Ride #3 ~ A cold snap froze everything solid over night so my previous plans to get the new Moonlander out to Kettle looked promising for Friday. I waited to get the ‘all clear’ from the DNR trail hot-line and by mid-day, I was on my way out to see how this thing will handle a real mountain bike trail. The air temp was around 28 F, but the sun was uninhibited by clouds, so the trail had surface thawing in spots, which made for a sloppy spray that immediately froze on any part of the lunar module that it touched. Frozen, slickery good times, for sure. I let some air out of my front tire and then stopped again and let out a little more in both front and back to compensate for the rougher composition of Kettle’s trails. My H-Bar slipped a little in the stem, so I stopped and readjusted them and tightened up the bolts. A couple of things came to mind during the beginning of the ride. The thumb shifters that come on the ML worked really well with Lobster Gloves and my home dirt isn’t nearly as rough as the rock batter at kettle.
Once I got the tire pressure dialed, the ride was more enjoyable and the trail tread was more frozen than not. The moonlander really does ride very similar to my pugs. I didn’t notice any sluggishness or negative handling characteristics from the wider tire profile at all. The bike really does inspire confidence. At one point, I saw some bowling ball sized rocks on the inside line of a 90 degree uphill turn and was like – “I can go over those”….now granted this is a trail I ride a lot. So much so, that I know just about every rock and root by heart. Somehow I forgot that there’s a jagged 20″ tall rock just past the bowling balls that I smacked with the MWOD’s bash ring and stalled. Things started to not sound very good from the drive train and I just figured that the frozen splatter was starting to play havoc with things down there. Back at the parking lot, I discovered that I had bent the bash ring over and it was causing the chain to bind so I called it a day and took the ML back and gave all the moving parts a warm bath. I bent the ring back and everything sorted itself out nicely.
Ride #4 ~ Santa Rampage – I lent the moonlander to my friend Cale for this paved pub crawl, but I did hang out and watched people’s reaction to the ML while it was leaned up against a slew of other fat-bikes. The thing is a show stopper! I put 25 psi in both BFL’s and it cruised Cale all over the Milwaukee with no problem.
Ride#5 ~ First Snow – Just barely enough snow to cover the ground. Before the ride, I made the first upgrade from the stock build. I dug into my parts bin and grabbed a Terry Fly saddle and bolted it on for my own personal comfort. I’ve ordered a set of bars and a frame bag, but I think everything else will remain stock on this bike for awhile. I rode right from my house to the same trails that I did the very first test ride on the ML. It’s about two miles, more or less, of pavement and then a mix of single and double track, gravel road and farmland that resides just north of town. I learned that a six pack of beer will completely fit into my camelback mule at a quick stop at the BP station in town,on my way home…..other than that, everything was all smiles and fun as usual. Stay tuned for more moonlander ruminations from folks that I lend the bike to as well as, Sven’s review of his 16″ model.