|The Salsa Cycles Bucksaw 2 (Image courtesy of Salsa Cycles)|
Salsa Cycles Comes Through With The Fat FS:
There was a fat bike, then a fat bike full suspension prototype, then rumors of Rock Shox doing a front suspension fork, then.......nuttin!
Where was the bike? Heck, where was this mythical Rock Shox fat bike fork? Well, in the span of 48 hours both appeared out of the "vaporware fog" and are looking to become real, solid objects found on trails soon. Here are the details on Salsa Cycle's site if you care to read them. I'll spare you what you've likely read a million times yesterday and make my personal comments on this news instead.
First off, this is no joke. I know a lot of folks are going to say that "fat bikes already have big fat cushions of air for tires, so whadda we need suspension for? That's stupid." Um.......excuse me, no.......you are stupid for thinking that. Here's why- A "big fat cushion of air" is basically an undamped spring. Yes......it can absorb a trail deformity. However; it will rebound with just about the same energy it absorbed, and after multiple absorptions and returns of said energy, you will (a) either go out of control, or (b) learn to make your body be the damping device, (aka- "Arm & Leg Damping Technology"), which you are certainly welcome to do. For the more civilized mountain bike riders, there is an advanced form of damping technology to control the uncontrolled rebound of pneumatic fat bike tires called "Bluto", (see below), along with rear dampers from Rock Shox, and we are going to use that. Good luck with your backwards technology. Have a great ride, mmmkay?
Seriously- The Bucksaw, (and likely other bikes before we get to 2015 with fat tires and full suspension), is going to transform mountain biking as we know it. Mark my words- this is just the beginning folks. With the game changing traction of fat bike tires, carbon fiber rims, lightweight components, and new full suspension ideas grafted in, (thinking RS-1 type forks for starters), the mountain bike is going to fundamentally change again for the average trail bike rider. This ain't no snowbike, Brutha!
|Image by Fixie Dave Nice|
Of course, none of this would have happened had there not been a production fat bike suspension fork. The much anticipated model, dubbed the "Bluto", was announced officially yesterday at Sea Otter (Weasel), although it had been leaked a day earlier by several sources.
While many will undoubtedly begin to shoot holes in this first product for the category from a major manufacturer, it has to be said that it probably is just the tip of the ice berg. Like the '05 Reba 29"er, or the earliest Rock Shox fork, the RS-1 26"er, this Bluto deal is just the start. While you may not believe fat bikes need a front suspension fork, in five or six years you won't believe we used this suspension fork when we'll be on stuff far more advanced. I'm sure of this. In fact, I think this is a revolutionary product and this should have been called the RS-1 to reflect that. Bluto? Really?!! Oh well......
In a great move, Rock Shox, by default or design, made this fork so it fits 29+ rubber. Now here comes the deal.......will the Bucksaw fit a 29+ rear tire? If not, I think Salsa may have missed a golden opportunity. Why? Because then I could buy one bike, and with two wheel sets cover everything from soft conditions to rock hard dirt with fat bike rims and tires to 29+ tires on 29"er rims and then to an "ultra-light" 29"er tire set up on the same rims. One bike- Three different uses.
|Rocky Mountain's Blizzard w/Bluto: (Image courtesy of Rocky Mountain Bikes)|
Regardless, this is a game changing day in off roading. It's just the tip of the iceberg too. We already know that Trek will have five fat bike models and two of those will be full suspension bikes. Can Specialized sit on the sidelines while this goes on? I think not. How long will Giant hold on to its 27.5" mantra? (Just long enough that they will be one of the last on board with the fat bike stuff, just like they were with 29"ers.) However it all goes, it has become quite obvious that fat bikes have become the "new 29"er", not the 27.5 inch wheeled so-called enduro rigs. 27.5 is a 26"er replacement, nothing more, nothing less. Fat bikes are really a game changer. They have inherent qualities that no other off road bicycle can match. No.......it isn't for everyone, but it will appeal to a much wider audience than 27.5 inch wheels would ever appeal to.
|WTB Trailblazer 27.5 X 2.8|
Unless it is 27.5+. Yes, you read that right. No, not the Instigator, a real 27.5 X 2.8" tire which was shown by WTB at the Sea Weasel. This wheel with the big rubber measures just shy of 29 inches and will fit many existing 29"ers. Sound like fun? I thought so..........
Okay, that's my commentary on that. Go out and get a ride in this weekend and keep the rubber side down.