There are many good things about being The Fat Cyclist. Chief among these, of course, is being able to introduce myself by name (“Hi, I’m Elden Nelson”), and then follow it up with my nickname (“But please, feel free to call me ‘Fatty.’”). It catches people off-guard, making it much easier for me to ask them to loan me money.
Last weekend, I told lots of cycling celebrities — some of them very nearly as famous as I — to call me Fatty.
The four of us walked around like that — arm and arm, all smiles, with me snugly between (husband and wife) Jeremy and Heather — for hours.
When we were riding together, I made a case — at some length, and in exciting detail — for why Jeremy and Heather should ride a tandem at the Leadville 100 next year. Yes, I really did. Here I am, recapping, just in case my points were not entirely clear the first three times I made them (Gary’s in the background left of the below photo, clearly wishing he could join the conversation):
They said they would take the idea under advisement. (And no, I have no idea what the guy in the blue jersey (an editor from Bicycling) is doing in this photo.)
After our time together, they were very sad to see me go. We exchanged numbers. I was certainly surprised to find that all three of them had the area code 555!
I also got to meet Jesse, who did the artwork for the bikes and jerseys — the very best-looking designs Fisher has ever produced, in my award-winning opinion — you’ll see in all the pictures below. I
Knowing that he might be there, I made certain to wear my Bare Knuckle Brigade jersey. And to suck my gut in so hard that my neck bulged.
Jesse, by the way, has a 2010 Superfly Singlespeed built up at 16.5 pounds. That’s the same weight as a nice light road bike, folks. ‘Course, to do this, he put on super skinny tires, which I rolled my eyes at. And then he crushed the singletrack — including all the rough rocky stuff — the whole time.
But I’m still going to use really fat tires.
Oh, by the way, you know who the rider in the background in that picture is? Gary Fisher.
SuperFly 100 Impressions
Of course, the real reason I was there was to get a picture of me getting headlocked by Gary Fisher (mission accomplished within the first 15 minutes, by the way), but I was also there to see and ride really nice bikes at other peoples’ expense.
Oh, you have no idea how wonderful it feels to be able to say that. I believe I will say it again: I was riding really nice bikes at other peoples’ expense.
I’d say it a third time, but I’m afraid you might begin to suspect I am gloating.
The first bike I took out was the new full-suspension version of the Superfly: The Superfly 100.
It took about fifteen minutes of riding for me to feel comfortable on this bike, during which I shoulder-kissed a tree and did an unintentional nose-wheelie into a boulder. I claim that the reason I was riding like it was a game of pinball is that I was unused to the complexity of gears and suspension. After all, I’ve been riding rigid single most of the year; this felt a little foreign to me.
The truth is, though, I think I was a little over-amped. (Caffeine is your friend, until it’s not.)
Once I had been on the bike a few minutes, though, I started liking it. A lot. With the front end locked out I got comfortable with climbing fairly quickly. No, it’s doesn’t feel as direct as a hardtail, but it does feel good — you can still feel the trail characteristics beneath you; they’re just muted.
And downhilling is a lot of fun with this bike. If you’re used to — and like — the Fisher geometry, this bike feels very comfortable descending. Like a Paragon or a Superfly, but you can hit bigger stuff.
I love my hardtails, but this bike does make me think about suspension.
And the trails were OK, I suppose.
This is my friend Gary Fisher, riding past me. He jokingly punched me in the throat as he went by. Ha ha! Good one, Gary!
While the Superfly 100 feels like a full-suspension bike made for people who love hardtails, the RumbleFish feels…big.
At around 28 pounds and with like eight feet of suspension, you don’t so much ride it up a mountain as you do manage it. I felt too high up on this bike, both when climbing and descending. I found myself shifting often, compensating at every change in gradient for the sluggish feel of the bike.
Now, there are people who will love this bike — I can imagine that my brother in law Rocky would love this bike, for example, because he loves to huck himself down steep boulder fields and 10′ drops.
But that’s not the way I ride. The RumbleFish is for someone else.
I believe I’ve weighed in sufficiently on the Superfly Singlespeed. I think my feelings about this bike may even be somewhat clear.
So really, I just wanted to show you what the 2010 “now you too can own one” version looks like, and show you that I’ve touched one in real life.
I love the paint scheme for this bike — they’ve moved away from the “carbon weave” look altogether, and it’s about time.
Instead, the colors are matte — not too different from a powder coat look. It looks great.
The Superfly Singlespeed will be available as a frame / fork only, which — to me — is just about perfect: I love obsessing over every component when I build a new bike.
However, I hope that once the Switchblade 2 — the G2-corrected carbon fork replacing the current Switchblade — comes out later this year, they’ll make that an option on the frame / fork purchase. Because a lot of us ride rigid.
And this is one sexy-looking fork (pre-production version shown here on Jesse’s bike):
Yeah, I just said a mountain bike fork is sexy. What of it?
And now, let’s finish with one last shot of the top tube, customized especially for me.