We have a brand new 2017 Fatback Corvus in the shop for testing. Two of our Black Ribbon Test Pilots, Aris and Travis, recently reviewed the Fatback Skookum and Rhino. I’ve written half a dozen stories about my ‘Made in the USA’, aluminum, Fatback (named Otis), but we’ve never spent any long term, quality time with a Corvus. I had the opportunity to ride one of the very first prototypes of the Fatback Corvus on a trip up to Anchorage a few years ago, but that was just a “quick Spenard joy ride” in a few inches of mashed potatoes.
Over the last few years, the Corvus has racked up a world class, pedigree that speaks louder than any words that you’ll ever hear or read on the interwebs. When it comes to Alaskan Wilderness fat-bike racing, the Corvus is in a class of its own. To say that we’re stoked about the opportunity to throw a leg over the top tube of a Corvus would be an understatement. It’s our goal with this article is to give you a look at the bike that we’ll be testing and provide some first impressions.
Our Corvus is an 20″ frame with a rigid fork and weighed in at 26 lb. 6 oz. as a complete, ready to ride bike with platform pedals. (Fatback also offers a Lauf Fork Option). We review a hell of a lot of carbon bikes with aluminum wheels that come in weighing 5 or 6 pounds more than this Corvus. Here is how our demo came furnished.
The wheels that came with the the Corvus start with a set of Fatback’s Alaskan Edition Hubs and they’re laced to a set of DT Swiss BR710 rims. Schwalbe’s 4.8″ Jumbo Jims came mounted tubeless on the wheelset and that combination feels light and fast to get rolling.
The colorway for the 2017 Corvus in Black/Orange or Black/Green. I’ve named our test bike Kermit. A fully murdered out version of the Corvus would be irresistable. The genus Corvus is the family of birds, that includes crows and ravens, so black on black only makes sense. (There’s always a rattle-can solution) I’ve never been one to worry too much about a paint job as long as the bike brings the goods and the Fatback Corvus….delivers the goods and more.
I’ve been able to get out and test the Corvus in the snow a couple of times and the beach (once), but most of my time has been spent riding my local gravel, due to spring thaw conditions. Most of our singletrack is closed to bikes during the spring thaw to protect the trail surface. Even some of our gravel can be really soft and splattery, and March weather forced me onto the pavement for a few rides, so I don’t feel like I have enough saddle time to give a full review, but my initial impressions are very positive. The bike feels, a lot like Otis, but lighter and easier to get up a hill when I need to punch the gas. I’m impressed with how light the wheels feel. I’ve been riding carbon fat-bike wheels for the last 3 years and usually, when I get on a bike with aluminum rims, I can feel the difference. These DT Swiss rims feel very similar to the Reynolds/I9 wheels, that I’ve been running recently. Taking into consideration, the kind of conditions that I’ve been riding, I think the tubeless Schwalbe Jumbo Jims have also added to the low rolling resistance – easy pedaling – direct energy transfer feeling that I’m trying to describe. The bike feels like home. It feels right and I can’t go down a big gravel hill without wanting to carve turns on an imaginary slalom course, for FUN! Our Corvus came with 11 speed XO grip shift. I’m loving it! It’s like where has this been all my life? The last thing that I want to mention, that sets the Corvus apart from many other full carbon fat-bikes, is the cargo mounts for a rear rack and anything mounts on the carbon fork. The Corvus is made to haul (ass)!
As soon as the trails open up, we’ll get deeper into how the Corvus handles the local dirt twisties with a full review. We’ll also strap the bags on and take the Corvus on a bikepacking trip or two this Spring. All of that, and more coming up, somewhere down the trail, amigos!
FRAME MATERIAL: Carbon REAR DROPOUT SPACING: 197X12mm
FORK SPACING: 150X15mm FORK COMPATIBILITY: Rigid or suspension – Standard with Rigid Carbon
MAX TIRE SIZE: 5.0″ RECCOMENDED TIRE OPTIONS: 26″X FAT” or 29″ PLUS
MOUNTS: Integrated rear rack mounts, anything mounts on the fork.
DROPPER POST ROUTING: External DRIVETRAIN: Optimized for 1X
CHAIN RING CLEARANCE: 32T(round ring) HEADSET: Integrated 1 1/8″ Upper(Campy) – 1 1/5″ Lower
SEAT COLLAR 34.9mm SEATPOST: 31.6
For more information about Fatback visit – http://fatbackbikes.com/