BIKE TEST / CHUMBA URSA MAJOR
buying a fat bike should experiment with tire
pressure in order to gain the best ride quality
for his or her local trails.
Moving out: After we set the sag to the recommended pressure on the Bluto fork, we took off for
the mountains. When we started pedaling around on the Ursa
Major, we immediately noticed the wide distance between the pedals. The large Q-factor (wide crank spacing, basically) of the Ursa
Major made pedaling feel a little awkward for the first ride, but
eventually we adapted to it. We rode the Ursa Major mainly on dirt
roads and trails, but Chumba claims this bike is just as good in the
snow as it is on the dirt.
Climbing: The Ursa Major’s hardtail frame and remote fork
lockout provided a stiff platform for climbing. The fat tires took
the edge off small bumps and provided improved traction. The
increased traction allowed our riders to charge up steep, loose
sections with little to no tire spin. Towards the beginning of our
rides, the Ursa Major climbed fast and strong, but after lugging the
large tires around for longer periods of time, we became tired. Our
testers appreciated the 26-tooth chainring that allowed them to
crawl up the steepest sections with just a little bit of grunt.
Cornering: When it came time to corner, body language
became oh-so important. We had to throw our weight hard into
the corners to brake the strong gyro effect of the massive wheels.
After we adjusted our riding style a bit, the Ursa Major could shred
corners faster than we expected. The large footprint of the tires
held traction well, and the wide handlebars allowed us to lean the
bike as far as we wanted to. The Ursa Major favors wide-open
turns and isn’t afraid to plow through the loose blown-out
Descending: When we pointed the Ursa Major
downhill, we quickly noticed this bike was com-
fortable with higher rates of speed. The Ursa
Major’s relaxed head tube angle and huge
ground-biting tires offered our testers a con-
fident feeling when rushing down the moun-
tain in a hurry. The Ursa Major’s added grip
gave us loads of confidence to stay off the
brakes longer as we plunged down the
trails. The fat tires absorbed a lot of the
vibrations, but when it came to bigger hits
the Bluto fork punched in its time card and
went to work.
Braking: In order for our test riders to
feel confident hitting blistering speeds on
wide-open sections of trail, they needed to
trust that the bike was capable of safely slow-
ing the fat tires down. Chumba made braking
power a top priority by utilizing Shimano’s XT
brakes. We felt the XT brakes with 180-millimeter
rotors offered a solid amount of power that allowed us
Keep it spinning: The super-small 26 tooth Race Face chainring
and the 42-tooth XT 11-speed cassette made it possible for the
Ursa Major to climb like a mountain goat. The big traction of the
big tires helped out quite a bit as well.
Who said fatties can’t jump? At times the Ursa Major confused
itself with a trailbike. Lay off the brakes and let the big tires soar.