By : Jesse LaLonde
12.6 lbs ; The weight difference between LaMere’s new carbon fat bike and my current fat rig.
A light fat bike; the oxymoron approach to describing the new LaMere fat bike.
Minneapolis; the location of LaMere HQ and home to some of the best kept fat bike trails around.
Luckily for me I live a short ride from LaMere’s uptown shop where he sells a plethora of imported carbon frame sets along with his new carbon fat bike. It wasn’t long before I found myself face to face with JP while admiring his sleek new rig and sharing winter war stories. The bike itself is easy on the eyes with it’s clean lines, minimal graphics, and internal cable routing not to mention it aces the lift test with flying colors. It didn’t take long to realize that there was something special here regardless of JP touting proudly that this is the lightest and most affordable bike in the elusive fat market.
As I switched handlebars, adjusted the saddle, and swapped pedals I felt the anticipation building. Throwing my leg over a new bike is reminiscent of the first time I rode, it’s comparable to wheeling the line with hopeful expectations, I was nervous. I felt it on the first pedal stroke, one block in and I was trying to retain my excitement. I was laughing out loud as oncoming motorists starred at my effortless form or was it my perma grin? I couldn’t help but stand up and go! As a matter of fact the alter ego in my head was encouraging me to race cars, jump curbs, and ride everything in my path. It was at that point I abandoned my predetermined route and let the bike dictate the course. Three hours later I rolled into the driveway, dismounted, and leaned the Chinese rocket ship up against the garage. I stepped back studying it’s form while thinking it looks great standing still but is only complete when ridden.
The next morning I woke up and took a moment to reflect on the afternoon prior while questioning if it even happened at all. I walked down to the garage scratching my head reaching for a reason not to like this bike. Anxious to learn more I set the scale and stepped back in awe. 22.06 with my mid range crank brothers pedals. My eyes wandered across the room to a set of retired “non-fat” race rigs. It wasn’t long ago I was racing bikes that came in at that weight yet alone a fat bike. The XX1 drive train is paired with a Race Face Next SL crank set while the cockpit includes a grouping of lightweight subtle off the shelf parts imported by LaMere himself. The wheels include hope hubs 135/170 laced to LaMere’s own 65mm carbon rim set up tubeless with the light version of 45Nrth’s Husker Du’s which all contribute to ultimate shred sled vibes.
In an attempt to give the LaMere a true North woods shake down I headed out to Elm Creek for some beast mode laps. It was a cold day with temps dipping into negative digits. I set out for a short lap to dial in air pressure before heading wheels first into the pain cave. Misfits bleeding from my ear buds, 9 psi, and perfect grip contributed to my fastest (all seasons) 10 mile circuit yet. The realization of how deep I buried myself set in as my sweat began to freeze. I sat up and regrouped for another lap. Midway through my core started to warm and by the time I approached the elevation portion of the course I was able to regain focus and let her rip. The climbing was effortless. In retrospect it’s practically cheating. More notable is that this bike was riding like any of my xc race machines only on steroids. As I reached frozen beard status my race day alter ego full nelsoned me into another round leaving me on E with a deranged smirk on my face.
After a night of well deserved rest I reviewed my notes from the past couple of days: Unfair advantage, too light?, work smarter not harder, race race race race, stiff, honest, balanced, proper, all out, utopian, JUST – FEELS – RIGHT. In my half frozen chicken scratching the attempt to bottle the emotions created by this machine were somewhat cryptic but it was apparent that I felt more while riding the LaMere then I’ve felt in a while. Most of this I contribute to the shear weight loss from my current rig but what resonated most was the honesty of the ride. From the frame spacing, to the overall geo, and absence of rack mounts LaMere set out to create an all out race machine. I’d say they did exactly that all while winning over a new customer.