Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Carver Gnarvester: One Month Ride Report

Love it! I have now ridden this beast all over Auburn, Nevada City, Folsom Lake, Jenkinson Lake/Fleming Meadows and even some trails in Mendocino. Rides ranging from as short as 12 miles to big rides as long as 42 miles. Love, love, love it.
The good: It is fast. Much faster than you would think given the big, heavy tires. Maybe those tires are what makes it descend better than any other rigid mtb I have ridden. The bike can rail most corners and is solid on loose, rocky climbs. Speaking of climbs, this bike is the Big Billy Goat Gruff. Sure, the wheels are bigger than most, but that does not stop this machine from easily navigating steep fire roads to fun switchbacks on short climbs to those ranging in the 2-4+ mile range with not once making the rider consider such topic as 'rotational mass' or 'drag'.

The bad: The rear drive side cable-stay rubs on my right calf when I descend. When standing on my pedals, I like to have my left foot forward and my right foot back. This has caused some blood loss on my right leg so that I now have that stay wrapped up to prevent further damage. When I have some time off, I will take it to a Ti specialist and have it removed. I am going to notify Carver and discuss this and my warranty. I am sure it will be cool.
Other negatives: The 3 inch Knards grip great on most surfaces, but sand is a wipeout waiting to happen. rather than cut through the sand like a narrower tire, or float over like a fat tire, these tires grip to the top layer of sand, then slide out as that sand moves. Very treacherous and a few near wipeouts. The same issue with mud. The tires want to slide with the top layer of loose mud and prove very unstable. I am hoping to have better luck with either the newly arriving Surly Dirt Wizard or the Maxxis Chronicle.  The Gnarvester with tire options is exciting indeed!

Regardless, I have finally built, what is for me, the ultimate single speed bike and plan to enjoy many, many more miles on this beast.

Snuck into the video on a recent 'Epic' ride in Nevada City. Good times!