Editor’s Note: After seeing the truly insane hubbub the Walmart fatbike (henceforth referred to as the WalGoose) generated on MTBR, Test Pilot Cale had to have one. So an order was placed and $215 later a green Walgoose was on it’s way to his doorstep. What follows are some initial impressions and a Challenge.
I got my Walgoose on Friday in an impressively large box (how can Walmart ship this for free and make any money??) It just so happened, that I had a crew of dudes and ladies over at my house who were pretty keen on taking this guy out for a spin so we ripped it out of the box and got to assembling. Ideally that means putting the front wheel on and attaching the handlebars, seat post and pedals, what it really meant was, get out the grease! Everything was bone dry. Wheels, stem headset, BB everything has at best a light oil on it. So after duly greasing everything up and re-assembling she was ready to roll.
A few numbers and weights to clear up profound internet confusion.
Frame/Fork/ Headset Weight – 12lb 6oz – AKA ridiculously heavy – Don’t think you can ever get this thing to be light
Frame Geo and Specs
- 14″ ST C-T-C
- 22″ TT C-T-C
- 71 degree ST angle
- 72 degree HT angle
- 28.6 seatpost (with like a mm of slop)
- 110MM BB shell – good luck replacing that thing without modding the frame.
- Tires weigh an astounding 6lbs each!
- Tubes are equally heavy at 1lb 8oz each
- The wheels are not terrible at 5lb 13oz for the rear and 3lb 10oz for the front
- The rest of the parts are garbage and not worth weighing.
- The whole bike does indeed come in at 47lbs and it feels like it!
Once we got it out to the street I had 6 people lined up to ride it 3 ladies and 3 guys (I swear it just worked out that way) Everyone in the group rides bikes and with the exception of one of the ladies everyone is a serious cyclist. Here are a few Selected quotes
“It feels like riding an asthmatic child”
“I thought I was a strong rider but this made me feel weak”
“No wonder everyone who buys a Walmart bike thinks riding is hard”
“The front end must be broken”
“I feel like it wants me to crash every time I turn a corner”
Yep, its bad. In its out of the box form, it feels like you think a Pugsley would feel just by looking at it – Heavy and slow, like it would be a lot of work to ride. Obviously anyone who has a Fatbike knows this is not true, they are surprisingly light and agile. This thing is the opposite of that, it feels like you are riding something that wants to roll to a stop whenever you stop pedaling. Turning it is downright scary, the steep HT angle and lack of rake on the fork combined with the incredibly heavy wheel setup make it feel like the wheel wants to fold under you anytime you take a turn with a radius tighter than the circumference of the earth. The gearing is 36×18 which is far, far too hard for a bike of this weight. any sort of incline is a massive challenge and actual mountain biking at least on the hills we have here in SoCal would be nigh on impossible.
So was it a waste of $200? That’s probably what you are saying, huh? Not so fast……with Parts Bin Technology.
We can rebuild it!
Its time for a challenge and the timing is perfect. It’s the San Diego Veloswap next weekend. How much better can I make this bike for how cheap? I’ve got a few parts already, a 22t Cog for the rear and some surly tubes that I had been meaning to patch for ages save over a pound over the stock setup already.
Stay tuned for part 2 after I scour the parts bins of San Diego and see what I come up with.