Sunday, 26 March 2017

Blue Toolbox Bling | Park Tool


Many riders do some level of maintenance/repair on their fatbike.  It could be as simple as ensuring there is enough pressure in the tires or a more challenging feat such as lacing up a set of wheels.  While doing maintenance on your bike is rewarding, we all end up bringing our ride into our LBS from time to time for some special love and attention.

As your skill and confidence grows so does your collection of tools.  I'm pretty sure most of us have started with some basic tools (maybe even a multi-tool) and when time and finances allowed we added to the toolbox/toolroll.  

Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, Park Tool has been supplying bike tools and maintenance equipment since 1963.  The telltale blue is synonymous with quality.



ADT-1 Adjustable Torque Driver

There are always a couple of "specialized" tools that we would love to have that are a little harder to justify.  For me that tool was an adjustable torque wrench.



I would normally cinch down on a bolt until it "felt right", but as I started dabbling in more delicate bike parts with specific torque ratings I finally broke down and purchased from my LBS a tool that I had drooled over many times . . . a ADT-1 Adjustable Torque Driver.

As the name indicates this is an adjustable torque driver from 4.0 - 6.0 Nm in 0.5 increments.  Its adjusted by twisting the silver knob on the end of the handle with a 6 mm hex.  



Located in the other end of the handle are three 1/4 hex drive bits (3 and 5mm hex and a Torx T25).  The 4mm hex comes pre-installed in the magnetic business end of the ADT-1.  These four bits will allow you to tighten many of the fasteners on your fattie.



The ADT-1 fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and has a very solid feel weighing in at 270g.  The literature says that the torque limiting clutch prevents over-tightening of threaded fasteners and subsequent damage of components, but not having used one before I was curious to what actually happens.



Its actually quite simple really, you set the driver to the appropriate Nm and pop in the correct bit.  When tightening the fastener the driver will skip (ever so slightly) and make a crack/pop sound when it has reached the desired torque.  Simple.

The ADT-1 is assembled and calibrated at Park Tool's factory in Minnesota.


VC-1 Valve Core Tool

This is another specialized tool as it is designed to remove and install Schrader and Presta valve cores.  The VC-1 would come in quite handy for those folks entering the world of tubeless and needing to remove the cores to install product into the tire.




The primary reason I added it to my toolbox was that one night a riding buddy went to air down his tires on the trail and the core shot out of the valve and got lost in the snow.  He did eventually find it and got back on the trail, however I'm sure if that happened to me I would not be so lucky.  I'll be checking the valve cores of my tires from time to time.


BBB-3 Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair - 3rd Edition

Having grown up using Clymer and Haynes repair manuals for dirt bikes, trikes, quads and cars . . . I needed one for bicycles.  Enter the BBB-3.


From the Park Tool web site
Updated with new information, techniques, photos, procedures, and components, the BBB-3 3rd Edition is a complete repair manual created to provide both the novice and veteran mechanic the information needed to perform nearly any repair from trailside repairs to complete overhauls. Written by Park Tool Director of Education, Calvin Jones, the Big Blue Book is the perfect reference guide and step-by-step repair manual for nearly any bike, including road, mountain, bmx, and single-speed. We wrote the book on bicycle repair.
Its great to be able to look up how to repair something on-line, however a manual is not impacted by a slow internet connection or a dead battery. And you can't scribble notes in the margins of a smart phone.


The BBB-3 is well organized, well written and has plenty of color pictures to help you get the work done.  Although nothing is specifically fatbike related the information and procedures are easily transferable.

This is one handy book to have in the shop. 

That's all the Park Tool in my toolbox for now, but I'm sure there will be additional blue bling making a home in my bike tool arsenal. 

Ride on!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Super Light Stem | Wren Sports


What is the cheapest and easiest part to replace on your fatbike that will have the most impact on its handling, performance and comfort?  Well if you read the title of this post you know the answer . . . the stem.

These days stems are available in a variety of material, lengths and angles that allow riders huge amounts of flexibility for fine tuning their reach to the bars.




Wren Sports (known for their super slick inverted fatbike fork) have designed a line of superlight alloy stems to compliment a selection of carbon goodies and other bike related accessories.

Fatbike Republic has collaborated with Wren Sports to review one of their crazy light stems as part of a fatbike cockpit refresh.

WREN STEM

The folks at Wren have chosen to create their super-light stems from AL7050 aluminum alloy which is stronger and lighter than AL6061 - which is primarily used in most stem manufacturing. 




Instead of using CNC machining, Wren uses 3D forging that compresses the material (making it stronger), allowing slightly less material to be used (making it lighter) and ensuring the correct grain structure (making it tougher).  3D forging is also superior to CNC because it does not create any edges that can concentrate forces.  Plus it give a more molded look.




A four-bolt clamp further distributes the clamping force across a wide area, which is especially beneficial when paired up with a set of their carbon bars. The bolts are Torx T25 chosen for strength, lightweight and convenience. Wren had initially went with T20 bolts for increased weight savings, but realized that is not a size found on most tools riders already own.





These stems are available in lengths 40 – 130mm with a +/- 6 degree angle and the 80 - 100mm with a +/- 17 degree angle.  All sorts of options for the discerning fatbiker.

They fit standard 28.6 steerer tube and bars with a 31.8mm diameter.  At this point in they will not fit the oversized 35 mm bars such as the Race Face Aeffect.  


And they weigh between 71g – 92g depending on length and rise. 

CLOSER LOOK

Fatbike Republic was sent a WST 106-50 (50mm with 6 degree rise) with a claimed weight of 74g.  Dropping the stem on the scales it actually came in underweight at 73g.  This stem is light.




How light it is compared to other stems?  A generic 50mm weighs in at a portly 125g and while not completely comparing apples to apples the 60mm Race Face Aeffect (that was being swapped) weighed a whopping 155g. Just for fun . . . a large organic free range egg weighs in at 55g.



Taking a very close look at the stem you can see very clean lines and no excess material to be found anywhere.  Its nowhere as bulky and burly as other stems and almost looks delicate in comparison.  I was really curious on how it would hold up up to the rigors of fatbiking. 


60mm & 50mm (Canary Cycles)

IN USE

The stem mounts up just like any other stem and has a recommended torquing of 6 Nm.  As the stem was being installed on a set of carbon bars I wanted to ensure the torque was on spec.



As with mounting any shorter stem, mounting up the 50mm Wren stem made the front end a little easier to lift, steering became a little quicker and the front end felt a little lighter when climbing.  Sitting a little more upright also gives a little more comfortable riding position.

So how does the Wren ultra light stem compare to other stems in performance?  Honestly . . . its a stem . . . it mounts the bar to your bike and allows you to turn.  Maybe the question should be "does the Wren super lightweight stem hold up as well or better than heavier and bulkier stems?"



After several months of riding (late fall into the heart of winter) I have not noticed any issues with this stem.  Riding dirt, snow and ice . . . the stem performed.

I took one nasty OTB tumble that ended with the bars being knocked out of alignment as well as giving me some bruising.  Locking the wheel between my knees the stem was levered back into position and back on the trail.



Another time, when doing a lake ice grind, I laid my Sasquatch down on the ice pretty hard whacking the bar end off the ice.  After my knee stopped complaining, I surveyed the stem/tire alignment and all was well.



So after giving the Wren super lightweight stem some "tough love" on the trails . . . I have no worries about its performance.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Buying a stem is probably not the most sexiest purchase you can make for your fatbike.  However, it can have an impact on the bike's handling and your overall comfort.

If you are in the market for a new stem and the traditional chunky stems are not turning your gears . . . then go visit the folks over at Wren Sports and take a closer look at their line of sleek, lightweight and affordable stems.

Ride on!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Snowshoe 2XL | It just may fit !


In 2015 Vee Tire announced it was bringing a new supersized tire to the market - the Snowshoe 2XL.  Fatbike Republic got a sneak peek and shared some of the preliminary details.  As this tire measured in at 5.05" the big question in the fatbike world was "what is it gonna fit?" 



The folks over at Vee Tire share the following information on the 2XL:
Snow Shoe 2XL the first bicycle tire with a width over 5 inches-available in 26×5.05. Inspired by the floating sensation of an actual snowshoe, the Snowshoe 2XL is currently the largest FatBike tire in the market. The exaggerated tread features aggressive knobs and deep patterns for increased traction and cornering, no matter what the tire pressure.



Since its introduction the shear girth of this float monster has challenged many a fatbike frame (and fork) to handle this beast.  Fatbike Republic wanted to take an up close and personal look at this massive piece of rubber and Vee Tire were gracious enough to send one along.

Unboxing

In its current version the 2XL is offered in the Pure Silica Compound (PSC) that has an exclusive off-white colouring.  This super soft silica compound allows the tire to perform better on ice, makes it quieter and allows less debris to stick to the tire.   For those tire geeks out there, the compound maintains a low hardness of 50A.  The PSC compound is also shared with the Snowshoe, Snowshoe XL, Bulldozer and the all new Snow Avalanche.




The 2XL is tubeless ready with a 120 TPI, has a claimed width of 5.05” and weighs in at 1920g.



The 2XL sports an aggressive tread pattern on its super wide carcass. Running down the center of the tire there are alternating wide and narrow slightly curved lugs.  Sitting slightly to the side and filling the space between the center lugs are mid sized rectangular knobs.  The next two rows of transitional lugs are really interesting as they alternate between mid and large sized doglegged knobs that look super hungry for snow.   And finally the heavy shoulder lugs swap between a horizontal modified dogleg and vertical rectangular lugs.




Lug depth runs from 0.25" for the center row to 0.33" for the shoulder lug and large dogleg.  This is one meaty tire . . . with the carcass texturing adding that one last element of traction enhancement.



Vee Tire claims that the tires are 5.05" wide, however when measured with 8psi on 80mm rims they are closer to 4.77" lug to lug.  Not exactly 5.05” . . . but still massive.



The claimed weight of these tires is 1970g per tire with the actual weight being pretty close at 1981g.   Its no lightweight . . . but it’s a lot of tire.


Fitting

The biggest issue with the 2XL is actually getting it to fit.   If you have a rigid 150mm front fork there should be no issues.   If you want suspension, it will fit a Wren Inverted Fork, but good luck getting it to fit a Bluto.




Fitting it in the rear of a fattie you have to be concerned about the frame and chainline.  I spent about 2 hours mounting and remounting the tire on a 80mm Mulefut trying to make it fit a 2017 Sasquatch (197mm rear + 440mm chainstay).  I was getting very slight chainstay rubbing on three lugs and unfortunately it did not work out.   If the chainstays had been ¼” wider the 2XL would have fit.




There was no issue with the chainline even in the lowest gear.   And even if there was, a chainline can be adjusted slightly.


Field Test

Not being able to mount the 2XL to the rear of the Sasquatch was unfortunate . . . however it did spend time rolling in the Wren on the white stuff.

This beast is a float machine and I was amazed with the amount of snow this would plow through/over.  At times it felt like the 2XL was creating a trail for the Snowshoe mounted up to the rear.

There may not be the need to air down as often when rolling the 2XLs.  I found that when riding in conditions where I would normally air down a 4" or 5" tire to 3-4 psi to get extra float, the 2XL was cruising along at 6 psi.  And with more air there is a lesser chance of a pinch flat.

This tire likes ruts . . . in a good way.  You know when you are chasing behind someone, trying to stay in the track for best traction, and your tire catches the edge and tries to climb out?  Well the 2XL sits in that track and follows like it's on rails.  No wandering and no climbing.

Although the softer white PSC compound has advantages on ice over regular black compound tires, I steered away from any significant ice riding. And like all PSC compound tires there was less snow build-up . . . therefore allowing the tire to maintain traction and steering ability.  It was difficult to notice if it was quieter as all tires in snow sound "crunchy".

Final Thoughts

If you are running a 1x drivetrain with a 197mm rear I would recommend that you do a test fit.  Don't listen to everyone telling you it can't be done until you attempt it yourself as all fatbikes have different geometries.  Your bike may have that little extra clearance to make the 2XL work.  

However if you have a Bluto up front . . . you are gonna need another fork as it rubs the arch/brace.

Unless you are heading into some unusually soft terrain in the off season it would be safe to say that with the extra width, weight and lug depth of this tire . . . reaching maximum velocity in the dirt will take some time and effort.

So if you are interested in getting the maximum snow flotation in a fatbike the Snowshoe 2XL is definitely the tire for you . . . and it just may fit.

Ride on !

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Volume 5 - 5 Fatbike Videos You MUST Watch


Festival, birki, race . . . throw the word fatbike in front of it and you know its gonna be fun.  Flotillas of fatbikes, chatting fat, riding and food all mean a good time.  In this fifth installment of the 5 Fabike Videos You MUST Watch series we look at a sprinkling of fatbike festivals from all over.

Just in case you missed the previous installments:

Volume 1 - Random

Volume 2 - Cool Edits

Volume 3 - Around the World

Volume 4 - GFBD


2017 Borealis Fat Bike Worlds in Crested Butte.  Fun races, tandem fatties, bananna suits and slow motion falls in fluff snow + super photography. (2:46)




2017 Pippy Snowbike Festival in Newfoundland. It was all sunshine and bunnies . . . until the race started.  This event had a ride and race, coupled with demos, food and festivities. The 60+ riders had a blast. (5:50)





Fat Bike Race at Table Mountains Poland. Pink tights, mass start crash, a crazy skinny and thumbs up. (4:16)



2017 Snow Bike Festival Gstaad Switzerland. Beautiful scenery, climbs and cows. This four day even ran like clockwork. (3:34)



Chugach Fat Bike Bash in Valdez Alaska. Starts with epic solo downhill carving through the white stuff. Fluffy snow, open water and racing. Look out 2017. (3:46)




Ride on!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Wren Inverted Fatbike Fork | Full Ride Report


If you have been following this review of the Wren Inverted Fatbike Fork you have already seen Introduction and the Install & Setup.  If not you may want to take a peek them first before jumping into the juicy ride details.



So now its time to see how the Wren handles some real world multi seasonal conditions. 




BACKGROUND

The test vehicle for the Wren was a 2016 Norco Sasquatch 6.1 that sported a Bluto from the factory.  The white Bluto had 100 mm of squish, an axle crown measurement of 511 mm, a 51 mm offset (rake) and an MSRP of $685 - $715.  The specifications of the Wren (WSF150-110ATK) include 110 mm of suspension, an axle crown of 530 mm, offset of 45 mm and MSRP of $999.



On paper the Wren is slightly taller with slightly shorter rake (more trail) which translates into more stability at speed coupled with slower steering when travelling more slowly.  Descents should also be slightly easier. However, in reality the actual difference in geometry between these two forks is minimal.  But the big question is . . . how does the Wren actually feel and handle in the dirt and snow?

Having almost 12 months on the Bluto it saw all varieties of terrain including: snow (pristine to cratered), ice (smooth to fractured), flowy single track, gnarly cross country and downhill, mud and water, gravel grinds, pavement and untouched back country exploration.  The Bluto did what was supposed to do while exhibiting some flex and mimicking a pogo stick from time to time.



The Wren Inverted Fatbike Fork was mounted up to the Sasquatch and after 6 months (early fall to the dead of winter) it has been exposed to the same terrain and environment.

RIDING THE WREN

Simply put, the Wren does what the Bluto was meant to do, but it does it much better.  The design of the Wren makes it much more stable and smooth than the Bluto.  Drop offs can be taken without worry of bottoming out the fork and rock gardens can be taken at whatever speed you are comfortable attacking.
  

The Wren not only feels solid . . . it is solid.  No hinting of flex, with the only movement happening within the 110 mm of keyed stanchion travel.  And with the Wren being infinitely adjustable, it can be set up for any rider for any conditions and not disappoint.



When installing the carbon bash guards I did have some reservations about the durability of the thin guards that felt like brittle plastic.   Boy was I mistaken . . . those suckers are tough.  Repeated whacks by low hanging branches and shrubs, coupled with slight pecks from a rock or two have resulted in only a few scrapes and scuffs.  I have a new respect for carbon.



The lockout, although no remote, successfully limited the suspension when not needed during gravel/ice grinding on level surfaces.  When heading out bikepacking I did use the lockout for a very short period of time.  Having a pile of gear (4.4 kg/ 10.2 lbs) strapped to the bars I had anticipated that the Wren would be bobbing and weaving like the Bluto had done when I ran a lightly loaded bar bag.  With a tiny tweak of the rebound, and no adjustment to the air chambers, the Wren was actually able to run unlocked while carrying extra gear AND hitting trail humps and bumps. Cool!



During the winter season many people carry their fatties to the trailhead inside their vehicles to minimize road grit and grime.  This generally means removing and installing the front wheel twice per ride.  While a certain amount of finesse is needed to install the axle, the more practice the easier it gets.  Having removed/installed the axle well over 100 times there is no obvious wear and tear to the axle or fork.



A big concern for Bluto winter riders is the tendency of it to freeze. The aftermarket has come to the rescue, but why hasn’t RockShox fixed the issue in its design?  The folks over at Wren Sports state that their fork will not freeze up in conditions that would impact the Bluto.  To date the North Atlantic winter cold has had no impact on the Wren’s performance during winter testing . . . even during a two-hour frozen lake circumnavigation hitting several ice heaves along the way.  Wren Sports, in anticipation of some riders taking the Wren into uber-cold conditions are currently doing testing on polar grade temperature modifications.



While scooting the winter trails one day I spied a narrow snow bridge spanning a two-foot wide trench across the trail.  I though it was solid, but the front tire broke through (at speed), dropped into the deep trench and stopped.  After dusting myself off and straightening my severely twisted bars I inspected the fork.  There was no damage and it continues to track well.

Riding the Bluto aggressively in winter, more specifically into a tight downhill turn, the fork dives and sticks making exiting the turn anything but graceful.  As such, when anticipating such terrain I would lock out the fork.  The Wren does not exhibit such quirky behavior, but instead rebounds as you would expect allowing smoother and faster exits.

It’s pretty common knowledge that the Vee Snowshoe 2XL is one massive tire and is only able to fit the frame of a limited number of fatbikes.  Running it on the front is possible with a rigid fork, but good luck running it on a suspension fork . . . until now.  The Wren Inverted Fatbike Fork with its 5.35” clearance between the upper sliders easily clears the 2XLs girth. Super float and squish . . . excellent!




FINAL THOUGHTS

The Wren Inverted Fatbike Fork is a fine piece of technology and is solidly creeping into the fatbike front suspension market.  Not only have individuals recognized the benefits of the Wren, so have niche fatbike dealers that offer the Wren Inverted Fatbike Fork as standard/optional equipment on bike builds.

Customer service is second to none. You have an issue or question about the fork, or any of the products Wren Sports offer, they are only an email or phone call away. They are super responsive and super helpful.


As the fork is assembled and designed in a modular format all parts can be exchanged for new parts when needed.  If you are unable to get the fork to one of the ever expanding network of service centers, much of the maintenance and adjustments can be done by a competent bike mechanic.

Wren Sports has created a benchmark that all other fatbike suspension fork builders should aim to aspire . . . if they can catch up.

If you are unhappy with your current front suspension, building a fattie from scratch or looking to add squish to the front of your fatbike . . . be sure to check out the Wren Inverted Fatbike Fork by Wren Sports.

Ride on !




Sunday, 15 January 2017

Fatbike Front Suspension | Guide & Comparison


Many people will agree that front suspension is not really needed on a fattie in the winter as the white stuff generally covers the nasty humps and bumps.  The available squish in the aired down tires make most riding quite enjoyable.  However, when riding trails frequented by hikers, front suspension is appreciated when hitting frozen sunken footsteps.

When riding a fattie in the other three seasons the need for front suspension increases significantly.  Is it absolutely necessary . . . not really. You just have to ride a little slower to minimize the front end jarring, or fly down the trail just kissing the crest of each bump.  If your riding style is somewhere in between, front suspension should be in your future.


If you are the kind of rider who craves specifications and details, be sure to check out the chart below.


RockShox Bluto


When people think of fatbike front suspension the first name that comes to mind is the RockShox Bluto. Hitting the market in late 2013 the Bluto was the first mass produced front suspension for fatbikes. Available in 80 mm, 100 mm, and 120 mm variations this fork was well appreciated by those riding fatties outside of the winter months.

Word around the LBS was that the Bluto does not use the latest and greatest technology, but rather borrows something from the not to distant past.  It was quickly realized by the fatbiking community that the Bluto did not like the cold . . . which is unfortunate since winter is the preferred habitat of the fatbike.  The aftermarket quickly came up with a solution, which oddly enough, when installed could compromise warranty.

Nevertheless, the Bluto has smoothed out a lot of trails.  Its simple to set up with air in the left fork and rebound and manual lockout on the right.  It can run up to a 5" tire and the remote lockout option is quite popular.  And a relatively simple spring swap can change your travel.  Color options include black or white.

MSRP $685 - $715 USD


WREN Inverted


Initially known as the "fork of many names" this inverted fatbike fork came to market around the same time as the Bluto and was initially stamped with an 11Nine and Carver logos.  In 2014 Wren Sports started selling its Inverted Fatbike Fork and after extensive testing became exclusive North American distributor of this non-traditional fork. Extensive tweaking & improvements include: keyed stanchions, beefed up crown, stronger bushings, new axle, stock carbon fiber stanchion guards, cable guides and a TwinAir system.

Keeping the larger 43 mm stanchions on top allows the lighter 36 mm lower stanchions to be more responsive. The TwinAir system, with two air valves (one on top and one on bottom) allow fine tuning of the fork.  The adjustable rebound knob on the right fork keeps the damping in check and the lockout can make the fork rigid when needed. Travel is from 80 mm to a whopping 150 with the capability of running a 5.05" tire.

Another interesting feature of this fork is that practically all the improvements can be retrofitted on older forks.  And if you can't get it to a factory service center much of the maintenance can be completed by a competent mechanic.

There are other companies that currently sell similar looking forks, however they do not have the extensive range of improvements that are available in the Wren.

MSRP $999 - $1149 USD


RST Renegade


In 2015 RST (Rapid Suspension Technology) introduced its Renegade to the fat world.  In addition to the 1.5" tapered steerer tube, they offer a straight option for those running fatties without the a tapered head.  In 2016 the Renegade made its way into the Norco fatbike lineup on its Sasquatch 6.2.

The Renegade offers three travel options (80 mm, 100 mm and 120 mm), has an optional remote lockout, room for a 5" tire and is available in black and white.

MSRP $585 USD




Lauf Carbonara

Originating from land of geothermal energy we have the ultralight Carbonara fatbike fork.  In 2015 these folk introduced the fatbike world to a truly original type of suspension with no moving parts.  By suspending the axle behind the fork and between two sets of fiberglass leaf springs, the Carbonara give riders 60 mm of suspension.

Weighing in at about 1100g (2.31 lbs) this is the lightest fatbike suspension fork on the market and it has the chops to run a 4.8" tire.  However, the limited travel and lack of rebound damping may limit the fork's usability to the smoother of the gnarly trails.

Lauf can actually supply the Carbonara in a number of cool colors (at a small premium) to compliment just about any fattie.

MSRP $890 USD


Stafast

While not exactly a fork, the Stafast suspension stem does reduce jarring impacts on the front of a fattie.  There may be some resemblance to suspension stems of days gone by, but the technology is all new.  The Stafast suspension stem uses an adjustable air shock with 25 degrees of adjustable rise and it weighs in at around 360g.

By replacing a standard bicycle stem with Stafast, strain on a rider’s upper body is decreased dramatically; and unlike other dampening components on the market, StaFast lessens impact without sacrificing performance

The Stafast stem was tested by Fatbike Republic and the stem delivered as promised.  Check it out here.  It provided 15-20 mm of suspension to take the edge off the rough terrain, its super easy to install and it can easily be swapped between bikes.


MSRP $350 USD


Others


In the very early days a few inspiring fatbike engineering ninjas adapted the Cannondale Lefty fork for fatties.  There were numerous challenges in getting these babies to work correctly, but people did. Cannondale now offer the Lefty Olaf as a suspension option on their high end Fat CAAD 1.

Finally there are the Asian knockoff fat suspension options that we have all seen on various sites. These forks are generally offered at crazy low prices and the specs seem a little dubious.  Some people who have purchased them claim that they are exceptionally heavy and don't live up to the claims.  I guess its a buyer beware situation.

And for you detail nuts . . . click on the chart below to enlarge.




As the fatbike market evolves there may be new players providing front end squish, but in the meantime you do have several options from which to choose.

Ride on!


Friday, 30 December 2016

Wren Inverted Fatbike Fork | Install & Setup



Having no prior fork installation experience it was off to the interweb to do a little research.  I discovered that prior to installing the Wren Fork it would require some trimming of the steerer tube and the installation of a new crown race.
  
Not having a crown race on hand I contacted the fine folks over at Cane Creek who hooked me up with one of their premium 110 - Series models.  According to their literature the 110 – Series is backed by a crazy 110-year warranty.  With crown race and fork in hand it was off to my LBS (Canary Cycles) to trim the tube and install the crown race.




With the steerer tube trimmed and the crown race installed it was time to remove the Bluto. I discovered that it was not that big of a process - remove wheel, release cable ties, remove brakes, remove stem and tap with a rubber mallet while supporting the fork.

Installing the Wren Fork was pretty much a reverse process ensuring that there were enough headset spacers to match the new tube length and that the stem was snugged up and aligned correctly.  It’s important to note that the Wren can handle up to a 160mm rotor.  If your rotor is larger your will need to track down an adapter.

Wheel installation on the Wren requires a little more finesse than regular forks.  I found that the left (air) leg extends a tiny bit longer, but once both legs are aligned the supplied quick release axle will slide through.  Its also interesting to note that the axle can only be inserted from the BRAKE MOUNT (left) side of the fork and it is secured on the opposite side with a supplied nut.



So with the wheel installed it time to set the sag.   Wren does have a detailed procedure [LINK] on their site . . . but I will say that it involves balancing the volume in both the upper and lower chambers using a combination of psi and pump strokes.



When setting up the fork for your riding style its important to remember that a larger volume of air (more pump strokes) in the top chamber, relative to the bottom, will exhibit a more plush ride.  If the bottom chamber volume is larger (more pump strokes) the fork will exhibit a stiffer, more progressive ride. Through some trial and error I discovered that with 22 pump strokes in the top chamber and 6 in the bottom (60 psi) gave me the plusher ride I was looking for.  Cranking the damping counter-clockwise, slightly past center, gave me a little quicker rebound.

The installation of the carbon bash guards was very simple.  Pop the clamps on over the tube, slide in the guard and tighten the clamp.



The cable guides are equally easy to install. Slip the inner sleeve over the cable, slide it into the outer casing and zip tie the outer casing to the fork in locations to minimize rubbing.



With the fork installed its time to ride!

Check out Wren Sports | Inverted Fatbike Fork if looking for a little more detail on the Wren Fork.

Ride on!