Troika, Fat Bike Review

I am learning that the process of acquiring frame building tools is very long.  But finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  My last jig for mitering main tubes should be arriving after Labor Day weekend.  Also, the conversion from one phase to three phase power for my Bridgeport mill worked out fine.  I am using WEG CFW-10 VFD (variable frequency drive) with potentiometer allowing me easily adjust the speed of the Bridgeport motor.  Meanwhile, I’ve been riding Troika that I built at Metal Guru and can share my experience of riding on the “fat” wheels.

I’ve been test riding Troika mainly in the Tourne Park, little gem of the Garden State, which became my “backyard” mtb park.  This rugged park  is the only remaining undeveloped fragment of the Great Boonton Tract.  This area was purchased by David Ogden, colonial Attorney-General of New Jersey in 1759.  The main entrance of the park, McCarfey Lane, was created in 1767 to haul iron from Hibernia’s mines to Old Boonton where cannonballs were manufactured for Continental Army during American Revolution.

Tourne Park offers a bit of everything for mountain biking: ripping through single track, needling technical rock gardens and roots, leg burning rock and gravel climbs as well as hairy, technical descents.

Troika shows very stable ride downhill over loose rocky terrain because of the larger contact patch with the ground on 70 mm rims and 3.8″ tires that I run at about 7 psi.  The tire pressure and rim width dictate the amount of footprint on the ground.  Hence, the wheels with wider rims and lower tire pressure increase the contact patch, which in turn provide for a more stable ride downhill and cornering.

In addition, Troika does not slip during high-grade climbs over gravel.  I had a non-slipping ascend to the top of the Tourne during test riding.  Troika’s rear wheel equiped with Surly’s Nate 3.8″, 120 tpi (threads per inch) tire with super large knobs sticks to the ground extremely well.  Going over the logs and large rocks is not a problem either.  As I expected, Fat Bike performs as an all terrain bike.  I have no doubts that Troika will even be more superior ride over anything I owned in the past when riding during wet and snow conditions.

Below are few photos riding Troika in the Tourne.

Happy Trails!

– Vlad

Fat Bike Fabrication at Metal Guru, Part 3

As I mentioned in the previous blog post, after finishing fabrication of my Fat Bike frame at Metalguruschool, I opted Vicious Cycles to paint the frame in wine red metallic color.  Below are some photos of the frame.  Also, visit the following blog post, Troika, by Carl Schlemowitz at Metalguruschool, for more details on the painted frame.

EditMore details on the finished Troika, Fat Bike, can be found here.

– Vlad

Fat Bike Fabrication at Metal Guru, Part 2


This gallery contains 29 photos.

Arriving at Metalguruschool on July 1, 2013 – Tube Selection After going through the safety procedures, geometry, CAD and types of steel alloys, we moved on the tube selection for the main triangle.  The following front triangle tubes were selected for my … Continue reading

Fat Bike Fabrication at Metal Guru, Part 1

So, today, I decided to start my own blog about bicycle frame fabrication and begin with sharing my experience of building a Fat Bike at Metal Guru.

Prior to attending Metal Guru, I’ve been riding mountain and road bikes for many years and naturally I became very interested in fabricating steel bicycle frames on my own.  So, one day, I learned about Metal Guru, picked up the phone, chatted with Carl Schlemowitz, and booked myself a nine day course in Welded Steel Frame Fabrication.  Well, I had a long conversation with my wife of course, prior to signing up, but after her approval (love you, honey!) I was all set starting on July 1, 2013…

Now, I needed to acquire all necessary tools and machines to build the bike frames in my shop after I would be done with Metal Guru.  My goal was to start building on my own as soon as my frame course was completed.  So, the search for tools and machines had begun prior to starting my frame builiding course.

Carl Schlemowitz, founder of Metal Guru and Vicious Cycles, was my mentor on the tools and equipment for my shop.  With his advice I acquired Miller Maxstar 200DX Series Welder, Sputnik Chainstay/Seatstay Mitering Jigs and Bridgeport Vertical Milling Machine.  The welder and Sputnik fixtures I used while at Metal Guru for firsthand experience with my own tools.

The following gallery shows the photos of my newly acquired Bridgeport Mill, Maxstar 200DX Welder, Sputnik Chainstay Jig, Bringheli Alignment Table and Frame Jig.

Part 2 with details of the fabrication progress is coming soon…  Happy trails!

– Vlad

Welding with Maxstar 200DX Series Welder

Welding with Maxstar 200DX Series Welder

Mitering Chainstays with Sputnik Jig

Mitering Chainstays with Sputnik Jig

Bringheli Alignment Table/Frame Jig and Bridgeport Mill