The Beargrease is Salsa’s trail-oriented fatbike and in 2015, became the brand’s first carbon fatbike. It was designed to be agile, fast and totally singletrack-capable, dispelling the myth that “fatbikes are slow” (yes, they are slower than an XC race bike but quicker than you think if you’ve never ridden one). As the happy owner of a 2016 model, I can attest to this fact. I absolutely love mine, and for more than just snow riding.
For 2018, the Beargrease is in for a pretty big change. Rather than sticking with “traditional” 26 x 4.0 or so tires, Salsa is now spec-ing all models with 27.5 x 4 inch tires.
This isn’t a brand new wheel and tire size in the fatbike world (see our thoughts on the Trek Farley a little while ago), but it’s not one that seems to have caught on too quickly. Maybe this will be the year. We shall see.
So why 27.5 inch fat tires? (If 27.5 x 3.0 is 27plus, would they be considered 27fat? For the rest of this article, I think I’ll just go with that) Is the industry just trying to make everything more confusing? (Truth be told, I actually like the fact that there are so many options)
Joe Meiser, product developer for Salsa, briefly touched upon some of the benefits of the 27fat platform: better rolling momentum, a longer contact patch while cornering, can run lower psi on snow-packed, groomed trails while retaining stable contact while cornering.
The outside diameter of the 27.5 x 4.0 tire is about the same as a 29 x 3.0, so 29plus fans will likely find the transition to be an easy one.
The 2018 Beargrease will be available in three different specs:
GX Eagle $4,599
SLX 1 x 11 $2,499
NX 1 $1,999
You can also purchase a carbon frame with a Salsa Makwa carbon fork for $1,499.
The GX Eagle model also comes spec’d with the Makwa fork, SRAM Level T brakes, HED Big Deal 85 mm carbon rims laced onto Brickhouse hubs, and Maxxis Minion FBF/FBR 3.8 inch tires.
SLX is equipped with a Makwa fork, 1 x 11 drivetrain with a 30t crankset and 11-46t cassette, SRAM Level brakes, SUNringle Mulefat 80 mm rims and the same Maxxis fat tire combo as the other models.
Salsa is pretty proud that they’ve been able to bring a full carbon fatbike down to such an affordable (relatively speaking) price point with the NX1. Part of their initiative for the upcoming year is to reach new groups of riders and make the “Adventure by Bike” mantra more accessible. For $1,999, you’ll get a full carbon frame and Bearpaw carbon fork, a SRAM NX1 drivetrain with a 28t crankset and 11-42t cassette, Hayes MX Comp brakes and the same SUNringle rims and Maxxis tires as the SLX model.
There weren’t any demos of the new Beargrease to try out here at Saddle Drive, but hopefully we’ll get one in to review this fall or winter. Stay tuned!