Fat bike fever seems to be sweeping across the country like crazy. I wanted to see what all the fuss is about, so my first demo of Outerbike was from Fatback Bikes, based out of Anchorage, Alaska.

Greg from Fatback set me up on their ‘Deluxe’ alloy model in a 16″ size. This model comes equipped with Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes, and a mix of SRAM X7 and X9 drivetrain components with SRAM grip shifters. The cockpit bits are from FSA and the wheels, crankset, and fork are made by Fatback. My demo model, which lists for $2,300, also had the optional carbon fork (about a $100 upgrade that I highly recommend).

Rollin’ a Fatty

The first thing that surprised me about this bike is that it’s not that heavy. It’s certainly no weight weenie XC race bike, but it feels very reasonable.

The geometry of the bike is pretty neutral and comfortable and the component mix works perfectly. Other than some bounce from the squishy tires, the fat bike rides, well, like a bike! I had expected it to be slow and heavy with awful rotational weight due to the big tires, but nope … it rode fine.

Who says fat bikes are slow and heavy?

Where this bike really came to life was in Moab’s signature deep, soft sand. The 3.8″ Surly tires cruised right over it as if it were hardpack. I can totally see how this concept works so well in snow!

I have arranged for a long term test of a Fatback bike this winter, so watch for an in-depth review in a few months.

# Comments

  • jeff

    Carbon fork is a nice touch and I like the dropouts.

    • maddslacker

      I just noticed that the pic is the belt drive IGH model that Michael tested. I demo’ed the 3×9 geared. Michael said the IGH was noticeably heavy and that he would have preferred a standard drivetrain.

    • maddslacker

      About $2,400 with the carbon fork upgrade. (stock is aluminum)

  • chukt

    I have had a Fatback for almost a year. Great fun on the snow, especially the Springtime Suncrust. Great fun on the dirt too.

    You will enjoy it!

    If those tires are bouncy, play with the tire pressure.

    Not enough and the bike will corner like an elephant, too much and they might get bouncy, but will roll well on the smooth stuff.

    The fat tires offer so much traction on the trails that you will surprise yourself at what you are riding over.

    • maddslacker

      Yes, I experienced all of those things. (except the snow)

  • schwim

    Recommendations to “upgrade” to carbon fork really loses something when the article completely lacks any mention of cost.

  • RidingPastor

    are fat bikes mostly for riding in sand or snow? are there any other benefits?
    what other bikes would be in that price point?
    Seems kinda steep!

    My Jamis 650B1 has 2.35″ tires on the front. Compared to my buddies 26″ XC bike they look like fat tires 🙂

    • maddslacker

      I rode the Outerbike demo over rocks and ledges. It was a lot of fun.

      The Salsa Mukluk goes for about $1,600.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.