Fall is an amazing time of year. Leaves start to change, the weather turns a more comfortable temperature, and most bicycle companies start unleashing the hounds of their newest models. This year has been exceptionally good, and if you are in the market for a new ride then you might be a little overwhelmed with the new options. One company that never disappoints this time of year is Salsa, which upped the fat bike ante with this guy:
The Beargrease is the new “racing” fatbike. At a very svelte 28lbs or so, this is one of the (if not the) lightest fatbikes that you can purchase. Basing this model off of their successful Mukluk, they cut all of the fancy braze-ons to save weight, and added quite the impressive parts list to achieve such a light fatty. This bike just screams to be loaded up with a frame and seat bag and head off on a long distance winter race. It also looks like it would be a ton of fun just out and about on your local loop though…
Check out their site here to read more about it.
Just keep spinning…
Photo from Salsa’s site.
So now that I have finally secured the funds to start my new bike build, I am unfortunately at another crossroads. This time, I am still leaning towards the Troll, but also leaning towards a full fledged fat bike. I seem to go back and forth with this, over and over, and waiting is not helping me one bit. So, for this installment, here is the next round of my bike comparisons.
As for why I am leaning towards a fat bike, it all started with this:
Gary Fisher Rig SS
This was my first taste of the big wheels. Only ridden around 100 miles, in a haste I dismantled it and sold it off, only to buy another single speed to then sell off, etc. I regretted it after the fact, but hind sight is 20/20 right? Anyway, after riding this bike, I really wanted to try out a full on fat bike. So recently, in my planning stages for the new bike, I found a used Surly Puglsey on the local Craigslist that got my mind rolling on the big wheels again. Unfortunately I was not as quick as I should have been with it, and it sold. So that leads up to the comparison.
We will start with this:
This is the current model that I am leaning towards. I will not go into details, since I have talked about this frame numerous times, like here and here. The frame is very versatile, and I feel like it would be a great fit for my riding style, and also the type of riding that I have been doing. Also, it would give me a bike that is ready for the woods, which is what the Xtracycle was lacking, thus it’s departure. Two things make me not want to go this route though:
First, there is newer model coming out later this year. From what I have read on a cycling forum, it will be in the fall. The newer model adds bottle/cage mounts on the fork, and another bottle mount on the underside of the downtube. I would like those options, but I am not sure that I can wait until then. Patience is a virtue that I do not possess. This is not a deal breaker for me though.
Second, the Troll fits big tires. I plan on using the 26×2.6 Maxxis Ardents on the frame, should I get it. But this could be the opening of Pandora’s Box for tires. It could only lead to wanting a little more rubber (enter “That’s what she said” joke here) and the Troll would be maxed out. Not a true fat bike. The Troll would always be lacking in the tire department.
For the fat bike route, I will not go into too much detail again, since I will only be repeating myself. Click here to see my comparison of the Pugsley and the Mukluk, which would probably be the route that I would take. In a perfect world, I would buy both. Hmmm, if only…
The next few days will be tough on the cycling decisions, thankfully that is the worst thing in my life that I have to worry about. For that, I am thankful.
Just keep spinning…
Surly Troll picture from their site, click the link to the right to have your mind blown on their products.
QBP, purveyor of cycling goods, has brought the masses many great fat bike related items. The Surly Pugsley, the fat tires, 45NRTH, the Salsa Mukluk, the Moonlander, and now this: Check it.
To give you the rundown, a new Salsa dual suspension fat bike. Granted it is still a prototype, but this is a big step for the fat biking world. I would imagine if this goes to production, a bunch of hardtail fat bikes will be popping up on eBay and Craigslist. Very nice Salsa!
Photo from Salsa’s site.
So again, changing my mind on my next bike purchase, back to the board with a nice fat bike comparison. I have wanted a full fatty since converting the Gary Fisher Rig to a fat front last year. The half fat really piqued my interest in a full fat setup, so as of now, the next bike will be a full fat bike. There is just something about those large tires! And now that Surly has released the Black Floyd slick 3.8″ there is now a suitable road tire option to mix it up a bit from the knobbies. So, that said, lets compare:
The fat bike that started it all. Okay, maybe not. I am sure there were some folks up in Alaska doing this way before Surly. But Surly brought the idea down to the rest of us folks that are not in the Great White North. Anyway, here are the pros, in my opinion:
-Steel frame and fork
-135mm front and rear hubs, giving you a bail out SS hub in the front in case you wreck your rear derailleur out in the wilderness. Being able to easily switch wheels, shorten the chain, and ride home is a BIG plus in my book.
-Good parts spec for the price point, around $1600 complete.
-Rack mounts front and back.
-Easy single speed option, with track style horizontal dropouts.
-The only cons for this bike are the rim width and the steel frame. Yes, I have the steel from on both the pros and the cons list. I do like steel. But steel can corrode a little easier than aluminum, so therefore it is also a con.
-The Large Marge rim is 65mm, which now is one of the smaller rim sizes for fat bikes. This does not turn me away from the Pugsley, but it should be noted. Upgrades are inevitable, this would probably be my first step if I go this route. Or, I could just spend the extra money on the Pugsley option, The Black Ops Pugsley:
The Black Ops version comes with a little different specs, including the wider Rolling Darryls, which are 82mm. It also comes with a bigger price tag…
The Salsa Mukluk 2
The Mukluk 2 is the mid level of the Mukluk family, between the Titanium version and the Mukluk 3. Here are the pros:
-Nice looking bike. I love the matte black finish with red decals.
-Rolling Darryl rims, on dishless wheels. The rear hub is 170mm, and the front is 135mm. Big, wide wheels.
-Good parts spec, very similar to the Pugsley.
-Salsa Enabler fork. I love this fork. I think it is the perfect rigid fork for a bike like this. And with Salsa’s Anything Cage that mounts directly to the fork, this bike is ready for adventure!
-No SS escape plan, no swapping of the wheels if you trash your derailleur with different size hubs. I guess you could always just shorten the chain, but no horizontal dropouts.
-Grip shifters. I hate grip shifters. Sure, easy to switch, but just not my preference.
-Price. The Mukluk 2 is priced higher than the Pugsley at just around $2000. Ouch. Also, just read on an online forum that the Mukluk 2 has already sold out. So that leaves the very pricey Ti Mukluk, or the lower spec’d Mukluk 3. Too bad. If I had the cash though, I would buy a Ti Mukluk in a heartbeat! Gorgeous bike.
So that is where I am on the next bike decision. Now I know that there are other companies that make fat bikes, but I am limiting myself to these two companies just on buying complete. I really do not feel like building a fat bike from the ground up. Call me lazy. That’s fine. But speaking of other companies, here is a quick list:
And the fat bike specific Fatbikes.com
All pictures of the Puglsey, BO Pugs, and Mukluk are from Surly and Salsa’s sites respectfully.