I’ve now put 140 miles on the Fargo through various conditions: paved roads, city streets, gravel roads, steep climbs, rough “not roads”, creek beds, and heavily forested land.
I’m not a mountain biker. The technical stuff scares me. I’ve ridden a few medium trails and fell a few times doing it.
I needed a bike capable of longer rides on gravel and other rough terrain. I raced Gravel Grovel last year on my Surly LHT, which has since been sold. I want to race again this year.
I bought the Fargo 2, which is the “racier” version. The Fargo 3 is more for touring. The frame is the same, but the components are different.
My Fargo 2 has a SRAM 2×10 drivetrain with brifters. This is the first bike I’ve owned with brifters, and it took a little getting used to them.
After a few in town rides, and one suburban ride, I took it out Sunday for a gravel ride with Tim and Asher.
The bike handled the fast descents on rough gravel wonderfully, even with my lack of skill on rough terrain. What would have been a sketchy white-knuckle affair on the LHT was a very fun confidence-inspiring bombing run on the Fargo. The Avid BB7 brakes are very good at slowing down the bike when necessary. I have two other bikes with the same brakes, and I’m happy with them all.
When the going really got tough, grabbing the drops on the Woodchipper bars and edging myself backward over the rear wheel improved the handling and gave me great control. I was still able to shift and brake from that position, although it wasn’t comfortable for long periods. I’m hoping to adjust the bars to fix that.
The cockpit on the Fargo is pretty high up. This is partially due to having a 20″ frame, which is probably bigger than what would be recommended for me. I need the bars up high for my neck. This seems to work. I was quite comfortable on the bike, although after a 50-mile ride I still end up with a stiff neck for a few days. That’s due to my body’s failings, not the bike.
The 2.2″ tires with some knobs on them were perfect on the gravel. I was a bit slower on the paved roads. On fast descents on pavement, I’d run out of high-end gear at just over 30 mph, so I don’t see any 45+ mph descents happening on this bike.
The low-end gearing is about 22 gear-inches, which while quite low, may not be low enough for loaded touring. I’m not planning to do much loaded touring on this bike, so it should be fine. I didn’t have to walk any hills on Sunday’s ride. I did walk the bike through thick underbrush and through a creek though.
This is a big bike, but it’s not terribly heavy. It’s not light either, as it’s a steel framed rigid mountain bike with drop bars and can be set up for touring.
I left the bike stock. I only added a rear rack and bottle cages. I used a trunk bag to carry gear and mounted lights and GPS. I’m normally not a fan of the saddles that come on bikes. This one is tolerable. I’m going to keep using it for a while. This bike is equipped with a Thudbuster seatpost. I intend to buy a different seatpost at some point and sell this one. I have two people interested in buying it, but I’m going to leave the bike as-is until after Gravel Grovel.
I did manage to damage my chain early on. I stopped the bike, due to a traffic incident, without fully shifting. I didn’t realize it, and stood on the pedals to get going again. I managed to damage several links in the chain. I was still able to ride the bike home, where I replaced the chain before riding the bike again. Is the 10-speed chain more fragile than the 9-speed chains I’ve been using? I don’t know. I’ve broken some 9-speed chains over the years also.
I really like this bike. I’m sure it’ll serve my riding on the textured stuff just fine.