I took advantage of an unbroken streak of nice late-summer weather to take the Fargo over to Chipilly Woods, a local “hidden gem”. Though close by, I don’t really consider Chipilly rideable for much of the year. It’s part of the flood zone for one of the many tributaries that dot the landscape here, and as such is usually wet and pretty mosquito-ridden for the bulk of the Spring and Summer. That, plus it’s relatively small size keeps it from being a “hidden gem” in my book (of course, I will admit that I come from a land with some pretty sweet singletrack, so I’m spoiled).
Anyway, with a good stretch of dry weather I gave Chipilly another shot, and it turned out to be a nice workout for the Fargo. After dropping the tire pressure by 10 psi rear and 15 front I gained just enough grip to keep me upright, and the Fargo was able to do some pretty good trail carving (at least as good as I can expect from a big 29er…). The Revelate frame bag turned out to be a nice surprise. I was expecting the long profile to create a lot of sliding gear once I got into the quick twisties, but for the most part everything stayed in place, and the lower center of gravity kept me locked in place. Way better than a backpack.
On that note this was really the first time I’ve run water bottles in the fork mounts offroad, and the Lezyne cages worked great. I barely noticed the additional weight and I returned home with as many bottles as I started with.
If I can find a half day of free time (ha!) I’m dying to go down and explore Palos, or maybe head up to Wisconsin, but I guess in the meantime Chipilly will suffice. At least here I can work the trail into my commute, so it’s an easy way to grab some dirt before work. Next time I’ll be going back with loaded panniers, so we’ll see how that goes…
I’ve added a bag to the Fargo and I thought it would be a good time to lay down some first impressions. I picked up a frame bag from Revelate Designs up in Anchorage Alaska (gotta admit, it’s pretty cool getting packages from Alaska…). The one I ordered was the Mountain Tangle bag. I landed on this model for several reasons. I plan on using the bag primarily for carrying my everyday stuff (pump, tubes, tools, keys & such) – stuff I would normally cram in a seat bag. With the Thudbuster post a seat bag becomes problematic, so it was time to give a frame bag a try.
Those of you who troll the Fargo forum are certainly familiar to seeing bikes with Revelate’s cool full triangle frame bags. I was tempted, but for my needs they seemed like a bit of overkill. Additionally, the Tangle bags are stock items, so I could lock in an order as soon as I knew the 2011 Fargo’s were hitting the dealers and not need to wait for a custom order to be filled.
Revelate sure makes a quality product. Construction is first-rate. Once strapped in securely this bag won’t be going anywhere. 3 top straps, one on the head tube, one down below and 2 on the seat tube allow for enough fine tuning of the fit to address any unique frame design issues.
The Mountain bag is 19.5“ long. I could probably have gotten by with the Touring model as well (21”) since I have a little air before the bag hits the seat tube, but since I ordered the bag before the bike arrived I played it safe on sizing.
Clearance is a bit tight with a large water bottle. Not sure if switching the cage to the down tube will help, but I’ll try that this weekend. Not a big issue regardless.
There’s one small port included in the front to route a hydration tube, which has come in handy for a lighting cable (I’m currently experimenting with switching my Cygo lights from my helemt mount to a bar mounted setup)
One of my concerns with the whole frame bag concept was width. If I packed one full would it end up bulging enough to start rubbing against my legs or shoes during pedaling? as you can see from this shot the bag is certainly wider than my top bar, but not to the point of annoying, and it hasn’t interfered with me in any way so far. One last thought – the spacing between the top straps is just wide enough allow mu meaty paws to grab the top cleanly, so lifting the bike by the top tube is not an issue.
That’s it so far. Stay tuned as I’ll update with some more detailed feedback as I start to put on the miles….