Weapon of Choice, Mark II: This Time It’s Really, Really Personal

08.6.2007 | 9:06 am

An Explanatory Note from Fatty: This is it. This is the week before Leadville. Those of you who know me or have read this blog for any time at all know that this event consumes my every waking thought during the week before the race. So that’s what I’ll be talking about for the next few days. Thank you for your patience as I obsessively obsess.

Last year I bought a nice Fisher 29″ Paragon as my main ride. I made a few tweaks — lighter wheels, lighter brakes, rigid fork — and called it the Weapon of Choice.

It turns out I should have done less; riding a mountain century with a rigid fork before I was used to it was a bad idea.

That said, I could have done more.

And now I have.

Allow me to introduce The Weapon of Choice, Mark II: This Time It’s Really, Really Personal.


Overall Effect: Stealth
At first glance, the Mark II (as I like to call it) is not a bike you’d particularly notice. Certainly, it doesn’t have the sexy modern sculpture look you can get with a carbon fiber frame. It’s an aluminum hardtail, for crying out loud. How passe.

There are a few details are worth noting, however.

Cranks: Sexy, Silly
I may as well get the most decadent part of the bike over with. Here, take a look at the cranks.


They’re not that much lighter or stiffer or whatever-er than any other crank out on the market. But mercy, they are beautiful. I mean, they’re the most beautiful cranks since those mirrored Syncros cranks from back in the day. Those of you who have been riding for at least seven years know which cranks I’m talking about.

The Fork: A Better Idea than Ever
Like last year, I’m riding this race on a completely rigid bike. However, the Bontrager carbon fork I used last year now lives happily on my singlespeed. Which means I needed a new fork. Behold:


Yep, a White Brothers Rock Solid 29. It weighs exactly nothing at all.

Last year, I was a fool to ride the Leadville 100 on a rigid fork, having no experience at mountain biking on a fully rigid bike. This year, on the other hand, I’ve been riding fully rigid bikes — both my singlespeed and geared bike — the whole year. I’m as comfortable with this fork as I ever am downhilling. Which is not particularly comfortable, but that’s something I’ve finally accepted about myself: I will always suck at downhilling, and that’s just the way it is. Alas.

Super-Fast New Decals
My new Fat Cyclist decals are 30% lighter than last year’s model.


Just kidding, these are the same things I printed out on overhead projector plastic and affixed with packing tape last year.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road. Or Dirt. Or Something.
I fully acknowledge that I am being a goofball about some of these changes. I think, though, that even the churliest among you would agree that a tireset that weighs a half pound less than my previous tireset is a good idea. Dropping a half pound of weight at the very outside of your 29″ wheels makes a noticable difference in how the bike feels. So please give a warm welcome to my new Maxxis Crossmarks:


Oh, and also be sure to notice that I’m riding with my acid-green Twin Six Crest bottles.

Very, Very Important Change
Perhaps most importantly of all, I have replaced the two yards of duct tape I keep wrapped around the seatpost with one yard:


Just consider the weight savings!

And, as you can see, I’m sticking with the SLR saddle I talked about recently

Grand Total
None of these changes, by themselves, amount to much. Add it all up, though, and I now ride a 29″ geared mountain bike that weighs pretty much exactly 21 pounds. 

I believe it shall do quite nicely.

PS: He was in, then he was out, then we thought he was in, but he was actually still out. I am speaking, of course, of Lance and Leadville. This snippet from VeloNews says that Floyd’s still in, though. I’m bringing a Pink Fat Cyclist Jersey for him to wear. I will report on the success of this effort as events warrant.


  1. Comment by rz | 08.6.2007 | 9:15 am

    Well done, man.

    Ride, Fatty, Ride

  2. Comment by Jeffy | 08.6.2007 | 9:27 am

    Better than “quite nicely” I expect! 8:48:29 Have a great ride…Jeffy

  3. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 08.6.2007 | 9:28 am

    Whatcha really need are a set of circa 1989 Farmer John tires. Not only were they ridiculously heavy, but amazingly, offered almost no traction whatsoever. And if I were you, I’d carry a suspension fork in case during the race you change your mind about riding rigid.

    Oh, and I hate it when my saddle fails during a ride, so I’d carry an extra saddle too. Anything that looks as cool as your current saddle shouldn’t be trusted. And you know, thumb shifters are WAY more reliable than those twisty ones, or the pushey ones.

    You’d better carry an extra tube for each wheel, and an extra extra just in case. It is a 100 mile race you know.

    Speaking of 100 miles, that’s going to require your biggest camelback and larger volume bottles than you currently use. I’m thinking a milk jug of water tied to your handlebars.

  4. Comment by Kathy | 08.6.2007 | 9:37 am

    You are such a bike geek! And I am not. The only thing I feel qualified to comment on are the water bottles. Way cool! What’s up with your seat stem? Is it really, really long, or do all mountain bikes look like that?

  5. Comment by Rider34 | 08.6.2007 | 9:42 am

    Here is a weight savings idea. Ditch the duct tape on the seatpost and use yellow duct tape on the top tube in place of the fatcyclist logo. Have Fatty Jr. draw the logo on with sharpie. Kill two birds so to speak. That ought to save you at least 3 grams.

    Good luck at Leadville.


  6. Comment by mark | 08.6.2007 | 9:59 am

    I think you and your weight obsession need to check into rehab. Good luck with Leadville and all, but none of this will make any difference. You were either going to get a sub 9 all along or you weren’t.

    BTW, how’s Dug’s Leadville preparation going? I noticed there has been exactly zero activity over at Random Reviewer for about 3 months. I’m wondering if that means Dug has been underground participating in some Rocky Balboa training camp so that he can make good on his promise to beat you in Leadville on his 30lb SS.

  7. Comment by hades | 08.6.2007 | 10:00 am

    I run the same fork. I don’t know if you have ridden it any distance yet, but compared to the Bontrager it is butter. I mean its amazingly smooth, especially with those 29er wheels. I personally think that you should have ditched the gears to save weight and gone with a custom geometry, brazed, lugged steel frame (heck I’d take welded steel,even) over the aluminum, which is way too jarring for my tastes (you think that fork is smooth; ride a good, lightweight steel frame again and see what you’ve been missing).

    Most importantly, Good Luck!! I expect no slower than an 8:30 out of you, given all the training and the top-notch crew (go Susan!)!

  8. Comment by buckythedonkey | 08.6.2007 | 10:12 am

    WOC2 = beautiful. Good luck mate. Tell me one thing: you are going to pack your old saddle, right?

  9. Comment by Jose | 08.6.2007 | 10:13 am

    Question. Is Dug still riding his singlespeed? is the bet still standing? If you loose, you might loose that baby. Did you realize that?

  10. Comment by Mike Roadie | 08.6.2007 | 10:56 am

    Leadville, Leadville……here we come. Best of luck on your best of rides. The only thing that could be better, is the Wine Tasting we’re running next week in FTL to raise money for the LAF!!!!! Don’t drink and ride—you might hit a bump and spill you drink….that’s what Camelbak’s are for……….I’m not sayin’……I’m just sayin’……

    Nicely done on the Weapon of Choice Mark II….the lightweight (and aero!!!) FC sickers will make all the difference—-sub 9hrs for shizzo!!!!!!!!

  11. Comment by Sean | 08.6.2007 | 11:27 am

    I say 8:47:17. Could this be a contest?

  12. Comment by bikemike | 08.6.2007 | 11:29 am

    holy crap

    my butt hurts just looking at the pictures.

    good luck your fatness.

  13. Comment by Bob | 08.6.2007 | 11:35 am

    It’s a mistake to ride a rigid fork on Leadville. You should have a bouncy full-suspension bicycling system that weighs about 28 pounds.

  14. Comment by eclecticdeb | 08.6.2007 | 11:38 am

    I think you left out one of the most important new features…the absolutely beautiful pink thingy holding up your handlebars. It may look small, but it carries TONS of good karma.

  15. Comment by cloud19th | 08.6.2007 | 12:03 pm

    your bike looks like a tank.. with a wee little paper airplane to sit on. Oh, the dichotomy!
    I hope the ride is so fun it feels easy, and that you feel loose and lucid at the end.

  16. Comment by Rick S. | 08.6.2007 | 12:12 pm

    Ask Dug how much his basket and bike bell weigh. Will you be adding a basket and bell?

  17. Comment by Clayton | 08.6.2007 | 12:40 pm

    That’s a cool new trick. I’ve not seen a site yet where you click on the pics to get smaller versions ;)

  18. Comment by dug | 08.6.2007 | 12:44 pm

    rick, the basket actually REDUCES the weight of my bike, the bell is a wash, but the streamers on the handlebars make me faster.

    mark, it has been only exactly TWO months since i last posted on RandomReviewer. I’m fresh out of ideas, and without my bandmates to back me up, i’m like a tamborine without a hand.

    jose, oh, it’s ON. the good news is, i don’t have to beat elden, i just have to beat 10 hours to own his bike, and 11 hours to keep my own. i may be using a taxi cab, but the weapon of choice will be mine. i wish elden were taller.

  19. Comment by JimB | 08.6.2007 | 12:45 pm

    Good Luck FC!!!!
    And best of luck to that special crew helping you!
    Will be thinking of you guys

  20. Comment by mark | 08.6.2007 | 12:59 pm

    Dug, I sent you a guest review back in May. I thought it was nice, but maybe you didn’t. Or it got lost? Anyway, I’ll resend in case you want to use it. In any case, I look forward to the winner writing a review of how it feels riding his new/the other’s former bike for the first time. If all Dug has to do is beat 10 hours, my money is on Dug. I think we need to start placing some of these bets in the challenge section of the forum.

  21. Comment by bradk | 08.6.2007 | 1:06 pm

    dug, id like you to post a picture of that weapon of yours. the bike, i mean. i think you need to add a flip-side to that wager. how bout elden beats 9 hours and owns your bike and 10 hours to keep his?

  22. Comment by Tim D | 08.6.2007 | 1:10 pm

    Fatty, once again you will die! You cannot go changing components days before the big race. Those neon bottle will kill you and probably all those within 100 yards.

  23. Comment by GenghisKhan | 08.6.2007 | 1:14 pm

    I’d like to know what, if anything, you’ve ever used that duct tape for! GK

  24. Pingback by RocBike.com » Links Of The Day: 6 August 2007 | 08.6.2007 | 2:29 pm

    [...] Weapon of Choice, Mark II: This Time It’s Really, Really Personal [...]

  25. Comment by Philly Jen | 08.6.2007 | 2:46 pm

    Go, Fatty, go!

    I do indeed think this has the makings of a contest — 8:27:53 (-oh-niiiiiiiine)

    (P.S. You and Dug are racing for pinks?)

  26. Comment by Born4Lycra | 08.6.2007 | 3:06 pm

    Well I think that just leaves the weeny saddle bag. What’s in there. Are you riding in Pink or Orange. Here’s hoping for something in the 8.50’s – need a time you can beat again next year. Don’t want to peak too early.

  27. Comment by Philthy in Oz | 08.6.2007 | 3:35 pm

    I doubt Floyd would wear the pink jersey. Any man who “allegedly” takes that much testosterone couldn’t be comfortable enough with themselves to wear pink could they?

  28. Comment by Yukirin Boy | 08.6.2007 | 3:58 pm

    Best of luck FC!
    Go break that 9 hour barrier.
    Your weapon of choice II looks just as much the part as you in you “after” picture.

    Whatever the result, we wait for the definitive, blow by blow report.


  29. Comment by MBonkers | 08.6.2007 | 5:20 pm

    I’m still waiting for you to lose the shoes… and feet… and bolt the ankles to the cranks. Glad to see there’s no suncreen there though to add weight.
    That’s not what’s in the seat bag is it?!??

  30. Comment by militant cyclist | 08.6.2007 | 9:47 pm

    Nice. Im working on ways to shed a few grams from my machine right now, ive got it under 18lbs now and i know that i can get lighter, its a trek XO1 cross bike, anyway my original point of commenting was that i have those water bottles, and a shirt to match. brilliant.



  31. Comment by Lins - Aust | 08.6.2007 | 10:26 pm

    Tell Floyd the colour of the jersey is called “Aggressive Salmon”.

    Good luck for Leadville. Once again: ride fast but safe.

  32. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 08.7.2007 | 2:39 am

    Kathy – sorry it’s taken so long to answer your question, but I was waiting to see if anyone had a more robust theory before I responded. Like all things that men have, the length of the seat post is a compensation thing. Look at how small the frame looks – the seat post is a way of making up for a deficiency in that area.

    GenghisKhan – What a silly question. If you read back a week or so there’s a post about a front quick release working loose. That’s a perfect place to stick a wad of duct tape. Or chewing gum. Or pelican poo. Or if you read back a bit further (way back) you’ll find a post about how his shoulder randomly dislocates itself at inopportune moments. There’s another use right there. Of course, the real reason there’s only a foot of duct tape is that the rest of the roll will be used in the pre-race ritual of removing all back, shoulder, ear and nose hair.

    Fatty – Check the QR. Check it well and check it lots. And if you’re truly motivated to shave grams… sand back the paint job a couple of layers.

    Many people offer a wish of good luck at times like this. I don’t. There’s no luck involved. You’ve prepared meticulously and are now ready to receive your reward.

    … and to quote a famous Jamaican; “Peace be the journey”

  33. Comment by Big Boned | 08.7.2007 | 4:17 am

    I got an idea….As you are certain to beat 10 hours (well, as certain as anything in endurance racing is), how about you AUCTION OFF Fatty’s Bike and the money goes into the Italy fund? I bid $27 if it has been washed, $12 if unwashed.
    Good luck to you both.

  34. Comment by Caloi-Rider | 08.7.2007 | 4:41 am

    Hey, you could probably drop another 20 grams just by shaving your eyebrows!

    Good luck, Fatty. The paragon looks awesome.

  35. Comment by Lowrydr | 08.7.2007 | 5:32 am

    Big Boned, what a great idea you’ve got going there. I bid $32 washed or $17 unwashed. Plus shipping of course.

  36. Comment by Andrew | 08.7.2007 | 6:42 am

    Thought you might be interested in this story about a Kenyan who is riding Leadville on a new leg and a used bike:


  37. Comment by Errorista | 08.7.2007 | 10:29 am

    You rock, brother!

    If you need help convincing Floyd to wear the jersey, feel free to drop my name.

  38. Comment by cheapie | 08.7.2007 | 12:11 pm

    i guess i just don’t get the hype about rigid bikes. i can kind of understand the 29er thing….my ellsworth is 23.5ish with pedals. so for 2 pounds i’m getting 100mm of front travel and 4 inches in the rear (insert joke here). is it really worth shaving 2.5 pounds off to beat yourself to death for 100 miles?

  39. Comment by Walter | 08.7.2007 | 3:47 pm

    Go, Fatty, go!!

  40. Comment by Cogly | 08.8.2007 | 1:22 am

    Yellow is not a nice colour.

  41. Comment by Kris | 08.8.2007 | 8:54 am

    Nice rig, but I’d drop that carbon seatpost – they’re ticking timebombs. I’ve seen 2 snapped posts and I don’t get out that much. And if you’re a big guy, even bigger danger – come down hard on the seat and . In aluminum I trust. Handlebars don’t seem to be as prone to (sudden) failure, but I’d still rather have metal there too. Many times you can keep riding with a bent part (or bend it back), but trailside repair of a busted carbon tube are at best slow and at worst impossible. You have been warned. Just say “no” to carbon! It’s OK for road bikes, but can’t take the abuse of the mountains.

  42. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Place Yer Bets | 08.8.2007 | 10:56 am

    [...] So here’s the thing: As his challenge is written, it’s now impossible for me to lose. Why? Because Dug no longer rides a crappy, “Brad Keyes maintained” Surly Karate Monkey rigid singlespeed. Dug in fact now rides a beautiful Waltworks rigid singlespeed. Sure, this Waltworks is (yet another) Brad Keyes hand-me-down, but it’s still a beautiful, light bike. So Dug can’t satisfy the condition under which he would win my ultra-trick Weapon of Choice. [...]

  43. Comment by gwadzilla | 08.8.2007 | 12:54 pm


    that is 10.5 pounds less than my Surly Karate Monkey with gears!

    and I do not even have any duct tape on mine

    guess it would weigh more if I took the stuff out of my pack and put it on the bike

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