Radavist top 10 bikes of 2015


i love this site their picks are mostly esoteric and custom but definately  of the bike porn variety

 

2015 was an amazing year for the Radavist. Not only in terms of traffic, or stats, but in terms of content. We take pride in the site, the rides we record, products we feature and yes, the bicycles we document. This year was huge in terms of the places we traveled to and the people we met along the way. With people and places come Beautiful Bicycles and a lot of work!

Without rambling on too much, here’s a list of the Top 10 of 2015 ranked by traffic and social media chatter, from highest down…

01-My-Speedvagen-Urban-Racer-3-1335x890

01 – the Speedvagen Urban Racer

This bike was the most controversial post on the Radavist this year… who thought people took riding bikes so seriously?

The Speedvagen Urban Racer. How can I even begin here? These bikes are… uh. Well, they’re kinda completely ridiculous. They’re not a traditional commuter bike, a cruiser, or a touring bike. They’re not meant to be loaded down with gear, or to be casually ridden around a park. Like a cafe racer of the bicycle world, these rigs are stripped down machines, meant to be ridden like a rocket… on 27.5 wheels and 43mm tires. Skids anyone?”

02-Bene-5-1335x889

02 – Benedict’s Romantical Clockwork Bikes Dirt Droop 29’r

2015 was the year of the UltraRomance and ya know what? The cycling industry needs more souls like Benedict.

“Benedict, aka Poppi, aka @UltraRomance is a wild one. One that cannot be tamed by modern ideologies, or technologies for that matter. His Clockwork Bikes frame is a time capsule of the old days of yore when men would gather or hunt for their food in the woods. Even when something appears to be modern, it’s executed in a way that harkens back to the early days of klunking. Disc brakes? He slices fresh mushrooms on them and truthfully, he only uses them to stop for a tanning session. The throwback version of the narrow wide chaingrings is just a “narrow narrow” ring. An outer “bash guard” ring pressed up against an inner ring with a spare “rabbit” personal massager holding it in place. Even his “marsh mud” tubeless setup is pulled from nature. Literally…”

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03 – the Elephant Bikes National Forest Explorer with Gevenalle Shifting

Clearly we’re seeing a trend here with dirt-drop tourers. I wish I hadn’t sent this bad boy back to Washington!

“The Elephant Bikes NFE is alive. A beautifully-elegant specimen of the bicycle that dances with you on the climbs and lets you really lean into it while descending. While clearly its intent is to be a back country tourer, inspiring you to explore National Forests, we here in Austin, Texas have no such place nearby, so I took to exploring our local trails, State Parks and swimming holes.”

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04 – Paul’s Black Cat Monster Cross

Even I was amazed at how much traction this monster cross got in the muddy world of the cycling community. It’s easy to see why!

“When Paul Component owner Paul Price started to “make it big” he told himself that he wanted to order a bike each year from a NorCal frame builder. Retrotec, Rock Lobster, Sycip, etc, etc. At the time there were a handful of builders and for a few years he kept to his yearly deposit.

Then he got busy, the framebuilding industry grew and technology changed. For a few years he focused on the company and put his frame builder promise on hold. He then came back around to his promise and at the Sacramento NAHBS, picked up this Black Cat monster cross from Todd. Soon it became his staple bike. Like many custom frames, Paul had an idea for this bike that surrounded a specific component or part.”

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05 – Rusty n Dusty Rat Rod Titanium Firefly Disc All Road

This one broke my savings account, luckily I had disc brakes and my hands weren’t sore after the fact.

“Cycling is an experience that should continue to mature overtime. I’m weary of people who stand firm in their ideologies, rest on laurels and refuse to embrace the “new,” especially when it comes to riding bikes. Look, it’s not that hard to have fun. Opinions can change with experience, its normal. Embrace it.

You see, I knew I wanted a Firefly. I kind of felt like that brand and my own brand have grown together over the years. When Jamie, Tyler and Kevin started the company, it had a breath of energy, creativity and their final products all expressed experimentation. Those guys can make anyone a dream bike but deciding what kind of bike is a challenge. Part of my apprehension was not only where I felt like cycling’s technology was heading, but where my own riding would be taking me over the next few years.”

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06 – The Black Cat Bicycles Operation Thunder Monkey 29r MTB

Black Cat was the only builder to get two hits on the top 10 list. I wonder why? Oh yeah, his bikes are amazing!

“Todd from Black Cat Bicycles knows a thing or two about mountain bikes. Living in Santa Cruz provides a more than ideal testing ground for everything related to dirt. Over the years, he’s dialed in the geometry on his hardtails and recently, this process culminated in what he’s dubbed the Thunder Monkey.

A few months back, Todd emailed me asking if I wanted to review a production bike he was making. His description was right up my alley “slack and low 29r with a tight rear end.” Some time passed and this incredible frame showed up at Mellow Johnny’s to be built up with various SRAM and RockShox products. “

06-Tylers-Icarus-All-Road-Disc-23-1335x890

07 – Tyler’s Icarus All-Road Disc

All-road, endurance road, whatever it is, just don’t call it a ‘cross bike.

“It’s not a cross bike, it’s a road bike with clearances for bigger tires. Sure it uses an ENVE disc cross fork, but the bottom bracket drop, chainstay length and angles are more in line with what many would categorize as a road bike. A road bike that likes to gobble up rugged and rutted roads.

The Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires were the starting point for Ian at Icarus Frames to build Tyler his new all-road machine. He wanted hydro disc brakes and road gearing, which he may or may not swap out in the forthcoming months for a clutch and a wider range cassette. With a burnt orange paint and subtle Icarus branding on the downtube, Tyler’s bike has a confident stance without being overly gaudy. Keep it clean with the paint and get it nice and dirty… “

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08 – the Hunter Cycles Bushmaster

This bike was hands down my favorite to document of the year. Just look at it! But don’t get too close to the Hunter Cycles Bushmaster…

“Holy shit. Where do I even begin here? First off, we just saw where Rick Hunter builds his frames in Bonny Doon, just outside of Santa Cruz so we have context. Second off, the name of this bike is one of the deadliest vipers on Earth, the Bushmaster. These snakes are capable of multiple strikes in milliseconds and will deliver a fatal amount of venom without blinking an eye *snakes don’t have eyelids.*

Multiple strikes, multiple gears. No, wait. This is a singlespeed, right? Look again.”

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09 – Whitney’s 20/20 Cycle’s Kalakala

This bike, like its owner, has quite the story!

“Whitney’s 20/20 Cycle Kalakala is purpose built and can be configured to handle just about any bicycle tour you could imagine. Complete with DFL Stitchworks bags. This bike has never had a place to call home, Whitney has been riding it around the world for the last couple years and with that in mind I had no question about its ability to make it over the mountains I call home and to the Southern California High Desert that I love. Since photographing this bike it’s changed only ever so slightly with the addition of one more National Park badge to the fender, Joshua Tree.”

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Photo by Eric Baumann

10 – Imshi Cycles with a Di2 Road

New builders talking about their bikes and documenting them in an unprecedented manner. No wonder this Imshi Cycles shook the internet!

“Just over a year ago I began a multi-month frame building “class” with Bryan Hollingsworth (Royal H). He taught me the basics of brazing and then we set to work building myself a frame, one night a week kinda deal over at his shop. I had a jig already so I was able to do all the filing/fit up/lug carving at home, then bring stuff in to braze with Bryan. At the same time, I also had the privilege of having a friend in Mr. Nao Tomii, who showed me my way around a fillet. Between the two of these guys, I had some of the best guidance you can imagine for both lug/fillet frame construction. They taught me everything I know…”

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Honorable Non-Framebuilder Born Beasts

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01 – the Salsa Cycles Cutthroat Tour Divide Bike

“Salsa perfected what is arguably their best “all-road”, dirt-tourer: the Cutthroat.
This bike was an exercise in both engineering of materials and design features for the ever-increasing, high demand sport of “adventure touring and racing.” For starters, it’s a completely new carbon fiber frame design, with each tube having a unique profile. The rear triangle utilizes a Class 5 Vibration Reduction System like the Warbird. What does that mean? All you need to know is that supposedly the stays, in combination with the thru-axle creates a “spring like” feel on rough surfaces. The seat stays are long and narrow, while the chain stays are wide and flat. This gives compliance when needed.”

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02 – the Cannondale Slate Force CX1 All-Road Bike

“Since relocating to Los Angeles, a land with endless dirt in both the fireroad and track variety, my preferences have shifted a lot in terms of what I want a bike to take on. Capabilities are often grown in the industry piecemeal, then once and a while, a bike comes along that asks a question: what if?

The Cannondale Slate is a what if bike. What if 650b or 27.5″ wheels with a 42mm tire makes more sense for “all-road” riding? What if a damn Lefty shock with just the right amount of travel can instill confidence in new riders while offering an added fun bonus to experienced athletes?”

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03 – Ted King’s Cannondale SuperSix Six Six SRAM Mountain Magic Shifting Road Bike

Ted King is technically still a pro, until January 1st but yesterday the two of us took off on a ride into the ANF. The last time Ted got to experience Highway 2 was in a peloton during the Amgen Tour of California, which as Ted so gracefully put it, was very, very painful. Luckily pain wasn’t on our agenda yesterday. Instead, we took a super casual pedal up to Mount Wilson and back down to Mount Disappointment. ”

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04 – Erik’s Sparkle Abyss: the Custom Skid Sled

“If a beast were to crawl its way out of the Abyss, only to find itself mutated into a two-wheeled, human-powered machine, it might look like this thing. When I first saw it in person, with the Supernova light dangling from the stem, I was reminded of a Deep Sea Anglerfish. A fish that spends its life in complete darkness, only illuminating its path with a luminescent organ called the esca at the tip of a modified dorsal ray. Could that be this bike’s spirit animal?

Erik works at the big, bad S. He’s a designer for the AWOL and other excursion-oriented bicycles. He made this bike as a special project for his plans on taking on the SF-area’s Super Brevet Series. Initially, he wanted a bike that would fit a 45mm slick 700c tire, with a tighter geometry than the AWOL and a tapered headtube, mated to a carbon fork. He spec’d the main tubes from a stock AWOL with the geometry more like a cross bike, milled a head tube to spec and used a Secteur fork for its rack attachments. While the AWOL is a dedicated touring bike, this is closer to a light-tourer or randonneur. So, in short, this is a one-off custom, made in the USA bike that gave Erik the ability to test out a few concepts.”

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Thanks to all of the frame builders out there, putting out exceptional work and the customers who keep those men and women in business. Keep rockin, y’all!

Rohloff changes for 2016


It was only as i was looking at a thru axle bike that I was wondering if a Rohloff could be be retrofitted for them. But the news on looking is even better ….

FOR 2016 – Three big new changes have been revealed: there are 12mm thru axle hubs, new post-mount axleplates and a cheaper, completely new sprocket design which can be retrofitted to ANY Rohloff hub!

Rohloff Speedhub XL

1. 12mm Thru Axle Compatibility

The Speedhub 500/14 A12 is designed for 12mm DT-Maxle, X-12 Syntace and Shimano E Thru frames. In fact, this is the first internally geared hub to be available in the thru axle design. Unfortunately, current Rohloff users are not able to convert their current hubs to suit thru axles.

Rohloff thru axle hubs will be available in three different widths: 142mm, 177mm and 197mm.

142×12 is becoming a popular standard for cyclocross and mountain bike frames and is somewhat likely to be found soon on touring bikes. 177mm and 197mm hub spacing are reserved for fat bikes which typically use 4-5 inch wide tyres. It’s interesting that there is no 148mm version, a standard becoming popular on both 27+ and 29+ bikes.

Rohloff Speedhub A12 142mmRohloff Speedhub A12 Fat

2. Post Mount Brake Axleplates

If your frame doesn’t have a Rohloff dropout, but instead has a post-mount brake, you’re in luck. Six new axle plates have been released catering for 135, 142, 170, 177, 190 and 197mm rear axles. That makes Rohloff compatibility much better for any frame not specifically designed around these hubs.

Rohloff Speedhub PM Bone

Rohloff Speedhub Fat Bone

3. New Sprocket Adapters

The current sprocket style is screw-on; Rohloff owners know how much of a pain these cogs are to get off! For 2016, the latest sprocket design is splined, and all you need is an adapter kit and cog to upgrade. The adapter fits to the existing driver allowing splined sprockets to slide right on, and here’s the best bit: all you need is a flat head screwdriver to replace a rear cog. Prise the circlip off and on and you’re done. No chainwhips or spanners required!

Rohloff Speedhub Splined SprocketRohloff Speedhub Splined Sprockets

Theatre Thursday: Freeride Fat


 

Geoff Gulevich, Wade Simmons, and Noah Brousseau got rad on fat bikes this winter.

Bike: Rocky Mountain Blizzard — bikes.com/blizzard

Shot at the Coquihalla Lakes Lodge, Kamloops Bike Ranch, and Coastal Mountains, BC
Filmed & Edited by Liam Mullany
Additional Cinematography by Harrison Mendel
Produced by Liam Mullany & Brian Park
Special Thanks to Cory Leclerc & Eric Simmons
Music: Jet Trash — Baby C’mon

fat free 


the fat bike is gone – sold on eBay and as an experiment it has been interesting. I discovered it wasn’t fat biking I liked but rather bikepacking so now with the experiment done it is time to think about the bike I want for bikepacking off-road.

So wish list would be:

29er or 29+ – I don’t need super wide although 29x 2.7 to 3.0 wide would give a similar footprint but quicker rolling. 27.5+ is interesting but not sure if widespread enough just yet.

Dynamo front hub – for electrical generator / phone charging on tour

Rohloff rear – but whether I need to share between the bikes or get a seperate one remains to be seen.

Jones h-bar handlebar …..

Simple really so a cartoon to fill the space

  

Bike Packing Weekend – 125km through the cairngorms


Not the best start this ride as the night before Friday had been a night of beer and bento with the lads. Woke up early then drove to Blair Athol

assembled on bike rack
assembled on bike rack

Set off up Glen Tilt and then realised that my spare batteries for the GPS were still on charge at home.

first bridge
first bridge

Only had half a charge but had my OS maps ready with me so off I went through the first wood and spotted my first red deer in the Woods. 20km in and had to stop for recovery food beans and sausage lunch cold but effective hangover cure.

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Headed on and track became muddy and rocky and nearly too narrow for the bike was feeling calorifically low.

path gets rockier and narrow
path gets rockier and narrow

The valley is obviously used by the RAF for training as a Hercules buzzed me about 80 foot up. More red deer crossing river and bounding up slope opposite – very skittish of humans sign that it must be hunted.

ruin
ruin
selfie
selfie

2015-07-25 14.20.17

Stopped at Glen Tilt ruin where the trail opened onto flood plain valley floor then afterwards headed left over the muddiest moor i have seen in a while. Normal mtb tread just disappeared into gloop but i was fat so did better but still had to get off every 50 foot to cross burns or mud holes.

over falls
over falls

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Crossed makeshift crossing over the river by waterfall and then faced with two deeper river crossing but misjudged depth which came to crotch so shoes were sodden.

The last 2 km to the Bothy screamed down a technical downhill smacked a rock hard and punctured – was going to walk to the bothie but decided to change tube and discovered that the small lezyne pump I had with me unscrewed the valve when I was taking it off – what a pain after 4 mins of huffing and puffing to get the FAT tube pumped up to have it all WOOOSHHHH out.

better roads
better roads – just before e the descent that punctured me

Sunday 5:40 AM woke up in bothy after a good sleep maybe helped by the contribution of the two Edinburgh climbers with either their 2nd hand dope smoke or a rum and Coke I drank.

in bothy
in bothy
morning
morning

Packed and try to inflate me a tyre some more and enjoyed the unscrewing of the valve once again. Decided to divert to Kingussie and the food co-op there to restock on food I haven’t figured that the ride would take so long at a slow 10km/h average.

fern lane
fern lane
Fern Lane
Fern Lane

Cycled out the enjoining valley which was much easier going ( a tip from Fossil cyclist) past 2 fast 29er riders and then later by 2 female mountain bike on their way to Nethy bridge (a long haul for sure)

Finished the ride with a long section of tarmac which felt so slow on the fatbike into Blair Athol – Tired drive home my arse tender and my legs sore.

DAY1
DAY1
DAY2
DAY2

Dream Bikes: Twenty2 Cycles Ti Rohloff Gates fat bike


Screenshot 2015-07-03 10.07.24

titanium Rohloff Gates Belt – this is one for the roughest track trip through any continent.

Twenty2 – The Bully is a four season fatbike that loves snow and ripping singletrack. Short chainstays and perfect geometry make the bully the most high performance fatty available. The highest quality aerospace grade titanium tubing is the basis for this Colorado handcrafted machine.

Screenshot 2015-07-03 10.07.36

Full fat Rohloff

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And obviously custom paint. I love Raw titanium but there is something about these split tone paint jobs that screams lovely.

is Wider Better?


On Sunday I hopped down to Glentress taking both my Fat Bike and 29er down the trails.

both in the van
both in the van

Moving from the fat bike with its wide bars back to the 29er i was shocked at how narrow the bars seemed. Took me two runs to feel comfortable – so stopped into the shop armed with a 20% discount and bought some wide Renthal bars and fitted them.

old ones in front new fitted
old ones in front new fitted
W I D E
W I D E

I will need to cut them a bit so google and came across this interesting article (BIKERADAR)  on how wide I should be ….

Handlebars have been trending wider for many years. Few of us are riding the 580mm-wide Answer Hyperlite bars that were the rage fifteen years ago, but that doesn’t mean you should rush out and buy a handlebar that’s wider than a Honda Civic just because it’s what your favorite pro downhiller is riding.

If you’re thinking about going wider, do it for function, not fashion. And before doing it at all, weigh the pros and cons.

Specialized fit professor Aaron Post recommends balancing biomechanics with terrain and riding style to find your ideal handlebar width

The Evolution of Wide Bars

Like the rest of the components we ride, handlebars have evolved dramatically since the early days of our sport. In the beginning there were just ‘mountain bikes,’ today we have all manner of species of knobby-tired machines—cross-country, trail, all-mountain, enduro, freeride, downhill—along with components designed specifically for these breeds.

Noel Buckley is the owner of Knolly bikes. He has a background in engineering physics and has seen the mountain bike market diversify over the past two decades. “The changes in riding style, advances in full suspension bike geometry and suspension travel, the rise of new applications (e.g. downhill bikes) have allowed handlebar manufacturers to go wider than the standard cross-country bar of 20 years ago,” said Buckley.

His engineering background lends itself to an analytical view of handlebar width, though he admits there’s no hard science to finding one’s ideal handlebar.

“There are no simple answers here: even making a table of rider height versus frame application versus suggested bar width would be difficult and probably not overly useful. Local factors such as trail design, trees, rocks, and the balance of climbing versus descending might sway a given rider’s preferred bar width by 25-50mm,” said Buckley. “The obvious argument towards using longer handlebars is that they give you more leverage (or torque) to steer the front wheel: this is supposed to make controlling the direction of the bike easier. In general, this is correct. At the end of the day, it is very difficult to say anything more than wider bars = shorter stems, smaller riders = narrower bars, and low and slack bikes can typically get away with wider bars than steep, tall bikes. But even these dogmas are being challenged by the increase of 710-740mm bars in the trail bike market—bar widths that were decidedly DH oriented less than half a decade ago.”

Wider Does Not Necessarily Equal Better

Like most things in life, handlebar width is best approached with an eye towards moderation and practicality. If your trails are very tight, heavily wooded, and lack high-speed sections then a wider a bar may be a hindrance. If your handlebar is so wide that you are riding with your arms extended and your elbows locked you will find it very hard to react to obstacles. Likewise, if you’re slight of frame with narrow shoulders, wider bars may cause discomfort.

Some trails are just not compatible with wide handlebars...:

You shall not pass!

Aaron Post is a fit professor with Specialized. He notes that while there are tangible benefits to going wider, wide bars are not for everyone, and my have little to no benefit, depending on how and where you ride.

“The wider trend has come from riders who are riding very technical, very fast terrain, where the trail is literally starting to pull the bar out of the rider’s hand. If your trails are not particularly technical the need for a wider bar diminishes. More often than not, it is biomechanically easier for a rider to support themselves with a narrower bar, you would want to go wider as the terrain dictates,” said Post.

Post uses push-ups as an example. It is much easier to do a push-up when you hands are placed just to the outside of your shoulders than it is when your arms are splayed out to your sides. Signs that you may have gone too wide include pain or discomfort between the shoulder blades and upper back.

Handlebars, Stems, and the ‘Golden Ratio’

As your handlebar length increases your reach decreases. A wider bar will shift more of your weight forward. Hence the need to run a shorter stem to keep your weight centered.

A wide bar is only half of the equation: a shorter stem is necessary to maintain a consistent reach: a wide bar is only half of the equation: a shorter stem is necessary to maintain a consistent reach

A stubby stem helps to keep your reach relatively consistent when running a wider bar

The general rule of thumb is to maintain a 2:1 ratio of handlebar width to stem length: for every 20mm increase in handlebar length you should reduce your stem length by 10mm. So if you’re running 660mm bars with a 100mm stem and want to try a handlebar that is 700mm wide you will need to pair that 700mm handlebar with an 80mm stem to maintain a relatively consistent position on the bike.

Like most rules of thumb, this is 2:1 ratio is by no means absolute. And, as Post points out, it is only useful if you’re starting from a comfortable fit position. “If you’re already unhappy where you are all bets are off.”

Test Many Times, Measure Twice, Cut Once

It’s important to remember that just because you bought an 800mm-wide handlebar does not mean you’re locked into this length.

“Manufacturers often try to make the bar a bit longer than required to give users the option to shorten it to the correct length. Riders may mistake this extra length as being appropriate for their height, bike setup and riding application,” said Buckley.

Measure twice, cut once, but be sure to experiment with various widths: measure twice, cut once, but be sure to experiment with various widths

Work outward from your existing position to find your ideal width 

It’s easy to experiment with handlebar width, particularly if you are running lock-on grips. With a wider bar installed, mount your controls in the same position they were on your narrower bars and gradually move them outboard until you find a position that’s to your liking. (This may require the use of several different stems, too.)

Testing time – no not my daughter


been mapping out a route for bikepacking / fat biking through some parts of the cairngorm range. So planning to stop at a bothy overnight but although fine in principle there is always the uncertainty of not knowing what the bothy is like.

A chance came to do a test recce – one of my ex wife’s elderly relatives passed away so she flew up to shetland with my oldest daughter for the funeral. The younger daughter was with me and this coincided with a break in the weather.

So we headed off to feshie bridge with a plan to cycle in to glenfeshie bothy. It is barely a jaunt at 12km in on trails but for a 8yo it seemed longer.

 I loaded my fat bike up with both sleeping bags, sleeping mats and carried spare clothes. I put cooking stuff into my backpack along with some food. Rehydrated packs for dinner and some porridge for the morning. And then some fruit and also some jelly baby enticement for the young one and a wee hip flask of single malt for me.  

It was good going although she was tired and kept on with ‘how long ’til we get there’ 

The river/ streams were snow melt but only knee high – although 3 crossing each time of the 4 rivers – once for my bike once for hers and once with her meant my feet got chilly

    

But we made it after a longer than it should have been ride  

The bothy was great and despite the great weather – it was 16C – it was empty apart from us. During easter? 

Needn’t have bought all the pots either as there was plenty to cook with, good to know for the big adventure 

The next morning there was a bit of fog to burn off but it was hot by the time we left.

 

  

 Equipment wise everything is working well- the fat bike is superb laden on rough trails the low psi means it just conforms to the trail. The salsa anything cages keep the weight distributed all over the bike and the alpkit handlebar and seat bag are secure and stay steady even down stone steps.

I can’t wait for the proper adventure now 

Fat biking – is it no longer a fad


Good first person article from singletracks

 

Watching the birth of fat bikes in the mountain bike industry has been nothing short of breath taking. Drawing from personal experience, this fat-tired wonder opened up a lot more trails as well as placing big grins on our faces. Before fat bikes we had been riding our mountain bikes year-round, putting on the studded tires when the snow started to accumulate and whipping them back off again as the ice melted in the spring spring. About three winters ago, a wide tread mark kept beating us to the trails and part way through the season, we finally spotted the culprit: a Surly Pugsley Black Ops.

Singletracks 3

A month or so later, Freewheel Cycle Jasper had a fat bike demo day. Happily for us, there weren’t a lot of people trying them. We ended up testing the fat bikes on an old rutted dirt road, the bike park, a frozen lake, the town walking path, and off path through the virgin snow. We became absolutely hooked on the idea of riding these in the winter versus what we were doing at the time. The rest of the season saw us driving 80 kilometers to rent Freewheel’s fat bikes, when the conditions in our town were counter productive to riding skinny (our studded mountain bikes). That was 2012. The fall of 2013 we had the opportunity to purchase a pair of Surly Pugsleys. We’ve had them out on all kinds of trails in Alberta and British Columbia.

Singletracks 4

Sales of fat bikes were through the roof that year and with the explosion of fat bike owners came a multitude of fat bike pages on Facebook. I belong to three group pages; two are are- specific while the third is literally comprised of riders from around the world! For those curious fat bike followers, the pages are: Jasper Fat Biking (Jasper, AB), Fat Fockers (Kamloops, BC) and Fat Bikes (world). These are three entirely different pages as well as groups of riders riders. While just a few of us post on the Jasper page, the Kamloops Fockers are a large number of enthusiastic fat bikers, with a core group who get out with snowshoes–and a groomer when needed–to keep the trails rideable. Members of the Fat Fockers update statuses on trail conditions, post trail expansion ideas with community involvement, and upload a number of great photos.

The Fat Bike page is an entity of its own. Being member #150 (+/-), I have watched the group grow to almost 6,500 members worldwide. The topics vary from what fat bike should I buy, what winter clothes and boots do you recommend, what GPS is best, what studded tires, how about night lights, all the way to the most controversial one, “Once You Go Fat, You’ll Never Go Back!” That topic tends to raise the hackles in different ways, depending on the rider.

Singletracks 5

Some riders are steadfast in their belief that fat bikes are the wave of the future and that we can wave good-bye to normal mountain bikes. And the evidence seemed to be in the interest and sales. Retailers in some areas couldn’t keep up with the demand, with Surly, Salsa, and Konas being produced for Canada. The industry was taken completely by surprise and mountain bike makers jumped on the bandwagon. This past year saw well known names in North America, like Trek, Specialized, and Norco, introduce their versions of a fat bike.

With this new wave of bikes came the redesigning of accessories to fit fat bikes and their riders’ needs, depending on where they rode. This included items such as panniers, racks, frame bags, lights, fenders, and attachments for carrying any number of items. These versatile bikes were covering all kinds of territory.

That also brings up the often unseen point in the debate, “are fat bikes a trend or not?” Where and when are fat bikes being ridden and how does that affect the market in a given area? For most of Canada and a chunk of the USA, winter has a lengthy grip. Personally, we bought the fat bikes primarily to ride in the winter.

Singletracks 1

Fat bikes are proving, however, that they aren’t just a bike to ride in the winter… and if you do a search on fat bikes, you’ll find that some of them, originally, weren’t even intended to be winter bikes. Hundreds of photos of fat bikes in almost every country can be found on the internet, proving how they are being used as travel bikes and work horses. You can even find videos on YouTube of freestyling, touring, and even hunting on fat bikes. It is amazing what some of these riders are doing with fat bikes!

Since I try not to use a motorized vehicle at all when at home, I will use either of my bikes depending on how much time I have. The looks I get and the curiosity of non-riders when I do a solo ride on my fattie to the library or to get bread make the fat bike a fun training bike in the summer. My husband will only ride his fatti in the winter as he loves his Santa Cruz Carbon Blur for the rest of the year.

Is fat biking just a trend? I don’t think so, but I also don’t think they will entirely take over the biking market.

Your Turn: Do you see the fat bike craze slowing down anytime soon? Why or why not?

Sandra Pelley hails from Hinton, Alberta. She rides year-round and favors full suspension mountain bikes and fat bikes over road bikes. She and her husband travel all over western North America to ride their mountain bikes, and her bucket list includes a Women’s Only Weekend at Ray’s Indoor MTB Park in Ohio, Finale Ligure in Spain, France, Kingdom Trails in Vermont, and the Trestle Bike Park in Colorado, to name a few.

How far can you push a fat bike – FELT


Watch BMX rider Gregor Laucht gamble with gravity on the Felt DD 30.

The “Double Dare” video features German BMX/dirt jump rider Gregor Laucht riding the Felt DD 30 on the ski slopes in Switzerland. Filmed in January 2015, the village of Braunwald provides the perfect playground to test the limits of the DD 30 in mint powder conditions, demonstrating the full range of fat bike capabilities.

How far can you push a fatbike? Pretty far if you’re BMX pro Gregor Laucht. Watch Gregor take the Felt Double Double 30 to the powdery streets and slopes of Braunwald, Switzerland.

Getting ready for bikepacking


i have been planning a route for a while – off road with a night in a bothy shelter up in the Cairngorms …. so was all prepared to pack and then take OS maps. But I recently bought an eTrex 30 from Garmin and a SD card with the OS maps of the UK on it. The idea is that this is my primary nav aid (although will have compass, OS map and another gps with me)

planning a trip and putting in waypoints, bothies and other bits ...
planning a trip and putting in waypoints, bothies and other bits …

So starting using Basecamp as well – this has improved a ton since I last looked at it years ago – it helps having the etrex connected or the SD card plugged into the computer because then you can use the OS maps. If only basecamp let you use google or bing or satellite pictures as sometime you can see a trail that is not marked …..

Will report back on the eTrex once i have used in anger – all I can say so far is that the bike mount is not the most sturdy …

I feel inadequate in my ‘fatness’


This is a quick edit from my first few rides on the Fatback Corvus Fatbike. I spent a couple weeks in Southern California to ride mototrials and was lucky enough to get the Fatback together before I got out there. It was a blast on all the terrain I could find in SoCal, from the beach to the dunes, high desert to low. This bike can handle everything. Dont worry, the skids were on motorcycle trails! Stay tuned for my next edit riding

Quite amazing riding isn’t it?

Fat Video Time


Found this linked to on fatbike brigade …..

The Bedrock Bags and Packs team took advantage of this mild winter weather by heading to the desert. They took their fatbikes to an undisclosed location in the land of awesome, exploring Utah canyons by way of sandy roads, and beautiful river beds.

Fat for 10 years


Hard to believe but fat bikes have been around for 10 years. Think I saw my first at the sufferfest race (24 hours of laps in the depth of winter in scotland) I questioned their use as a 29er with spiked tyres was sooooo much quicker on the compacted snow and ice but I failed to understand their purpose then …… And the emotion of riding them (as the video below says ‘shiteatin grin’)