I took my time and nerded out all the details just so, leaving me just enough time to get a real test ride in on our new 18″ Moonlander on Tuesday afternoon. The build was easy and the fit and finish of the bike is pretty impressive. Surly knocked it out’a the park with this paint! Pictures can’t do it justice…..it sparkles like a Black Diamond Bass Boat from hell! I put 9.5R and 11.5 F in the big fat larry’s and grabbed everything I needed and took a lap on some state and county forest just north of town. My initial ride impressions were all positive. In fact, I liked it better than my pugs. The only thing that I felt needed to be changed – for me – was the handlebar. The 17 degree sweep salsa bar that comes on the ML-Complete isn’t my preferred sweep, but everything else felt strangely dialed, instinctive and more agile than my pug. But the mind plays tricks at times, so I just chalked it up to new toy euphoria and will let time be the true judge of how this bike really strikes me in the long(er) run.
Ride #2 – Silver Lake
Plans to take the new toy to Kettle were dashed upon the rocks of rain showers that fell on Wednesday and kept the trails closed, so upon an afternoon gale we headed to my local county park on Silver Lake. In retrospect, Silver Lake is a great spot to compare the ML to the pugs. My second impression of the Zoomglander was just as positive as my initial experience. The thumb shifted drive train is just so much more intuitive than the IGH on my pugs. This bike just makes me want to stand and bang out climbs that i would crreep up, seated on the pugs. I hit the nice patch of flowy singletrack, on the back side and experienced perma-grin. Hit the little techy up hill with the plank ramp and the BFL’s just stuck me to the dirt like squirrel claws on tree bark. The next section of the trail is gravel wide-track that undulates downhill, with several 45 degree sweepers, where you can just let loose of the brakes and go for warp speed. The ML just begged me to hang my toockess out behind the seat and carve smooth lines at speed with nary a twitch or shiver of doubt between bike and rider. After climbing back up to the top of the ridge, I headed down another sweeping (this time) grassy downhill and literally got the sensation that I was atop a big powerfull cat flowing over the rough turf with grace and slow-mo ‘Nat-Geo’ cinematography. I think they should have called this bike the velvet panther! But again this may well just be an initial infatuation, so stand by for more Moonlander ruminations, down the road.
I just got mine today- have to say I love the 17 degree bars. I just upped to a salsa carbon bar/stem with 31.8 clamp, an Eriksen seatpost and Fizik Aliante to replace the stock ass hatchet. Tomorrow is the big first ride, or first big ride.
It doesn’t surprise me the one thing that I can’t live with is the one thing that you “love”. As is the case with all reviews of any gear, we should say ‘your mileage may vary’ (YMMV). One man’s delicacy is another man’s refuse, etc. At least we agree the seat needs to go…..but that will all be covered in my upgraditis report somewhere down the trail.
Soooo stoked! Just got the box of fatbitz, will build soon! Love the review
Got my ML last Friday. Put 20 on it on Sat. I had to laugh about Arrow’s ass hatchet reference. Spot on. I too, put on a Fizik I had sitting in the tool box. I also agree with Gomez. This bike is much more agile than I ever anticipated. Damn. Paint scheme was also a huge bonus. My bud bought a Necker and it doesn’t hold a wheel to the ML. Can’t wait to head down to the Kettle. Appleton has some stellar place but nothing compared to the “Ket”.
Just drooled over a fresh build at Decorah Bikes tonight… looks very, very fun. Enjoy for the rest of us… you bastards!
So the steering doesn’t feel any slower with even bigger rubber than a “standard” fatbike?
That’s interesting how you like the thumbies so much. 14-speeds with a twist of the wrist always sounded like nirvana to me.
Ant – the steering and handling on the moonlander is remarkably close to my pugsley…..but i was already running a BFL on 82mm rims on the pugsley. One of the huge up sides to the moonlander drive train is that I can shift under load, while pedaling. With the rohloff, I have to stop pedaling – shift- and resume pedaling. The rohloff makes for a slower plodding kind of climbing technique, where as the standard drive train allows me to use my momentum more efficiently – YMMV