Category Archives: Fatbike

Gravity Bullseye Monster Long-term review

Back in mid-April, I purchased a  Gravity Bullseye Monster (what a terrible name for a bike, I’ll abbreviate as GBEM!) from Bikes Direct. I’d written up a brief initial impressions post after riding it for a week or so. Since that time I’ve shared many photos and various mentions of my fat bike rides but never followed up with a proper review. With my knee problem now (apparently and hopefully) solved I’ve been back on the fatty for a couple weeks of daily trail riding and it occurred to me to check my mileage on the bike: a bit over 2,200. So, yeah, time for a long-term review.

I’ve made no secret of my love for this bike. Truth is, I’d likely love riding any decent fat bike but this is the one I have so it’s what I’ll be writing about. Of the miles I’ve put on the bike I’d estimate that about 55% were road miles, 10% gravel and 35% trail. While many fat bikes are bought for use on snow I bought mine for year-round trail riding. In the late 90’s I’d done a good bit of riding on various mountain bikes, aluminum and steel, most with front shocks. Of course, fat bikes are a relatively new thing and while many people are still riding mountain bikes, I went with fatty for a few reasons:

  • The ride felt cushy enough without shocks, including the rear wheel.
  • 4” Fat tires are forgiving in a way that 2.5” mountain bike tires are not. Which is to say, they roll over things that a mountain bike tire might catch on.
  • The fat tire experience provides for a kind of slow, casual trail ride. Sure, I can go fast, but the fat tire form factor almost suggests a slower ride which appeals to me. Almost like a beach cruiser for the woods!

So, getting on with the review of the GBEM, I’ll get the negatives out of the way first.

This is a budget bike which sells for $499 to $599 so that means it’s got some compromises (actually, I’m cooking up a separate post about budget bikes and direct consumer bikes as compared to the name brand, more expensive bikes found at bike shops). That said, only three specific components really stood out to me as worth mentioning as negatives: the pedals, handlebar and the chain.

The stock configuration of the bike with just a water bottle cage and light attached.

I changed the pedals within the first week. Not much to say about the pedals other than they are just cheap pedals fine for a casual ride around the neighborhood or occasional trail ride. It’s assumed many riders will replace the pedals anyway, the stock pedals are there so that it’s a functional bike out of the box. I replaced them with Rock Bros platform pedals which have worked well. They could probably ship with a slightly better, wider plastic composite platform pedal that would work for some people without a change. In fact, these platform pedals are the pedals that ship on the Poseidon X and I’m still using them on that bike with no problem.

The handlebar, 620mm, is really too narrow a bar to be the default. It works but should be a bit wider. But on many new bikes, like the pedals, it is assumed they will be changed by more “serious” riders. I changed it out to an Origin8 Space Off Road II Handlebars. Still, would be nice if they started the bike with a wider handlebar.

The chain included with the GBEM was a fairly cheap chain that should have been replaced at about 1,300 miles. I forgot to check wear until I hit the 2,000 miles mark. I let it go too long and as a result also had to replace the rear cogs too. My bad. I should have started checking for wear at about 1,000 miles. That said, a well cared for, quality chain on a bike that’s not being ridden hard might be expected to last 2,000 miles or more. That was the case for the chain on the Poseidon X which lasted well over 2,000 miles. Oh well. I’ve replaced the chain (a higher quality chain) and cogs and will be sure to stay on top of chain wear this time.

Some nitpicks that don’t affect the ride quality but I think are worth mentioning.

  • The stem has a 2 bolt, handlebar clamp size of 25.4, both of which are old standards. More modern stems are 4 bolt attachments and have a clamp size of 31.8. When I upgraded the handlebars I should have also upgraded the stem to the modern standards. Oh well.
  • The head tube is not tapered which limits fork upgrades. Not a deal killer as I don’t intend to upgrade my fork but again, worth mentioning for others that might not be aware of the issue.
  • The seat post paint scratches off instantly with any kind of adjustments or post movement. Also, no height indicators on the post. It’s a cheap post so not surprising.
  • Front wheel foot strike! Common to a lot of these bikes is that when turning the front wheel, you may hit it with the toe of your shoe as you pedal.

That’s it for the specific component related negatives.

The rest is generally positive.

The brakes and drive train have performed fairly well. They were pretty well set out of the box.

The Tektro mechanical brakes are fine for me. They may not have the smooth modulation associated with more expensive hydrolic disc brakes but I suspect they are also easier to maintain. I’ve seen complaints online about the brakes but my hunch is that it’s often the case that buyers either are not adjusting the brakes that need adjusting or they are not given a little time to “bed-in”. These brakes, if properly set, should be able to lock-up the wheel when pulled fully. In that case it’s just a matter of learning how to operate them which is to say, careful modulation by the rider. They may never be as smooth as more expensive brakes but they do stop the bike very quickly if needed.

Moving onto the drivetrain, when I was replacing the cog set and chain I noticed that my rear derailleur hanger was very slightly bent (likely out of the box). I should have looked closer on initial set-up. When I bent it back I was able to change the limit screws a bit. Previously one was maxed out due to the bent hanger. I’d tweaked it when I set it up and didn’t realize the problem was actually the bent hanger. Anyway, the SRAM shifters and X4 rear derailleur have been fine. The Shimano Alivio front derailleur is good too. These are low-mid level components, so, not the best, but not bad. Perhaps heavier and slower to shift but nothing that has bothered me. The SRAM x4 trigger shifters work as expected.

It’s a 2x drive system with a generic crank, 22/32T chain rings and an 11-34T 8 speed cassette. I found this range to be perfect for the mix of riding I do: A bit of road, gravel, trail with short, punchy climbs on the trail. The lowest gear enables me to get up the steepest climb with no problem. For some riders that might have health issues or physical constraints a lower gear might be helpful on the trails but I think this range is good for most. All that said I think I’d prefer a 1x 10 speed on this bike. Similar to the Poseidon X but with a slightly lower gearing. The second chainring on a fat bike seems unnecessary given that it is likely going to be primarily ridden off road.

The WTB saddle, “Speed V Sport” is commonly seen on mountain bikes and fat bikes of this mid-range. It’s a pretty decent seat and I’ve got no complaints other than it’s a bit on the heavy side with a bit too much cushion but it’s a good choice for a starter bike for new cyclists might not ride all the time. I’m currently using the Charge Spoon saddle that I purchased for the Poseidon. The seat post is the same size so it was easy enough to swap it over and I’m used to the Spoon saddle so, why not?

The wheel set is pretty typical at this price range. Hubs and rims are generic and on the heavier side though rims do have weight saving cut-outs. They were true out of the box and have stayed true for 8 months of riding so I’ll consider them fairly durable. They’re not tubeless ready or compatible which is fine with me as I’ve had no problem with tubes and slime. To my knowledge no tube punctures yet. I think the thick rubber of fat tires are pretty durable by default. I’ve ridden over a lot of thorny areas as well as brush-hogged fields full of very woody stems, creek beds with large rocks and no problems. Speaking of tires…

The bike with upgraded handlebars, tires and a few added accessories.

The GBEM comes with Vee Tire Co. Mission Command tires. Durable wire beads and bit heavy but a good overall tire to start with. I rode mine for a few months before I changed to a pair of Maxxis Mammoths. They’re a folding bead which means they’re a bit lighter, more supple with a solid center tread that rolls very well on pavement or trail. Given that I now have the Poseidon X to cover longer road/gravel oriented rides my next set of tires, Maxxis Minions, are more aggressive as I won’t have to worry about the smooth center tread for the little pavement I do on this bike. I’ve found in recent days that a layer of partially frozen sub-soil with a top layer of melted mud really creates an ice-like surface that the Mammoths slip on. I’ll likely post a comparison of these two tires in the near future. I mentioned above that they seem fairly thorn resistant and they should be, they’re expensive. Decent fat bike tires cost $90 for ONE tire. So, $180 (or more) for a pair. Yikes.

A few words about the frame and fork… it’s a 6061 aluminum frame and a cromoly fork. Nothing fancy here. There are lots of attachment points on the frame and fork. One set on the inside of the down tube, one on the outside. 1 set of 3 on each fork leg. That’s 4 possible water bottle cages or anything cages if I wanted to go camping and carry larger items. And plenty of mounting points for fenders or racks. I’d initially planned to skip adding any kind of rack but recently ordered one for the back. I do a lot of trail work and would like to have the option of toting tools out there. Also, it’s just generally convenient to have a rack and bungee cords for picking up packages or transporting anything that won’t fit in a backpack.

The overall bike as recently weighed with the above mentioned parts (no rack yet), was 38.4 lbs and that was with the front fender, bottle cages, water bottle/feeder bags. Which is to say that for a fatty it’s on the mid-upper end of expected weight. I’ll save detailed comparisons to more expensive bikes for a future post but for now I’ll just say that in this price range, a fat bike like the GBEM offers the rider a fairly easy and stable ride on trails that might normally cause problems on bikes with smaller wheels and tires. The fat tires just roll over things such as larger rocks, fallen branches or holes. I think they allow a rider to feel safer and more confident when encountering the things often found on a trail.

Related, another benefit of a fat bike (generally speaking) is the added traction for steep ascents and descents. Whether I’m riding on a gravel road or trail, assuming average conditions, I’m likely to feel like I’ve got good traction on the GBEM. Certain muddy conditions can eventually get a bit slippery but with the large tires a fatbike tends to provide solid footing. I really notice this when riding up steep hills with loose debris on the surface. Whether a loose gravel road or a trail with leaves, sticks, rocks, acorns, etc, a steep slope can often cause enough loss of traction to get you off the bike. The wide contact patch of the GBEM gives me the best chance of slowly peddling up and over these conditions. The steepest portion of my trail is a 13 to 14% grade, rutted hill with roots, leaves and fairly large rocks. It’s not easy but I make it up every time on the GBEM.

What about road riding? Well, a fat bike is definitely not a bike I would buy if I intended to mostly ride the road. Going forward the GBEM will be primarily a trail and gravel bike. That said, I put over 1,000 miles on our county roads in July and it works just fine. It’s heavier and has more rubber on the road than needed but it was much easier than I expected. In fact, when I switched to the much lighter gravel bike with much narrower tires I was surprised that my average speed and effort were not changed all that much! No doubt, the gravel bike is faster with less effort but I expected the difference to be greater than it actually was.

These bikes come 90% assembled. I took it out of the box, removed the packing materials, attached the handlebars, front wheel and pedals. I think that was about it. I checked the shifting and brakes and a quick once over to make sure everything was tight. Removing all the zip-tied packaging took about 20 minutes, the little bit of assembly and check-over took 40 minutes or so. I think most can handle it with the help of YouTube videos for the basics of adjusting derailleurs if need be. If not you can take it into a local bike shop. They’ll assemble and set-up for a fee. If you’re the sort that plans to maintain the bike on your own then you can learn as you need to assuming you don’t already have the skills. If you’re not going to maintain it then take it to a local bike shop as you’ll need to take it there in the future for tune-ups, etc.

The bike in it’s current configuration with multiple water bottle cages, handlebar attached bags, fenders and upgraded seat.

As I said at the end of my initial review, I’d have no problem recommending this bike to anyone considering a fat bike. It’s on the heavier side with mid-level components but at 38 lbs it’s still a fairly light and easy ride on the trails. The GBEM sells for $500 to $600 and compares fairly well to bike store brands (Giant, Trek, Specialized, Salsa, Surly)which generally start around $1,500 and weigh in at around 33lbs. I’m working on a future post to compare these two general choices because it’s worth considering before purchasing a bike. That said, I’ll continue to ride my fat bike with no regrets.

Fat bike fitting: fixing a wide stance

Alternate post title… Fat Bike, I just can’t quit you!

Alternate alternate post title: I think I fixed my knee discomfort caused by the wide Q-factor of the fatbike!

A couple weeks ago I posted about using the Poseidon X as a trail bike. An update: After a week or two of riding the trails we had several days of rain and hoo-boy does it get tricky on wet, muddy trails. Still, it’s doable and I did it for a couple days. But muddy trails in the cold of winter freeze, re-thaw, freeze and overall don’t tend to dry out. So, while I don’t mind the challenge, the prospect of riding consistently wet, muddy trails for weeks at a time, likely doing damage to the trail that I would have to fix, led me back to the fat bike.

To reiterate, I love the fat bike. It’s a blast to ride and the only reason I was avoiding it was knee discomfort due to the wider stance. So, I made a few more seat adjustments and, I think crucially, decided to try riding with my feet positioned all the way up against the crank. I think the general norm is that you place your foot squarely on the pedal. It occurred to me that if I pulled my feet up closer to, and in contact with the crank arm, I’d be that much closer to the more comfortable riding position I needed for my knees. The Poseidon X has my foot at about 3 1/8” (80mm) away from the seat tube. By comparison, the inside of the pedal on the fat bike is 4” (102mm) away from the seat tube. Putting my feet up against the crank arm has my foot at about 3 1/2” (89mm) away from the seat tube. It’s only a half inch difference but this adjustment seems to have done the trick! That’s the funny thing about bike fitting. Often times it’s just an adjustment of a half inch or an inch, be it seat height, stem length or angle, etc that can make a big difference. This is especially true if you’re doing longer hours on the bike. 30 minutes here and there likely won’t matter much. But 2 to 3 to 4 hours a day, several days a week, well, that’s makes a difference.

It may also be possible to find some different cranks with less of an outward bend and I may look into cranks that are closer to the frame. For now this adjustment to my foot-on-pedal position seems to have done the trick. It’s been about 10 days of riding and the issue has not returned. So happy to be back on this bike!

Bike and Trail Updates

First, the trail updates…

I’ll start with trail update and it’s just one. I’ve put in a new trail by the creek at the southeast corner of the property. This is the creek that flows with water the longest though it too usually dries up by mid to late summer. The trail is a short one that connects to the trails I put in during the spring and allows for a nice ride or walk right along the creek edge (well, there’s a few feet of buffer but it’s close enough to feel that you’re on the edge). It’s about an 8 minute walk or 2 minute ride. And I’ve put in a couple chairs and a table at the spot which seems to hold water the longest. It’s a nice place to sit and watch the few small fish that live there.

The rest of the trail put in or re-established this spring is looking pretty good. Maintenance has thus far mostly consisted of riding it a lot and the occasional trimming back. I’ve ridden about 600 miles on the trail during May and June which is a good amount of traffic and it shows. The trail looks very well used.

Now for a few bike updates…

I’ve got 1200 miles on the Gravity fatbike over the past 2 months. Assuming my current pace It’ll have at least another 400 miles on it before the end of July. Most of my riding in May and June was trail riding where the fatbike is a blast to ride. It’s perfect for trail riding.

The Origin8 Space Off Road II Handlebars I added back in May have been a great addition to the riding experience allowing for 3 different hand positions though one of those positions is only useful for faster riding on the road. I’ve also added some grippier RockBros pedals and they’re better than the pedals I’d taken off the Rad Rover. Also, a small but very helpful addition of the Moosetreks Bike Handlebar Stem Bag has been very nice for carrying small things such as the dog spray, dog horn, cords, phone, etc. Last, the change from the stock tires to the Maxxis Mammoth tires has been great. The stock Mission Command tires were fine, these are better both in terms of the ride which is a bit softer thanks to the higher TPI and also in the weight as the Maxxis tires are a good bit lighter.

All that said I’ve bumped up against a barrier with this bike which is my desire to get back to doing some longer road and gravel riding. I can certainly ride the fatbike on the road and have been. 413 miles of mostly road riding in the first 12 days of July alone. Compared to the 80lbs of the Rad Rover the 38 lb Gravity seems like a nimble featherweight. But those 38lbs and fat tires, while fine on the trail, make for a fairly slow road ride. I’m not racing anyone and am generally okay with a slower ride with one exception: dogs. My ride to town and my longer ride out to the gravel roads of Perry county both take me up hills that also have dogs that chase. I’m not willing to ride uphill on a heavier bike when I’ve got a dog that I don’t trust living at the bottom or anywhere along that hill. I have no problem peddling the Gravity up a steep hill but I do slow down on such hills. An aggressive dog chasing me in that situation would not be good.

The solution is, of course, yet another bike. In this case, a much lighter gravel bike. I’ve ordered a flat bar version of the Poseidon X which weighs in at 24 lbs and has fairly nimble 700x35mm tires. It’s still a fairly inexpensive bike compared to the big brands but the frame is excellent and the included components are fairly nice. That’s 38% less weight than the Gravity and substantially faster tires. While my current average speed is 11.8 mph for road rides I should have no problem maintaining 15 mph or more on the Poseidon X. Uphills will be substantially faster. And it’s a gravel bike which means that it should do fairly well on the gravel roads as well as the paved roads. It’s slated to ship my way sometime this week. After that I’ll be happy to be able to get back to some 40 mile rides at the far reaches of Madison county and into the neighboring counties. I won’t be entirely dog proof but I’ll have a much better chance at outrunning any that I encounter!

A month of trail riding

Yikes! It’s been three weeks since my last post. Not a surprise that I’ve spent a lot of time over the past weeks riding our trails. My daily ride time has generally averaged about 2 hours most days, usually around 15 miles for the day. Exceptions are days when I end up doing trail work or the odd day when I just rest my legs a bit.

I’ve still not gotten out for any 2 to 3 hour road rides but that’s fine as I’m really enjoying my trail rides. With the exception of a few rides to the Slime Pond, which is just a mile across the road from us, all of my riding in June has been on our gravel road or our trails. Most of it has been the trails. I’m happy that I’ve been able to keep my average daily ride time up even with all the trail riding. The biggest difference now compared to my February and March rides on the Rover is that those were longer single rides on the road. Now I’m doing 2, sometimes 3 rides, mostly on the trail.

I expect to post in the next day or two about some trail updates and a few upgrades I’ve made to the bike.

Date Duration Miles
5/28/20 95m 0s 18.80
5/29/20 90m 0s 17.80
5/30/20 145m 0s 17.40
5/31/20 37m 0s 4.50
6/1/20 143m 0s 16.20
6/2/20 123m 0s 13.70
6/3/20 88m 0s 9.30
6/4/20 135m 0s 14.00
6/5/20 90m 0s 9.40
6/6/20 178m 0s 18.30
6/7/20 75m 0s 7.80
6/8/20 151m 0s 15.40
6/10/20 156m 0s 20.30
6/11/20 177m 0s 15.30
6/12/20 124m 0s 14.40
6/13/20 148m 0s 16.80
6/14/20 150m 0s 17.50
6/15/20 153m 0s 16.50
6/16/20 145m 0s 18.00
6/17/20 154m 0s 19.20
6/18/20 100m 0s 10.00
6/19/20 128m 0s 13.50
6/20/20 117m 0s 13.50

Ride, ride, ride

Pretty country barn along my route

I know with the virus situation not everyone has been fortunate enough to be outside. I’ve been incredibly fortunate in that sense. I’ve had nearly 6 months of daily riding and it’s been fantastic. I think I’m likely healthier than I’ve been in 20 years. The past 5 weeks of cycling with the unassisted fatbike on our new trails and road rides during rainy weather have been the best part of my days. When I’m not working (which is often these days due to the virus situation) I’m either riding or thinking of riding.

Foggy morning ride

Since my last post we’ve had a very wet 10 days which meant switching most of my riding to the road. It also has manifested as longer ride times and more miles ridden. Mostly it’s my time in the saddle that I care about. On the road an hour means 12 miles or so ridden, on the trail it’s more like 6 miles. I’ve found that my road rides are generally longer and end up with more calories burned.

Farm road

Riding the road with the fatbike is an excellent experience. I air the tires up to about 20 psi which eliminates self steer and results in a very quiet ride. The Vee Tire Mission Command tires are excellent for this kind of mixed pavement and trail riding. Far from riding a skinny tire bike but very doable. The gearing on the bike is a nice sweet spot for off-road and on-road riding. When I’m off-road I keep it on the small chain ring and on-road I tend to keep it in the larger chain ring as the speed of the ride is generally faster. The gearing range I’m getting is working very well.

Last, I’m really happy with my ability to handle the riding I’m doing. 80 to 90 minute rides are no problem. Daily totals of 140 minutes of ride time are no problem. The next step is to try some longer rides, perhaps in the range of 160 to 180 minutes which should be no problem. I’ll likely try my longer ride into Perry county soon. It’s a mix of pavement and gravel, about 28 miles and on the Rover was about 144 minutes with a speed of 11.5 mph. I expect I’ll be able to do the same ride at a similar pace on the Gravity.

Daily Totals

Date Duration Miles
5/16/20 101m 0s 18.20
5/17/20 100m 0s 19.70
5/18/20 120m 0s 23.40
5/19/20 86m 0s 17.60
5/20/20 108m 0s 21.30
5/21/20 140m 0s 25.00
5/22/20 177m 0s 26.00
5/23/20 156m 0s 19.30
5/24/20 151m 0s 17.80
5/25/20 148m 0s 16.50
5/26/20 145m 0s 16.20
5/27/20 98m 0s 16.60

Road Ride

It’s been a few weeks since I took a road ride but we’ve had a lot of rain here the past week so I decided to give the trail a break today. I did fit in a 1 mile ride this morning before today’s rain rolled in on me mid-ride. Then later a 4 mile ride on the gravel road and over to the pond across the way. But I wanted to do a longer pavement ride. I’ve got my sister and various nieces, nephew and their significant others here visiting so I sent a group text inviting folks to do a ride. My two nieces rode the ebikes and I rode the Gravity.

We did an 11 mile ride in just under an hour with an average speed of 12.2 mph. I was pretty happy with the ride. I’ve had several one hour trail rides on the new bike but this is the first one hour ride on pavement. The steady cadence with several rolling hills, a couple longer, lower intensity hills and one very steep hill felt really good on this bike. The steep hill was a good bit of work but I made it up without too much fuss. I’d pumped the tires up to about 18 psi to avoid self-steer and decrease the rolling resistance and they performed pretty well on the pavement.

My family have all been using the ebikes and are having a blast on them which has been great as my family are not cyclists. There’s little doubt that in this case having the electric assist has added the zip they needed to get started. That said, for the most part, they’re all happy to offer their own effort with the peddles which I’m happy to see. From what I can tell they are getting used everyday that is not too rainy.

Milage for the past week:
5/9 10.00
5/10 10.00
5/11 9.80
5/12 10.90
5/13 9.30
5/14 10.70
5/15 18.50

Riding the trails

As my trail building slows I’ve spent more time walking and riding. Slowly but surely my time in the saddle is on the up and up and it feels so nice to be peddling again! I’m not back to my 3 hour ride time but this past week I’ve had daily ride times of 90 minutes to two hours. My rides are different in a variety of ways in that they are now primarily on the trails which means they slower. On average a Rad Rover road ride was about 12.5 mph whereas a trail ride on the Gravity is about 6.2 mph. Also, rather than one long ride each day I’m tending to take 2 to 3 rides a day.

I feel like the workout is better on the trails but my heart rate seems to be about the same, perhaps just a bit higher than on the e-bike.

The recent ride journal:
4/28 11.1
4/30 11.5
5/1 13.6
5/2 15
5/3 12.6
5/4 12
5/5 12.9
5/6 10.7
5/7 11.7

Gravity Bullseye Monster Fat Bike Initial Impressions

In my last post I ended my mentioning that I’d ordered a new non-powered fat bike which arrived a week ago. I’m not at all sure what’s up with the name of this bike, the Bullseye Monster made by Gravity. It’s an entry-level bike, so nothing too fancy but a step or two up from a standard box store bike. Most bikes of this size and form weigh in between 30 to 38lbs, the Bullseye Monster weighs in at about 36lbs. So, it’s toward the heavier end but compared to the 75 lb Rover it feels impossibly light as I’ve gotten used to the heavy cruiser weight of the e-bike. I don’t plan to be doing anything extreme with this bike and really just wanted a well built, solid and dependable bike for riding around on the new trails. I’ve been riding it for just over a week, here are some initial thoughts.

Like many bikes sold over the internet it arrives mostly assembled. Like the Rover, I had to attach the handlebar to the stem, attach the front wheel to the forks, attach the pedals, tweak the rear derailleur and brakes then air up the tires.

First, I have to say that it’s been 20 years since I spent time with a regular, non-powered bike. I worked in a bike shop for two or so years and it’s not taken long for me to remember some of the details of a well made bike, both in terms of how it feels to ride as well as the various aspects of quality differences to be found in the frame and components. Right off, the components such as the shifters, derailleurs, brakes, etc are entry to mid-level parts that perform fairly well. These are not as light as more expensive components but they are still fairly well made and they do what they are supposed to do. So, functional but heavier.

A few basic specs. This is a fat bike so, 4” wide tires, 26” diameter wheels. The drivetrain is 2×8, so, 16 gears (11-34T on the rear cog, 22/32T on the front chain rings) which seems to cover my needs very well. I’ve had no problems going up short but steep hills at about 14 to 18% grades. On the kind of terrain I’ll be riding I don’t need high gears for high-speed riding though it is geared well enough that I’d have no problem maintaining 18 to 22 mph were I on paved downhill. I think these bikes are mostly to be used off road or on gravel roads of various grades and at speeds ranging from 3mph and up and in these scenarios, this gearing is fine.

The Mission Command tires by Vee seem to be designed for average conditions which is to say, a bit of everything but nothing too extreme. They’re not reported to be the best tires for snow, I’m not sure about sand. On pavement they have a good bit of self-steer at the current tire pressure of 15psi. I suspect that if I needed to do a lot of road riding I could pump them up to 30psi and much of that self-steer would go away. They do fairly well on gravel and off road which are what I will primarily be using the bike for. Thus far, they are fine on my trails which consist of hard pack, semi-loose dirt and mud. I’ve been riding through some pretty rough terrain on my new trails which still include a few thorns, branches, small, pokey tree stubs, etc. No punctures yet!

This bike has no suspension! It’s an aluminum frame on a hard chromoly fork but I’m riding with the tires at about 15psi and it’s not too rough on our rock road and the trails. In the 10 days I’ve ridden the Gravity I’ve gotten in about 62 miles, average of just about 5.6 miles per day and less than an hour of riding per day. I expect to continue with my trail building for another week or so and after that will bump up to 2 to 3 hours of riding every day again. Though at only 5 miles per hour on the trails I’ll only be getting in 10 to 15 miles a day. I’m fine with that as I’m loving the experience of riding the new trail and really I think of it as time in the saddle more than miles ridden. If the terrain dictates that riding is slower that’s not something I‘ll worry about.

All in all, the feel of the new bike on the trail is fast, nimble and fun, I love how it handles. I’d been a bit concerned about how my knee would feel on the steeper climbs but that’s been no problem at all. I drop down to the granny gear and spin right up. No doubt, it’s work and I’m breathing hard at the top but I have no problem getting up. Getting to the top of the steepest climb which averages about 17% grade and is steepest at about 23% (according to Ride with GPS) has my heart rate at about 165bpm.

There were only two negatives worth mentioning. First, the pedals that come with the bike are too small and my feet slipped off them a few times. After a couple days I switched them with the Rover’s larger, sturdier Wellgo pedals. Much better. Also, the head tube is said to be limiting as to fork upgrades because it is not tapered. In my case, I’m not concerned as I don’t expect to be adding a suspension fork, but it’s worth mentioning. It’s only been a few days so I’ll likely report back in another couple of months but I don’t expect there to be any problems.

I have no intention of making any upgrades anytime soon. As things wear out I’d likely consider replacing the stock parts with improved components but I don’t feel any need to do that until they wear out.

I’d have no problem recommending this bike for anyone looking to get their first fat bike.

Rides over the past two weeks.

4/12 4.00
4/13 4.00
4/14 4.00
4/15 4.00
4/16 4.00
4/17 4.00
4/18 5.50
4/19 4.00
4/20 4.00
4/21 4.00
4/22 6.20
4/23 8.00
4/24 4.50
4/25 7.20
4/26 4.00
4/27 11.1