Expanding Fatbike Market Carries Big Momentum at Interbike

Fat Bike Interbike

You couldn’t go far at Interbike without encountering something fatbike. Whether crushing gravel at Outdoor Demo, blasting through barriers at Cross Vegas or taking up square footage in trade show booths, big bike momentum and product offerings continue to grow in both quality and quantity.

A number of companies introduced lightweight carbon fiber frames and forks at the show, putting together bikes that rival traditional high-end cross country bikes weight wise. Borealis turned heads with a feathery 21 pound complete featuring their Yampa frame ($1800 MSRP), FF1 carbon fork ($450), Carbondale tubeless carbon rims ($1600), FH1 wide hubset and a SRAM XX-1 component kit.

Though they’re better known for their cutting edge aero road rims, wheel maker HED showed a near-production version their forthcoming 450-gram fatbike rim which will retail for $800 each. HED displayed the wheels on a svelte, full-carbon Salsa Beargrease fatbike which tipped the scales in the low 20-pound range.

Origin-8 showed one of the more interesting takes on the category, launching a $1500 steel fatbike spec’d with NuVinci’s internal hub, continuously variable planetary (CVP) gearing. The system features a wide range of gearing that’s micro-adjustable via a handlebar twist shifter. Instead of having traditional stepped gear points, CVP has an effectively infinite number of gear ratios within the range, theoretically allowing you to dial in the precise gear for any incline or situation.

Getting fatbikes to the trailhead can be challenging, but the folks at Thule are making it a little easier with the launch of their T2 Fat Tire Kit. The $40 wheel trays replace the stock carriers on Thule’s popular T2 916 XTR and 917 XTR hitch racks, and can accommodate tires up to five-inches wide. The trays are also stepped to accommodate unfat(?) mountain bike tires and road bike treads alike‚Äďa good feature considering fatbikes tend to be one bike in a larger overall quiver.

Tire variety tends to be an indicator of category health, and Vee Rubber showed off no less than seven fatbike tire tread patterns at Interbike. With solid offerings from Surly, 45NRTH, and Origin-8 already in circulation, options abound for fatbike riders.

About the author: Don Palermini

Chicago-born Don Palermini became a cycling-based life-form in the sixth grade after completing a family road bike tour of his home state. Three years later he bought his first mountain bike to help mitigate the city's pothole-strewn streets, and began exploring the region's unpaved roads and trails. Those rides sparked a much larger journey which includes all manner of bike racing, commuting, on- and off-road bike advocacy, and a 20-plus-year marketing career in the cycling industry that landed him at his current gig with Santa Cruz bicycles. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, his four favorite words in the English language are "breakfast served all day," together in that order.

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  • Morpheous says:

    NOt one mention of the full suspension 11nine Direwolf Fatty? (for shame MTBR)

  • Delteuphiddism says:

    And I just keep outriding all those dinks who fell prey to full sus on my old full-NO-spension with the fat tires from Ritchey. And what’s this I see? It appears the industry has finally re-awakened to the truth of fat tires and are now marketing them again.
    Sure takes them a long time, sometimes, to see what this simple man has known for decades, thank you Major Tom!

  • Dongoose says:

    Morpheous – We try to ferret out the coolest stuff we can at the trade shows. I didn’t see an 11nine booth at the show and they didn’t reach out to us…maybe they were at Outdoor Demo only? In any case, we’d love to see what they got…I didn’t see any dualie fatbikes, and very few that had even a suspension fork. – Don

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