Sunday, April 13, 2014

Carver Gnarvester: First Ride Impressions

I have been riding and racing single-speeds for a number of years now. I have made podiums on both 26" and 29" single-speeds. Lately work, family and life in general has gotten complicated so I decided to take a break from racing and focus more on just enjoying riding. So, out goes the 18.8lb Niner One9 an in comes the Carver Gnarvester. For those of you unfamiliar, it is basically a Krampus, but the frame is constructed of space age, helium infused, fairy dust sprinkled titanium...rather than the lead that is used for a Krampus frame. This gave me the ability to build a 21.8 pound 29+ bike, quite a difference from the 28-30lb Krampus' running around.

'The' Carver Gnarvester

My first ride was fantastic. I carpooled with the retired, super-riding couple, Randy and Karen out Sly Park where we rode Fleming Meadows, then Jenkinson Lake, then Fleming Meadows again (the opposite way). Overall 25+ miles with 3700'+. Not a bad day on a new bike.
The overall performance was just what I was hoping for. But to read about the good and bad, just visit this thread on MTBR where I noted the good and bad.

Gnarvester stands out in a crowd.

I have owned many bikes since I fell in love with mountainbiking (here they are in order):
Motobecane Fantom Team (FS), Soul Cycles Hooligan (26" SS) in green, then white, Misfit Dissent (SS), Trek Superfly (SS),Niner One9 (SS), Niner SIR9 (1x9, SS now 1x9 again). Finally, the Carver Gnarvester. I think that the final two bikes will be mainstays in my stable. The SIR9 is just so smooth and versatile and the Gnarvester is just a blast to ride and is a real head turner.

For road bikes, I am set with my Fuji Cross and Motobecane Ti Cross. Yes, my main road bike and mountain bike are both Titanium.
Not too fat, not too skinny...talking about the Gnarvester

The only way I will change my stable now is if Niner comes out with a new TIT9 (Titanium Is Tremendous)...only that will cause me to give up the Green Machine that I have grown fond of.
So, the SIR9 will be my long distance bike that will get me up major climbs thanks to proper gearing, and the Gnarvester will be my go-to bike for most rides and most trails as it is just plain fun.
I am already looking forward to the next ride.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Carver Gnarvester: One Bike To Rule Them All!

My new Carver Gnarvester just may be that bike. I first got the idea for this bike from cool guy in NC, Jason from Back Alley Bikes. He had this blog post about making the brand new (at the time) Krampus Knard tires tubeless. I thought to myself, "Self, that Krampus seems like a cool ride. And if it is as cool as people make it out to be, soon more frames will come, lighter frames, and when they do, build one up tubeless for a light weight gnar shredding machine!". Yeah, pretty sure the thoughts in my head were just like that.
Let's admit it. Surly builds frames out of lead. Their standard Surly Krampus is between 28 and 30 pounds (SS or geared depending). I knew that with a lighter frame, tubeless wheels and select parts, I could have a 29+ closer to 23 pounds, which was about the weight of my first few single-speeds (both 26 and 29").
Enter the Carver Gnarvester frame. When I first read about it on mtbr, I knew this was the one I had been waiting for. I though I would buy a piece at a time. One here, one there, until it was ready to be built...maybe in the Fall. Then I remembered that my name is James Haskins and I have no patience for such things. I quickly stripped down my One9, sold off the frame, wheelset and select parts, and then began purchasing parts.
The key was finding these DT Swiss hubs used. Next came the frame, rims and cranks. Most of the other parts I already had for one of my other two bikes (the aforementioned One9 or my SIR9 wich is now a 1x9).
So here is the parts list for my amazing 21.8 lb Carver Gnarvester:

Frame: Ti Carver Gnarvester (17")
Fork: Carver XC470
Cranks: Race Race Next SL 1x
Chainring: RF NW 30t
Cog: Endless Kick-ass cog 20t
Cockpit: Thomson Masterpiece/X4
Brakes: XT
Rotors: Alligator serrated
Bar: Carver Ti 730mm
Ends: Ritchey WCS
Hubs: DTS 240's (R 142x12, Fr QR)
Rims: Light-Bicycle Hookless carbon 35mm DH
Spokes: DTS Aerolites (alloy nips)
Tires: Surly Knards 120tpi
Chain: SRAM 850
Ritchey pro saddle
pedals: Wellgo something or others
Grips: black/grey ESI Chunky
Cage: King

Took this baby for a short test ride and 'Holy Smokes'! It is something else. The real test ride comes tomorrow. So stay tuned as the next post will be the 1st ride impression. Can't wait!