Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fatties Rock

I have been looking at getting a Surly Pugsley. Pugsley’s are the original 4” fatty. They look like a MTB on steroids given their oversize tyres. They’re built to go places traditional mountain bikes can’t; places I’d like to go!

I’ve always got another adventure on the cards, so a Pugsley was high on my list of priorities. I’ve gotta say whilst I’ve always been a big fan of the Pug and the far-out places it could take me, my bone of contention has always been its weight. You see, I like adventure but I also like speed. At 2.57kg for an 18” frame alone, the Pug is no light-weight, even if a lot of this weight is quite justifiable when you consider the enormous loads these bikes are designed to carry for BIG adventures in crazy-arse terrain. I've been on the look-out for a light-weight adventure MTB, but without sacrifice to strength.

Enter the Fatback ...

This is not a bike we have heard much about here in Australia. Much of its use to date has been in the snow in Alaska and North America. Greg Matyas and Pete Basinger from Speedway cycles conceived this bike from years of Alaskan back-country experience.

Check-out their website here:

And below, Greg showing off one in the "flesh".

These bikes can do everything a Pug can do, and more.

Other than its light weight (full build possible at 23lbs), the obvious advantage of the Ti frame is its rust resistance. There’s not much point having a bike built for real adventure if it’s restricted on where it can go because of fear of corrosion on beaches etc. This is a real problem in Alaska because most roads are heavily salted to minimise ice formation. Fortunately Speedway Cycles can also accessorise with Ti options for a fully nuke-proof bike that’ll last longer in the back-country than I ever will.

Ti is also more compliant than CrMo steel, so the ride is not as jarring given these oversize beasts normally use their baggy tyres as suspension rather than suspended forks. The result is that weird and wonderful adventure can still be LIGHT & FAST. The 4” tyres also have plenty of clearance. The rear drop-outs come with 165mm spacing, so this bike is designed for the future with even bigger wheels in mind for harsher terrain. The drive-train is conventional, rather than off-set or “dished” like the Pug. Like the Pug, the Fatback also uses a 100mm bottom bracket.

They look schweeeeet, they look fast, and I can’t wait to get one. I know it will take me well off the beaten track. What are other people’s thoughts?

Oh, check out this link if you don’t already know what the Iditarod Trail Invitational is about. This should whet your adventure appetite:

Don’t our solo 24hr MTB & XPD adventure races feel kinda like junior girl-scout outings by comparison???

Seeya out on the trails, or “off the beaten trails” soon.


Anonymous said...

What can I say about that bike. It's awesome not many people could use it to it's potential but you could. It'll make a great commuter I assume that's what you'd need several inches of tyre with for?

That adventure challenge sounds rather on the difficult side with a 90% failure rate despite it being invitational...

Kenzo said...


You gotta do it Russ, then let me have a ride!


No seriously do it, so I can have a ride.

heych said...

10.5kg (23lbs) is lighter than my S-Works ... go for it! ... I would love a spin on it!

Russell Worthington said...

Huh ... I thought there might be a few takers. No prob. I can see us organising a demo day. I'll let people know when I have it.

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Anonymous said...

Yep Sweet ride man. I can really see a big wheeled snow monster in my future. Might have to put on some lower gearing though.

Have spoken with a dude that did the Iditarod - he's about as 'normal' as you! lol.


Anonymous said...


Hi, I was one of the "roadies" that you met on the river loop.

Looking forward to your link to your website being posted, so I can spread the word (and promote your fund raising)

Peter & Margot

Russell Worthington said...

Hi Peter and Margot,

I've added the link to the website on the side-bar, and also in post-form.

I hope you enjoy following the journey as much as I do undertaking it.

Thanks for making contact. Cheers, Russ.