Fatback 190 – Product Test – Episode 1

P1110470It seems only appropriate that we publish a story about a boy and his new bike on Christmas Day! Last week we received a shiny new bicycle that has created a feeling of delightful anticipation, around the fat-bike dot com research and development, test track and proving grounds. Inside a rather giant cardboard carton lay, my concept for, the best bike* for my particular (and sometimes peculiar) fat-bike habits. I wanted something sturdy yet lighter, with the ability to run ‘hundreds’ with four-point-eights. I wanted the full ‘family truckster’ braze-on array, for camping trips and finally…improved handling for snowy singletrack or trail riding.


I shared all of these ideas with Greg Matyas, owner of Fatback Bikes, up in Anchorage Alaska, through a series of phone calls and emails. Greg is the O.G. of Alaskan all-terrain cycling and knows more about fat bikes than anyone else that I know. So I knew my dream was in good hands. We started with Fatback’s 190mm symetrical, made in the USA, aluminum frame and expedition fork and added a set of Umma 90mm rims in polished silver. The  new bike came with a pair of buds and a sweet blend of Fatback and Raceface components (see list below). By now you might be asking yourself, “why the hell didn’t you go out and get one of those new ubber light carbon bikes with XX1 and carbon rims?” The best answer that I can offer, is that, I’m not focused on racing or even going fast for that matter. Primarily, I like to go out and explore on my bike and want to be able to carry a full load of camping gear, when needed. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong (or that I disagree) with folks that aspire to build the lightest and fastest race bike. I like to think we keep an open mind, when it comes to all things fat-bike around here. In fact, I may be fat-bike racing’s biggest fan, but my racing days, as a contestant, are behind me. With all that being said…the new Fatback weighed in at 31 lbs. 13 oz. My moonlander, Thparkle goes 34 lbs. 11 oz. I’ll let you do the math.


When Greg and I talked about colors, I described a silver frame with a blend of black and/or silver components…..ala Oakland Raiders bad assery! As soon as I lifted the new bike out of the shipping carton and saw it in person, I was grinning from ear to ear. I literally must have sounded like a spectator at a fireworks show. When I laid my eyes on the gleaming silver wheels, I uttered an ‘ohhhh’! And then an ‘ahhhh!’ as I removed the bubble wrap and revealed the nice clean outlined Fatback decal on the down-tube, I’m a big fan of hot-rods and the raw aluminum frame, coupled with Surly’s ‘biggest in class’ rubber mounted on polished Umma mag wheels, lends this bike a tangible ‘rat-rod’ dragster vibe that definitely speaks to my inner cave man.


The injection of a brand new fatty, has me back out on the bike every day, which can’t be bad…even if it means mounting up the studded tires and going for a ride in the middle of one of the worst ice storms in recent memory or taking the opportunity to break fresh tracks in four inches of dry powdery (ball bearing) snow with the set of brand new (monster truck) tires. I really think this new bike is going to help ~gomez~ get his groove back! – it’s like a Christmas miracle! (cue: angels singing)

The Details

  • Frame: 190 Fatback Aluminum
  • Fork: Fatback Aluminum
  • Bars: Raceface Next Carbon
  • Stem: Raceface Turbine
  • Headset: FSA
  • Cables – Jagwire
  • Grips: ESI Silicon Black
  • Brake Levers: Avid FR-5
  • Front Brake: Avid BB7
  • Rear Brake: Avid BB7
  • Shifters: Microshift Silver
  • Front Der: Sram X9
  • Rear Der: Shimano XT 9 speed
  • Crankset: Raceface Next Carbon 175mm
  • Chain Rings: Raceface 36-22
  • Cassette: Sram 9 Speed – 34 x 11
  • Pedals: 45 NRTH Helva
  • Seat: WTB Pure V
  • Seat Post: Raceface Turbine
  • Rims: Umma 90mm Silver
  • Hubs: Fatback 190/135
  • Tyres: Bud and then Lou and sometimes Dillingers and Snowshoes and Sterlings. Maybe a V8 or Knards…and more!
  • Tubes: 29 x 2.4
  • Skewers: Fatback 10mm tubular QR


P1110565This is going to be my main ride for the foreseeable future, so we’ll be sharing quite a lot about this steed as we start to rack up some more miles under a variety of riding conditions. After a week of riding, I’m pretty damn happy with the results of the build, but I have a conundrum, that maybe you all can help me with…I usually name my bikes and I’ve tried a few monikers out on the new ride, but nothing seems to be sticking. Please leave your name suggestions in the comments and if I pick your name, we’ll send you out a pair of super lightweight race socks! Look for additional news and reviews about how both the new bike and the components perform down the trail.


From all of us at Fat dash Bike dot com, we want to Wish you a Merry Christmas!


*This build is specific to my riding needs and style. Your needs and riding style could be somewhat different. If you have your own concept for a dream bike, we’d love to do a reader’s ride(s) episode about what makes you and your fat-bike tick. Send your bike-ograpghy to uncle gomez@fat-bike.com  


About Gomez 2576 Articles
Just an old cat that rides bikes, herds pixels, ropes gnomes and sometimes writes stories. I love a good story.


  1. Congrats on the new ride Gomez – very tasty indeed!

    Name suggestion: Archie or Archer (After Sterling Archer, which I’m sure others have suggested)

    • I stumbled upon this article while trying to find some geometry on my fatbike frame. Based on the derailleur hangers they have on their site, my bike appears to be a zen 170. It looks just like your frame but has 170mm qr rear spacing. I’m particularly interested in the head tube angle. My Ventana El Gordo frame cracked and I took all my components to the fatback frame. It handles a little differently and I feel like maybe the head tube isn’t as slack on the Fatback as it was on the Ventana. Do you happen to have any geometry info for your fatback frame?

      • 170 is a year older than the 190. They’re not the same frameset. Most notably indicated by the different rear axle spacing. What difference would the frame geometry information have with regard to the enjoyment of riding your bike? Log off of the internet and ride your bike.

  2. Love the Fatback! What about “Susan B.” or “Suzy” ala Susan B. Anthony? She was on the old school silver dollars, and your new ride certainly is “money”. Just sayin’!

  3. Good review Brother G, I felt the glee shining thru ! I still like El Cabron, is that bike too Northern in l’attitude?

  4. Well Gomez, sweet new ride for sure. Well, i have the perfect name for your sweet new ride if you are truly an Oakland Raiders fan. If so then you gotta call it “The Mad Stork” or “The Stork”! The nickname of the defensive terror that roamed for the Raiders back in the day! Either way Awesome New Bike! FatBack are awesome. They have the bikes pretty much dialed in!

  5. +1 for Bubba!!! Otis has a distinguished ring to it as well.

    I was gonna suggest Howie, but even though Bubba’s tenure was short in Oakland it sure seems like it might suit.

    Gomez, can I ask what size frame you got and also your height etc? I’m 5’11” with a 33+” inseam and I’ve been riding a large Pug and Moonie, and I know I could make an medium work. If I went symmetrical, I think it might be a Fatback190 for me but I’m stuck on size between the 18 and 20. The 20 has a longer ETT than both Surlys.


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