After I spent some time getting initial impressions of the Fatback Skookum we had in for testing (you can see the Fatback Skookum Product Spotlight here) I wanted a guy with mad skills to spend some time with the bike and Aristotle Peters is one of those guys. Aris was one of the first people I am aware of who backflipped a fat-bike when he worked at Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park in Milwaukee. You can check out Aris’s fatbike backflip video here if you want to see why I think he’s the man for the job, especially considering that the Skookum is aimed at the 4-season fat-biker and is meant to be a trail shredder that can still roll the snow and beach when the time comes.
Here is Aris’s report…
This bike comes stock with everything you would ever want in a year-round fat-bike. The 120 mm travel Bluto, KS dropper post, 740 mm handlebars, short stem, wide range cassette, and powerful SLX brakes all make for an incredibly capable bike. Fatback did a wonderful job with this spec and never had me wishing for different parts. Throw all of these parts on a carbon frame and you get a light-weight, FUN to ride bike. One thing in particular that stood out to me was the dropper post. It performed well regardless of the temperature, had a very easy to push lever under the handlebar, and was very audible when it reached the top of its travel, never leaving me guessing if I held the lever long enough. This is something that I wish I had on other dropper posts that I have ridden and continue to ride.
The spec of this bike makes it capable, but the geometry really brings out the fun of this bike. I found myself wanting to jump or manual anything I saw and left me with a huge grin on every ride. The short chainstays (440mm) and slack head angle (68.5) made this bike shine on the descents.
Although we had some pretty terrible weather here in Wisconsin during my time with the bike, I was still able to get on enough rides to make me not want to give the bike back! As seen in the pictures, I was able to ride in Appleton a couple of times at Riverview Gardens. They have one trail in particular that I had a lot of fun with. You can probably see that from the pictures. This bike is just as much at home in deep snow with its 5” tires as it is on gnarly wooden features and drops. I felt very comfortable on the bike right away, reminding me of summer days on my trail bike. With that being said, I am not nearly as comfortable riding singletrack on longer-wheelbase fat-bikes that are designed more for those long snow rides that you read about in places like Alaska and the like. The Skookum was very nimble, allowing me to ride trails and features that would be much more difficult on other fat-bikes.
I was able to ride this bike through all of the snow that we had, which wasn’t much, with no problem. The 5” tires gave it more than enough stability in the deeper spots of snow. I will also note that I prefer the narrower (80mm) rims that come on this bike over the same size tires on a 100mm rim. The tire gets a slightly rounder profile that makes it better handling when laying the bike into corners.
My final adventure on this bike before I had to give it back was the Bike Across Bago event. This was a ride put on by the Fox Cities Cycling Association and the Payne’s Point Hook and Spear Club. I had never ridden on a lake before so I was pretty excited to ride across the one that is only a mile from my house. I hopped on the Skookum and headed to the start of the ride, where I was surprised to see hundreds of people. My day ended up being about 24 miles round trip, about 15 of which were on the ice. I was very comfortable on the Fatback the entire ride, never doubting my traction or stability. I may have gotten a little too comfortable, laying down some sweet “powerslides”. This is yet another example of what I liked most and I think sums up the bike best… It is extremely capable and MAKES you have even more fun!