|Mukluk- Not El Mariachi|
Fat bike hub width used to be 135mm OLD front and rear, ala the popular Surly Pugsley. Makes a lot of sense when you think about it, since 135mm rear hubs are everywhere. Using a big, fat 3.8" fat bike tire required an offset to the frame to allow all the gearing combinations though. This forced the offset of the spokes to one side of the rim as well. Some felt a "stronger" wheel could be made for a fat bike with a symmetrical wheel build.
This meant going to a wider, specific hub for a fat bike. The specific width was waffled on for a bit, but has settled on 170mm, at least for now. (Chain Reaction Cycles has introduced a 183mm wide hub recently) Another side benefit to this was being able to lace up a set of dishless 29"er hoops to the wider hubs for "summer time use".
So...wider is better, right? Not in a total system sense, it isn't. Yes- the wheels benefit tremendously from the wider hubs, but...........(there is always that "but"), you have to also put up with a wider bottom bracket, and I doubt we'll be seeing any 135mm wide suspension forks anytime soon. (But then again- Salsa Cycles is messing with a fat bike full suspension exercise....)
At any rate, you have to take the "not so good" with great here. The bottom bracket width hasn't been a deal breaker for me, so that seems okay. I do notice that my muscles get worked in a different way though with the wider bottom bracket. The suspension fork thing isn't all that big a deal, because I could swap out to typical componentry up front, but that defeats the advantage of front wheel stiffness here.
I see this as an extension of what I was looking for when I bought the Mukluk frame. A bike that is very versatile with fat bike wheels. Now it becomes a bike, that with a wheel swap, can be an off road touring bike, a regular mountain bike, a single speed mountain bike, or even a gravel grinder.
Although I am not going to start selling off my other bicycles, I could see how something like this could become a "one bike solution" for all season-all conditions" riding.