Alaska Fatpacking - Gnat’s Bike and Gear

Today I'll share my Mukluk bike setup from our recent Alaskan fatbike adventure. Kid will follow with his later this week.

As I mentioned in a previous post, both Mike and I were riding prototype Salsa Mukluk frames. We are excited to share our setups, but keep in mind these are true prototypes. Prototypes are used to test concepts. Our production bikes are quite different than the bikes you see here. Our website will be updated this week with all the details and spec of our Mukluk production bikes. Stay tuned for that!

I was riding a Mukluk Ti prototype. On it we were testing the functionality of our proven Alternator dropouts. The base geometry was no different than our current Mukluk. However, with the Alternators, you are able to run not only singlespeed, but more importantly you can fine tune both chainstay length and tire clearance. It works sweet and we chose to go to production with this design on our new Mukluk Ti. The production dropouts are just a bit more refined than the ones on my bike and the cable routing is different as well with production bikes getting all toptube mounted cables.  

The rest of my gear is nothing out of the ordinary. This was a tour and frankly I carried quite a bit of stuff. We planned for temp ranges from 35-70 degrees and for rain. Key pieces of my kit include Revelate Designs seat bag, frame bag and Mountain Feed Bag (for my pocket camera), Salsa Minimalist rack with my sleeping kit in a high quality dry bag, my 20-year-old MSR XGK stove that burns everytime, and of course my camera gear. On this trip because the pace and the distances were comfortable, I chose to bring my DSLR with three lenses. I also brought my tripod. I carried all my camera gear and rain jacket in an Osprey Escapist 30 pack. Osprey gave me the pack for this trip when I was in Utah for Saddledrive and Dealer Camp. It's simply awesome, and for me, a great replacement to my old reliable Osprey 22 pack.

Of note, my bike setup includes only a rear brake. This is simply due to the fact that beach riding/touring doesn't really require the use of brakes at all. The speeds are so slow and the riding only gets technical if you want to take on some good rock sections when they present themselves. Plus, the environment is quite harsh on equipment and one way to lessen this is to have one less brake.

In the end, despite my setup being just a bit on the heavy side, I was super happy with my choices. If you have a specific gear question for me, ask in a comment and I will respond. Just keep in mind that I am out of the office this week attending the Eurobike tradeshow so my response won't be immediate.

This post filed under topics: Bikepacking Fatbike Mukluk Touring

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Jason Boucher

Jason Boucher

Growing up as a Minnesota farm boy, I developed an appreciation and love for land and open space. This appreciation has fostered two passions, cycling and photography. Both of these passions provide freedom, encourage me to explore and foster creativity. More importantly though, my journey with a bike and a camera reminds me that the world is big and I am small.


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Adam Macbeth | August 29th, 2011

I have a Mukluk. Thinking about Ti…. Any chnace a Big Fat Larry will fit in that thing on a Large Marge? Singlespeed with 4.7s appeals to me greatly

Kid Riemer

Kid Riemer | August 29th, 2011


Thanks for the question. We know others are wondering the same thing.

We will have a post in the coming week regarding our initial thoughts on compatibility with Surly’s new Big Fat Larry tire. That initial post will be based on what fits, but may not fully delve into the details yet on what drivetrain modifications may be necessary. Frankly, we need to take some time to check it out. Nor will it touch on what a Big Fat Larry will ride like when mounted to a Large Marge rim. -Kid

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Dean | August 29th, 2011

@ Adam…
I’m not sure about frame differences between the previous Mukluk and the ‘new’ Muk 2 and 3 (or Ti Muk), but there is at least one documented report of a previous Muk rider using the Big Fat Larrys (a test version) on a Mukluk.  He reported no clearance problems in front, using either an 80 or 100mm rim.  In the rear, he indicated that he had to: 1) use Surly’s new double offset front crank; and, 2) use some spacers to move out his cassette, and drop to a 6 or 7 speed, in order to get chain clearance on the rear tire.  But it does supposedly fit within the frame.

Errin | August 29th, 2011

Looking forward to the updates coming later this week. I too am interested in the BFL/Clownshoe clearance issues. However, I’m really looking forward to the Black Floyd/Marge Lite combo as I’ve been commuting on my Mukluk through the city here in Los Angeles. I think the 26 mile commute will be slightly easier on the Black Floyds instead of the Larrys.

Elvis | August 29th, 2011

I love the idea of the Muk’ ti. I’d order one *now*... if someone can show me a way to fit a Rohloff in it? (or an Alfine 11… I’m not that picky)

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Stephen | August 29th, 2011

More likely that a Rohloff will fit as the chainline is somewhat wider (54mm or 58mm with 13T cog) than an Alfine 11 (~42/47mm depending on cog orientation) but I guess we’ll all have to wait and see if either will work until some measurements can be made. It’d be useful if Shimano offered a wider chainline version of the Alfine!

Elvis | August 29th, 2011

@ Stephen - I hadn’t even thought about the chainline… more the 170mm spacing.

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Stephen | August 29th, 2011

^ 170mm spacing hadn’t occurred to me. Probably neither can be made to work easily, although it might be possible to use the Salsa 135-170mm adaptor on the Alfine somehow. :-(

SFuller | August 29th, 2011

I’m thinking that the Rohloff with the spacer will not work. The spacer would be on the non-drive side and I think that’s the side of the hub that has the axle plate and the shifting cables. You’d likely need a special bracket at the very least to get that to work right.

Guitar Ted | August 30th, 2011

Top tube mounted cables. Could you be more specific as to whether that is under, on top, or on the side? Thanks! I look forward to getting this frame.

By the way, it might be of interest to know about the fork and tire clearances as well. I’m sure you’ve thought of that, but just to make certain….

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Sean | September 1st, 2011

I have a set of non-offset Large Marge (65mm) wheels with the Alfine 8 speed and Alfine Dyno hubs on my Surly Big Dummy.  I can confirm the Alfine won’t work on the rear of my 2011 Mukluk without some kind of specially machined spacer for the non-cog side.  The spacer Salsa sells currently sells for Mukluk requires the use of a 170mm QR even when one uses a 135mm hub, and the wheel needs to be dished properly for this setup.

I had hoped to be able to share those wheels between the Dummy and my snow bike but in the end I bought a set of wheels specifically for the Mukluk.

I agree - a kit (hack?) to expand the Alfine rear hub from 135 to 170mm is in order!

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Seth | September 2nd, 2011

Wouldn’t a Rohloff EX work with the external gear mechanism? I keep watching to see if someone has done this, I don’t want to be the first!

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