Fat Bike Science: What Does Weight Matter, Anyway?


We take on the North American Vasa Fat Bike Race on a really old rusty and heavy fat bike to see if weight matters in the snow. We have a feeling it will because of gravity, physics, and general common sense.Just a week after ripping around Hanson Hills, we’re headed back to action on a slightly different bike at the North American Vasa Fat Bike Race. This 2013 Salsa Mukluk 3 (none of that fancy Muk 2 nonsense) was pulled from the garage of kolo t.c. Senior Old Person Joe Sovis’ house in Karlin specifically for this experiment, and also because it was the most-free option available.

Oh 2013, what a time to be alive. Get Lucky was tearing up the airwaves, Barack Obama was just settling into his second term, we all thought 135mm front hub spacing was totally going to be the thing, and only a few uppity carbon fatties were dotting the landscape (and more than a few were cracking *cough* Sarma *cough*).

Yeah, we’re going in with a cool mix here. Weighing in at 32 pounds and 9 ounces, it’s sniffing eight pounds heavier than the BBCo. Balthazar I rode last weekend, but with that weight comes some advantages. At speed, the heavy as 27tpi Surly Nates really, really hold their line, to the point where it feels like it is actively fighting your attempts to steer. Our world-class mechanics tried to make some upgrades, like install some brake pads with actual pad left, put Avid’s patented Rusted Out Caliper (R.O.C.) technology made that kind of impossible. I tried to change out the seat but the bolts are seized. I was able to install my Wahoo Elemnt mount, so at least I’ll know all the #date and #numbers from this test.

We’ll be using a completely objective and totally unscientific Perceived Rate of Exertion scale in conjunction with just a really vague general impressive of how much harder the race was on the bike…or easier, who knows? That’s why we do science, to test a hypothesis.



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