First Look: Salsa’s New Carbon Beargrease Fatbike, Ti and Alloy Mukluks

First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks

If dealers weren’t standing in line at the Salsa tent for the new Spearfish and Horsethief, chances are they were waiting for one of the new carbon Beargrease fatbikes. The aluminum Beargrease’s carbon successor has been teased for awhile and the bikes were finally available for test rides at Saddle Drive

In addition to the Beargrease, Salsa also had the rest of their fatbikes on hand with a few key changes that hold some clues for the future of fatbike suspension. First ride impressions, actual weights, and more, next.

First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks

While quite a few fatbike companies seem to be jumping on the carbon fiber train, axle widths and types seem to be a polarizing issue. Salsa has revealed their hand which happens to be thru axles front and rear. Hub widths essentially stay the same, but with 7mm added to accommodate the thru axles. This is similar to mountain bikes with 142×12 rear axles that have the same hub positioning as a 135mm quick release. Since the Beargrease is considered a racing fatbike, Salsa believes in a 4 inch tire mounted to an 82mm rim.

That means the Beargrease is equipped with a 142×15 front and 177×12 rear axle – not the 190mm QR or thru axle used by Borealis or 9:zero:7 respectively. The front axle is also an interesting point due to the fact that we’ve heard rumors that Salsa has been working with a suspension fork company to develop, well, a suspension fork. If that’s the case, then it seems like Salsa’s front axle standard, 142×15, would be the likely choice for a new fork.

Beargreases run a 121mm press fit bottom bracket, which is essentially the same as a 100mm externally threaded BB and uses the same length crank spindle.

First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks

One major clue to the future of fatbike suspension is near? All of Salsa’s fatbikes now have tapered, suspension corrected fork like the 700g full carbon monster above. That means if there was to be a suspension fork in the near future it would be a simple swap of the rigid fork included with the bike. Why would you want suspension on a fatbike? More on that below.

First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks

As mentioned, the carbon beargrease completely replaces the aluminum model but only adds about $500 to the price. Beargrease carbons will be available in XX1 and X9 2x builds and a frame option. The frameset will also include the hubset, axles, and a front derailleur adapter if you aren’t running a 1x drivetrain. The front derailleur adapter is proprietary to the Beargrease to accommodate the angle of the seatpost as it sits in front of the bottom bracket. Framesets will retail for $2599.

First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks

Other than ride quality, the point of a carbon fatbike is to be light, and light weight it is. The Medium Beargrease XX1 clocks in at 26.3 lbs (11.93kg) with the medium 2×10 X9 Beargrease at 29.18 lbs  (13.26kg) without pedals. Salsa pointed out amusingly that a single tire can weigh more than the 1275g Beargrease frame!

First Ride Impressions:

While fatbikes in general seems to be gaining in popularity, their use as a mountain bike on dry trails still leaves people scratching their head. Riding a fatbike as light as the XX1 Beargrease may change that.

Riding the Beargrease at Snowbasin, I took off on a ride that would not have been as much fun on my own, much heavier fatbike here at home. With a substantial amount of climbing, the Beargrease added a level of traction is super loose, steep switchbacks that is not found on standard mountain bikes. Eventually I rode to a high alpine area with large chunky rocks and loose conditions that the big tires added plenty of confidence, even where there was no trail. Headed back down however – this is where a suspension fork would make a difference. The Beargrease is capable of descending like a rocket, but the big tires, wheels, and stiff carbon frame seem to transmit every little rock and root to your arms.

Is a fatbike the bike for everyone in the summer? Of course not. But they do allow for more exploration thanks to the abilities of the bigger rubber. One thing is for sure – fatbikes this light blur the lines between a standard MTB and a fatbike.

First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks

In addition to the Beargrease carbon line, Salsa is still offering the Mukluk Ti and Alloy with a few changes.

First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks

The Ti Mukluk receives a similar half painted look as the rest of Salsa’s bikes with a clearcoat covering the entire bike. Raw Ti is beautiful in its own right, but I have to admit that the painted Ti bikes were beautiful in person. Also new for the Ti Mukluk is the use of triple butted 3/2.5 tubing for an even lighter ride.

Just like the Beargrease, all Mukluks change to a 100mm suspension corrected fork with a 483mm axle to crown measurement. In the case of both the Ti and Alloy Mukluks, the Bearpaw is an aluminum standard 135mm QR fork with a tapered steerer that includes Salsa Anything Cage mounts on each side.

First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks

If the Salsa fatbike isn’t equipped with a thru axle, it includes Salsa by Formula hubs that are at least compatible. Swapping the end caps allow the 135mm QR hubs to convert to 142×15 – you know, in case there was ever a suspension fork or you wanted to upgrade to the carbon Beargrease fork.

The geometry is of course updated to adapt to the new fork dimensions to keep the ride the same.

First Look: Salsa's New Carbon Beargrease, Ti and Alloy Mukluks

 This medium Mukluk Ti with a 2×10 X9/X0 drivetrain and Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost weighs in at 32.17 pounds (14.59kg).

Comments

goathead - 07/26/13 - 4:45pm

I’m so glad other companies focus on lame markets like road. All hail niche markets! This is getting fun!

haromania - 07/26/13 - 4:49pm

That green ti Muk is just stunning!

Gotta say though, I am somewhat disappointed about the tire size issue on the carbon Beargrease. I think at this point, you gotta give people the option of going with Bud’s and Lou’s. Failure to do so is leaving the door open to lose some sales to other carbon fat bike makers that can handle those larger tire sizes. Having said that, it’s a beautiful bike that will serve it’s purpose wonderfully, and I get they are marketing this more as a race or lightweight fat trail bike, and in that regard they did a great job and it’s a really nice looking bike as well. I’m sure they will sell this thing by the freaking boatload. Plus there’s always next year for the “fatter” Beargrease, no reason they can’t have another model with larger wheel/tire sizes.

But IMO anyway, the green ti Muk is easily the most beautiful of the bunch, well dun Salsa!

mike creed - 07/26/13 - 4:49pm

so cool

Nooge - 07/26/13 - 5:09pm

Are the alloys now anodized? That orange looks sweet!

I don’t think a suspension fork will use the 142 spacing. Look at the head on shot of the
carbon fork. The carbon fork legs are at an extreme angle pointing inwards. The top of the fork legs have to be spaced far apart fr tire and mud clearance, while the bottoms are crammed together to reach the hub.

A traditional suspension fork cannot be shaped that way, because the angle of the fork legs would have to change as the hub is pushed towards the handlebars. So either it is a very unique fork design (unlikely), or they simply will use a much wider spacing for the fork, likely 170 or 190 (or 177/197).

I think they only went with the narrow spacing on the carbon fork because it is the lightest solution. This is ostensibly a light weight racer after all. The hubs that come with the metal frames are convertible so the users can upgrade to carbon fork, which Salsa will profit from.

The suspended bike may or may not be a Beargrease. And existing users willing to shell out money to get the fork will just have to buy new hubs.

That’s my take on it, anyways. Who knows? Salsa and Surly have pulled a lot of neat tricks so far. Maybe I’m all wrong.

Jorge - 07/26/13 - 5:10pm

I’m loving fattys more and more each month I see them improve!

generalee - 07/26/13 - 6:17pm

racing fatbike. these 2 words just feel so wrong next to each other. but i cant waint to get one regardless!!

Hannes - 07/26/13 - 6:45pm

Could you please include metric weights in brackets or something? Not all of us live in the US and converting those imperial figures every time something cool comes up is a PITA.
Other than that: love to see the fatbike crowd growing! Lots of neato choices for the next season!

PDXFixed - 07/26/13 - 7:09pm

483mm a2c measurement? they should’ve gone with 490 to match the White Bros and Krampus forks…

AJAX - 07/26/13 - 9:45pm

Dear Salsa,
- rigid, hard tail
- 650b
- thru axle

Get back to me,
the bike market

Frank - 07/27/13 - 2:00am

There’s something wrong with your pricing numbers. You state that the carbon Beargrease costs only $600 more than the Al Beargrease. But the Al Beargrease frame retails for $1000, and you state the carbon Beargrease frame costs $2600… thats a 2.5X price increase, not a 1.6X price increase. Which is correct, and what’s the price of the complete builds?

I’m a little bummed that Salsa came out with the Beargrease last year and then completely changed things up for this year. (If I had the money) I’d love to buy the carbon frame and keep my (125 grams lighter) Carver fork, but with a longer A2C on the new bike, its not going to happen. With every big player in the fatbike market having a different hub width size, I think its going to take a while for a standard to arise. Good think I’m happy with my Al Beargrease…. and I’m too poor to upgrade any time soon.

tom - 07/27/13 - 9:41am

Who puts a thudbuster on a fatbike?

Steve M - 07/27/13 - 10:49am

This is interesting. Having ridden dirt bikes with four inch front tires and six inch rear tires with the confidence they inspire, the development of lighter materials and suspension for these large tires might open up some real possibilites.

Adam - 07/27/13 - 2:49pm

I don’t get why someone would purchase this carbon frame/fork.
The complete build, with really high-end kit is 26 lbs, which is stunning. However, the “regular” X9 build on the carbon frame/fork comes in at 30lbs. While they don’t give the pricing numbers for the complete, we know the frame is $2600. Plus a complete build kit, X9, etc. Let’s ball park the complete at $4250.
So I can spend $4250 on a 30lb full carbon BearGrease
Or, I can spend $2600 on a 30lb aluminum frame/carbon fork Specialized Fatboy. Which is specced about the same 2×10 drivetrain, etc.

What am I missing?

Kevin - 07/27/13 - 4:22pm

So the normal carbon beargrease weighs more than last years alloy beargrease.

The alloy was defo 28lbs last year – I’ve seen one weighed. What went wrong with that then Salsa ?

I think I’ll go with alloy frame, 190mm hub and swap over my carbon carver fork. So 907 it has to be if/when I upgrade.

just about finished - 07/28/13 - 12:13am

Another day, another cheap chinese carbon bike for sale with an American sticker on it. And, with qbp’s own house label available in every bike shop in the country, there’s absolutely ZERO reason to support domestic craftsmen & innovators for anything anymore! Hooray! Thanks QBP, for competing against your own customers! …oh wait, look at that, small mfg’s still can’t get accounts to sell complete bikes. Thanks, that helps too. But who cares! Take what you can get while the gettings good. Everybody, quick, race out to get something for nothing! Occasionally wonder why a whole industry of skilled craftsmen 15 years ago has become an industry of salesmen and lawyers. The most skilled framebuilders in the sport are trying to pay their rent working at coffee shops and selling bloody used cars in texas for chrissakes. Really makes this a great business to work in.

haromania - 07/28/13 - 8:15am

Adam, it’s been said before that the X-9 build will list for $3,599 (not the $4250 you’re guessing). That’s a pretty awesome value right there, on a frame that’s very worthy of some upgrades down the road.

Adam - 07/28/13 - 8:24pm

Haromania,
I missed that. Thank you. But even still, at about $1K more than the Fatboy, it seems a hard pill to swallow.

Jeremy - 07/31/13 - 3:35pm

Anyone know the weight and price of the Muk2 (orange one)?

Trucker2 - 09/04/13 - 9:10pm

Those bikes are so cool, but crazy. I would ride it.

Steve - 09/12/13 - 11:45am

@ just about finished
Sad but true, You make some great points… It’s the Walmart syndrome.

fatmike - 09/17/13 - 7:25pm

Let me begin by saying I’ve had the pleasure to ride my aluminum Beargrease here in the Golden, CO area for almost a year now. I wouldn’t trade it for a suspension or carbon anything. In my humble opinion these bikes are badass just the way they are. If you don’t believe me you must not be one of the many roadies that I’m passing on the way up Lookout Mountain on Wednesday evenings or Sunday mornings!

buddy - 10/22/13 - 11:12am

Ok fat bike folks, my pugsley is now my montser bike , go anywhere over anything ! With a, down hill fork on it and its awesome, but some said its at risk becuz it wasn,t designed for a downhill fork..sick yes! Fun yes! Wi.lthe salso carbon hold up with a merr,DHF fork on it .. hummmmmmm I have defined sick bikes lol I makem drool when they see my monster pugs.. I WANT THAT FRAME! now maybe after xmas…

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