This was my first time throwing a leg over a fatbike. Stoked! I set the tire pressure to 14psi for starters (I’ve read that most people ride snow around 5-10psi), so I figured I’d start high, and slowly dial it in. I geared 32:21 for a nice, easy spin. Then I was off. THE PLAN: Ride from my house up to Twin Lakes on the road for a warm-up before hitting the road closure on Lake Mary Rd. Then, continue on the “free” groomed trail up and around Lake Mary and eventually up to Horseshoe Lake. After the steady climbing, the reward would be to turn around and cruise back down. Sounds like fun, right? RIGHT.
You’d be surprised how well 4″ balloon tires at low pressure spin on pavement. The ride up the road was easier than I thought. Nice. This bike is as quiet as anything I’ve ever ridden. The Salsa Mukluk 2 hub barely makes a noise, and Glenn has the chain line so spot on, I couldn’t hear anything accept the rubber whizzing on the ground and later the snow. Quiet. Exactly what you want from a bike like this. Very zen. Anyhoo, right away, I noticed my legs pedaling slightly farther apart than normal (due to the 170mm bottom bracket width – wider than a normal mountain bike to make room for the fatter wheels/tires). I’d read many forums and posts about this and was slightly worried that it would feel weird, hurt my knees, etc. – but it was very minimal, and it did not bother me at all. The Crank Brothers eggbeater pedals, ergon GS2 grips, and flat bars with the same dimensions as my Niner really helped the bike feel “familiar”.
Once I hit the snow, it felt as if I’d hit the “dirt”. It’s amazing how much snow feels like dirt. I just cruised on up Lake Mary Road, enjoying the scenery. I received nothing but smiles and cheers from all the nordic skiers, snowshoers, and dog walkers enjoying their afternoon. Of course, I stayed to the left, the part that is open for multi-use. From the responses, comments, and questions – I predict we’ll be seeing more people riding fatties soon. And with XC centers all over the country opening their trails to fatbikes, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to see Tamarac XC Center follow suit if the demand is there.. opening up some trails to bikes… maybe eventually holding races… one can hope… but until then, there are plenty of public multi-use xc and snowmobile trails to keep busy around here.
So yeah, I had a fun easy climb up to Horseshoe, and then turned around for the descent. I couldn’t believe how well the husker du tires were gripping the snow. What a blast. I started carving “S” turns and never touched my brakes once on the descent. It was kind of like skiing – using turn shape to control speed. Magical. I was even able to ride the snow-covered bike path down to the tunnel under Chair 15, floating over fairly fresh snow. Sweet!
My first impressions of my Mukluk: ADDICTED. I can’t wait to ride more terrain. Shady Rest, the lettered snowmobile trails, a day trip to June, full moon rides… tons of possibilities. Get off the couch, potato. I’ve already had numerous friends tell me they’d rent a snowbike/fatbike up here if they were available… local shops, I hope you’re listening…