With winter well and truly here it seemed a good opportunity to review some of the new parts I’ve been running right now.
A few weeks ago I strapped on the new Dropper from Crank Brothers and have been pleasantly surprised.
This post is one of two brands right now that opted to have the cable connect at the lever. This means the cable is threaded in from the bottom of the post making things much easier, then a small grub screw in the lever can be accessed easily to simply connect things up.
You can just make out the grub screw in the lever. I love simple.
The post its self has a cartridge system with a 3 year warranty, the whole thing can be taken apart without tools. The cable connector simply unscrew allowing you to remover the post easily. At the moment there is just a 125mm drop, but 150mm versions are in the pipeline
As for how it performs, the light action and the great lever design make things second nature, especially if you are running a 1 by setup as it takes up the space the front shift lever once filled. The post itself is super smooth although the post is not the fastest at popping up. Fast enough though.
Next up, the Fathugger from Muhdhugger.
We are a big fan of mudhuggers of all sizes and this broad version is no acceptation. The guard is the perfect length mean it stops just about all of the gloop a fatty tire can though at you. Designed to fit Rockshox Bluto suspension fork it fits around almost all tires out there although some trimming of the from lip may be required if you are running the largest, such as the Bud and Lou from Surly
It will also fit some rigid’s, such as the aluminium forks from Salsa.
Finally some fresh rubber to rap around you rims.
The new Maxxis Minion fatbike tires have promised to bring the performance of its smaller cousin to the world of fatties.
So to the details. The tires are marked up as 4.8’s and we have up until now felt them to big for some bike but now we actually have our hands on them and fitted it was apparent they lived up to almost all Maxxis tires and came up smaller than stated and by some margin. The 4.8 measured 4.2 once inflated. This meant we just had to try them on a bike that normally runs 4″ rubber.
Next up how do they feel? With the typical pressures run in a fatbike tire, say 8psi, they feel as if you have 20 in there, rock solid, so how low can we go? First car park test we ended up at 2psi in the front and 3 in the rear. The tire then started to mold itself more over obstacles. Out of the saddle though and the front started to feel squirmy.
The next morning i prepared the bike for the test ride and thought it best to pop 5psi front and rear and head off to do battle with the wet mud and roots.
As some will know we have a few tires we regard as a benchmark for performance, weight and grip. The 4″ Surly Nate and Bud and Lou if you fancy some larger rubber. All are quite compliant in the sidewall department so we were keen to see how these are.
How do they ride? First thing is the weight, yes they are slightly heavier than the Bud or Lou at 1645 g and this is probably down to the amount of rubber in the sidewalls. This means they stand up load and proud even at 5psi.
I noticed the bulk as I hit the first forest downhill trail but something else became apparent very quickly, no slip or slide, these puppies really do grip. Now I am used to a light wheels set so the weight difference would be a feature but after 4 hours I felt quite at home.
On slow technical trails they really are something else, again you do have to give them a little more encouragement to swiftly change direction but you soon adjust. As for comfort, despite the stiffer sidewalls the lower pressures do give a great ride over just about anything.
When it comes to soft ground, they cope very well with oodles of traction.
I’d say on snow they probably a bit over the top but for everything else they are fine, oh and they roll OK with no noticeable self-steer at 5psi.
By the way, we ran them with tubes in for this test.
The 4″ version is hopefully arriving in January and we’ll bring you a test as soon as they land and they could be about to topple the Nate as our favorite tire but lets wait and see.
Images by Graham Foot, Bike by Smokestone Bikes, Mud curtesey of the Forest of Dean.