Last July I hit the road for 3 weeks out to Colorado and Utah with one of the very first Advocate Cycles Watchman Fat Bikes. The bike that I tested is actually, Advocate Cycles’ founder, Tim Krueger’s personal fatty. We introduced the Watchman back in June and you can check that article for all of the specifications, geometry, etc. Here is the link – fat-bike.com/introducing-the-watchman-from-advocate-cycles. In this article we’ll talk a little bit about the geometry of the Watchman, primarily to get you an idea of how the bike rode during the test period. This article is going to mainly focus on how we thought the Watchman rode for us.
The first ride that I took the watchman out, was on my home trails at Silver Lake. Somewhere on my second lap, I was really starting to mesh with the new ride, so I decided to take an option, that starts with a nasty rutted chute of rocky singletrack that has a cedar tree with a low hanging branch at about half way down. The branch grabbed my camelback and threw me off course into some really loose babyheads and in an instant I was pitched forward to the point where both my feet started to lift off of the pedals. I’m thinking to myself – go to red alert, Mr. Sulu – we’re going to @%#*ing crash! A mircro-tick later the Bluto reached the bottom of it’s travel and initiated operation rebound and with a slight adjustment from the helm and by the power of gnome-skull, I managed to ride away with a a sign of relief (probably expressed as a loud expletive) and a big ole surge of adrenalin! I made a mental note during the clear thinking that follows a near death experience, to take back every bad thing that I ever said about the Rock Shox Bluto. I may have to get a tattoo that sez “Bluto Saved My Bacon!” The watchman was designed to run the Bluto and the two of them work in perfect harmony. That wasn’t the only time during the test period, where I would come to appreciate the partnership between the Watchman & Bluto.
Another component that plays a significant role in the ride characteristics of any fat-bike are the tires. Tim’s Watchman came shod with Schwalbe Jumbo Jim (26 x 4.0) tires. I had not ridden JJ’s before this test, so I enjoyed the bonus of getting to know another fat-bike tread! The Jumbo Jims treated me right, on all of the various organic substrates, between the Great Lakes and the Wasatch Mountains. The JJ’s employ the kind of moderate knob that I generally prefer, but the spacing of those knobs are a little further away from one another than say a Hodag or Husker Du, which results in a very lightweight and fast rolling tire. I came to trust these tires named Jim to work in concert with the firm of Watchman & Bluto for traction sweet chewiness.
The rest of the bits on Tim’s Watchman were also top notch. The rider cockpit was outfitted by Thomsom and the shifters and drive train were Sram XX1. Straight up pimp’n fat-bizzle!
Now that we have all of the bits out of the way, let’s talk about the Watchman frame. Tim brings a ton of fat-bike product developement knowledge to the table from his days working at Salsa. It shouldn’t come as a surprize to anyone that the Watchman’s geometry is remarkably similar to what Sven has called his favorite bike of 2014, The Salsa Blackborow. Salsa and mexican food lovers from around the globe loved the way that the Blackborow rode, so much, that this year, Salsa changed the geometry of the Mukluk to match that of the Blackborow. I recently got to take a little spin on mis amigo, Ward’s, Blackborow out in Washington and I think Sven is right about that bike. So if you love steel bikes (like your tio gomez) and you want a fat-bike that matches the super fun, snappy, balanced, point and shoot, geometry of the Blackborow, the Watchman might be your huckleberry.
I really enjoyed the month and a half that I got to test this bike. The Watchman feels snappy in the tight twisties of my home trails in Wisconsin and confidence inspiring on the fast ledgy trails out in Fruita, on the Colorado Plateau. The Watchman was the fat bike that changed my opinion of the Rock Shox Bluto. There’s a good balance to the Watchman. The sum of all of the parts seemed to work in concert together, very well.
Right before we returned the bike back to Tim, I arranged for one of our newer, Bike Black Ribbon Test Pilots, Evan LarSSon, to test the Watchman, so he could continue to expand his fat-bike ride pallet and experience how this particular bike rode. Here’s what Evan had to say about his week with the Watchman. “That thing is a rocket ship and the Jumbo Jim’s are @#*ing insane! The watchman was extremely playful and feels more like a “traditional” mountain bike. The assertive posture had me slaying single track and all I wanted was to go FASTER! The bike’s ability to rail a corner with ease and then go full power on the exit was something that I don’t get with my own fatty, but I didn’t just feel faster, I was faster. I think the Watchman is a dynamic mix of fat and flickable which creates a most enjoyable ride. Watchman = sploosh
There you have it…..a couple of dude’s impressions of the Advocate Watchman, and we didn’t even mention the fact that all of the profits from Advocate Cycles gets donated to charities that suport Bicycles, Trails and probably Whales and baby seals too!
We can’t wait to test a Ti Watchman this winter! We’re going to Celebrate New Years with the boys from Advocate up at a Yurt at the Cuyuna Lakes trails this winter! So look for more about all of that and more, just a little bit futher down the trail!
For further information visit – http://advocatecycles.com/