Fatbikes? Or Funbikes?

I'm fortunate because part of my job at Salsa involves product demos. I get a chance to see different parts of the country, meet with our dealers, and interact with some of the folks that have bought or are considering buying a Salsa bike.

The bikes that inevitably draw the most questioning looks and hardy tire kicking are of course the Mukluks. Fatbikes are still an unkown and strange breed to many folks. The most common questions I get are “What in the heck do you use that for?" or “Aren’t those things just for snow?". I love answering questions like this because it truly is amazing all the different ways you can rock a fatbike.

While they are great for snow of course, they are the perfect bike for so many other things too. I have to admit that sometimes I will even tell a tall tale or two just to get people going. I once had a dude completely convinced that due to the massive air volume in the tires you could quite literally ride across the top of water. Don’t worry...I let him know the truth...eventually. 

My general point here is that fatbikes aren’t just for snow. They are for everything. Personally, I think we should change the term to Funbikes instead of Fatbikes because more than anything they put a smile on your face. In fact, I don’t recall a single test ride that I’ve ever sent out on a fat bike where the rider didn’t return to the tent with a grin from ear to ear.

One of my favorite rides of the past couple years was an afternoon riding a Mukluk Ti through Kane Creek Wash in Moab. Tyler Anderson (our Colorado sales rep) and I were fresh off the Fruita Fat Tire Festival and looking for a few hours of fun. Tyler had ridden a bit of the wash before but wasn’t able to get too far due to the sugar sand, water, and baby head rock mix of the terrain. We thought this would be the perfect place to experience everything that a fatbike has to offer.

Not a bad place to spend an afternoon...

We jumped in the van and made the short jaunt over to Moab. The wash wasn’t quite as dry as we had anticipated in parts so it definitely made for a bit more adventure than we had originally anticipated…and more adventure means a lot more laughs.

Recess on the playground...

My favorite part of a ride like this is that there literally is no trail. You just pick what looks like the best line and ride it! The big ol’ meats on the fatbike effortlessly floated over the top of the sand , skipped over top of fields of baby heads, and had great hook up on some of the slickrock lines too. Unfortunately they didn’t ride across the top of the water.

Floatation does have its limits...

I only wish I had helmet cam video of riding behind Tyler in one water crossing where the depth went from a manageable few inches to several feet in an instant...too funny. All in all, it was an amazing day and fun was had by all. Tyler and I are still smiling about it now even a couple months later. Yep…definitely Funbikes.

This post filed under topics: Fatbike Mukluk

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Bobby Dahlberg

Bobby Dahlberg

Its all about God, Life, Love, Music, and ear wax candles.


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Phat Phil | July 2nd, 2012

I couldn’t agree more with your thought of a name change to “fun bike” . My Mukluk made me smile the 1st time I rode it and every time I take it out now. I go for ride with my wife on her “Townie” (which used get all the comments about being cool) for a coffee. Now we answer questions about the “Bike with the big tires !” It gets lots of smiles and finger pointing from passing cars. And the bonus for us old kids….....I learned to ride on a “balloon tire bike” who else is revisiting there youth ?

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Kevin | July 2nd, 2012

I got my Mukluk 3 in Early June. Every single time I ride it, (trails or just around town) someone comments on the tires. The best is when I ride past this children’s playground at the trail system I ride, and the kids literally stop in their tracks and check it out as I go by. It is a real show stopper. Can’t wait for snow!!!!!

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Hook | July 2nd, 2012

i think fatbikes are awesome, and i’ve never thought of them as only for snow. They are indeed fun- but so are a lot of bikes. The term"fatbikes” is useful because it refers to the defining feature of the genre; “funbikes” doesn’t help anyone know what you’re talking about. The “fat” part doesn’t imply snow use only, or a lack of fun, does it? Why change the term?
Alright, enough semantic nitpicking. Time for a ride :-)

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Rod Budnik | July 2nd, 2012

I have three Salsa’s - my Mamasita, Big Mama, and my Mukluk.  If I had to choose to keep just one (the thought makes me sick to my stomach!), it would be the Mukluk.  That bike makes me smile just thinking about riding it.  It’s so much fun.

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JayP | July 3rd, 2012

well said - FUN!!

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Glenn Charles | July 3rd, 2012

True That!! - Everyone that comes across me and my Mukluk asks the same questions with the same smiles on their face. This has been true no matter where I was or what culture I was riding through.  The bike is just too much fun to ride and it does not matter what the surface is, dirt, mud, road, sand or snow.  The other day I tried to ride across a beaver pond and did not make it.  I did however discover that there was no need to carry the bike above my head because of the floatation in the tires :-)  The bike just floated right along side of me…  Great post!

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MG | July 3rd, 2012

I agree… My fatbike has been my funbike ever since it came into my life… No snow required. It rocks in any terrain.

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Patrick | July 4th, 2012

My Fatbike has never even seen snow.

I had to fly to Minneapolis to by my Muk 2.  When I was calling around i heard lots of “We can’t get it,” and even “What idiot would buy a $2500 snow bike in DC?”

We got no snow this winter, but it has ridden through a river, streams, swamps, and tons of singletrack!

Thanks for making a fun bike!

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Stash | July 12th, 2012

Definitely not just for snow. I ordered an original Mukluk to build for riding to work in the white sands of Florida. I always find it amazing that riding a bike can still make me smile this much.

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Paul | July 18th, 2012

Since March of 2012 my Mukluk has become my main bike.  I ride single track daily (an at night).  I’ve never ridden it in the snow.  I ride in the Palm Springs, CA area, where our single track is loose to sandy.  Fantastic answer to steep loose climbs!!! I took it to Crested Butte Colorado in July.  I built a second 29er wheel set for the trip.  I found that a rear 29er with a fat front worked best in this type of single track.  As a half fat, my modified Mukluk3 is now 29 pounds.  It climbs well in the thin Colorado air! 

FatBikes are not just funbikes..they are future bikes.

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Don Phillips | August 15th, 2012

Little late to the discussion party but, I’ve got a few things to add to the “fat” bike discussion.

Being a large man, I prefer you refer to these bikes as “big boned”, ha just kidding.  What a great paradigm shift for cycling!  Below are a few reasons why I think this type of bike will sell very well in the coming years:

1) Realist Adventurer: Clearly, this bike conforms to a person who wants to explore, site see and go places where most humans can’t.  Great capture of the obvious market.

2) Image is Everything: Long-time bikers or newcomers who like to add a little spice to their image can certainly turn a few heads with this bike (given the necessary adjustments).

3) Fat Truck Converts: Have you noticed fuel prices are high and more trucks are for sale?  How is that guy or tough gal going to fill that “macho” void?  Get a fat bike.  This may be a streach but, think about it, big rubber and the bike is mean looking…like a truck…

Fat bikes have even more potential.  Salsa is so close with the look of the bike.  Why so many bikes without fenders or racks?  What is with this light blue color on the Mukluk 3?  No problem!  I am excited to be buying my first fat bike TONIGHT!  Damn straight I’ll be adding fenders, racks and likely getting an upgraded paint job.  If the frame didn’t look so “missionary style” I’d be in hog heaven. 

Hey, I’m thankful that a fat bike exists.  I feel like a kid again; I’m so excited to get my fat bike I can’t sit still.

Don Phillips

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Francesco | October 23rd, 2012

Thanks, those mtb trails are all eiasly accessible from the Hoyt Park parking lot area.  After you ride the Hoyt Pool trails, exit the parking lot, cross the bridge and hang a sharp right as soon as you get over the bridge.  Look for a trail opening in the trees that takes you directly down to the Menomonee River.  You can then ride those trails north all the way past Hampton.  The trails are definitely buff right now.  Ben’s cycle on LIncoln Ave is certainly open to anyone, and Jim works in the shop on the south side of the street.  I highly recommend him if you need any wrenching done.  As for the other local companies, that is the cool thing about the Wisconsin bicycle industry, it is all just a phone call or a bike ride away.  If you have any specific needs from any of the companies I used to supply parts for the Cheddar Build, just let me know and I will hook you up with a contact.

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Don Phillips | October 27th, 2012

Francesco-  Sure let me know.  I didn’t end up getting a fat bike yet.

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