Reader’s Ride(s) – Stephen’s Canadian Moonlander


Stephen sent us the shot above with a simple description – “Recently we had a had a huge wind storm in the area of local trail system. My Moonlander proved to be an amazing trail maintenance machine carrying all the tools I need to help make the trails rideable again.” Well, we wanted to know more about his customized Moonie so we got the story below! Enjoy!

I’ve always been an avid all year ’round rider, I’ve been riding my bike to work year ’round forever. Living in Dryden, Ontario, Canada we have some long cold winters with lots of snow, I started winter trail riding about 7 years ago on a hardtail with 2.6″ downhill tires on it. There’s a park across the street from my old house with lot’s of trails that people walk all year round packing them very good with all the foot traffic. I started riding my old hardtail on these trails in the winter and found that the 2.6″ tires worked reasonably well on the narrow hard packed foot paths. The only time I couldn’t ride the trails was right after a snowfall, I would have to wait a few days until enough people had walked the trails and packed them again until I could ride them. Because of my impatience with waiting for the trails to get packed and longing to ride I decided to build myself a groomer for the trails, I built a little v-plow with a handle that I would pull behind me while walking the trails. The v-plow worked great and it was actually good exercise grooming the trails, it also left the surface of the trail a lot smoother making it faster and more enjoyable to ride. Local residents from the seniors complex next door praised me and thought I was a saint for making the trails more enjoyable for them to walk, of course I had my own personal agenda.

My buddy Gord was the first person in town to get a fat-bike 2 years ago which was a Salsa Mukluk. I went for a ride with him one day on a hard packed snow-machine trail, I thought I was extremely out of shape because he was kicking my butt real bad on the trail. Later on during the ride Gord asked me if I wanted to trade bikes for a bit so I could see how well the fat-bike worked, I was in awe! I couldn’t believe how efficient the Mukluk was and how it floated over the snow so effortlessly, now I knew why he was kicking my butt so bad. From that day on I decided I had to have a fat-bike.


Last fall I decided to bite the bullet, break down and buy a couple of fat bikes for my girlfriend Jill and myself for Christmas. I started shopping for bikes and researching all the different brands, the large 4.8″ tires on the Surly Moonlander simply amazed me and that was the big selling point for me. To boot, the shop that sold me the bikes (Fresh Air Experience in Thunder Bay, Ontario) gave me a sweet deal for buying 2 bikes, I got Jill a Surly Necromancer Pug along with my Moonlander. The Surlys were one of the best investments I made, we rode our bikes 3-4 times a week all last winter and used good bright lights for riding at night, we found it very easy to ride the abundance of snow-machine trails in our area.


We added a few features to our bikes like small frame bags and under the seat bags. I decided I wanted to get some racks for my Moonlander so I could maybe use the bike for ice fishing. After shopping around I found that because of the offsets on the frame and the fork of the Moonlander it was difficult to find racks that fit, most of the racks were also relatively small. After thinking about it for a while I decided to build my own racks, I used 3/8″ diameter stainless steel tubing, stainless steel expanded metal and tig-welded them. The rear rack is approximately 17″x6.5″, the front rack is 14″x6.5″, the Moonlander has lots of lugs welded to the frame and fork for support tubes for the racks. My creations turned out better than I could have imagined and are extremely strong, they’re a little on the hefty side and add a fair bit of weight to the bike but it’s not exactly a cross country race rig.

This summer I found the Moonlander with the large racks made an excellent workhorse when it came to hauling tools for doing trail building and maintenance. The Moonlander has turned out to be a very versatile bike for work and pleasure, I never dreamt that it would be so useful.


Do you have a fat-bike that you are passionate about, makes your life better and that you think our readers would dig hearing about? Shoot me a note to and we will check it out.


6 Responses to Reader’s Ride(s) – Stephen’s Canadian Moonlander

  1. Ernesto October 2, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    Love the racks!

  2. Mark Peterson October 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    Great job Stephen! I always like your pics. Cheers Brother

    • Dom February 24, 2021 at 1:11 pm #

      Is there a front rack that can fit a 2019 specialized fatboy disk brakes?

      • Gomez February 25, 2021 at 7:04 am #

        Take a look at Old Man Mountain Racks.

  3. Hunter October 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    I like that setup I was just thinking today how to set this up my self there is a large tree that has falling over on a trail which needs some Chain saw Action.

  4. RobB October 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Love the Moonie and great work with the rack! Reminds me of a tree here that should be removed from a local trail! Nice Job!

Leave a Reply