23 April 2009 - 12:39The Fist of Fury
Here is my new Vassago Fisticuff. Now I’ve gotten a few rides under my belt, and I can safely ask only one question:
“Where have you been all my life?”
What a great machine. I built mine using some stuff that I had languishing in the corner of the shop, an old SRAM Rival group, the Royale disc wheels from my old silver RIP, and a few other odds and ends. I probably should have built it up as a single speed, and I still may at some point, but right now, I’m enjoying it the way it is.
The ride, well, it is very smooth. Mud season here was rough on the dirt roads, heaving the surface into any other plane but flat. And potholes, did I mention those? I found the Fisti to be well equipped to deal with such surface conditions, that I hardly gave them a second thought as I plowed over, through or around them.
The slack angles really make for a stable mountain bike feel. I also think the large(ish) volume tires help with the ride quality, I’m using a set of 38c WTB Interwolfs, all Stan’sed up, and am running about 35 psi, which gets me where I need to go quickly and comfortably.
I’m also using some Salsa Bell Lap handle bars, which in conjunction with the longer hoods on the Rival levers, put my hands right on top where they need to be. I seldom ride the flats, and even more seldomly ride in the drops. I also have an Easton EC70 set back post with the ever present WTB Devo saddle. For my money, you can’t find a better seat, provided it fits your rear as well as it fits mine.
It certainly feels like a mountain bike, but has the speed and agility of a road bike. The stoppers are Avid BB7 road mechanical brakes. I changed the rotors from the hideously bulky looking Roundagon to the sexy new G3 Clean Sweeps. I have tons of control on the screaming descents now, and I don’t feel like I will suddenly explode when I hit the tiniest crack in the pavement.
For those with the “old school” mindset, the bike comes with removable brake studs, so running cantilevers or even V- brakes is an option. The horizontal rear dropouts with disc mounts give you every possible option for gears and brakes. Rear wheel removal can be tricky if you are using a 140mm disc brake rotor however, you will have to remove the caliper before being able to slide the rear wheel out should you flat. 160mm rotors are fine. Running a tubeless system will definitely reduce this possibility though.
So to sum it up in a few words, smooth, comfortable, fast, versatile. Get one, and ride your bike on more surfaces earlier and deeper into the season.