Interbike, the annual North American bike industry trade show, takes place this week in Las Vegas, NV. During the two days prior to Interbike, Outdoor Demo gives visitors a chance to see, touch, and test products outside of Vegas on the trails of Bootleg Canyon. Cartoonish fatbikes captured attention both on the trails and in the venue, but a spin on the desert trails proved that fatbikes were serious contenders compared to their skinnier rivals.
“Fatbikes” or all-terrain bikes with a tire width of up to five inches, are gaining a following among the off-road crowd looking for new terrain in old territory. Snow inspired the fatbike design, which counts huge tire clearance and generous dropout spacing as must-haves among its features, but fatbikes are equally at home in warmer climates where sand provides a challenging surface for extending the ride experience both seasonally and circumstantially. You already know that swapping your bike is a good solution to make old trails new again, fatbikes just increased your options by giving you something new to ride.
Fatbikes were everywhere at Outdoor Demo, here are five bikes that stood out:
Borealis Yampa, carbon fiber frame, 4-inch tires, SRAM XX1, Race Face Next SL cranks, Truvativ seat post and bars, Noir T40 seat stem, 3TRX stem, ES1 Grips, Selle Italia saddle, DT Swiss spokes. Weight 21.6 lb./9.81 kg. This version is not yet scheduled for production but a more modest version with aluminum parts starts at $3,599
Felt Fat E, this is a prototype electric fatbike featuring the Bosch Drive Unit. According to Felt, the ability to bear heavy loads, plus wide tires with superior traction, not to mention the electric power boost makes the Fat E an idea trail maintenance bike. Felt also claims that it is the first e-fatbike ever made, look for it in the spring of 2014.
9:ZERO:7 Whiteout, 1300 gram carbon fiber frame with 640 gram fork. Bike builds are subject to spec options, carbon fiber bike builds range from $4,200-$5,300.
Fatback Aluminum fatbike, prices range from $2,500-$4,000 according to build. Throughout Outdoor Demo, manufacturers buzzed about the increase in spec options for fatbikes, which seems to prove that the bikes are gaining traction (pun intended).
Surly Instigator 2.0, while technically not a fatbike, Surly applied what it learned from its line of fatbikes about the benefits of low tire pressure to the Instigator. The bike is designed to run 26˝ (559mm ETRTO) Rabbit Hole rims, which — when coupled with Surly’s 2.75″ Dirt Wizard tires — bumps up the overall wheel diameter to 27.5″ (roughly 650b, perhaps a bit bigger). On top of all that, the Instigator 2.0 will only put you out $2,550.