Salsa Cycles Beargrease Carbon SLX Review: A Great Fat Bike

The Sami, the legendary reindeer herders who stay in the northernmost regions of Russia, Finland, Norway, and Sweden, have 180 text for snow and ice. That could also be stated for cyclists who experience by means of the wintertime months in any northern climate. Since of seasonal adjustments in mild, temperature, and precipitation, compounded by the growing irregularities of climate change, it is just about certain that no two days of biking in the wintertime will be the similar. Which is wherever a fat bike can conserve a cyclist’s soul.

Some could consider that driving a bike in the winter season seems like the worst feasible type of enamel-shattering hell. It’s correct that to have a exciting, protected journey there’s strategizing included: What variety of layering is effective for solitary-digit temps? Studded or non-studded tires? Do my lights work? Will I get rid of myself using on icy roads or sidewalks to get to the trailhead? Additional than summer months using, it’s critical to dial a ride in ahead of time for the reason that the effects of a mechanical failure, like hypothermia or frostbite, are substantial.

But there is also anything profoundly meditative about riding in the winter, floating across a silent, monochromatic landscape. It’s a time to toss out the incessant Strava goals and instead appreciate the fleeting magic of wintertime. Trip on into the night time, which comes at about 4:45 pm the place I dwell, and the survival-of-the-fittest Jack London vibe is exponentially amplified.

In the extensive trajectory of cycling heritage, excess fat bikes are relatively new: In 1980 a Frenchman named Jean Naude experienced the good idea to operate reduced-force Michelin tires to pedal additional than 800 miles across the Sahara desert. In 1986 he extra a third wheel and pedaled practically 2,000 miles from Algiers to Timbuktu. At the exact time, cyclists in Alaska were welding rims jointly to generate a wider surface area on which to ride the Iditabike, the 200-mile go through fest that follows snowmobile and pet mushing routes. In the meantime, a male in New Mexico named Ray Molina was building 82-mm rims with 3.5-inch tires to trip dunes and arroyos. The tinkering went mainstream in 2005 when Minnesota bike company Surly created the Pugsley, with its 65-mm Huge Marge Rim and 3.7-inch Endomorph tire, which produced unwanted fat biking available to the masses.

Extra fat bikes utilized to be synonymous with “slow,” and that may well have been accurate with the earliest behemoth steel frames. Pedaling them through bottomless white fluff was a grindingly brutal exercise session. But times have altered. Brand names like Salsa, Fatback, Specialised, Trek, and Rocky Mountain carry on to evolve with significantly lighter builds, ever-widening tires to take care of even extra intense conditions, and standardized components like dropper seat posts.

In January, Rad Energy Bikes’ debuted its new e-driven Rad Rover, and in September, REI Co-Op Cycles came out with its very first at any time unwanted fat bike, a rigid aluminum body with 26-inch wheels. Today’s best-stop fatties are lighter than quite a few mountain bikes. A dimensions medium 2021 Salsa Beargrease Carbon XO1 Eagle, with its carbon body, rims, and bars, weighs in at 27 lbs.

Photograph: Marty Wooden/Salsa Cycles

Since the snow began to fly on October 15 in northern Minnesota, I have been riding the 2021 Salsa Beargrease Carbon SLX. It is the similar bicycle as the XO1 Eagle, minus a handful of carbon factors and with a a little bit reduced-conclusion drive coach. Of Salsa’s a few fats bike versions (the Beargrease, Mukluk, and Blackborow), the Beargrease is created for going quickly, many thanks to its progressive shape, its capacity to deal with many rim measurements and tire widths for different race conditions, and its plethora of attachment factors to lash on added gear, foods, and components for very long-haul races like the notoriously demanding Arrowhead 135.

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