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9. Surly Moonlander

surly-moonlander-copy-194572-1

Photo: Surly

When it comes to the history of the fat bike, if you need to know one name, it’s Surly. Surly is the godfather of the first mass-produced fat bike, the Pugsley (more on that bike below). The Moonlander was one of Surly’s next bikes and eventually, the Moonlander was one of the very first 5-inch-tire fat bikes on the market. For most fat bikes that aren’t race-oriented, the 5-inch tire is now the gold standard, thanks to maximum traction and flotation.

Not much has changed about the Moonlander over the years, and it retains the same classic geometry, big tires, rigid steel frame, and singlespeed-compatible sliding dropouts. As with all Surly bikes, expect to find plenty of bosses for racks and accessory mounts.

See Also
By Jeff Barber
 

Key Specs:

  • Travel: 0mm front / 0mm rear
  • Tire Size: 26″x4.8″
  • Headtube Angle: 70.5″
  • Chainstay Length: 450mm
  • Frame Material: Steel
  • Pricing: $2,350
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# Comments

  • thub

    I guess not many Alaskans read Singletracks. Surly brought the Pugs to mass market with much consultation from Alaskan John Evingson who was already making his own fat bikes in AK. Mark Gronewald was also making the Wildfire fat bike before the Pugs came to market. FatBack and 9:zero:7 followed shortly after with their complete builds. Up in Anchorage I see more FatBack’s and 9:zero:7’s then any other brand. I ride a 2014 FatBoy, great bike. My next bike will be a FatBack Skookum. What ever fat bike you choose enjoy it and ride the hell out it like all bikes should be.

  • keithslack

    What are you guys smoking? Advertising points?
    The Pivot Les Fat is the TOP Fat bike to beat PERIOD!
    I’ve rode and tested a lot of fat bikes including some of these bikes and none are on par with Pivot’s build quality and versatility. Not to mention that with the rigid forks and tubeless tires, you can get the bike under 29 lbs. The price is right as well and can’t be beaten. :))

    • Jeff Barber

      There are a ton of great fat bikes out there for sure! These are the most popular choices based on reader input, though clearly not everyone has had a chance to try as many bikes as it sounds like you have. If you like light fat bikes, check out the bikes from Eleven. We recently saw one that weighed about 23 pounds, with an aluminum frame no less!

    • ironhead700

      good thing that you winked at the end of your rant.

    • Jeff Barber

      QBP (owners of Salsa and Surly) had a traveling “fat bike museum” last year and they had one of the early fat bikes built by Ray Molina on display. Apparently he was riding sand dunes in Mexico on his fat bikes!

  • thub

    I was fortunate to meet Ray Molina at the Fat Bike Expo in Anchorage, AK last year. Great guy, really enjoyed talking with him. Ray was one of the guest speakers in the Fat Bike pioneer roundtable discussion that I was privileged to attend. Ray was instrumental in the development of fat bikes, in particular he invented the first fat rim and tire in addition to building the Molina fat bike. John Livingston (Livingston Bikes) and Mark Gronewald (Wildfire) ran into Ray at Interbike. Ray had some of his rims and tires on hand that they checked out and the rest is history. Don’t quote me but I think Rays rims were the Wildcats. Ray told me how he stitched the first tires by hand. He tried hard to make Moilna the first production fat bike, he worked with a factory in Mexico. Super nice dude. He was out on the ITI trail last winter, not racing but visiting with old friends. He rode a Molina bike in the Big Fat Ride here in Anchorage.

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