Saturday, January 11, 2014

Riding the Greasy Bear

Took off of work a little early yesterday to make it out to the Cycle Works Salsa release party and demo ride. Fat bikes have literally exploded in popularity over the last two-ish years yet it is one of the few types of bikes I don't own and haven't had the opportunity to ride a whole lot so making it out for the demo ride was a must do.
Lots of Beargrease and just the one lonely Mukluk, I was hoping to ride both the almost unattainable Beargrease and the more affordable Mukluk but the only Muk they had was an extra small. From a space standpoint I can totally see why they just brought the Beargrease though and the lack of Mukluks certainly weren't going to keep me from some snowy fun.
First thing I noticed riding these beasts was the substantial amount of rubber looking back at you from the front of the bike but boy did it just float over the snow and bumps.
Up first was the top of the line Beargrease XX1, for being such big looking bikes this one was amazingly light at I believe just a smidgen under 20 lbs. Shifting on this one could have used a little help, it kept popping on me making for a shorter ride than I ended up doing on the lower end model only logging about 3.5 miles on the flagship of the Beargrease.
Next up was the lower end model, although with a $3,500 price tag low is a bit of an oxymoron, Beargrease. I actually enjoyed the ride of this bike more than I did on the pricier one, maybe it was the shifting but it just felt like a faster bike to me.
Pictures never do justice to the grade of an decent or climb but for anyone familiar with Wilderness Park this is the first water crossing leaving from 14th St and it is steep and technical. Not only did the big tires on the Grease grip on the climb up but they also helped smooth out the rocks at the bottom of the creek better than some suspension setups I have ridden.
Like I said this bike just rode better for me and didn't have the shifting problems that the XX1 did so I rode this one for a good 8 mile loop. You would not believe how incredibly slick this bridge was with water and fresh snow on it, the Grease rode so well over everything else in the park, including the snow, that it never dawned on me that traction might be an issue until I was on my ass. I guess friction and gravity still apply even with a massive amount of rubber, it really was the only surface that seemed to be a match for the Beargrease, even snow covered roots offered little to worry about. While both bikes are well out of my range of affordability, if I had the money I'd probably opt for the less expensive model given my personal experience riding both of them. Others might disagree and the shifting and tire pressure probably played factors in the ride quality but for me the way the cheaper model rode would over ride the desire to pay an extra $1,000 for the top of the line model.
After the ridding was done it was time to dry off, warm up and head over to Cycle Works for some beer from Modern Monks, salsa from Johnny's Salsa and great company at the release party.
They always get a good turn out for these events and this one was no exception, good times. About the only downside to the demo ride and release party was the announcement that Mr. Swanson is leaving Cycle Works and moving back to Minnesota to pursue an awesome opportunity for him and his family. Great dude right there that will be sorely missed but you can't fault the guy for doing what is best for him.

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