Those hoping that fat bikes were a fad that would quickly fade away will despair, while riders who have embraced BBWs (big, beautiful, wheels) will rejoice at overwhelming number of fat bikes that were on display at Interbike 2014.
While there were scores of entry-level 'me too' fat bikes, many companies were getting creative, pushing the limits of design and attempting to take the platform in new and exciting directions.
Here are some of the standouts from this year’s show.
Full suspension models abound
Even at a tradeshow awash with fat bikes, full suspension rigs standout like Iggy Pop at a Justin Bieber concert.
Last year, the small start-up brand 11Nine was showing off a full suspension fat proto constructed from titanium. The company is back with a quiver full of big double-boinger bikes.
Perhaps the longest-travel full suspension fat bike to date is 11Nine’s yet-to-be-released Hemicyon. This monster is equipped with an MRP fork and rear shock that gives it approximately 150mm of suspension travel. The frame has clearance for 26x4.24in tyres.
The Hemicyon is still a in the prototyping stage, but 11Nine hopes to have it available for 2015
11Nine is positioning the 110mm travel Epicyon has an alternative to Salsa’sBucksaw
Alaska-based fat bike builder 9:Zero:7 is also in the process of developing a full suspension model. The 9:Zero:7 has two ridable prototypes at present. The front-end borrows heavily from the company’s aluminium hardtail frames, and is grafted to a four-bar rear-end that provides 100mm of suspension travel. The prototype on display has room to spare with 26x4.8in treads.
9:Zero:7 hopes to have the bike ready for production in early 2015.
It doesn’t have a name yet – the company is taking suggestions
Jim Felt's personal electric-assist fat bike
Jim Felt, founder of Felt Bicycles, might be best known for his pioneering efforts in composites and aerodynamics, but his latest creation is about as far as you can get from aero. It reflects his changing interests in outdoor recreation.
The Outfitter comes with racks, bags, camouflage (battery included)
In addition to being an avid cyclist, Jim is passionate about fly fishing and bow hunting. The Felt Outfitter has been a labour of love for the company founder. This electric-assist fat bike, complete with matching trailer, was outfitted with Jim’s personal kit for backwoods adventures.
Jim Felt's personal outdoor items are stowed in the modified BOB trailer
He modified a BOB Ibex Plus full suspension trailer with a wider yoke to clear the 26x4.8in Schwalbe tyre and tweaked the rear of the trailer, replacing the stock 16in rear wheel with a smoother-rolling 20in model for better off-road performance.
There is a production version of the Outfitter – minus the trailer – that will be available in early 2015. The complete bike will come with lights, racks and bags for between US$5,000 and 5,500.
The dilemma with this, and all other electric-assist bicycle intended for off-road use in the United States, is that many public lands open to cyclist prohibit motorised recreation
Quality Bicycle Product's ‘History of Fat’
North America’s largest bicycle parts distributor, Quality Bicycle Products, opted to get creative with its booth this year, forgoing the usual stands of its latest and greatest in favour of a historical timeline of the company’s involvement in the development of fat bikes. While the display focused on the Salsa and Surly house brands, QBP was also showing off a pre-production Remolino.
Built by Ray Molina in 1999, this was one of the first purpose-built fat bikes, complete with 80mm-wide rims and 26x3.5in tyre
Production tyres weren’t available at the time, so Molina worked with a tyre factory in Mexico to cut tyres in half and add a centre section with a chevron tread pattern down the middle
Also on display was Surly’s first fat bike, the Pugsley. Introduced in 2005, the Pugsley was affordable and designed to use existing components, making it very appealing to fat-curious riders
Click through the gallery to learn more about these many other fat bikes on display at this year’s show.