NAHBS 2014: Brad Bingham Builds Eriksen a Full Custom Fatty, Gives Marzocchi Bombers New Life
This was one of my favorite bikes of the show. Yeah, yeah, I love fat bikes – but I am also a total bike geek and projects like this make me happy. Called the BradTi, this is the creation of Kent Eriksen’s master welder and there is much more than meets the eye. Obviously, it’s a fat bike with a suspension fork, but it’s the amount of custom fabrication that it took to achieve which is really impressive…
When someone with the welding and fabricating skills of Brad’s caliber sets out to build a custom project, you know it will be good. The project got started when Brad wanted to build a fat bike with a suspension fork, and he had this old school set of Marzhocchi Bombers lying around. If you were riding bikes back then, you’re aware the forks were known for their durability which is why they are on the front of the BradTi today. One key feature of the Bombers was their bolt on crowns and arches – this is what gave Brad the Idea.
With two completely separate fork legs, Brad was free to design the new arch and crown around the fatbike front tire and front hub spacing. In this case, front spacing is set at 135mm which allows for clearance of 4.5-4.75 tires through the new CNC machined arch.
For the fork crown and steerer, Brad started from scratch and made a bolt on crown that housed a tapered steerer tube. Certainly not an option when the Bombers were new. The underside of the crown is nicely machined to remove weight (obviously), and the fork has been reduced from 130 to 100mm of travel. Both wheels roll on DT Swiss hubs – which don’t exist. In order to make it happen, both of the hubs were cut in half and sleeved out to the proper dimensions – 135mm for the front, and 197mm on the rear (which is made from a rear hub and front hub combined). The front hub remains quick release to match the fork, while the rear gets the 12mm treatment.
The proper axle to match their dropouts didn’t exist either, so again, Brad spliced two axles together to make one longer axle. To ensure it’s plenty strong, inside there is a tapered and threaded rod that was installed before the two halves were welded together. Now the bike has its own 197x12mm Shimano TA.
Yup, flawless welds.
In spite of the 197mm rear end, Brad is running a narrow q-factor fat bike crank with the chain ring flipped to obtain the proper chainline. Chainstays are impressively short at just 17.2″, considering the Big Fat Larrys on 100mm rims.
With the suspension fork the BradTi weighs in at almost exactly 30lbs. Running a rigid drops the bike to 26.5 lbs.
Want your own Eriksen fat bike? We’re not sure what the price tag on Brad’s custom bike would run, but a frame like this one for none other than Mike Curiak will run you about $4000. This frame has even shorter chainstays, just under 17″, and is still capable of running Surly Lou 4.8 tires on 100mm rims!