Northpaw in the Northwoods

I am back from hunting in Peeksville, where I used my Schlick Cycles Northpaw to ride out to my deer stand.  We had snow ‘Up North’ so this was my first test of the fatbike in the snow.  While we only had a few inches, so far the verdict on the Northpaw’s ride can be summed up in one word: SWEET!

The Northpaw handled great in the snow and the Gates Center Track carbon belt drive functioned perfectly, even after I left it sit out and let the falling snow build up on the belt and sprockets.  Some riders have had problems with non-Center Track belt drives in the snow, so I was concerned.  The Alfine 11 oil-bath internally geared up performed well, but the temperatures never dropped below the mid twenties.

This was also the first test of the Shimano Alfine dynohub powered Supernova E3 Triple headlight.  The 800 lumen headlight lit up the woods as I rode out to my stand at 5 am that first morning.   I will provide a more comprehensive review of the light at a later date, but you can see a beam pattern at Peter White Cycles’ excellent page here.  As you scroll down to find the E3 Triple, you can look at many other dynamo powered lights he has tested.  The bottom line is the E3 Triple is a very bright light.

The belt drive and the Northpaw still need further testing in sub-zero temperatures, deeper snow, slush and freezing rain. Thankfully I have been promised that even with global warming, Wisconsin will not fail to provide suitably harsh winter weather for a full test.  Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed for snow.

Anyone else out there had their fatbikes out in the snow yet?

About Dave Schlabowske, Deputy Director

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office 15 years ago. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

10 thoughts on “Northpaw in the Northwoods

  1. It’s a shame they couldn’t better match the bike color to the Blaze Orange hunting gear :) Excellent ride, hoping for lots O snow this season for a complete test.

  2. Awesome pictures of the bike in action. Makes me want to buy one, since it would takes me years to figure out how to build one. But there’s still something kinda strange seeing you riding with a rifle over your shoulder.

  3. 1. Put on an orange hat Dave!

    2. As I assume you have not yet purchased a Burley Flatbed Cargo Trailer, I recommend you get a Deer Sleigh’r — I used it on two bucks (mine and my wife’s) this last week, and it’s 100% better than regular dragging. Rigged right, it should work very well behind a bike on a long trail or logging road, with or without snow.

    • My orange hood kept falling off and I wanted to show off my cool old school hunting hat/bike cap made by Cognition Caps in Madison.

      The Deer Sleigh’r has a great name, looks ideal and is in my price point!

  4. Great report Dave! But, how’d you do hunting?!?!?!

    Again, I had to rely on the John Deere Gator to get my buck back. I’d love to be able to bike it back, but the hills north of LaCrosse where my parents’ farm is makes that impossible with a 200lb deer.

    Looking forward to more reports on the bike. These make me want one even more!

    • Isaac,

      I was lucky last year and got three deer between archery and gun seasons so I had plenty of meat left in the freezer. That took off the pressure to stock the larder this year, so my buddy and I had an 8 or better rule. I saw plenty of does, spikes and forks, but nothing bigger. My buddy shot a 7 after counting 4 on one side of a buck coming in fast. His 15-year-old niece Danielle shot a nice 9 pointer, her first buck. That was very cool as she had the biggest deer of the season for our group. One other guy got a decent sized 2 1/2 year old 8 pointer.

      No buck for me, but I saw lots of deer, had a good time. Given that and that there were no fights and nobody from deer camp got arrested, it was a successful hunt!

      • Excellent, that sounds like a great season! Big congrats to Danielle on her first buck. That’ll be a memory that lives with her forever.

        The best part is just being out in the woods. That alone makes any hunt a success if you ask me.

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