The lowdown: This Alaskan fat bike can accommodate any mountain bike freehub, including an internally geared belt drive, single-speed or standard gearing
I took my first ride on a fat bike up the wash at the Interbike Outdoor Demo on Tuesday.
I was most intrigued by getting a feel for fatter tires, because they are blowing up the scene, and reaching far beyond snow and sand. Riding on snow and sand are both right up my alley, but more and more people are hyping going fatter for cross-country, with companies like Surly and Salsa pushing their fat bike lines and I wanted to try it for myself.
For a cross-country ride on a rigid frame, I was reasonably impressed with the 170mm Aluminum model I took out, but it certainly is not a bike that you can throw around with grace and ease, or one that gently rolls whatever you take it over.
Feeling fairly uninspired, I turned up the wash to try the ride out on really loose gravel and deep sand. (Yes, I was off-trail, but I wasn’t rolling over vegetation, so breathe.) Suddenly a whole new world of possibility opened before me. Deliberately pedaling erratically, slowing and jumping and swerving back and forth, the bike didn’t spin out a single time.
Once I rolled back to the trail, I found myself at the bottom of a very steep little ramp up loose desert dust. From nearly a dead stop, the bike rolled right up the loose terrain without even a threat of a skid.
When I returned the bike, the enthusiastic staff insisted that I come back the following day to check out the new Sliding Rear Dropout carbon belt drive-equipped bike. I spoke to co-owner Bill Fleming about its use as a cross-country bike.
“I am flattered that people want to ride our bikes on singletrack, and I certainly won’t tell them they shouldn’t, but I believe in a tool built for a purpose, and this bike was built to ride on snow,” he said.
Of that there is no doubt. The brand, named after the Alaska area code, is comprised of native Alaskan riders with a passion for riding pow’.