By Maurice Tierney,
Unveiled in Utah for the 2013 model year, the Beargrease is Salsa’s new lightweight racing fatbike. Those of you in southern latitudes may not know this but there’s actually lunatics out there who ride and even race bicycles on snow, and they need fat, fat tires to do so. Fatbikes, with their 3.8” and larger tires are gaining popularity for their floatation abilities over sand, snow, any any other surface for that matter.
I have demo’ed (never raced) a fatbike or two here and there, thinking they were a bit cumbersome. Salsa is addressing this, as well as the needs of actual racers, with the Beargrease. Based on Salsa’s Mukluk fatbike yet five pounds lighter I am told, a ride on the Beargrease changed my mind about the viability of fatbikes in general.
The beargrease goes on its diet with fancy shaped-aluminum frame and fork. The rims are Surly’s Holy Rolling Darryl mated to new lighter tires from 45North. Braze-ons for racks and such that you find on the Mukluk are gone. Even the sweet black annodized finish is lighter.
Like the Mukluk, the Beargrease is sold as a complete bike, ready to rock. No “Fudging around” for you, consumer. Every set-up issue from crank to chainline to front derailleur positioning has been taken care of. And like the Mukluk, the Beargrease is based on 3.8” tires on 80mm rims. Everything is compatable.
My ride on the Beargrease was a blast. Weighing in at 28.5 lbs. in size medium, all visions of slowness were erased from my mind as the bike climbed as well as my six-inch travel dually mountain bike, which weighs more than this bike. When I turned back down the hill I attacked sharp rocks and railed through the loose, ball-bearing like surface of the trails here at Snowbasin, UT. It rode like a bike, nothing weird except the super-grippy connection to the earth below me.
Later that day I got on a regular bike and it felt weird and out of control. Uh-oh. Might I become one of the converted? One of the Fatheads? This could be troublesome. Beargrease complete will sell for $2,999, $999 for a frameset.