I arrived at the Fat-Bike.com fortress of solitude to take possession of the new Heller Bloodhound. Heller is the newest addition to QBP’s lineup and I most graciously accepted responsibility to put it through some paces. I squeezed the Heller into my eco-friendly compact shitbox and sped out into the Milwaukee night wondering about what adventures this bike holds for me.
Upon getting home, the first thing that caught my eye when looking at the Bloodhound was THE COLOR. This deep dark red, the red you see spill out of your knee socket after taking a tumble into sharp rocks was intense. But, bringing the Heller out into the light of day changes everything. The metallic flakes seem to be alive as they pop off the frame, blinding me as the sun shines into the frame.
After letting my eyes adjust this futuristic, curvy, “Flight of the Navigator” spaceship frame it had me thinking, “This must cost well over $3K-$4K dollars.” “It just looks expensive”, said a non-riding friend of mine. To our amazement the bike priced out at a mere $2,199! I can see how this “open mold” frame they went with would be very appealing to the masses. An affordable, complete, full carbon fiber bike, YES PLEASE! Before jumping on I wanted to make this Heller somewhat my own for the time that I had her, so I installed my own SDG saddle, put on some Revelate Designs Feedbags, and decided to try and fit my frame bag (from my PugSSley) into the triangle. Well what do you know? It fits. The Heller is ready for action and so am I.
The seas were angry that day my friends! Well, maybe they were, but El Nino sure came by to say hello with a giant dumping of heavy, wet, snow that’ll break your shovel. And while the flakes fell overnight, our local friends with snow machines went out to lay some tracks for us fatbikers to ride in. Thanks dudes! We greatly appreciate it. The Bloodhound sought out the snow like a demon dog looking for its next meal. Hopping onto the first ribbon of packed snow, I made my way into the fields and out into the calm quiet forest preserve. The sound of crunching snow was music to my ears and the Kenda Juggernauts really performed well on this rough pack. I broke through the snow in a few spots, but once I found the ratio of front to rear weight distribution, I felt unstoppable. When the climbs came, I kept it slow and steady taking care not to break the rear tire free, but I was pleasantly surprised that I could mash down and was unable to spin out the rear. The X5 shifted without an issue and I started to pick up speed, uphill. Cresting the top, I hammered down to see what it’ll take to loose traction, but again, I was able to rip thru a chicane without loosing the front end. This bike combined with Juggernauts is bad ass! I was so happy to be back on a fatty, in the snow, I just had to give the Heller a hug.
Fast forward a few weeks through the rain, the muddy mess that became of our system, and we arrive to see dirt in December. I met Gomez and friends up at the local trails in Wisconsin for some well-deserved fun. The weather was beautiful and the ground was almost perfect. The Bloodhound was extremely playful and felt right at home on the dirt. I could feel the right away how the more traditional MTB geometry pushed me through the twists and turns. Responsive would be an understatement because the entire trail became my playground. If I wanted to jump over something, the front end lifted with ease, and I just hopped over it. Now the bike weighs in over 32lbs, so it’s not the lightest carbon bike, BUT the way the geometry is laid out, it just felt lighter. If that makes any sense, I certainly felt faster on it. This trail system is one I’ve ridden many times but it all became new to me again, seeing lines I didn’t notice before. Again, the X5 shifter responded when I needed it to and I only dropped the chain once (I blame a Gnome with a well placed stick). The tires did collect some mud from the soft spots, but I blame the mud, not the tires.
(click any photo to enlarge)
What surprises me most of all during my first carbon experience wasn’t the weight or the geometry. No, it was the sound it made, not just the sound of the tires, but the whole frame resonated during my ride. An almost howling sound came from within this beast of a bike and I wasn’t the only one who could hear it. You knew when I was coming and you could see my smile. To call the Heller Bloodhound a trial ripper would be an accurate assessment. Whether it’s hot or cold, on dirt or snow, this new brand from QBP should be on the radar for those who want a capable, complete, CARBON bike package for not a lot of dough. I myself am a big fan of steel, but after getting to spend some time with our Bloodhound I think I could make some room in the stable for one more.
I give the Heller Bloodhound 4 out of 5 shrunken heads and ask QBP to keep the voodoo going, great job guys!