Fat bikes are nothing new. Surly came out with their first model, the Pugsley, in 2004 or 2005. However, over the last year or two the popularity of fat bikes has exploded. This year several of the largest US bike companies entered the market. The WSJ even published an article about them last week!
I was certainly curious about the whole thing since day one. As a tinkerer with a wandering mind, I experimented with a franken-fat bike in the winter of 2006. I purchased a purple offset Surly Pugsley fork along w/ a Large Marge rim and an Endomorph tire. This fat front end setup was installed on my Gary Fisher Rig 29er singlespeed. Since my frame was not designed for a 4″tire on the rear, I improvised. I was able to squeeze in a 26″ downhill tire that measured in at 2.7″. The bike was a lot of fun but the rear end just didn’t float the way a larger tire could. The whole experiment was scrapped after a 2 hour ride with 2 others on cross bikes through a foot of fresh powder. I struggled to keep up and lost interest in my frustration.
Over the last 3 years our former Shipping Mgr, Chris, and our Product Development guru, Heath, have been blasting through the winter on their fat bikes. Couple that with numerous friends getting on board and my interest was piqued.
This was to be the year that I would finally get a real fat bike. I sacrificed a high-end set of tubular cyclocross wheels to fund my Salsa Mukluk project but I couldn’t be more stoked on it. After a few sessions on the singletrack at Cam Rock County Park and various other exploratory missions through uncharted territory I am having a blast. Can’t wait to do some snow riding!