Schlick Cycles today announced their new 47mm Northpaw S rim designed for all-season fat-bike riding. We had a chance to ask the guys at Schlick Cycles a few questions about their new rim and what motivated them to enter a competitive fat-bike market.
FB.com – We are familiar with Schlick Cycles fat-bike frames, what motivated you to do a rim?
SC - European fatbike riders have known about the benefits of narrower rims for all-season fat biking for a few years now and we originally tried to source rims from Europe but the costs ended up being prohibitive so we decided to do our own. We worked with Nick Ginster of AT Velo to help us with production and are super happy with the resulting Northpaw-S rim.
FB.com – The Northpaw-S rim is designed for symmetrical fatbike frames. Why did you go in that direction?
SC – We feel the future of all-season fat-bikes is symmetrical. With the increasing availability of 170mm rear and 135 front specific hubs, the barriers to doing symmetrical fat-bikes have been significantly reduced so we were able to do our first rim without the constraints of having to cater to an offset market. That said, the offset bikes enjoy a significant advantage in numbers of bikes out there so we are currently working on a version of the Northpaw rim that will allow offset builds for those riders looking to upgrade existing frames as well as those who still have to buy an offset frame to accommodate Internally-Geared Hubs and/or Belt drives. We will keep you posted on that one!
FB.com – What are some of the benefits of the 47mm rim with?
SC – Well, the most obvious benefit is that the 47mm rim width effectively narrows the contact patch of your fat-bike tire while allowing the profile to round out. This provides faster rolling, great traction and still gives the tire the ability to absorb trail irregularities that so many fat-bikers love.
Also, at about 550g per rim the Northpaw-S is120g per rim lighter than the most popular light weight 65mm rims and they work great with the new, lighter weight fatbike tires like the 45Nrth Hüsker Dü, Larry Lite and Nate Lite as well as the Black Floyd for an excellent urban assault ride. (Not recommended for BFLs!)
In addition, our spoke locations on the rim, coupled with the wide hubs and symmetrical build, make an incredibly strong wheelset.
FB.com – How big a project was it to bring a new rim to market?
SC – Once we made the decision to go for it we were pleasantly surprised that it was a pretty smooth process. We did the initial design and speccing and got sample rims in for testing. The testing and thousands of miles of riding, including over 280 miles of urban assault in the Riverwest 24, took more time than to do than the final OK and production! All-in-all it took about 6 months from concept to delivery. A lot of thanks go to Nick for helping manage the job!
FB.com – Is the Northpaw-S available now?
SC – Yes! They are available now! Go to http://schlickcycles.com/bikes/northpaw-47mm-rim/ to check them out. Mention fat-bike.com when you order and through September 30th, 2012 we will give your readers $10 off the $119 per rim price.
FB.com – Do you have any final thoughts?
SC – Every rim width is a compromise on a fat-bike. There are a lot of great 65mm, 80mm and 100mm rims that, as you get wider, put a premium on flotation at the expense of some other desirable traits. With our Northpaw-S, and the 47mm width, we feel we’ve got a rim that excels in all-season riding while still allowing flotation for those times when you need it.