I’ve had a plan to get up to the UP to ride for at least a couple of years. Ever since Jason at Bearclaw Bikes announced their drop-bar fatty called the TOWMAK I dreamt about returning to the vast Huron National Forest and its hundreds of miles of rustic roads, trails, and beaches. So when Todd Poquette recently announced the Made U.P. Lake Ehfect, I scheduled a trip to Michigan’s Upper Penninsula to ride both of them. This is part one of a two-part report about each experience.
Part One – Made U.P. Lake Ehfect
I drove up to Marquette on a snowy April Tuesday and picked up the Made U.P. Lake Ehfect that belongs to the one and only Todd Poquette of the 906 Adventure Team. You may know Todd from events like Marji Gesick, The Crusher, or the Polar Roll. He’s also been a guest on Adam Blake’s Pneu Podcast. The bike that I came to ride is a hand-made prototype size large frame built up with a really interesting blend of Todd’s curated components. The prototype was built by Equinox Bicycleworks in the Keweenaw Penninsula. So literally Made in the U.P. The Lake Ehfect is fabricated from Cromoly steel and derives its design inspiration from The Upper Peninsula. A place that is unlike anywhere else where you can ride in the world. A place that challenges design, geometry, and engineering to their core. Made U.P. took everything that they love about riding bikes in all four seasons with the goal of creating – One bike to ride them all.
The Build (as ridden)
Starting from the ground up…Todd had set the Lake Ehfect up with a set of 29+ wheels when I picked it up. The white Velocity Dually rims really pop in the snow photos and support the made-in Michigan influence on Todd’s component choices. The tires on the Dually rims were Teravail’s 29×2.8 Coronados. They’re one of my favorite all-around 29+ sneakers.
Drive train parts have been kinda hard to come by and Todd came up with a blend of interesting alternatives to shift an eleven-speed Shimano rear derailleur. Todd chose an 11-46 cassette from e-thirteen and the shifter/brake levers are from Gevenalle
The right shifter controls the shifting and the left one actuates the One Components dropper post. The brake levers pull on a set of TRP mechanicals. I liked the Gevenalle shifters. It was an easy transition for me to learn how to shift. They did create enough interference with my hand position on the brake levers to make me long for something more ergonomic but it shifted like a champ in some pretty challenging conditions.
The crank is from Ignite Components. If you love anodized machined bike jewelry you should take a tumble down the Ignite components rabbit hole. The front chainring is a Wolftooth Camo System thirty-six tooth. Pay no attention to the Fooker pedals. Those are mine. But please do pay attention to the made just up the road, Morrow set of bags.
Morrow Packs made a pretty sweet set of bike bags for the Lake Ehfect. I really like running a frame and top-tube bag. It gives me a place to put all of my stuff!
The Lake Ehfect is also the first bike that I’ve ridden with bottle cages in this ‘frame bag-optimized’ position. I like running water bottles and I found this setup to be very user-friendly.
The rider cockpit on the Lake Ehfect featured a super comfy Selle Anatomica saddle atop a One Up Components dropper post. The handlebar on the Lake Ehfect is a Curve Cycling Walmer drop-bar that’s 60 cm wide. I really liked the Walmer bar. The bar is wide enough at the tops, that it feels similar to a flat bar on a vintage mountain bike. Todd also has a Bar-Yak Expedition with an XL Extension attached to the bars to mount lights, gear, and accessories.
Lake Ehfect Frame and Fork
Todd shared with me that the frame was designed around maintaining a narrow q-factor. The Lake Ehfect has an eighty-three-millimeter bottom bracket shell.
The Lake Ehfect features a supple segmented Chromoly fork with triple cargo-zits on each leg.
To help keep the Lake Ehfect’s q-factor narrow the chainstays and the yoke that attaches the chainstays to the bottom bracket are a complex set of plates attached to a section of Chromoly tubing.
The main element of the yoke is a curved verticle plate that has smaller horizontal stiffeners attached just behind the bottom bracket shell. I’ve always felt that frames that used a plate in their yoke were not as light or supple as tubular solutions. However, I think that this design rode exceptionally well. This was what I was talking about when I told Todd that they were onto something when he asked me how I liked the Lake Ehfect. The design of these chainstays is quite unique.
I got two nice mixed-surface rides in with the Lake Ehfect. It snowed the whole time on the first day and there was a nice layer of snow on the second. Two rides are not enough to write a comprehensive review about how the Lake Ehfect rides. My questions about steeper seat tube angles are getting worked out and this little adventure helped move me another step closer to a fuller understanding and appreciation for them. This is a bike that’s built to be an incredibly versatile platform that can run different wheelsets to tackle all four seasons. I can tell you this much. I loved riding the Lake Ehfect set up with the 29+ wheelset. The big wide bars gave this bike a big-shouldered platform that felt comfortable and climbed like a goat. It reminded me of the Bearclaw Beaux Jaxon.
The weather forecast for the trip turned out to be extremely accurate. I thought that it’d be appropriate to ride a bike called the Lake Ehfect in a Lake Effect Snowstorm and that’s just how it went down. The Made U.P. Lake Ehfect should be on your radar if you’re looking for a Chromoly adventure platform. I wouldn’t mind spending more time riding one with fat bike wheels. But like a spring snowstorm, my time with Todd’s bike was to be short-lived. I had an appointment to meet up with Ed from Bearclaw Bikes over on the east side of the UP to pick up Jason’s TOMAK. I’ll tell that tale in Part 2 of my Springtime Bike Safari!