Imagine if you could go back in time, and give a real life Viking a Framed Minnesota 2 Fat Bike. What would happen? Well, it would be a disaster. He would crash right into the chicken coop, or worse, the blacksmith’s station. If for some reason he could learn to balance and ride it, he probably wouldn’t get very far before the chain got jammed as he was trying to shift gears on an incline. Really, it would be a comedy of errors before he would get frustrated and take a battle axe to the bike!
Fast forward today. Framed Bikes is a company located in Minnesota, where there are lots of Vikings, in the form of Minnesota Viking football fans. So, the question of the day is, would a Viking fan of today do much better than a real life Viking we described in the previous example? The answer might surprise you.
After all, you would think that a modern day person would have a much better advantage over a real life Viking, because he would have access to all sorts of tools, like Allen Wrenches and Phillips Screwdrivers, which are essential for proper bike set up. Unfortunately, some people who order this bike, whether they are Minnesota Vikings fan or not, with modern tools, won’t do much better than a real life Viking. So, why is that?
Well, its because unless someone who has experience with how to set up a modern mountain bike, they may be inclined to blame their bad mechanical skills on the bike. So, for instance, if someone doesn’t know how to properly set up a rear derailleur, it wouldn’t be surprising if the derailleur threw the chain into the spokes of the rear wheel. This will ALWAYS happen if the “low limit screw” of the rear derailleur is not adjusted properly…on any bike.
Similarly, if you don’t know how to properly adjust a headset, the steering will feel tight. What some people do with modern bikes is crank down really hard on the top headset bolt, kind of like they did with their BMX bikes when they were kids, which uses an entirely different kind of stem, that DOES require you tighten the bolt very tight. So, if you didn’t know that, you might blame that on a defective headset after you finished with the installation of it. With modern day headsets, you only tighten the top headset only slightly, while checking if you can still move the handlebars, and then you would then tighten the side bolts.
And that’s why proper set up and installation of a bike is so important. With proper installation, the Framed Minnesota 2 Fat Bike will be a really awesome ride. After all, it comes with a very capable Sram X5 2X9 speed drivetrain. This is often easier to operate than a 3X8 drivetrain, because of its simplicity, and it is also going to be lighter. The Sram X7 shifters work well, and are an upgrade over X5 shifters that you would expect to come with the X5 drivetrain.
While the Suntour XCM crankset isn’t the most desirable, one thing you can’t expect are $1,500 components on an $800 bike. For all practical purposes, the crankset will work great for most entry level riders. Don’t expect miracles out of the plastic Wellgo pedals, which many riders swap out for clipless ones anyway. While it would be nice if this bike were equipped with hydraulic brakes, the Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes it comes with are good quality brakes, and will get the job done when properly adjusted.
All in all, the Framed Minnesota 2 Fat Bike is a solid first fat bike. Actual reviewers have this bike rated on Amazon as 3.5 out of 5 stars. In my opinion, considering what we said above about real Vikings, and how some modern men know as little a a real Vikings would about properly setting up their mountain bikes, in my estimation this bike should be rated at 4 out of 5 stars. With that being said, if you do purchase this bike, it is highly recommended that you take it to a bike store to look over and to make adjustments after you have it put together, and before you ride it. This will ensure proper function of the bike, and you will ride it again, and again, and again, tearing up local trails in the Summer, and going on long Winter conquests rides when it starts snowing and the weather gets nasty.
If you order through Amazon, you may be eligible for up to a $50 discount. Click here for the Framed Minnesota 2 Fat Bike.
This review is dedicated to my friend Travis, who is both a bike enthusiast, and a real Viking fan…not of the Minnesota variety. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.