After a thorough 2 month shakedown of the 2017 Fatback Rhino FLT during a very snowy Alaskan winter I came to the conclusion that this bike has made the shortlist for the next fat-bike in my quiver. The build kit on the bike I tested is the GX1 with an MSRP of $2,399.00. The bike stayed mostly stock throughout the test period, I wanted see how all parts and pieces performed as Fatback intended. Tim at Speedway Cycles, home of Fatback, set me up with a pair of studded Dillinger 4’s (120 tpi) setup tubeless which is not stock but was much appreciated.
My initial review has the all the spec’s that you might be interested in, check the link https://fat-bike.com/2017/01/product-spotlight-2017-fatback-rhino-flt-by-travis-hubbard/ . The first thing that I noticed when I set out on the Rhino FLT was the planted feel I had on this bike. I felt more in the bike than on top of it. The slight changes in frame geometry versus my personal ride were noticeable right off the bat, as sure footed as a mountain goat. The increase in stand over height is more than what I am accustomed to. Given the amount of snow we had during the test period the family jewels appreciated the extra clearance.
The Sram GX1 build and Avid BB7 brakes worked flawlessly. Shifting was clean and crisp, the BB7’s provided ample stopping power. I rode in temps as low as -15°F without issue. Fatback did a great job of putting together a solid build at a reasonable price. Compared to other bikes in the $2,000 to $2,500 price range the Rhino FLT is hard to beat. Nice touches like carbon bars, carbon seat post and ESI grips are not typically seen in this price range. The stock kit rocked and was reliable in a variety of conditions.
When I picked up the bike trails in Anchorage were icy with a few inches of base, fast and firm. The Rhino FLT with studded tires was spot on during this time. Then Ullr sent storm after storm and our base started to grow and conditions got soft. The Rhino handled exceptionally in the soft stuff as well. Climbing was comfortable, on longer climbs my lower back tends to knot up. The
short chain stays kept traction at a maximum and pain at a minimum. The Rhino FLT shocked me when it came time to rip some downhill. I thought it might get a bit squirrelly at speed but that was not the case, the bike absolutely shredded. I entered my first race in 25 years, The Icy River Rampage in Eagle River Valley, AK. The Rhino FLT served me well, I don’t train just ride. I got passed on climbs and flats (lack of training) but smoked the downhill sections without getting passed. The best downhill sections were boot stomped and rough, yet the Rhino FLT owned it.
Personal changes I would make to the Rhino FLT are wider bars, a WTB saddle and a trigger shifter over grip shift. The 30t chain ring and Sram XG-1150 10-42 cassette provided adequate gearing in most all conditions, however, I’d run a 28t chain ring in the winter or when bike packing. Of course that’s just the personal preference of this middle aged Fat-Biker.
Fatback has nailed it with the Rhino FLT it is fast, light and I’d add comfortable (FLC???). With a stellar reputation for quality and innovation Fatback has put together an amazing yet affordable four season fat-bike that can handle anything thrown its way. I wish I had the opportunity to ride it in the summer, with some front suspension and a plus wheel set. I can see the Rhino FLT being the reason my squish bike sees a for sale sign on it. This bike is a true “do it all” aluminum fat-bike that is affordable, well built, and designed for adventure.
For more information about Fatback Bikes visit – www.fatbackbikes.com