There is hardly anything as sexy as slipping some carbon fiber of some sort onto your fatbike ride. Sure, fatbikes in the early days were pretty “big boned” and maybe not the most performance orientated as they are evolving to today. In the past, why slap spendy light pieces and parts on a tug boat of a bike (albeit, a go anywhere fun tugboat)? That was then.
Modern fatbikes are transforming into light, and responsive all season rigs and riders are seeking out and opening their wallets for better and lighter components. I resisted at first as well, but testing out some great bikes, wheels, and parts started to gnaw away at my bank account-for good reason.
Of all the goodies to arrive from Fat-Bike.com, the unremarkable carboard box dropped off by the brown truck labeled “Atomik” made me the most anxious… to open. I’d heard about these remarkable circles of carbon, but have never rolled a pair (of any kind) down the trail. Guru Gomez remarked earlier in the year that if I really really wanted the most performance gain on my fatty, a light, stiff set of carbon wheels would be the ticket. Sign me up!
Atomik, an American company partnering with a Taiwanese manufacturer, is a relatively new entity, producing high quality handlebars, mountain, road and now recently released plus and fatbike “foamcore” wheels. Although obviously there is a weight savings, the company touts improved stiffness and ride quality as the rims main benefit. I couldn’t wait to find out.
Without delving too deeply into the technology end, here are the specs on the hoops: The Phatty 85s are designed around a 85mm wide, 75mm ID 12K carbon tubeless ready “semi-double wall” rim, with a low profile height of 16.2mm and weighing 570 grams. As built up for my Beargrease test rig with beautiful Industry 9 Torch hubs, they drop close to 2 pounds rotating weight at 1110gr rear and 980 gr front respectively from stock wheels.
The fat-bike season started late and has now sprinted to the end, so most of the testing will be on dirt- a good thing in my book. With tire pressures in the low single digits, it is perhaps a bit harder to feel the performance gains of this wheelset on snow as it will, with a bit more pressure and climbing steep dirt singletrack. So far, I’m impressed-although I stuffed tubes in for now, I look forward to trying the tubeless setup for the strong “Beadlock” (hooked beads) look like they’ll grip tries no matter how low you go. The matt finish water shedding carbon finish did discourage snow and ice cling and of course, the shallow profile kept side impacts at bay. More on that when we get into the sharp sandstone season in a few weeks.
Levis Mound, Nine Mile Forest and other central and Northern Wisconsin trails should make for a great test bed for these wheels and I’m excited to put them through their paces-stay tuned!
For more information about Atomik visit – www.atomikcarbon.com