We are happy to have contributors bringing good content to Riding Gravel and this one from Dave Schlabowske, the Deputy Director of the Wisconsin Bike Fed, is much appreciated. Read on to get his thoughts on the Fyxation Carbon Adventure Bike.
**WE HOOKED YOU ALL UP WITH A DEAL ON THE CARBON ADVENTURE BIKE!**
Online at $2,099 currently. Mention Riding Gravel and get yourself in for $1,899(!!) for your readers.
By: Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director, Wisconsin Bike Fed
I had a prototype when I wrote the “Getting Rolling” report about the Fyxation Carbon Adventure Bike. I wrote the checkpoint review with 500 miles on the production version of the same bike, after a multi-modal circle tour bikepacking trip around Lake Michigan. For this review, I have logged about 1,200 miles, including a lot of commuting miles and our 100 mile, three day Tour de Chequamegon Bikepacking Weekend.
My partner in crime on both big trips was Peter DiAntoni, OG Milwaukee courier, talented photographer and publisher of COG and TWO Magazines. For the Multi-modal circle tour, we took the Lake Express High-Speed Ferry from Milwaukee to Muskegon, then pedaled up the Michigan coast to Luddington, where we took the SS Badger back to Manitowoc, and rode the trails and Lakeshore Road back down to Milwaukee. That trip was only 30 percent gravel, but it was really fun, and a good first test of the bike under load.
“Hi, my name is Dave, and I’m a weight weenie.”
I am the first to admit it would wouldn’t cost a penny for me to lose 15 lbs and get back to my racing weight of 20 years ago, but these days I have more disposable income and fewer hours to ride, so I often find myself buying my way into a lower weight class. Since I don’t race road anymore, I started looking to replace my venerable 1998 Trek USPS. I wanted a bike that was still light enough for me to hang on with my roadie friends once in awhile, but with a more upright geometry and more versatile.
Right about the time I was looking, Fyxation came out with their carbon adventure bike. I have a 26 inch wheel, lugged-steel Waterford all rounder and a couple fat bikes, so the 700c carbon Fyxation was just the ticket. I upgraded over the stock wheels with Industry 9 UL235CX Disc wheels. The rest of the build is price conscious but thoughtful, and features FSA SLK stem, seatpost, and Gossamer road-compact crankset with Shimano 105 2×11 drivetrain.
What attracted me to this bike, other than the cool name (I’m an old school wrestling fan) was the lightweight carbon frame with an upright geo, three bottle mounts and fender/rack mounts. Fyxation promises a second generation full carbon fork is in the works, which will add bottle mounts on the legs and thru-bolt crown. I can’t wait to get my hands on that dream come true. This bike has replaced my venerable red, white and blue 1998 Trek USPS road bike. I no longer race crits and wanted something a bit more comfy that could take me more places and still go fast when I wanted to.
The Crusher frame has 100mm x 12mm front and 142mm x 12mm rear thru-axles, including integrated thread on the rear dropouts, flat mount brakes and internal shifter cable/brake hose routing. That is probably the latest road standard, which I like, but the 12mm front did make finding a front generator hub a bit more difficult than if it was a QR or 15mm.
The bike rides impeccably loaded (even no-handed) or unloaded, on gravel, on pavement or on icy trails. The geometry strikes just the right balance between comfort with quickness. My 54mm frame has a 71.5 degree head tube angle, 52 mm rake, 72.5 mm bottom bracket drop and 440 mm chainstays and clearance for 40mm tires.
I have weighed this bike in three different configurations: full bikepacking, commuting, and essentially naked for use on training rides with my fast road-racing friends. Below are the details and weight:
- 42.5 lbs – Fully loaded for bikepacking, with Relevate bags (Tangle, Fuel Tank, Mountain Feedbag and Terrapin) stuffed with my camera gear (Sony A6300, 16-50 kit lens, Sony 70-200 F4 and Sigma Art 19mm F2.8), camping gear (Zpack Soloist tent, Exped Symat Hyperlight M air mattress, Big Agnes Horse Thief 35 sleeping bag), all my clothes, spare tubes, Road Morph pump, multi-tool and other toiletries, Selle Anatomica saddle, Industry 9 UL235CX Disc wheels with Clement MSO X’plor 36mm tubeless tires, three bottle cages, rear fender and Time Attack Pedals.
- 24lbs – Set up for commuting with my Relevate Tangle and Gas Tank bags, 45Nrth 120tpi Gravdal studded tires set up tubeless (note this voids warranty), i9 rear wheel, front wheel is a Stan’s Crest Mrk3 rim laced to a Shutter Precision PD-8X M dynamo hub with locally made Wheelsmith spokes. That hub powers a Busch & Müller Luxos U light, Selle Anatomica saddle, spare tube, Topeak Road Morph pump, rear fender and multi-tool.
- 19lbs – Fast road training ride, no bags (spare tube, mini-pump and multi tool go in my back jersey pocket), three bottle cages, i9 wheelset with Clement MSO X’plor 36mm tubeless tires, Fizik Arione 3 saddle, and Time Attack Pedals
Set up tubeless, I have run the Clement tires between 50psi and 18psi depending on conditions. The Clement tires have a soft rubber that grips incredibly well for such a shallow tread, but that comes at the price of fast tread wear. I wore the tread off my rear tire in just 1,200 miles.
This winter I have been running 45Nrth Gravdal 120tpi tires. The folding bead Gravdals are far and away the best riding studded tire I have ever tried on a road/hybrid/commuter bike. I set mine up tubeless (note this voids the warranty) because I regularly commute on some trails built on an old landfill and there is always lots of glass coming up from the ground on the trails. They set up tubeless very quickly and the folding bead makes them super easy to mount compared to most other wire bead studded tires I have tried.
They hold air as well as any tubeless specific tires I have tried. I typically run them about 35 psi for hard pack and down to 18 psi on frozen lakes. I did blow the sidewall off the rim with the pressure over 55 psi, but I really don’t need to run them that hard. The tires weigh about 580 grams, about half a pound lighter than my Nokian A10s with fewer studs.
As I mentioned, I chose a Shimano 105 2×11 drivetrain because it is a dependable workhorse, and the 105 hydraulic brakes with the semi-metallic pads are strong stoppers. The brakes are not XTR strong, but plenty good for loaded downhills on a 700c gravel bike.
I am a huge fan of Industry Nine hubs and wheels. They manage to be light and strong without breaking the bank. Bonus points for being made in America. The Stan’s Crest rims are long proven, and laced up with made in Wisconsin Wheelsmith spokes and the Shutter Precision dynamo hub wired to the a Busch & Müller Luxos U light, I never have to worry about dead batteries in my light and I can keep my iPhone charged while running routes on Ridewithgps.
Compared to the carbon adventure bike competition, the Fyxation is quite a bargain at about $2,500. If they get that new dream fork in before the competition comes up with one, I feel comfortable saying it will be without peer. If you are tempted, contact Fyxation and tell them you read about the bike on Riding Gravel for a great discount.
A special thanks to David Schlabowske and Fyxation for sharing this write-up. If you have any questions or comments, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Note: RidingGravel.com is not being paid, nor bribed for posting this review.