Editor’s Note – We’re back with part 2 of the Walgoose challenge. In Part 1, we took it out of the box and rode it in its stock form and man was that form bad! So where do we go from here? We rebuild it of course. DIY guy and Fat-bike.com test pilot Cale breaks out the tools and the parts bins to see what we can make of a Walgoose.
Alright! – Back for part 2! So this Sunday was the San Diego Veloswap at the SD Velodrome I volunteered and brought a few parts of my own to sell but the plan for the day was to get the parts I needed to turn the Walgoose into a real-esque fat-bike. The goal was to spend no more than $60 and I was able to get well under that (really it was basically free since I just used money I made from selling some of my old parts.) The major expense was a Bontrager take off SS crankset at $20 otherwise everything else was either $1 or $5.
I got a couple sets of pedals and stems just because that is shit you always need, and I didn’t know how the fit would work out. In the end I spent ~$45 or so. Obviously a new fork and tires aren’t in the picture but there is no way I’m shelling out for that stuff (feel free to send me your castoffs though!) also not pictured is a seatpost because who has a 28.4 post laying around? No one, thats who. The last important piece of the puzzle is a quill adapter and despite thinking that someone must surely have one I was wrong, none to be had at the swap. What to do? Obviously a trip to the local LBS is in order in this case it was the Awesome guys at Adams Ave. Bikes I asked to search the junk bins for a suitable donor and found a seriously janky but serviceable one that I got for a couple brews (yay for beer based payment systems!)
All the parts are now in place, so lets get this thing built up! First things first though, it needs to be re-christened. Being the owner of a bad ass Vinyl Cutter I can make that happen, so I broke out the matte black vinyl and got to cuttin and stickin’.
Then (well actually before the stickers but I forgot the order) I mounted up the rest of the Bits and got it back to being a Bike shaped object.
So far so good but I can never leave well enough alone…
Yep a 1.5″ holesaw made short work of the wheels and dropped 525gm off the set, not too shabby. After that it was just a bit O duct-tape rim strip and mounting the tires back up with the new (old) tubes.
And we have a Rebuilt Walgoose!
The weight Dropped 7lbs from stock and from what I hear I could get 7 more by swapping tires, but this is a budget project and I’m not interested in doubling the cost of this thing. So what did we end up with? Well the Gearing dropped to a very comfortable 32×22 which is really what this thing should come with. The seat is a much better and lighter Felt take off, the pedals aren’t likely to snap upon hitting anything other than a marshmallow and the bar, stem, grip combo is a very nice bontrager Big Sweep bar with a Truvative stem and Ergon GX1 grips. All in all a pretty solid setup.
How does it ride? Well with geometry designed by (I think) scanning in a childs crayon drawing of a fatbike its never going to be great. But for what it IS, and it really should be thought of as this – a “Fat Cruiser” its actually pretty serviceable. Ride it to the bar, the beach, the park, or on a neighborhood cruise and its fine. The steering is still scary as hell and nothing short of a front end transplant is gonna fix that. But for say going out with mates who dont ride, take this thing you will get a workout and probably not drop everyone in the process. But thats just what I think about it… Of course I needed more data so I took it to TNR at the SD velodrome and got a whole bunch of people to ride it from a 4′ 5″ Girl to a Former DH pro and a dude who I have personally seen hit a 30 foot gap on a pink 16″ girls bike.
So what did People think?
“It feels ok as long as you ride it sober”
“I think I broke it” (yep the last stock part the steapost clamp stripped out)
“I thought I could wheelie anything but this defeated me”
“You paid how much for this?”
“Its pretty fun I might buy one”
“It wants me to crash”
“My garage does not need this taking up space but I don’t care what my Garage needs”
In the end I’d say it was 40% Like – (no one really loved it without reservation) and 60% Meh to hated it. I think that’s a big improvement over its out of the box test rides where no one would have willingly rode it further than a block or two. It still sucks on hills and singletrack with any kind of drops or rocky sections is miserable (the seatpost slips in the frame and the handling is even worse off-road) but like I said its a fat cruiser not a fat bike, so don’t buy it, expecting one.
However, the one thing this does do pretty well is SKIIIIIDDDD horse this beast up a hill, spin it out and stand on the coaster brake and pretend you are this guy.
Seriously, it sounds like the bat-bike skidding, or like a car crash, its awesome and probably the best reason to keep the heavy ass tires on. The coaster brake will probably die a quick death doing this but its just too much fun to stop.
Conclusion – Should you buy one? I know its only $200 and its kinda cool but unless you are willing to do all the work yourself and have a stocked parts bin it really isn’t worth it. Paying a shop to upgrade this thing would be silly. I suggest talking to your LBS and seeing what they can do for you on a new pugs (especially if they have any in stock this late in the season) or keeping an eye out for a used fatbike. In the end you will have a bike that can cruise to the bar AND ride snow, sand and singletrack without compromise.