Our friends up at ZuZu Pedals in Port Washington, WI got in a couple of the new, $899 MSRP, SE Bikes F@E and they lent me one for a first look. This is not meant to be an exhaustive review but we wanted to get a look a what $899 can get you in a fat-bike these days.
First off our 17″ F@E demo has a nice looking Matte Red aluminum frame and fork. The F@E uses an offset 135 rear end that gives you a lot of drivetrain options. While the fork is symmetrical and has a 135mm spacing.
As tested the F@E comes with a 3×9 drivetrain using Shimano Acera Trigger shifters, a Shimano SLX front derailleur and a Shimano Acera rear derailleur. The frame has rack mounts on the rear and fender mounts front and rear as well as a pair of H2O mounts.
The crank is a functional Samox in the 100mm BB shell with outboard bearings.
Braking power is provided by Mineral Oil filled Tektro Hydros. Foam grips con nest you to the handlebar.
The Weinmann 80mm rims are shod with Vee Tire Mission, 72tpi tires.
The generic seat post, saddle, stem and handlebar are functional while the riding position is a bit more MTB than snow-bike.
The complete bike, in our test models 17″ Medium size, tips the scale right about 36 pounds.
The short ride on the beach showed me that the bike is competent on the sand. I lowered the pressure on the Missions and while they worked OK, wheels and tires are a definite potential upgrade area and would improve this entry level fat-bike. On the trip back to the shop on the road the Missions, with the pressure at about 8psi, exhibited the characteristic “self steer” these tires have at low pressure on the trail or on the pavement. The bike tends to want to turn in more than when the pressure is higher. At 15psi or so the feeling goes away and the F@E rides well on the pavement or hardback trail.
Todd from SE Bikes told Gomez that they are working on updates to the F@ line for 2015. With the 250 units they made for 2014 going fast, if you want to check one out for yourself, get to your local SE dealer soon!