Thursday, January 19, 2017

What to bring on your ride...

Riding a bicycle with out question can be one of the most invigorating feelings. As many of you may agree there is certainly no end to the list of places that one can go on a bicycle. That said like any trip that you are about to take or journey you are going to embark on, you need to carry some "necessaries". Getting stuck, breaking down or having a dreaded "mechanical" is going to happen, however making sure that you are prepared is key. Please continue to read as we will dig a little deeper into the suggested items to have with on your next ride / adventure.

The Basics:
Having something to carry your "necessaries" is the first key to success. If you think that your going to remember to put them in your jersey pocket or jacket every time you head out the door think again. I can tell you more times than often... this exact situation has lead to good old hike a bike home, or....the embarrassing phone call to your spouse / significant other. Look it's simple we ride bikes for fun and recreation NO professionally. Well maybe some of you reading this do...but even then you probably adhere to the basic context of this article. That said here are some suggested ways to bring items on your ride:

  • On the bike type carriers:
    • Behind the seat bag
    • Handle bar mount
    • Internal frame mount
    • Rear rack 
    • Front rack
  • Rider carries:
    • Hydration Pack / back pack type
    • Waist Pack
    • Jersey/jacket pockets....
Bring these:

The above listed will make bringing the later suggested items on your ride a thousand times easier. When we say "basics" we mean items such as, repair tools, energy food items, extra clothing, etc. Now of course depending on the nature of your ride, trip, or would need to pack accordingly. So please keep that into consideration when we say this is a partial list.

  • Multi tool (For making any adjustments /repairs)
  • Extra Tube make sure its for the correct size tire (Hey better to have then have not)
  • Patch kit (Yes they still make them)
  • Extra Tire Sealant (Those running "tubeless" set ups)
  • Energy Food (Energy bar / Gel or good old pb&j)
  • Pump / Frame type or CO2 type inflator
  • Rag 
  • Other Optional Suggestions
    • Extra Chain Master links 
    • Suspension Shock pump
    • Digital Tire Pressure gauge
    • Torque wrench
    • Decent quality chain tool
    • Zip ties
    • Extra clip-in cleat parts
    • Small Zip lock bags
    • First Aid-Kit
    • Co2's  cartridges (For inflator)
    • Small tube of chain lube
    • Beverage opener (:0)
    • Water proof pack covers
    • Good old plastic grocery / garbage bags work in a pinch
    • Spare parts (Trip / ride dependent)
    • Fold able style tires (Trip / ride dependent)
    • Spokes 
Now bear in mind no matter where you put these items etc it is going to be added weight. When we say added weight not a ton but the bottom line is if and when something does happen you are prepared and can ride back home or keep going etc. Of course like anything we do in life comes the actual experience of riding. As you get what you take on your rides more dialed in you should ultimately become what we call "McGuyver". Not sure many of you reading this may get that but it was a cheesy 80's TV show that become cult... (Google it) 

We hope these tips and suggestions help, in the mean time, happy trails & don't forget to take time to stop and enjoy the ride !!! Any other question, comment's, ideas or suggest please feel free to drop us a line info@growlerbikes we would love to hear from you !!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Fatbike vs. Mid-Fat bike....What does it all mean???

I went on my first official "Fat-Bike" ride about a month ago, boy did I have my eyes opened. Being a traditional mountain bike racer etc...I was always hating on these larger circus sized tire bikes. Strange thing is...little did I know how much I would really enjoy riding one and how much of a game changers these bikes are.

How it all happened: 

Phone call with my good friend at Growler Bikes,"  "Hey, I have a demo bike that I want to get you to ride...JUST GIVE IT A TRY." 

Me: "Agh, not really sure that it's going to change my perspective in anyway but what the heck..why not? "

Well, then we insert my shit eating grin when the Growler demo bike shows up....The bike was dialed and ready to go. Essentially all I had to do was,adjust the seat height,dial front shock pressure, and put my pedals on. The weather that particular day was a nice crisp Upstate New York fall kind of day. So of course what better what better way to put it to the test?  Yep....DEMO ride !!!! Whoo-hoo.

Mr. Big Stuff
2017 Growler Mr. Big Stuff 

My initial thoughts:

First off I guess we should explain the terminology...before I go on. When you are talking a "Fat-Bike" the tire width in theory average 3.5 inched and up. However this from a consumers stand point is where it gets confusing....Basically the wheel size breaks down into to this 27.5+ & 29.5+ After chatting with a number of my hardcore convert riding friends...they with out question say that these particular category bikes are here to stay. In fact on my weekly night ride out of a dozen plus riders.... 75% ride a fatbike / mid-fat bike. Just to put it perspective we do ride a a generally brisk pace and ride some pretty dicey terrain at times. Never have I experienced any of my counter parts to slate that their choice of bike was a hindrance.

On the ride:

A bit of an adjustment I can tell you that.... My traditional 29r with much narrower tires..seemed to accelerate much faster. However after spending a few days on the bike this seemed to be a non issue. In regards to tire size..this was actually the first thing I really enjoyed. There was not alot of thought that needed to be put into where the bike was going. (Which was good and bad) I do love riding technical terrain generally and don't mind having to find/pick my line. Now the big difference here being the tire width...AND interestingly enough the much lower tire pressure. The lower pressure was a bit of adjust I must me at first with both general riding and cornering it felt like a was getting a flat tire. However this is EXACTLY the intended way of bike set up. Honestly it took me a little be longer that I expected to be able to build up the confidence to actually trust the bike. Cornering in particular was actually spot on...leading me to believe that I might just be missing out on something with my traditional ride.

Performance across the board was very solid...I did enjoy the way the bike climbs. It seemed that at times I was almost part mountain goat LOL. Actually the one benefit of the wider tires that I really did like. During both seated as well as climbing efforts the bike kept on moving. There were probably a few minor instances where I did get the tires to slip...this coming from quick aggressive pedaling while standing. Also want to add I found the overall geometry and cockpit very user friendly. On the the descents the bike actually felt quite at home....did actually find myself taking on descents that I normally ride with a more speed that normal. The overall wheel base and tire foot print was shinning through here without question. Stability wise...VERY confidence inspiring which I found to be a huge plus. In punchy, technical riding I was using at least a third less energy that I normally would to keep the bike tracking. This again where the bike was instilling more confidence and need for more speed !!!

So in conclusion I say to you give one a try. Yes you may find it's not for you, then again you maybe convinced this is your next new thing. Overall these particular category bikes give you a fresh perspective on both the riding as well as your local trail system. To me I find these bikes the ideal choice for introducing someone to mountain biking once again or even for the first time. It is with out question a nice alternative to "leveling the playing field" for not so technical savy riders.. Or if you are looking to riding pretty much year you go the 27.5+ or 29.5+ bikes could be your next new thing!!

A special thank you goes out to Willo Glynn at Growler Bikes, definitely appreciate the nudge to give your bikes a try. Also for allowing me to keep the one I have now on an "extended demo" lol. Please check them out on Facebook.