Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fargo Morning.

With the promise of the best morning in weeks, I woke up early this morning. I've had the Fargo put together for a few days now, but haven't had a good time to ride. After stopping at the bank and grabbing a cup of coffee, I drove to the shop. Suited up at a little past eight, I headed out to the local trails.

Despite owning the shop for five years now, I heard of some new trails in town that I had not known about. I think it was a happy coincidence that my new bike designed for exploring new places would get to do just that it's first time out.

New trail enters along the Straight River. The trail is largely hidden from view, but is quit obvious once you're on it. It's been very well built. I'm not sure who built it, but I have an idea, and they deserve a big thank you. This is really well done and rather sustainable.
Lots of little exposed river bluffs. It's rather steep here and the Fargo's low and long stature really clawed into the hill. Climbing traction is really quite good. Turning around and rolling down is also quite easy and enjoyable. as the geometry would suggest, the slack head angle and lower slung stance really makes for a confident descender.

Lots of swoopy little loops match the Fargo's nature rather well. Rather than quick, sharp steering inputs, this bike loves to carve flowing runs through the woods. I love the color as well!

Old standby photo shot of the old cave tunnels. The artwork is always a little different and it's fun to see what the kids come up with. River side flowing single track.
This was a really cool place. Huge earthen walls on either side of this ravine lead to the coolest culvert I've seen in a long time. Views like this abound on this new section of trail. It's really one of the best quality trails for its size down here. A mangled old tricycle hangs above the trail at a highpoint overlook. Defiantly art crafted by time.
In short review, the Fargo is great. I love how it rides, the color and spec works rather well for how I'm going to be using it, and I just love the cruiser feel of it. It's a solid performer on all fronts. It's a true standout in terms of uniqueness and performance. I look forward to perusing some Rice County gravel on Monday on this bike. I'll update more on my initial thoughts then.

Components are a total parts bin mismatch, but work well enough for me. The wheels are 36h XT's laced to Flows with butted spokes and brass nipples. Brakes are road BB7's with Cane Creek Levers. Tires are XDX 2.1"s. The drive train is a mutt. 950 XTR cranks, Mountain LX 7 spd front der, XT 8 spd rear der, and a XT 9 spd cassette and chain round it all out. Believe it or not this all works quite well together. Shimano barcons really are probably to thank for the ease of use.

On a totally unrelated front, the St Olaf Back to School CX Race is tomorrow. Come on out and watch or participate in one the hardest, most unique races on the circuit this year! Cheers, have a great weekend!


jswan said...

What made you choose the Fargo instead of one of those new Rawland monstercross frames displayed at Interbike?

Ben said...

There is nothing that made me choose one over the other. I work with Rawland Cycles and worked a ton on the new Ravn and Drakkar. As soon as the 2010 Drakkar's are in stock I will be building one up with light wheels and a SRAM Rival drivetrain.

Though many seem to think that the Fargo and Drakkar are similar, they are very different bikes. Apart from tall head tubes, 29er tire clearance, and short enough TT's for drop handlebars, the bikes differ in almost every respect. Just as an example, the head tube angles differ by over 2.5 degrees. There are othe differences which become plain to see when comparing the geo and features side by side. Both bikes are built to be fun to ride on gravel, offroad and on mixed surfaces, but they go about all of it in wildly different ways.

Rather than seeing the bikes as competing, I think that they will compliment each other quite well. With the addition of the Drakkar, and with projects finishing up over the winter, I should have 7 drop bar MTB's. All are similar in some way to the others, but all are also very different bikes.

I think that there are people who will be better served by the Fargo or the Drakkar respectively. It largely comes down to riding style and intended use. I see no reason why a person can't have both, and I enjoy riding each of them.

Phil said...

Hello Ben,

What bars do I see on the Fargo ? If not Salsa Wood Chippers, have you tried them and what do you think ?



Ben said...

Phil. These are Woodchippers. I am totally in love with them and they simply are the best drop bar I've ever used. I will be buying 4 or 5 when they come in early December. Perfect Christmas presents.

Joe said...

Looks like a fun little ride! Rock on Ben!!

frankenbiker said...

Wow! nice bike Ben,any trail any road.Probably everywhere but Downhill racing and the skate park,but hey we can't have evrything in one bike.

Jerry said...

that really is a nice bike. thanks for letting me take a quick spin on it. the bar is really comfy. nice saddle too.

Anonymous said...

Nice photostory! It's good to read the Drakkar and Fargo complement each other ;-), for the Fargo is my dropbar mtb nr 2 and the Drakkar will be nr 3. Can't wait to built them (Fargo frameset sitting in front of me on my desk).