Fatbiking: Information Overload

Surly set out (and still is producing the largest production 4.8"x100mm) to produce the largest fatbike in 2012.  They used proven geometry from their Pugsley which was the first production fatbike released in 2006.  I had the pleasure of riding around a custom fatbike made by Vicious Cycles in 2004.  I am not basing my opinions off of a parking lot test ride or some armchair engineer on a forum somewhere.


Now that the truth is out of the way, onto some revelations.  Having around 350 miles on my Moonlander, the 4.8"x100mm combo is not for everyone.  There are your basic problems, which I will go over in a bit.


The reason there are so many fatbikes that use mechanical brakes is really quite simple they work in cold weather, the same cold weather that fatbikes primarily get used in.   I have hydraulic brakes on my moonlander and they don't work nearly as well in cold temperatures (10 degrees or below).  In fact for the upcoming Frozen Fat weekend I will be running my trusty cable actuated brakes.  The lower the spec brake the worse the problems are.


Dear West Coast traffic, the 4.8" tires don't make sense for you, unless you are shore riding, and need the flotation.  In fact almost everyone can benefit from a 3.8" tire.  Not nearly as many people can benefit from a 4.8" tire.  In retrospect I like the ability to run a larger tire, but I would prefer a 3.8" tire for most riding.  The 3.8" tire is a 4 season tire, the 4.8" tire is a 2 season tire.  THIS is based on actually riding the bikes.  So I figured you would like to see a comparison of bikes and tire sizes, stock and confirmed tire sizes.

Surly Moonlander 34LBS:  stock/confirmed 4.8"x100mm-2011

Special_ED Fatboy 32.5 LBS:  stock/confirmed 4.6"4.8"x90mm-2014

Salsa Mukluk 2/3  30.5/31.5 LBS:  Stock 4.0"x82mm /4.8"x82mm confirmed fit 2014

Surly Pug OPS 32LBS:  stock 3.8'x82mm confirmed 4.8x82mm front, rear requires slight mod

Charge Cooker Maxi 36LBS:  4.0"x80mm

Trek Farley 26lbs-30.5 LBS: stock 3.8"x82mm  4.0"x82mm confirmed

Salsa Beargrease Carbon 23.2lbs:  stock 4.0"x82mm  4.8"x82mm F/R

Options are nice, you can have a great pedaling bike with the ability to throw on a leg numbing 4.8" tire on 5 out of the 7 bike listed


For me perosonally I like to have rack and fender mounts, and the ability to change my bike into multiple different animals when I feel its time for a change, if your bike doesn't  have rack mounts, bottle/anything cage mounts on the fork etc then you can't do it.

Moonlander: Front/Rear salsa anyting cage 2x bottle  4x bottles total
Fatboy:  rear rack (maybe)  2x bottle cages
Pugsley/Pug OPS- same as mainlander
Charge cooker:  Rack F/R 2x cages
Trek Farley;  Rack F/R
Salsa Beargease Carbon;  Race Fatbike 2x bottle or 1x anything/1x bottle

24lb racebike & fatboy 2x bottle cages

other 5 mounts for days which means you can do fun things like this


With the advent of suspension in the fatbike market for smaller manufacturers and the impending RockShox 2015 Release of fatbike suspension, wouldn't you like to know that your fattie is designed around a suspension fork, some people don't.  Those that bought their bike for touring (moonlander/puglsey/ecr)  may not care about this but if you are thinking that you want the bike to be an all year bike suspension corrected geometry matters

Moonlander: …….NO
Fatboy:………….... NO
Puglsey…………. NO
Salsa MUKLUK 2/3:…………. YES
Carbon Beargrease:……………..YES

3 of 7 are suspension corrected for the future


3.8"  YES
4.0"  Maybe
4.6"-4.8" Better take the wheel off

two Trek Farleys on a stock rack

I will let you make up your own opinions from what I have listed here

moonlander in action

Fatboy in ??????   image owned by pinkbike.com