Salsa Teases Prototype Full Suspension FatBike

Yes, there has been quite a bit of talk around here lately regarding fatbikes, and for good reason – they’re quickly gaining popularity. While more companies are thinking about introducing new hardtail fatbikes like the On-One Askja, it seems Salsa is looking to take it to the next level with the possibility of a full suspension fatbike.

Revealed on Salsa’s Blog, the prototype frame looks to be similar to a modified Spearfish or HorseThief frame. The biggest design challenges around a full suspension fatbike would obviously be fitting the massive tires in the rear triangle, but also accommodating for the tire when the suspension is compressed. Also, while there are a few forks on the market that will accommodate a fatbike wheel (Maverick and Flame to name a few), if Salsa plans to sell these in the future, who knows,  it might bring out a new fatbike compatible fork from a major manufacturer.

Salsa stresses that this is currently just a prototype, with no solid plans for production. However, if you are interested, you should probably head over to their blog and let them know.


boonie - 01/10/12 - 5:24pm

The death of the fixie market has paved the way for avenues of new dumb crap.

Martin - 01/10/12 - 5:27pm

“Yes, there has been quite a bit of talk around here lately regarding fatbikes, and for good reason – their quickly gaining popularity”

I think you meant, “they’re”.

Mark - 01/10/12 - 5:41pm

Bravo boonie! I predict penny farthings will be next.

Erich - 01/10/12 - 5:50pm

So this might be a dumb question, but isn’t suspension usually avoided on fatbikes because most systems aren’t capable of operating well in the freezing temps that many of these bikes encounter? Isn’t that the same reason many people are running BB7’s rather than hydraulic systems for brakes?

I’m all for mucking about with frame design, I’m just curious as to what niche this product would fill; other than “world’s most badass beach cruiser” of course.

a fatbike n00b

Pat - 01/10/12 - 6:37pm

“Dumb crap”? Maybe, but probably no dumber than your dumb crap.

@Erich: Lots of fatbike riders have discovered the same thing I did – fatbikes are pretty fun in just about all conditions. I’ve put a few hundred miles on mine in the last year, and no snow riding yet (that’s just because of the weird weather we’re having.) . I even raced it once this summer against regular mountain bikes to a respectable finish. My other mountain bikes are collecting dust.

I’m not on board with the full suspension fatbikes yet, since I’m happy with my few inches of tire squish, and I like my nice light Ti fatbike (if 29 lbs can be called light). But I’d love to test ride one.

Speedy - 01/10/12 - 8:05pm

@Erich – keep in mind that while fat tire bikes are great for the snow, they are also good in the sand, and a growing number of riders are using them for average trail riding as well. A full suspension version would definitely see use in warmer climates. I wonder how a full suspension fat tire bike would do when “”rockcrawling” compared to the Askja from On-One.

TTT - 01/11/12 - 7:06am

Martin, let me shake your hand! Of course, he meant THEY’RE. God….

James Z. - 01/11/12 - 7:50am

The only reason I could see for putting suspension on a fatbike would be big drops. The suspension has no control over the bounciness of the tires, therefore, negating any percieved control advantage over rough terrain. I am not an engineer, I speak from Fatbiking experience.

Gold - 01/11/12 - 10:40am

So my thinking is you have a damped rear end with the frame, but an undamped tire. The bike will still bounce around on hardpack and rocks as the tire is free to rebound in proportion to the amount and speed of the impact , right? Also, if you’re running the skins at say under 15psi, you’d have to run that shock super low to get it to actuate before the tire starts to bottom out, which I would think would make for some reallllly crappy pedalling characteristics, wallowing in the tire and in the frame’s sag, and then having to tune the shock to get more compression and rebound to help mitigate that low psi, further straining the shock. So yeah, I’m not sure about this from a technical perspective.

Topmounter - 01/11/12 - 1:10pm

Adding suspension to a fat bike reminds me of racing taxi cabs… Neither one makes much sense to me, but there some people really seem to enjoy it.

IvanMTB - 01/11/12 - 4:01pm

Love it :)

Hope they are going to produce such monster 😀


KT - 01/11/12 - 11:47pm

after riding around on a fat bike, I think having suspension would just add unneeded weight and complexity. Sure it looks cool but I don’t think it would function as well. It already felt like I had suspension when the tire pressure was low.

thewrongwizard - 01/13/12 - 8:07pm

that would make it really heavy 😉

Ben G - 01/21/12 - 12:29pm

Then don’t buy it.

I think it’s hilarious.

Bang - 04/03/12 - 11:45am

Just plain unnecessary. Suspension doesn’t work at colder temperatures any way. The true niche for these bikes has been winter racing. Some of that happens at seriously cold temperatures (-30F or colder). In those temperatures, suspension either doesn’t function or breaks (seals crack and your fork/shock is ruined). Suspension manufacturers only care about high operating temps, they never care what the lower end of their products is. While it is possible to design suspension for colder temperatures (see snow machines, or snow mobiles for you lower 48 dooks) no one in the bike industry does it. Unless you are racing on sand, these bikes are rarely more efficient that regular mountain bike designs. They shine on snow, and on snow, suspension doesn’t work.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.