Trek Farley 7 Evaluation | Finest Fats Bikes
The Takeaway: The Farley 7 is a fats bike constructed for all-season driving.
- Dropper publish supplies extra management on downhills
- Suspension fork presents enhanced traction and management on onerous surfaces
- Adjustable dropouts let the rider fine-tune the Farley’s dealing with
Weight: 34.8 lb. (M)
While you hear the phrases “fats bike,” you possible image a bundled-up rider atop large tires traversing snow. However these fats tires, primarily designed to enhance flotation over comfortable surfaces, can provide sure-footed traction on different kinds of surfaces, as properly, and plow over and thru obstacles that lavatory down many mountain bikes. Fats bikes are the final word no-road touring bikes. And although they will not be the primary alternative for shredding summer time singletrack, with the appropriate construct and dealing with, they are often greater than only a snow bike. Trek’s Farley 7 is the fats bike you don’t put away for the summer time.
The Farley Lineup
Trek’s Farley line at the moment consists of 4 full bikes priced from $1,800 to $5,150. The road is break up evenly between aluminum framed fashions (Farley 5 and Farley 7) and carbon (Farley 9.6 and Farley 9.8). You may as well buy the Farley as a body solely in both materials—$1,000 for aluminum, $2,200 for carbon—each of which embody a carbon inflexible fork. For anybody who needs suspension at each ends, Trek additionally presents the 120mm-travel, carbon Farley EX body, with a Fox Efficiency Float EVOL shock (entrance suspension is as much as you). Geometry is nearly the identical in each supplies (there are tiny variations), and all are available sizes small by further giant.
All Farley fashions roll on 27.5 wheels wrapped in 4.5-inch vast tires. Identical to its dirt-focused cousins, a fats bike with bigger wheels is quicker as a result of the wheels roll over issues extra easily, however larger wheels are additionally heavier. Fats bikes on 26-inch wheels can be lighter and livelier, however the bigger-wheeled fats bikes will roll extra effectively.
The Farley 7 reviewed right here is one among two fashions with a dropper publish (the opposite is the $5,150 Farley 9.8) and the one mannequin with a suspension fork—a Manitou Mastodon Comp with 80mm of journey, 34mm stanchions, and hydraulic lockout. Different specs of notice embody tubeless-ready rims and tires, SRAM Eagle drivetrain with 11-50 cassette, and SRAM Degree disc brakes.
—5 Issues We Love Concerning the Farley 7—
Constructed for Extra Than Snow
The Farley comes constructed to experience all 12 months lengthy. On the entrance is a Manitou Mastodon suspension fork with 80mm of journey. This may occasionally seem to be an pointless characteristic when the bike has 4.5-inch vast tires. However as comfortable because the tires are, they don’t behave the identical manner as an excellent suspension fork. A suspension fork’s motion is extra damped than the basketball-like bounce of massive tires. This damped and managed motion supplies higher traction and stability, significantly on tougher surfaces and at larger speeds. Should you’re utilizing a fats bike just for driving gradual(ish) on comfortable snow or sand, a suspension fork most likely isn’t obligatory. However in the event you like driving a fats bike on tougher surfaces like dirt-covered and rocky trails, a suspension fork could be a large profit.
The dropper publish is one other characteristic that provides the Farley 7 elevated versatility. Just like the suspension fork, in case your fats bike adventures are restricted to cruising groomed and packed snow-covered roads and trails, a dropper publish will not make a significant distinction. It’s when driving turns into sooner and extra technical that getting the seat out of the way in which so you may decrease your heart of gravity makes the most important distinction.
As a last nod to multi-season use, the Farley has adjustable dropouts which offer 15mm of chainstay size adjustment. They can be utilized to fine-tune the bike’s dealing with—longer, extra stability; shorter, snappier really feel—or to pressure the chain if you wish to run the Farley as a singlespeed.
The way it Rides
True to the Farley 7’s multi-season construct, testers rode it on filth, sand, mud, and snow. Early on, one tester acquired rowdy on a rocky path and dented the rim. We had been capable of pound out a lot of the dent, and the tubeless seal held for the rest of the take a look at interval.
One of many first issues that jumped out at testers was the driving place. With just a few exceptions, the fat-bike class has but to embrace the longer/slacker development, and that is definitely the case with the Farley. A measurement medium’s attain is simply 410mm—that’s a number of centimeters shorter than a contemporary path bike in the identical measurement. I’m on report as saying that longer and slacker isn’t all the time higher, and I nonetheless imagine that.
Nevertheless, in the event you’re used to a contemporary mountain bike, the Farley will really feel brief while you first get on it. However that feeling fades the longer you spend time on the Farley, and a few riders did remark that the shorter place helped offset a few of a fats bike’s inherent sluggishness.
Nonetheless, at nearly 35 kilos (arrange tubeless), the Farley 7 is heavy, even for a fats bike—one thing all testers observed. “Switching instructions shortly, by switchbacks for instance, is critically robust. After lengthy descents, I discovered my higher physique and arms had been on fireplace from having to muscle the bike round,” learn one tester’s notes.
Canyon’s Dude is priced equally to the Farley 7 and is many kilos lighter. Nevertheless, the Dude rolls on smaller wheels and doesn’t have a dropper publish or inflexible fork just like the Farley 7. Trek offers you a number of bike and a number of versatility within the Farley 7, nevertheless it comes at a price.
However in the event you’re capable of recover from the burden, the Farley 7 is a nice-riding, all-season fats bike. Although heavy, it’s geared low sufficient that it climbs fairly properly. And it corners very properly on many surfaces as properly. In higher-traction conditions, the Farley’s bar needs to maintain turning as soon as a flip is initiated. All fats bikes do that to some extent, however on the Farley it was much less pronounced than most and it required less-aggressive counter steering. This made the Farley’s dealing with extra secure and predictable, which in flip made it simpler to experience. Contributing to the good-handling vibes had been the Farley’s Bontrager Gnarwhal tires, which acquired reward from testers for his or her excellent cornering and braking traction in all situations. Testers additionally referred to as them out for glorious flotation in comfortable snow.
Although testers had been fairly “meh” on the advantage of a suspension fork for comfortable snow, all of them agreed that it grew to become an enormous bonus when driving on firmer floor. The Manitou Mastodon carried out properly too, and proved dependable and constant throughout a variety of temperatures.
The TranzX dropper publish labored properly all through testing additionally. Most testers discovered it extra useful when driving on firmer floor and sooner trails. Nevertheless, some testers did notice its advantages for driving in deep snow: “Should you come off in these situations, it’s very troublesome to get again on, as your ft sink into the unpacked powder off the perimeters of the path. This positions your ft decrease than the tires and the packed singletrack, so it’s actually onerous to get your butt again on the saddle. [If] you’ve got a dropper, downside solved.”
Total, testers discovered the Farley 7 was an excellent fats bike for snow driving. However in these situations, the bike didn’t stand other than many different good fats bikes. It’s the Farley’s efficiency away from the snow, in addition to its total versatility, that testers actually appreciated. The Farley 7 is healthier in additional situations, handles higher at extra speeds, and is extra succesful than the everyday fats bike. It’s a fats bike you’ll proceed to experience lengthy after the snow melts.