Reader’s Ride(s) – Vlad’s Troika a Custom-built Fat-bike


Vlad contacted us with a story about the fat-bike frame he custom built and we asked him for a bit more detail so here ya go. In Vlad’s own words, the story of Troika the fat-bike.


My name is Vlad Dolinsky and I wanted to share with you my recently build Fat-Bike. During July this year, I attended Metal Guru School, a bicycle fabrication school in New Paltz, New York, where under instructions of Carl Schlemowitz, founder on Metal Guru and owner of Vicious Cycles, I fabricated steel, TIG welded Fat Bike frame. It was an amazing experience building the fat bike from ground up with your own hands and learning TIG welding and mitering techniques.

The frame was designed around White Brothers Carbon Snowpack fork with 450mm axle to crown. Because of the design of Snowpack fork, I decided to go with bended down tube to achieve required clearance between the down tube and the fork. I am 5’8” tall with 30” inseam, so I wanted to have a bike with good stand over, which required fabricating shorter seat tube as well as bending seat stays to accommodate for tire clearance and rear brake caliper.  The frame was designed to have clearance for 4.7”+ tires on 80mm rims. I run the bike with 3.8” Surly tires on 70mm rims and use single speed drive train. The bike could be set up with geared drive train as well. All provisions for geared set up were brazed on the frame. Paragon Rocker dropouts that I have on the bike accommodate single speed and geared drive trains. After completing the frame, I opted to have Vicious Cycles to paint my frame with wine red metallic color.


I called this bike Troika. Troika is a Russian carriage or sleigh drawn by three horses harnessed abreast. It first appeared around 18th century and was used as a method of transportation across vast Russian terrain. Troika became a symbol of speed, endurance and free spirit!

I’ve been riding Troika for few weeks now at about 8psi over rocky terrain and pleased with bike performance and its geometry. It goes over anything easily and sticks to the ground during climbs. Troika’s 170mm rear spacing and 100mm bottom bracket shell provides for a perfect chain line and mechanical efficiency of the drive train.

Below is Troika’s build list:

  • Steel, TIG welded, custom frame
  • Jones 70mm rims
  • Surly 3.8” tires, Larry and Nate
  • Salsa Mukluk 170mm rear hub
  • Jones 135mm front Hub
  • e.13 XCX Fat bike crank set, 100mm bb shell
  • White Brothers Snowpack Fork, 450mm axle to crown, 1 1/8” steerer
  • Chris King, InSet 1 headset
  • Blacksheep Ti Mustache bars and stem
  • Shimano XTR Race brakes

Have you got a sweet fat-bike that you’d like to show off on this site? Say no more and send an email, with photos, to! We’d love to see your rig!

About Greg Smith 1127 Articles
Greg Smith, known to many site visitors as Sven Hammer, founded in 2011 and the site quickly became the #1 online community for all things Fat. You can currently find Greg outfitting Everyday Cycles; a Milwaukee, WI retailer of gear for fatbikers, adventure cyclists and urban assault riders.


  1. That is cool. Hand-made is the ultimate. Learning to tig-build is on my list as well.

    Good job, and happy fat-biking.

  2. Way to go HC. Proud to know you personally. Time to draw a spec order for California. I have my Black Sheep with fatfront tire and it sticks to everything. I can only imagine what 2 fat tires will do. Spin.

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