First Impressions: Borealis Echo

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Borealis claims that its Echo is the first ever high-performance fat bike to be designed around RockShox’s 100mm travel Bluto fork. Considering that the company’s headquarters is a mere three miles from SRAM’s Colorado Springs R&D office that’s no surprise. Borealis was the first company to get its hands on the fat bike specific fork and it shows. But there’s more to it than that.

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The carbon frame has a massive 100mm bottom bracket shell that won’t be flexing or swaying under even the biggest, most aggressive fatty riders. Cables are all internally routed for a high-end, finished look not currently found on many fat bikes. The rear dropouts use new 197mm spacing and include a 12mm RockShox Maxle thru axle to match the one found on the fork.

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Adding to the professional feel of the machine is a 1×11 drivetrain that matches SRAM XX1 parts to an ultralight RaceFace Next SL single ring carbon crank specific to fat bikes. You’ll also find a wide RaceFace Next carbon handlebar, lightweight Turnagain FR80 rims and 45Nrth Husker Du tires. All this sweetness results in a bike that sits right around the 30-pound mark. Ours would be a bit less with the standard RaceFace Next carbon seatpost but we elected to go with a RockShox Reverb dropper upgrade to add to the Echo’s off-road capabilities. Retail price (with the RaceFace post) is $5,999.

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With an almost 70-degree head angle and a long 24-inch top tube the Echo feels familiar in regards to rider position. The 73-degree seat tube angle put me nicely over the bottom bracket to put the power down—and this where the Echo shines in the fat bike world. It feels fast, rumbling over the trail with aplomb and responding to subtle rider input better than a fat bike would be expected to.

The suspension fork is a nice addition to keep the front wheel under control when things could get bouncy and it lets you raise tire pressure a few psi for less rolling resistance from the big tires. From my first ride I was surprised at how quick the Borealis scooted up hills and of course traction in the turns is unmatched.

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So far it’s been an absolute blast to ride on our dry fall trails covered in leaves with a hit of mud here and there thanks to confident handling and surefooted performance. Look for a complete test of the Borealis Echo in an upcoming issue of Dirt Rag magazine after a few months of winter riding. Subscribe or renew now so you’ll be sure not to miss it. Check out the Borealis website for more information on this Echo and other build options.