Sunday, December 04, 2016

Big Fat Dummy: Are You Kidding Me!

Finally! They went and did THIS!
Surly Bikes is a weird company. I am not sure that the originators of the company back in the late 90's quite envisioned this, but they set the course for the company by offering a bike no one else would in the mainstream industry and decided not to fundamentally change it or phase it out. The Surly 1X1 frame and fork still, after 18 years, is available. It has been updated, but fundamentally, it is the same bike.

Surly has remained that company for the most part. They do not cotton to "model years". They change spec and colors whenever they flow with their supply chain. (Much to the chagrin, at times, to their fan base.) They update features when it makes sense to do that. But more importantly, they make stuff when the mainstream bike companies won't consider doing that. Still.

The Big Dummy cargo bike is such a rig. Fisher took a stab at the cargo bike, and Kona offers one, but neither did it before Surly did it. Now look what they did...... They made it a fat bike too. Don't hold your breath for a Trek or Specialized version of this to come out. And maybe that's for the best.

For all the super-nerdy details on this rig, see Surly's blog post here. Get ready to burn a half an hour.......or more. 

An example of the activity you might get involved in by exposing yourself to a Big Fat Dummy
 If you've read this blog for a while you know I just got a Big Dummy. I really, really like it, and I will admit that I've been looking at how I could maybe squeeze something bigger inside that frame for tires. I have quietly thought for several years that a Big Fat Dummy would make perfect sense, and said so to then Surly Marketing wonk Travis. In fact, he owned a Big Fat Dummy with 3.0" Knards stuffed in, barely, and agreed that the Big Fat Dummy would be rad. I wouldn't at all be surprised that the project was kicked off at around that time. I bet I wasn't the only one saying they should make one.

Well, however that worked out, they did it. The bike everyone that owned a fat bike and a Big Dummy had thought about. A steel, fat tire capable cargo bike. It takes the biggest fat tires out there now, if you are willing to compromise on drive train range a bit. It can handle up to a 100mm suspension device up front. It has a completely new, better frame than the current Big Dummy has. Stiffer, more capable to ride over stuff. It can even handle 29+ tires and wheels. It is even dropper post compatible. Don't laugh. If you've ever tried to mount a fully loaded Big Dummy, a dropper post makes a ton of sense. Call it a parking setting post. Then it maybe it becomes more clear as to why that might be.

So, I have a Big Dummy. Would I get one of these?

Having never ridden this beast, here's my reaction to the thing at this point in light of my experiences with the Big Dummy.

This is my Big Dummy
 Well, if I hadn't purchased this Big Dummy that I have now, yes- I would definitely get the Big Fat Dummy, and here is why:
  • Totally redesigned frame which is stiffer, has through axles, and new geometry for easier roll over of curbs, etc.
  • Suspension fork compatibility. I have Bluto fat bike suspension fork which would be perfect on this bike.
  • Fat tire capability. I would have a Winter set of tires and a Summer, smoother treaded set. 
  • Tubeless rims. Natch.
  • Dropper post compatibility. A brilliant idea for this bike. They are not just for drop offs and gnarly terrain. 
So, am I trading in my old Big Dummy for this? Not likely. I still really want a Big Fat Dummy, but I don't really need to get one. Mine is lighter than this new one (The BFD weighs 54lbs in size medium), I can do 95% of what I need a cargo bike to do with this current Big Dummy, (Winter performance yet to be determined), and my current Big Dummy is stiff enough for my needs.

The new Big Fat Dummy would increase my capabilities a touch, but at the price of $2950.00USD it would also cost me a lot more.Value gained per dollars spent would be minimal in my case, but for anyone that isn't in to a fat bike and needs a lifestyle/car replacement bicycle, this would be on top of my list.

Okay- Now it is speculation time: Sometimes you can glean little nuggets from press releases and historical performances of certain companies. Surly is no different in this regard.

Surly mention the following in their blog post about the tire capabilities of the Surly Big Fat Dummy: "Like stated earlier, you are good to go up to 26x5.25” in the Big Fat Dummy." 

Wait...... No one makes a fat bike tire in that size. Yet.

Let's say Surly has a bigger, badder fat bike tire up their sleeve. Wait....... They don't make a bicycle that can fit that big of a tire. Yet.

Hmm..... Maybe there is something else I could really use coming up........


bostonbybike said...

I'm less enthusiastic about Fat Dummy but I appreciate that Surly made a bike like that. They have always been a company that creates market niches and pushes boundaries.

I own a cargo bike and I think that for an average cargo bike owner big, fat tires are unnecessary. Fat Dummy is probably a cargo bike for those 10% of trips that you can't make on a regular cargo bike. Sure, it will work much better in winter when you absolutely have to take that unplowed trail through forest. But most of the time, there are paved roads available.

For me, adding an electric assist to my cargo bike dramatically extended its capabilities. Adding fat tires wouldn't change it much, considering roads I ride on.

Ari said...

How much will it cost?

Ari said...

Sorry missed the 3k pricetag

Unknown said...

2 thoughts..
Doesn't Vee Rubber make a 26" x 5.4" tire?
What about a fat Bakfiets/Long John? That would be bad ass! I've been lusting after a bakfiets for some time. They just seem to make sense for cargo, but may not be the best off road...

Guitar Ted said...

@Stefan Mettler-

1- The Vee Tire Snowshoe 2XL is officially listed as a 5.05" tire.

2- I've seen several images of bakfiets, and while I am sure they would be great at cargo hauling, the thought you are having about them being compromised off road handlers is exactly what I would think as well.

50voltphantom said...

They should offer a suspension fork as a factory option. It would make so much sense on this bike. Also, I too read the entire press release and I'm not even in the market. Good read for sure.

Geir Anders said...

Brilliant writeup on a very interesting bike. I'm in search for the photographer behind the sweet shot of the Big Fat Dummy out in the fields – for a story I am writing for the Norwegian cargo bike website Is it yours, or should I ask Surly?

Guitar Ted said...

@Geir Anders: You will have to ask Surly.

Unknown said...

I wish that they would have committed fully to the Rohloff hub. The standard Big Dummy does and I think was a mistake not to have the dropouts made for the Rohloff. That said, with a Rohloff it makes for a very expensive bike.