Written By Andy Oleson
About 2 months ago, I built up a set of 29+ wheels to run on my Ti Mukluk for the summer, I did some side by side comparisons between the 29+ and my fat tires, you can read the review here: (http://fat-bike.com/2013/05/ride-reflections-rabbit-holes-in-my-mukluk/) The outcome was a bit like what I expected it to be, overall a faster ride, albeit a bit harsher, but overall still fun to ride. My idea of a “FUN” ride is going really fast on the verge of losing control, that’s what drives me to ride, and rail single track. The past couple years long distance rides have been more my interest so my Mukluk is set up “All business”, its for flat out hammering the long haul. That being said, this is quite a bit different than a good 30+ years of my life spent racing BMX bikes on and off. Short high speed blasts, hitting jumps and getting all tweaked out and stylie.
Here is where (my) cycling worlds collide! Bring on the Krampus!!! Holy Crap! it’s like the ultimate Trail Beast/BMX/Mountainbike. I totally get the name behind this bike – it IS a beast! It makes me want to take the wrong line or look for the “Fun” line every time!
Gomez was kind enough to lend me his new pride and joy, for a week of thrashing. I spent a couple days getting used to the Krampus, riding to work and getting some serious gravel hammer rides in, then it was up to Kettle for some single track. I took a day off of work and my youngest son Logan and I headed up to the John Muir Trails for some sweat single-track riding. It worked out great – I could hammer fast sections and run the Krampus through it’s paces at crazy speeds, then hold up for a bit, so Logan could catch up on his 26” mountain bike. (Which truthfully – he was never too far behind – the apple didn’t fall to far from the tree)
The trails at Kettle are fast and flowing in a lot of places, and I couldn’t help but to just want to go flat out, launching off every root, and rock in the trail, and power wheelie out of every turn. When the trail got technical and rocky the handling was spot on, easy to whip around tight switch back turns and put the power to the ground on the rocky climbs. Since I normally run single speed, when I see a hill I get out of the saddle and attack it, which worked great on the Krampus (even though I had gears) The super wide bars let me throw the bike around with ease, the bars on the Krampus are almost 8” wider than my Mukluk bars. Further into the ride, I switched up my approach and relied on the gears and just sat down and hammered out the climbs. The Krampus performed perfectly, nicely balanced, it didn’t want to pull the front end off the ground and get all sketchy on me. I was kinda expecting the front end to be a little lose on that kind of climbing, because it’s so easy to power wheelie and launch off stuff, when going fast. And of course, the massive traction that the 29+ Knards supply, always seems to add confidence in my climbing, never having to worry about loss of traction when the going gets steep and rocky.
Lap one super impressed!
Side note: My son Logan grew up racing on BMX tracks, and at 13 years old, he has some pretty decent bike skills, but there were a couple climbs that he just couldn’t nail on his 26” Kona hard tail. Second lap (you’ll get the relevance here) I put the seat down and let him loose on the Krampus! In mythology the Krampus is suppose to strike fear into children…Not happening here!
Logan took the Krampus by its giant handlebars and rocked the trails, clearing every climb that gave him problems earlier. I had to laugh to myself as the bike just looked huge with him sitting on it. At one point I heard another rider come up behind him and make the comment “Hey Dude, that bike is bigger than you!” Not that many people are going to run out an buy a Krampus for their 13 year old, but the smile on Logan’s face was a pretty compelling reason to get him one. And his final assessment after the ride, “This thing is Awesome!” Well there you have it, in four words “This thing is awesome!”
Ok now that I’ve spent considerable time on both my Ti Mukluk shod with 29+ Rabbit Holes and Knards, and the week testing the Krampus, it’s safe to say, they are Very different bikes. I think a lot is in the set up, as well as the geometry. Traditionally I run a smaller than normal frame on most my bikes, when I built my Mukluk I knew the direction I was going with that bike, and that was all day comfort, and long rides. I could have easily opted for a smaller Medium Mukluk, ran a shorter stem and risers and got close to the Moto-cross feel that the Krampus has. Conversely I could tweak some components on the Krampus and get it down into “business mode” but what’s the fun in that? Besides, then I wouldn’t have a reason to buy another bike.
Now I just have to sell off some more bikes to make room for a Krampus in my stable. Like many other serious cyclists, I have more than 2 or 3 bikes to choose from. The Krampus should be ONE of those bikes in every cyclists quiver, you don’t even need a specific task or type of ride or race for it, you just need to throw a leg over one and start smiling. The Krampus is pure fun! It will stir your soul, and occasionally make you a little mischievous! Thanks Krampus for all the above!
P.S. thanks for corrupting my son….Krampus!