The Fatback Skookum is a carbon-framed, 5-inch platform fat-bike aimed squarely at the 4-season crowd. The Skookum was my favorite fat-bike at Interbike when it was introduced and the opportunity to ride one for a few weeks came as a welcome surprise thanks to “Fuzzy” John at Fatback.
Our test Fatback Skookum came packed in the smallest box I’ve ever seen a fat-bike in necessitating more assembly than most boxed bikes that are 85% complete. Fatback typically works with bike shops to deliver the complete, assembled bike but can, if there is no dealer in your area, work with you directly to deliver an assembled bike right to your door. Anyway, I had to assemble the Skookum much like a custom build but first thing I did was weigh some stuff.
The Skookum frame in Medium/18″ weighs in at 1574g with frame protection bits on the down tube and chainstay attached! The frame is available in three sizes 16″, 18″ and 20″ all designed around a 120mm travel fork (Bluto in the case of our test bike) and aggressive geometry for your trail shredding pleasure. Fatback also included internally routed dropper post cable routing and supplied the KS LEV dropper post with this build.
Skookum frame protection bits include down tube, chainstay and BB/chain stay behind front sprocket.
The DT Swiss BR710 Rims (81mm outside width), Fatback Hubs (197mm rear thru and 150mm thru front) and double butted spokes weigh in at 1386g for the Rear and 1168g for the Front with rim strip and tubeless tape (they came pre setup this way). The Schwalbe Jumbo Jim 26 x 4.8 tires that will complete the wheelset weigh 1236g and 1240g. The rotors that bolt on to the wheels are 160mm rear and 180mm front.
Our test bike is equipped with a Shimano SLX gruppo, Rockshox Bluto, KS LEV Integra Dropper Post and retails at $3750.00. Other build kits range from $2999.00 for SRAM NX1 to $5399.00 for the SRAM Eagle group.
Here are some other build kits that Fatback provides specs for on their site Click to enlarge):
The carbon frame includes an integrated headset arrangement. Pressing in the bearings wasn’t necessary, they drop right in! The Fatback/Tange Headset w/ 30mm of spacers weighed in at 102g.
I like the more traditional bottom bracket utilizing a tried and true RaceFace GXP-style thread in unit with 100mm spacing and and external, threading bearing cups. All up weight on the Raceface Cinch crank with 30t NW chaining is 760g including the BB and pedal washers.
The cockpit is a collection of Fatback-branded components with the handlebars measuring 740mm wide with a 15mm rise, 9d back sweep and 15d up sweep – they come in at 296g. The Fatback 60mm stem is 118g while the Fatback Saddle comes in at 346g. All these parts are good quality units that leave room for upgrades down the trail and the opportunity to save weight as your budget allows.
The Shimano drivetrain on our test bike uses an SLX rear derailleur and this super wide range, XT Dyna Sys 11-speed, 11-46 cassette! No front derailleur on this 1×11 setup.
Here are a few other weights of the components that were sent with this build group.
- Bluto 1770g including axle and with steerer cut to length and star nut installed
- KS LEV Integra Dropper Post and associated parts – 600g
All up weight of the completed Skookum: 30lb, 3oz with no pedals and 31lb 2oz with may current favorite pedals, VP’s AIM Flats.
I assembled the Skookum on a Saturday in order to get out on the first ride on Sunday which was a 3 hour beach ride on the shore of Lake Michigan near Port Washington. For not dialing the bike in prior to the ride it fit my 5′-9″ bod pretty well right out of the box. Besides dialing in the stack height, and probably swapping out the saddle for my personal favorite, I don’ think I’d change a thing!
I also did a few urban assault rides before handing off the Skookum to a much more skilled rider in the person of Aristotle Peters who will be wringing out the Skookum over the next several weeks. Aris a the kind of rider this bike was made for, strong, aggressive and willing to shred.
Personally, I remain impressed by the Skookum and easily put it at the top of the list for consideration when you are looking for a 4-season, 5-inch platform, fat-bike that does a lot of things well with few compromises.