Otis turns One ♦ Fatback Long Term Review

Otis on the Core Banks NC
Otis's First Photo
Otis’s First Photo

On or about, one earth year ago, I took possession of a Raw Aluminum 190mm Fatback that I spec’d out with the owner of Fatback (and cool cat) Greg Matyas. I asked Greg to make the bike all silver, black and white, like the Oakland Raiders. I wanted to run Umma Rims with Bud and Lou. I was looking for a sturdy/lighter fatty that could run the biggest tires and had the full array of braze ons for fat-packing. The bike came in and was just what I had hoped for. I already had a green bike, named Silver, so I named this bike Otis.

One of my first rides on Otis - Charged by a very small bear
One of my first rides on Otis – I got charged by two very small bears

My original post, from a year ago, about Otis is here – https://fat-bike.com/2013/12/fatback-190-product-test-episode-1/. It provides a good preview of what has brought all of us to Otis’s first birthday party.

Otis has every braze on for every occasion!
Otis has every braze on for every occasion!

Here are the spec’s –

  • Frame: 190 Fatback Aluminum
  • Fork: Fatback Aluminum
  • Bars: Raceface Next Carbon
  • Stem: Raceface Turbine
  • Headset: FSA
  • Cables – Jagwire
  • Grips: Summer – Ergon GP3 – Winter Oury Lock-ons (so I can run pogies)
  • 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: RaceFace Atlas
  • 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, Bulldozers Endomorphs, Dillinger Fives, Mission Commands, Vanhelgas…and more!
  • Tubes: 29 x 2.4 – Now Tubeless
  • Skewers: Fatback 9/10mm tubular QR
Otis at the Lake Geneva Winterfest
Otis at the Lake Geneva Winterfest – Testing Revelate Pogies and Frame Pack

A year of beach, snow and trail rides. In addition to testing my Fatback as a complete bike and the sum of each and every component, I mounted dozens of different fat-bike accessories on Otis and wrote articles about them, over the last year. Otis and I have tested Pogies, Pedals, Bags, Mounts and Lots and Lots of Tires!

fatback aluminum fatbike twin lakes
Otis in Twin Lakes – Testing 45NRTH Cobrafists and a Barking Bear Frame-bag

In a year, I wore out 2 chains and 2 cassettes. That’s just pretty normal maintenance. I had to replace a cracked face plate on the stem. RaceFace replaced it under warranty. I also replaced the derailleur hanger that I snapped off on a submerged boulder riding in ‘knee deep’ waves in Lake Michigan. The RaceFace Next XL crank/bb has not required any service for the entire year of testing. Testing that included many submersions into water, mud, sand, etc. That is pretty amazing, considering  that we found that bottom brackets were only lasting 3-4 months with other set-ups.

fatback aluminum fatbike april fools day
Otis Loves the beach – Lake Michigan doing its impression of the Carribean

All of the original spec’d components worked very well and I would build another fat-bike with the very same blend of components. Many of the parts on Otis are from RaceFace. I hope that the Fox – Easton and RaceFace merger doesn’t affect RaceFace’s product line too drastically. RaceFace was one of the first component companies to buy into the fat-bike movement and I hope that will continue.

fatback aluminum fatbike fleur
Otis has no allergies at all – Vee Tire Bulldozer and 45NRTH Dillinger 5 testing

The Fatback hubs and rims have performed very well (Zero Problems or issues). The Ummas went tubeless easily and Speedway’s customer service has been outstanding. I called and talked to Greg or Jason several times over the last year and Jason talked me through my first tubeless conversion with the skill of a surgeon and the patience of a saint!

fatback aluminum fatbike romance novel
The Fatback can really handle the biggest rims and tires for maximum beach flotation

One of the more amazing things about Otis is that you can load that bike to the gills and it just motors on like no other fat-bike that I’ve ever ridden. I really think for my style of riding the Fatback geometry is a good balance between my old moonlander and the newer longer slacker fat-mountain bike geometry. In the space that lies between a Moonlander and an Ice Cream Truck, I would put the ride somewhere about one third of the way towards the ICT from the moonie. That seems to be my sweet spot – YMMV. There’s a reason Fatback’s have dominated the ITI. Load them up and they fly.

Otis on the Core Banks NC
We took some epic trips last year – Otis on the Core Banks NC

Otis is a great all arounder. The SUV of fat-bikes. I like Otis so much that I’m going to continue to ride the hell out that bike for another season. We’re actually very fortunate, in that, we get to ride a lot of different fat-bikes. We have had a dozen fat-bikes come through the fat-bike dot com, test bunker, over the last year and I haven’t found anything that I like better than this bike named Otis.

fatback aluminum fatbike art house
Otis works well independently as well as, in groups….

Now that the first trip around the sun is over, We’re going to start to show you all some big pimp’n upgrades on Otis! I’m currently working on that, as the holidays approach. The project is called #otisgetspimped.

fatback aluminum fatbike zion beac
Beach – Trail – Snow – Otis Rules!

You can look forward to reading about what happens when you take a pretty damn spectacular All-Alaskan Fat-Bike and pimp it out like you know we can. Will there be purple anno? Titanium Nipples? – Will it really be any better? I guess you’ll have to stay tuned, to find out!

fatback aluminum fatbike nov 12
Otis enjoying our November Snow – Testing 45NRTH Vanhelgas

After one full year of riding Otis and a string of other fat-bikes that have come through our test labs, I give this bike four point nine eight gnomes out of five. It’s a great bike!

4.98 of 5 gnomes

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

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