There’s a long history of FATBikes. And from their beginning they’ve been admired as reliable and unstoppable work horses. But face it: nowadays, this archaic intention of FATBikes has changed quite a bit. And thanks to the latest geometries, suspension forks, high performance brakes, tires, drivetrain and of course a strong diet they’re making us happy on epic tours, single tracks and even downhills. But what if … you just want to pull a trailer? Or accumulate as much cargo around your frame as you possibly can? Or have other serious transportation needs? Well… Then your sleak and skinny high-performance carbon FATBike rocket is as useful as a pitbull in a cat shelter. Don’t do it!
Bavarian bike manufacturer Maxx, however, has just recently come up with a “concept” Fatty that blends traditional FATBike values with some modern spices to meet your hauling needs. So, how does a mix of super low maintenance, bullet proof setup, boatloads of cargo space and brute engine power sound for you? If that’s what you’ve been looking for you have arrived. If not, we hope that at least reading the article will entertain you.
2021 Maxx Jagamoasta ELS – evolution of reliability
Maxx Jagamoasta ELS – it starts with a quirky name. For all of you who are utterly bad in Bavarian (no need to worry…), “Jagamoasta” means “Jägermeister” in “school” German. In English? Master Hunter. But stick with “Jagamoasta” and impress your friends with your Bavarian skills.
But we’re drifting away… So, the Jagamoasta has always been the unpretentious FATBike in Maxx’ line-up. With its rather conservative geometry, preferably non-suspended setup and availability of not only sprockets but also Rohloff gearing hub (which you can even combine with a gates drive) the Jagamoasta stands out for simple, reliable and effortless riding. It’s an archaic machine that preserves FATBike tradition and combines them with the latest achievements. Designed to do its job. Built to last.
So, cramping a badass powerhouse into that frame was a logical consequence within the evolution of the bike and makes it a pretty unique thing in today’s FATBike world. Let’s have a closer look!
A working horse pumping iron
The Jagamoasta ELS comes in with the traditional aluminum frame, a complete in-house development by Maxx. That said, Maxx not only planted electrical seed into its heartland soil but also updated the geometry slightly towards “nimble”. Still nothing that makes an aggressive bike, but needed to offset the negative impact of that whopping extra weight on handling.
The “electrical seed” is nothing short of Shimano’s latest EP8 drive, that boosts your human power by 250W and 85Nm and quenches its thirst from a 720Wh integrated battery.
In its base setup the Jagamoasta ELS features all rudiments of a true FATBike: a rigid aluminum fork, solid seatpost, chain & sprocket drive and fourpointeight inch rubber over (tubeless ready) Sun Ringle Rims. There are a couple of spots where you can bolt on cargo racks or bottle cages. It’s as solid as it gets, there is little that can fail. No moving parts involved in suspension or dropper post, no potentially sensible carbon gimmicks. Solid as a rock.
Make it yours
But you know that Maxx is a bike boutique. So there’s a lot of tweaks to tailor your new Jagamoasta ELS to your personal liking. Feel free to alter brakes, drivetrain or components, swap out the fork in favor of a Manitou Mastodon or have frame, rims and rack covered in your favorite color. Priced ar 5.199,- Euros the base model features 12 speed XT/SLX drive train, 203/180mm Shimano 4-piston brakes, hand-built DT/Sun Ringle wheels, brand new Schwalbe Al Mighty tires, Race Face components and Selle Italia saddle. It's a straight forward and useful build.
The base model weighs in at roughly north of 23kg (50.7lbs) which is an acceptable value, considering the strong motor (and likewise re-inforced frame) and massive battery. Our test rig came equipped with Roholoff hub plus Gates drive, color matched cargo rack, a dropper post, integrated Lupine SL headlamp/tail light and some other upgrades.
Also there was this kickstand, a piece of terribly outdated bicycle history – that is SO useful if your bike easily outweighs a crate of Bavarian beer!
So, let's ride!
Before actually test riding the Jagamoasta ELS we first asked ourselves: what exactly do you do with a bike like that? Simple as that: pull stuff and carry load. So before abusing the Jagamoasta ELS on single tracks we bolted a trailer onto its rack and threw a kayak in the trunk. And that’s where the fun starts.
No matter how steep your uphill gets: joining your forces with the ultra-smooth EP8 drive means that you will make it. And as there is no fragile something on your bike that might break. The updated geometry still provides a very comfortable seating position that puts only very little stress on your back or wrists.
On the other hand there’s no point in discussion the single-track capabilities of that bike. It’s too heavy. And the hitting roots and rocks with that straight aluminum fork feels like stepping on a landmine. So if you want to enjoy root-spiked winding trails you better top it up with a Mastodon fork to turn it into a more fun-oriented rig.
In our case the Maxx Jagamoasta ELS is a nicely crafted, super powerful, solid and reliable machine. A great evolution of a simple concept.
One thing about the gears
However, there is one thing to keep in mind when building “your” bike: the limitations of a gearing hub. If you are a “sporty” shifter or need to change gears under load very often, don’t opt for the Rohloff hub. It’s a brilliant piece of engineering, but has its downside in shifting under pressure. As with most transmission styled systems force has to be cut to allow smooth – or ANY – shifting. And a 85Nm powerhouse is not really a treat here. Also the motor has a certain latency to equalize the dead spots during cranking and unfortunately there is no power matching function during shifts available from Shimano.
So, it takes a lot of practicing how to smoothly de-energize, shift and energize again. No doubt – chain and sprockets are prone to wear and by far not as durable and forgiving as Rohloff hub and Gates drive. But they are much easier to handle under load. So, if that’s what your intended use will bring, fast shifting under pressure, you literally drive better with traditional chain drive. But in case you change gears rather rarely or have all the time in the world for them to change, Rohloff & Gates will be your BFF's.
The all-new Maxx Jagamoasta ELS was designed to be a simple and effective transportation rig. The base model has already proven its superb capabilities during e.g. the legendary Yukon Arctic Ultra or ITI1000 races. Though the Jagamoasta ELS has to rely on a more civilized surrounding to fulfill its energy needs, it’s THE choice for all of you, who intend to carry a lot with ease and reliability. Be it your kids, your Kayak, your monthly groceries or the giant log the will be your firewood supply – the Jagamoasta ELS is your horse to pull it home.