I knew the Charge Cooker Maxi was going to be fun in the winter, and it was. What I didn’t anticipate was how MUCH fun it would be in the spring and summer!
I woke up today to soggy trails and a steamy feel to the air after a night of rain. A typical Vermont early summer day. This means slick rocks, slimy roots and mud. Not great when you are climbing 1700 feet in 7 miles. The loose rocky climbs are tough in dry conditions. Wet trails make picking the lines critical, one slick rock can throw you off the “best” line and then you’re walking to the next “flat” spot to remount. Not only a waste of time but also a waste of HR…. to be avoided at all costs. Well, that all changes with the fat bike! If you can pedal it, it will over anything. The fat tires hug the rocks and roots and the low tire pressure gives you amazing traction. Sure it weighs a little more, but with the 36 22 front chain rings and 11X36 cassette you easily have enough gearing to get up just about anything. It’s a little slower but you’re not walking!! The traction on slick mud is unbelievable. I can easily make climbs on it that would be nearly impossible on “skinny 2.2” 29er tires. Surprisingly, it is also really easy to pick up the front wheel to go over logs and up rocks. It actually seems easier than on my other bikes. It’s a great confidence builder.
The descents are still hard for me. Today, I hit a muddy spot fishtailed, grabbed the brakes skidded into a downed tree and went over the handlebars. A rider error, NOT the bike. But, the bike is so sturdy I don’t worry about crashing on it. I’ve also noticed that when you catch a stick in the derailleur (another common occurrence on the barely maintained VT trails I ride) it seems to be less likely to break that my Epic. It does take little time to get used to the descents. The tires bounce a little and sometimes pull you left or right. It is forgiving and if you just let the bike go. The rocks and roots make the descent a little jarring, but its great practice for relaxing on the descents and easing off the brakes and letting the bike do the work. Something I need always need to work on.
I ride the Charge almost everyday. It has become my newest training tool. I definitely feel stronger climbing on my lighter bikes. Not only it is fun to train on, it’s making me a better rider! Thanks Chris and Bikeway Source for another fun toy in the shed!!