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Borealis Crestone – First Impressions

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Way back in July – I got the opportunity to ride one of the early samples of the new Borealis Crestone at the Borealis Fat Bike World Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was just a paved urban spin from their former location to their new location, but my first impressions were positive. The ride felt familiar and right in my wheelhouse, as far as geometry goes, and both the Colorado Flag and Northern Lights color-ways of this new model appealed to me.

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Fat-Forward to Interbike – both Sven and I had the opportunity to ride Borealis’ new Crestone and Aluminum Flume models on the test track out in Bootleg Canyon. P1170885We also saw the new Elite Carbon wheelset that’s on the bike that we’re testing for the first time at interbike. My initial, diagnosis was confirmed….the Crestone hit all of my buttons. I guess I’ve been on a quest to test a carbon fatty with carbon wheels since, I rode one two years ago in Anchorage. We’ve tested a number of carbon fiber fat-bikes, but we utilized our network of Bike Black Ribbon Test Pilots to evaluate those models.

Fat Forward to the end of January – A few days before I was scheduled to leave for the Fat Bike Wolds in Crested Butte, our UPS man dropped off two very lightweight frame boxes, just as I was leaving, to go for a ride on Otis. I hoped, from the heft of the boxes, that the crew at Borealis had sent us something carbon. I resisted the urge to

Amy Beisel won the Fat Bike World Championships on a Crestone!

Amy Beisel won the Fat Bike World Championships on a Crestone!

drop everything and open the boxes and went for a ride out on the White River Trail. My thoughts during the ride, wandered to what Borealis had chosen to send along for us to write about. We had talked about two different builds in a phone conversation but I was pretty sure that one of those boxes contained the Crestone. I felt a little bit, like a kid on Christmas Eve, as I imagined my ultimate Crestone build during the ride. I hoped for a Northern Lights version with the rigid carbon fork and the new Elite Carbon Wheelset, with Sram XX1.

When I returned from my ride, I sliced open the packing tape and the bike that I’d imagined on my ride, was exactly what Borealis had sent. My rather grandiose expectations were blown away by the real deal. There in front of me, clamped into my Park Tools repair stand, was the bike that I had been daydreaming about for the last six months. Borealis had even turned my fantasy, carbon dream bike, up to eleven, with a Raceface Next Carbon Bar/Stem/Post/Crank and a matching cyan, Ergon SME30 Pro Saddle! Our Crestone came with Husker Du’s mounted (tubeless) to their Elite Carbon Wheelset. I could tell that our test bike had been pre-built – expertly tuned and then packed, because the build went together very smooth. The complete bike (without pedals) weighed in at, 23 pounds and 2 ounces. Since we’re experiencing the moody winter fluctuations of El Nino, I mounted a set of studded tires along with some platform pedals and cleared my schedule for the next morning, to introduce the Crestone to our local singletrack.

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My First Ride on the Crestone was electrifying…inspirational…rejuvenating! My usual plugger style of riding went out the window and I experienced some kind of transformation. I found that I had the urge to put the power to the pedals and really pour the coals to this thing. The Crestone responded, with precise handling and (my favorite) acceleration! My daily rides for the rest of the week, followed suit with my initial analysis. This bike rocks!

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There’s just nothing that shifts better than a well tuned, brand new Sram XX1 drive train. Everything on our test bike, from the Ergon Grips and Saddle, to the Raceface Next Carbon, pilot controls is top-tier, bike bling. The out of the box performance of the ultra swanky components was outstanding (as one might expect).

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6 miles out on Lake Winnebago – Moonshine out of the back of a pick up truck!

I’m not exaggerating about how this bike kicked my riding into another gear. I didn’t know if it actually made me any faster, but I certainly felt like I was going faster, and I was still having just as much fun! As crazy as this might sound, I started to think about racing again. I thought that would be a good way to see if I was actually faster. Beyond that bit of sketchy logic, it’s pretty amazing that the injection of the Crestone, resulted in changing my attitude towards racing. Would the Crestone be how Gomez got his (race) groove back?

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I started with a race that sounds really fancy. The US Fat Bike Criterium Championships in Madison Wisconsin. The course circled the Wisconsin State Capitol Square on snow that they trucked in and piston bully groomed into a one kilometer loop. The entry fee was only twenty bucks and they encouraged people to race in costumes, so it was definitely not as serious as the race title might suggest. I survived that race, so I decided to register for the 906 Polar Roll up in Marquette, where I basically got my butt kicked with about a dozen crashes in conditions that were, shall we say…challenging. And I just finished up my trifecta with a fantastic day of racing at the Sweaty Yeti up at one of my favourite trail centers in Wisconsin.

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The results about ‘my groove’ were inconclusive, but I know that I’ve been having lot’s of fun! P1180283The ride time that I’ve been putting in on the Crestone, now, is every bit as exhilarating, as my initial impressions. This bike rocks! I’m looking forward to getting the Crestone on dirt and seeing how that goes. So far, I’m very happy with my first few weeks with our test bike. Stay tuned for a longer term report, a little further down the trail.

For More information about Broealis Fat Bikes visit – www.fatbike.com

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2 Responses to Borealis Crestone – First Impressions

  1. Stephen February 29, 2016 at 10:34 am #

    Gomez-I concur with your assessment of the Crestone. I LOVE IT. It’s a different bike than the Yampa. The bike just fits together like a glove. I don’t have the carbon hoops, but the XX1 build with thru axles is as solid as they come. Can’t wait for dirt (and installing a 29+ wheelset with a Manitou Magnum fork). Race steed for sure.

  2. Joe April 27, 2016 at 7:39 pm #

    The same thing happened to me.