The fat bikes of NAHBS 2014

Big bikes from Moots, Ritchey, Quiring, Boo and more

Fat bikes are nothing new to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, though their massive knobby tires were seemingly at every turn this year.

Some of the builders are well known for their fat bikes, while others decided to build their first fat bikes as a result of this year’s particularly harsh winter. From the bikes on display, it's clear that there’s still a lot of flux within the category: dropout spacing and axle type were all over the map.

Here’s a look at the bikes that were on display. Click through the gallery at right for a detailed look at bikes from each of the builders.

Eriksen

This particular Eriksen fat bike belongs to company welder Brad Bingham. The frame is designed to take 5in tires. The seat tube is curved to tuck the rear wheel in and keep the chainstay length manageable. It can accommodate tires up to 5in wide and uses a197x12 thru-axle rear end. The claimed frame weight is 3.6lb (1.63kg).

The two most interesting components on the frame are the hubs and the fork, both of which are custom, one-off pieces stretched to accommodate the wide spacing required by massive tires.

44 Bikes

New Hampshire framebuilder Kristofer Henry is the man behind 44 Bikes. His personal machine is designed to lead a double life as a fat bike in the winter months and a 29+ machine during the rest of the year.

44 bikes is custom builder based in new hampshire. company owner kristofer henry had his personal fat bike on display :
44 bikes is custom builder based in new hampshire. company owner kristofer henry had his personal fat bike on display :

The outside diameters of a 5in fat bike tire and a 3in wide 29+ tread are nearly the same, so Henry built this bike to accommodate both wheelsets.

Boo Bicycles

Boo Bicycles employee Jacob Lapenna designed this AluBOOYAH fat bike as ski mountaineering machine. This bike was inspired by a recent trip to Torreys Peak, a 14,275-foot peak located in Clear Creek, Colorado. The climb has a significant approach that is expedited by riding in before skinning up and taking to the ropes.

Boo bicycles employee jacob lapenna designed this alubooyah fat bike as ski mountaineering machine:
Boo bicycles employee jacob lapenna designed this alubooyah fat bike as ski mountaineering machine:

The bike was created with help from La Sportiva and Petzel, who supplied the ski and climbing gear, and Old Man Mountain racks, who supplied the panniers and front rack.

Capitol Bicycle Company

This winter camouflage-covered fat bike from Capitol Bicycle Company is designed with aggressive riding in mind. 

Capitol bicycle company designed this particular fat bike for aggressiev offroad riding:
Capitol bicycle company designed this particular fat bike for aggressiev offroad riding:

The frame geometry is slacker than most and it features 100mm-wide rims and 5in Surly Big Fat Larry tires.

Dean

Dean has long been a fixture in titanium fabrication. This Boulder-based frame building company was showing off its first fat bike.

Dean has been building ti frames for decades, though this is the company's first fat bike:
Dean has been building ti frames for decades, though this is the company's first fat bike:

To accompany the frame, Dean also worked with Colorado-based suspension fork manufacturer MRP (formerly known as White Brothers), who supplied the aluminum crown. Dean added pressed-in titanium fork legs to complete the package.

Ellis Cycles

Ellis Cycles owner Dave Wages may be better known for his stunning road bikes. His NAHBS resume is quite impressive. Wages won Best Lugged Bike in 2009, Best of Show in 2010, Best Road Frame in 2011 and Best Steel Frame in 2012.

His creations are often lugged or filled brazed and feature clean lines and impeccable attention to detail.

Ellis cycles' dave wages opted to leave the frame bare (no clearcoat, just a light layer of wd40 to keep oxidation at bay) to enter it in the best fillet brazing category :
Ellis cycles' dave wages opted to leave the frame bare (no clearcoat, just a light layer of wd40 to keep oxidation at bay) to enter it in the best fillet brazing category :

Wages is based in Waterford, Wisconsin, and this year’s long winter there motivated him to create his own fat bike.

Independent Fabrication

Company owner Gary Smith has been a fat bike aficionado for several years and wanted something he could ride through the snow that had an IF headbage on it, and so the Chubby D-Lux was born.

Independent fabrications owner gary smith has been a fat bike aficionado for several years; he had the company build its first fat bike for him:
Independent fabrications owner gary smith has been a fat bike aficionado for several years; he had the company build its first fat bike for him:

The sparkling chartreuse paint is stunning and the painted to match MRP carbon fat bike fork ties the build together.

Moots

Moots is no stranger to fat bikes, having built custom machines for endurance racer Mike Curiak’s grueling Iditarod Trail Invitational wins.

The FrostHammer is Moots first fat bike model designed to fit 5in wide tires. The frame has a 44mm head tube and is designed to accommodate the fat bike-specific suspension forks that will be coming to market later this year.

Moots is upping their fat bike game with the frosthammer: a fat bike designed to swallow the largest fat bike tires:
Moots is upping their fat bike game with the frosthammer: a fat bike designed to swallow the largest fat bike tires:

Moots will be offering the FrostHammer in four stock sizes, as well as made to measure options.

Quiring

Michigan frame builder Scott Quiring works in steel, stainless steel and titanium. To improve tire clearance and bolster rear end stiffness, Quiring machines his own chainstay yokes.

Quiring had a titanium and a steel fat bike on display at this year’s show. The pink-and-black tiger-striped steel fat bike belongs to his wife. The paint scheme was inspired by a pair of similarly patterned rim strips she found.

The tiger stripe pattern was achieved by using small sections of masking tape:
The tiger stripe pattern was achieved by using small sections of masking tape:

Small strips of masking tape were used to create the pattern.

Ritchey

The Ritchey Commando is one of the most storied bicycle frames from the early days of mountain biking. Ritchey dusted off the name for the company’s first fat bike.

Ritchey dusted off the commando name for the company’s first fat bike:
Ritchey dusted off the commando name for the company’s first fat bike:

The Commando has 135mm front and 170mm rear spacing, uses quick-release axles, and can accommodate fat tires up to 3.8in wide.

The olive drab machine on display belongs to Tom Ritchey himself. This particular frame is fillet brazed (production Commando’s will be TIG welded). Production Commando’s will retail for US$999 and will be available in October.

Xprezo

Xprezo is a small Canadian bicycle company. The company has resisted the pull of off-shore manufacturing, instead choosing to build all of its frames in its factory in Bromont, Québec.

Gros big is xprezo's first fat bike. it has a 190mm rear axle spacing, uses a press-fit 92 bottom bracket and can fit 5in wide fat bike tires. :
Gros big is xprezo's first fat bike. it has a 190mm rear axle spacing, uses a press-fit 92 bottom bracket and can fit 5in wide fat bike tires. :

The company’s first fat bike is dubbed the Gros Big. It has a 190mm rear axle spacing, uses a press-fit 92 bottom bracket and can fit 5in wide fat bike tires.

The frame is constructed from Columbus Zona tubing and has a claimed frame weight of 3.9lb (1.76kg).

Josh has been riding and racing mountain bikes since 1998. Being stubborn, endurance racing was a natural fit. Josh bankrolled his two-wheeled addiction by wrenching at various bike shops across the US for 10 years and even tried his hand at frame building. These days Josh spends most of his time riding the trails around his home in Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, cyclocross, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Anywhere with rock- and root-infested technical singletrack. He also enjoys unnecessarily long gravel races.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Remedy 29 9.9, Yeti ASRc, Specialized CruX, Spot singlespeed, Trek District 9
  • Dream Bike: Evil The Following, a custom Moots 27.5+ for bikepacking adventures
  • Beer of Choice: PBR
  • Location: Fort Collins, CO, USA

Related Articles

Back to top