It’s been a month since we built our test Krampus that I named Silver.
Big tires + wide bars + short stem = fast, confidence inspiring, fun! Silver strikes a nice balance between the fast rolling properties of a 29r and the ‘I can roll up and over anything’ feeling of confidence, that fat-bike tires inspire. The Sram, 1×10 drive-train shifts flawlessly and the X-9, type 2 derailleur, has yet to drop the chain. This is a solid feeling ride that begs to be ridden fast and hard. The first few rides that I took on Silver, I found myself right on the outside edge of singletrack curves going hella-fast and grabbing a fistful of panic brake (and screaming like a little girl)……but since we’ve dialed in the tire pressures, I’ve gotten more accustomed to the way this big boy rides. I’m still finding new ways to scare myself while riding Silver and that frankly, makes me pretty damn happy. Last week I was riding a familiar spot that goes by a viewing platform that overlooks a marsh. There’s a set of railroad tie stairs that lead down to the blind that I’ve never ridden on my 29r. I’ve watched friends ride those stairs but have always passed on them (like a scare-d-cat). When I rolled up on the Krampus, I thought ‘what the hell!’ and rolled down the stairs, without incident. Wide bars, short stem, big tires (WBSSBT) will enlarge your huevos…. and your smile! Another example of how Silver has influenced my cross-country riding on my home trails (Kettle Moraine) occurred on a section of the Blue Loop called Bermuda. This particular section of flow trail has a few rock ramps that I usually bypass on my Niner. Since I’ve been riding the Krampus, I just hit them without thinking. This thing rides like a boss!
After a month of rides there are a few things that I want to change on Silver. The 1×10 drivetrain with a 32 tooth chain ring and a 12-34 cassette, is just enough gear to grunt my fat tookis around most of kettle. However, the new singletrack at Emma-Carlin had me hanging over the bars wheezing for air in a few spots, so either a 30 tooth chain ring or a 2×10 set up would fit my (in)abilities a little better. I’m also going to throw a pair of platform pedals on Silver. Look for an upcoming review of some VP Components pedals soon. I’ve also noticed that when things get slick out on the trails, Silver’s higher center of gravity coupled with the large square knobs of the Knard tires, make traction elusive at times. Lowering the tire pressure helps the situation and hopefully some new, more aggressive, 29+ tires will be introduced, in the near future, that will increase wet traction. Keep in my that on dry or loamy trail, the Knards hook up really well and make Silver corner like a big cat. One of the best attributes of this bike is the incredible traction in both climbing and cornering under all but the most greasy of conditions. Both seated and standing climbing are excellent on our Krampus.
So that’s my one month Krampus progress report. I’ll be checking back with more Krampus tales, as well as, we’ll be lending out Silver to our Bike Black Ribbon Test Pilots and getting their thoughts. Stay tuned for everything you ever wanted to know about fat-bikes, but were afraid to ask – right here on Fat-Bike!