on dry dirt trails this year, and I'm really a suspension neophyte, so any opinions wrt suspension design and responsiveness should be taken with a few grains. However, in that regard, it has performed pretty well. TBH, since I got it back together after the last snafu, the only issues I've had with the bike are all within my purview rather than Carver's (squealing brakes, Lefty alignment issues, and such). It probably is not helpful that, due to my size (270 lbs.+), I tend to have to run suspension components (forks and shocks) pretty close to their upper operating limits, thereby mitigating tuning space.

    As I mentioned, it is difficult to say I am happy with it, given all the baggage, but it has been serviceable of late.

    As to whether Carver has fixed the design issues, I can't say for sure. As I understand it, this was their second Trans-Fat produced (see above for a post by the guy who had #1), and a guy like me likely created a "trial-by-fire" scenario for such a design (the only problem being I paid for a usable frame, rather than a prototype ). I hope Carver learned enough from this experience to beef-up their rear triangle going forward (it's hard to say for sure, as the pictures on their website seem to show the same kind of welded DS chainstay that was replaced by a one-piece tube on my rear triangle).

    In any case, before too long, I will likely be retiring this bike, as I have too many bikes now, and it gets insufficient ride time, and I have grown to prefer rigid bikes in general (thanks to Jeff Jones, mostly ). It's the only non-rigid bike left in the quiver.

    So in closing, please keep my experience in mind when ordering and configuring your Trans-Fat, and make sure to understand exactly what Carver's "warranty" entails - in my case, a whole hell of a lot of time waiting for my bike. I would suggest getting reasonable but firm dates with penalties for non-compliance. He is well-aware of this thread (see "mainemud's" post above), so feel free to invoke it during negotiations. You can even tell him Bob said "Hi".
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  44. #44
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    dont they and wren rebadge the same inverted forks?
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  45. #45
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    I don't THINK it's the same fork, but that's a lot more Inside Baseball stuff than I am confident in answering. I have one of Carver's forks, BTW.
    Let the market decide!

    N42.58 W83.06

  46. #46
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    after reading everything you typed. i feel like they shouldve paid you to test the product out


    instead, they had you paid for a undeveloped product. went thru problems and gave them inputs on how to make it better. at the end of day you get fingers pointed to by them. thats not how a company would grow. i honestly dont think they would get very far with this philosophy
    16 Trek Farley 5 W/2XL snowshoe
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