It seems in some ways like I’ve had this bike forever, but yet, the first time it hit the trail was early December, just six months ago. The Mukluk 2 somehow has become my defacto mountain bike. I’ve come to believe that this fat bike is what all other mountain bikes, really want to be when they grow up. This is truly a mountain bike for real.
My stable includes a Superfly, and a Salsa El Mariachi SS, both great bikes, but even after the snow and ice are long gone, the Mukluk is the bike I grab and go. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around why lately, knowing I should be thinking about a long term report on this bike. In the winter of course, like all fat bikes-they just are the bike of choice and handle snow and frozen ground the best…no secret there. But now, when temps push 90s and the singletrack couldn’t be in better shape?
For one, from the first time I tossed a leg over the Muk, I loved how it handled-not slow and sloppy, but easily maneuverable through the tight twisties. I’ve been on a few different fat bikes, and all I can say is Salsa did a great job dialing in the geometry of this rig. The 70 degree head angle and 45mm of offset seems to be just right in keeping the big wheels pointed in the right direction-snow, sand or dirt. The 24.6” effective top tube (large) is nearly identical to my other bikes, so picking a size for my 6 foot height was easy and just fit right. With five sizes (extra small to extra large) it’ll be pretty simple for anyone to select a perfect frame.
The build kit (http://salsacycles.com/bikes/mukluk/) is a great value and a nice upgrade from the Mukluk 3, with a step up mix of SRAM components and Salsa branded controls. I’ve found the Avid BB7 brakes to be simple and effective and even on the steepest descents, having enough power to bring the 33 pound rig to a quick stop. Floatation is provided by Surly- Rolling Daryls shod with Endomorphs rear and Larry’s up front-great combinations for my year round riding. The stealthy black anodized frame is tough and a beauty in my opinion and has held up well despite laying it down (violently and unplanned) more than a few times on rock.
Besides riding a lot of marginal snow this past winter (and I’m not complaining) and exploring frozen lakes and rivers, I spend most of my saddle time split between loose gravel forest roads and technical singletrack. I’m discovering the Muk handles the exposed rocky stuff really well and those big meats save my butt frequently by laying down tons of traction. Again, because it handles so well, I’ve been able to clean a lot of the dicey sections of trail and come away with that fat bike grin. Even though skinny mountain bikes can handle gravel grinding fine, the ‘2 just eats them up. Many of the “roads” I ride are very loose and or sandy and the big bike rolls right through it all and gives me a chance to use that big third chainring once and a while.
I couldn’t be happier with The Mukluk 2 since it joined my now dustier bikes-yes, it’s heavier than my other mountain bikes, it’s not a slalom bike, but Salsa did a great job of designing a well mannered bike that really can handle everything well and makes me smile every damn time I ride it.
I’ve got the titanium version, live in San Diego, and couldn’t agree with this review more. My build weighs about 31 pounds. I originally got the bike as the ultimate beach cruiser, but found that it is now my go-to bike for all the long rides (30 to 40 miles), and any short rides that aren’t going to be a race. Not the bike for bombing through a rocky section of trail, but it is pretty impressive for the remaining 95% of my rides. Nice job, Salsa!
Walt- I do find it works well on our kind of rock-the big tires, and it’s handling make it a point and shoot bike for me. Never had ridden a full on downhill bike, I can’t compare, but it works for me. Climbing technical rocky stuff also it’s strong suit-
Steve I have the first generation Mukluk and I love it!!! Currently about 2000 miles on it while my road bikes have been collecting dust in my garage. It is also my full time commuter bike for all the seasons. Also it makes the horses jealous on the trails!! This bike exceeds all expectations. Keep smiling and riding Steve.