Momentum iRide Rocker One: Self-Enhancement Bias-riddled review by Ron Jaurigue ☕️
When my friend Jerry advised me that Giant (in a spin-off brand Momentum) was shipping an affordable fat bike last year, I knew I finally would have my platform for my “Apocalypse Bike project” – a workhorse bicycle for a crisis scenario where public infrastructure is compromised due to a major calamity like a mega-quake. When power and communications are down, gasoline is not available and public roads are inaccessible due to massive damage, the bicycle will be the primary means of transporting or commuting to areas where basic resources are available such as food and clean water. The fat bike, I imagine, would be ideal for most inaccessible terrain including loose rocks, gravel, soft mud and sand while hauling vital cargo.
But the price range of a fattie above Php 50k seems unreasonable for a utility vehicle, which makes Momentum’s 20+K offering more suitable. When the stocks arrived, I opted for the pricier Php30k Rocker 1 model for it came with a bargain of front suspension, hydraulic brakes and a dropper seatpost for just 8k more.
In retrospect, I should have gone for the more basic Rocker 3 model in terms of it being less prone to breakdowns and maintenance in crisis situations with it’s simpler parts. I would hesitate immersing the R1 in a flood or river, fearing water seepage would seize the suspension and dropper mechanisms. Also, I couldn’t bleed and restore a hydraulic brake hose if my life depended on it. (I could swap a mechanical disc brake cable in a heartbeat.)
Buyers’ remorse quickly went away after experiencing it’s performance. Fat bikes are massive and heavy but climbs efficiently for it is essentially a 29″ hardtail with twice the traction especially when you top out the tire pressure. If you’re not in a rush, the granny (lowest gear ratio) will get you up any hill eventually without burning out your leg muscles.
As a pudgy, beer-bellied, non-athletic, middle-aged man with a metabolism slower than the continental drift, I was able to make it up the trailhead of Patiis (1470 ft. elevation) with the help of a good breakfast (I think) and a bladder full of iced water. Oh yes, and the early morning cold weather and constant cloud cover also came together. Going down much of the enduro trail (aside from the near verticals) there is just so much confidence you get from bigger tires in terms of traction stability and stopping power. They just bite into much more ground making you feel immortal – just better control overall.
In my visit to the Fort Bonifacio MTB trail, all the roots, rock gardens, single track descents became non-issues – I couldn’t feel them under the buffering of the massive 4.0 rollers (even being a hardtail), more so when the tire pressure is lower. It’s probably less nimble for it’s hulk; but at my age, I’m not keen so much in being a sprinter or jumper. The 3-chainwheel crank not standard in high-end brands is helpful for keeping up with roadies in group travels.
The real break out tech for me would be the Dropper. A low stand-over height for the seat makes it easy to maneuver, and as outstretched legs become essential in a sudden climb, you get the pre-dialed seat height on the fly at the turn of a lever. This makes the fat bike experience, for me, novel and more enjoyable than my rides before.
Ron is a young RAD kid trapped in a middle aged man’s body. He enjoys his coffee and bicycle much more than anything. He is a true blue biker boi who regularly rides to work, to play and to partey!