Fatbikes have come a long way since their inception in Alaska, and since the Surly Pugsley brought them in the “mainstream” via a practical and reasonably affordable mass market fatbike. I own the first generation Salsa Mukluk, and have developed an affinity for Salsa fatbikes. The Mukluk is well designed as a fatbike designed for adventure, but this isn’t about the Mukluk.
Instead, it’s about the Beargrease, Salsa’s new race-ready fatbike, introduced to the market as a 2013 model. The Beargrease takes much of what has been successful with the Mukluk, but strips it down to fighting weight (28.5 lbs complete, stock). While the geometry isn’t quite as aggessive as some fatbikes, if you truly ride your fatbike in snow (their original purpose though certainly not their only useful purpose), having a slightly relaxed/upright geometry makes sense.
Salsa (based in MN and an in-house brand of uber-successful QBP) knows what bikes will ride like, because they ride bikes themselves. They learn from their active role in demos, races, user reviews, forums, etc. It’s at one such demo that I had opportunity to try out the new Beargrease. Salsa had a “demo day” at Carver Lake Park this last week, and I had a chance to go over there to ride, and to test the Beargrease.
First, kudos to Salsa to being involved in the community it’s based in, as well as the broader cycling community. They are a company that is obviously passionate about cycling, and continuously working to improve their products. The Beargrease is no exception. After enjoying every minute of riding my Mukluk, from breaking new trails in the snow in the winter, to towing my kids, to riding a 100-miler in the Black Hills, the Mukluk is a do-it-all bike built for fun and utility.
The Beargrease dials in the fun a bit more, for those who want their fatbike to be light, nimble, responsive and fast. If you’re looking for a winter race bike for one of the many fatbike races occurring throughout the country (like our very own Fatbike Frozen Forty), the Beargrease should hit the mark. In my test ride, I was amazed at how light and “nimble” it was. Yes, it’s hard to call a bike with relatively heavy wheels and 4″ wide tires nimble, but if you compare it to other traditional fatbikes, the Beargrease feels nimble.
In my short loop in the Carver Lake Park singletrack, I couldn’t help but want to make the Beargrease fly off the small bumps in the trail or try to lay it down in the corners in a way I haven’t felt compelled to do with the Mukluk. All in all, I’m a big fan of the Beargrease, and I believe it’s a great fit for someone looking for a bike that’s lighter than their current fatbike, or as a first splash into fatbikes for someone who has previously ridden only 26ers or 29ers and thought fatbikes were too cumbersome.
At RideFatbikes.com, we’ve always thought it’s been a great time to ride fatbikes – but this year, with the Beargrease, the new and improved Mukluks, and a variety of great fatbikes from other manufacturers as well, this year should prove this in spades.
If you want more Beargrease info and specs, check our prior post, here: http://ridefatbikes.com/?p=1338. Or, for the total and complete facts, check out Salsa’s post, here: http://salsacycles.com/culture/new_for_2013_introducing_beargrease.
Short version = 28.5 lbs complete; MSRP $2999; 5.2 lb frameset (frame & fork); new lightweight Husker Du tires from 45Nrth; drilled Rolling Darryl rims; newly designed lightweight E13 cranks; etc.