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Fatback Corvus FLT – One Year Review

November 2nd, 2017

A year has passed since I first rode my Fatback Corvus FLT for the first time. I swear that time just goes by faster and faster when you’re having fun. The road that set me on the path to  riding a Fatback Corvus FLT goes back even further than that, but you probably started reading this to learn more about the last year and how my bike, Ten Beers, has performed since it was built, so I won’t bore you with the lineage of fat-bikes that have led me to where we are today. Back in March of 2018, I wrote a review based on the first four months of riding Ten Beers and I gave the bike five out of five gnomes. I said that this bike might be the best fat-bike that I had ever ridden, but I promised to check back in, down the road, to see if my opinion would change with time. One full trip around the sun seems like a pretty good milestone to explore a long-term review of the bike that I call Ten Beers.

The year-long test of Ten Beers lends itself well to a calendar format. So I gathered a photo from each month of the last year that reveals all of the various wheelsets that I reviewed. One of the clear indications of how well this bike suits my tastes is that I really didn’t change very much from the stock build. I switched from Sram brakes to Shimano after the rear caliper on the Sram brakes went kerflewy and I switched wheelsets to write reviews, but everything else is the stock build.

November

November 11th, 2017 – First Ride – Nicolet National Forest

December

December 15th, 2017 – Overnighter at the Kettle Moraine State Forest

Over the winter, I switched between two sets of 26″ carbon wheelsets. A 100mm HED wheelset and the Reynolds 80mm wide wheels pictured above. As you can see the Corvus has ninja-like bikepacking capabilities. Over the last year, I tested quite a few bike bags like the Oveja Negra fork bags (above) along with two different frame bags from Backcountry Stitch Works.

January

January 19th, 2018 – Happy New Year! – Kettle

Once we built up a little snowpack I mounted the HED 100’s with Maxxis Colossus 26 4.8 tires (photo above). After I mounted the bigger wheels on the bike and stood back and took a look, that’s when it came to me and I named this bike Ten Beers. This wheelset with moderately knobbed 4.8″ tires is where I think the real sweet spot resides for my particular tastes when it comes to riding the soft stuff.

February

February 17th, 2018 – Local Bandito Tracks

March

March 11th, 2018 – Chequamegon National Forest

The Corvus is 100% at home in the snow. We had a pretty crazy Spring behind the cheese curtain with two 10″ dumps of snow in April!

April

April 16th, 2018 – CamRock County Park

Ten Beers looks a little naked without a frame bag. You may have also noticed the Pub Carbon 27.5 wheels with Terrene Cake Eater Tires in the shot above.

May

May 15th, 2018 – Summer Wheels

As part of my carousel of wheelset of testing, Ten Beers donned a set of Borealis Carbondale 27.5 x 50mm wide rims with Maxxis Minion FBR/FBF 27.5 x 3.8 tires for the warm part of the year. The two previous seasons my mountain bike was a really nicely spec’d Surly Krampus (29+) and that bike will probably be going up for sale because Ten Beers with this wheelset can do everything that bike can do and do it better (by a significant margin).

June

June 28th, 2018 – Summer Overnighter with Crisco BoB

Trailerpacking? Is that a thing? The Corvus is pretty damn versatile. You could bikepack from trail cluster to trail cluster. Drop the trailer at camp and then rip a lap on some singletrack.

July

July 28th, 2018 – Levis Trow Mounds

You can spy a pouch of unsweetened applesauce in my bar bag in the photo for July. The photo was taken at one of my favorite trails in Wisconsin no matter what the season! I love to ride a rigid bike on singletrack and this wheelset turns Ten Beers into a singletrack shredder. This is the best rigid plus bike set-up that I’ve ever ridden. I can’t wait to try other 27.5×3.8 tires with even less aggressive tread patterns like the Bontrager Hodag or Barbegazzi on this wheelset.

August

August 18th, 2018 – Local Tadpole Rookery

The dog days of Summer and Ten Beers gets a new strapless frame bag from Backcountry Stitch Works

September

September 13th, 2018 – Supermodel duty for Terrene Johnny 5 Tires

October

October 3rd, 2018 – Western Road Trip to Colorado – Great Sand Dunes National Park

This fall, I tested the Fatback Big Su wheelset with Schwalbe Jumbo Jim Tires and took a nice long road trip out west. I took Ten Beers to one of my favorite places on earth, the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

November (again)

November 25th, 2018 – Urban Jungle Cross – Milwaukee Mud-fest (photo by Kitty Ward)

A rare picture of my ample tuchas racing Ten Beers on one of the muddiest courses that I’ve ridden in recent years. I think I totally won n’stuff. So there you have it…a full year of fat-bike fun! How many of us can say that they bought a new bike and then rode it nearly bone stock for a full year without getting semi-crazy with upgradeitis? It helps when you start out with good stuff.

I wouldn’t change anything about this bike. For my needs, the Corvus is as close to perfect as you can get. My only worry is replacing Ten Beers if it gets stolen or if I get rear-ended by another car with the bike on the back of my truck. Hopefully, they keep an extra one tucked away for me up at Fatback HQ Just in Case! In my previous review, I gave the Corvus FLT a five gnome rating, but posed the question…” how would I feel after a full year?” I feel like there’s been zero depreciation in the score that the Corvus FLT earned in that first review.

After a full year, the Fatback Corvus FLT earns 5 out of 5 gnomes

 

 

 

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5 Responses to Fatback Corvus FLT – One Year Review

  1. Gary Kean December 17, 2018 at 12:20 pm #

    Great review…on the Pub 27.5 wheelset photo, what size Cake Eaters do you have mounted?
    4.00 or 4.50 and how much clearance was there if you wanted a wider rim.

    Thanks

    • Gomez December 17, 2018 at 12:28 pm #

      4.0 in that shot with ample clearance.

  2. Adam December 17, 2018 at 4:13 pm #

    Great review!

    I also love my XL Corvus FLT.
    27.5 X 4.5 Barbegazzi on 75mm Woven Precision carbon hoops is the setup I have been loving on it all summer and so far this winter.
    Nice amount of height in the sidewall that creates lots of volume for some of that “full suspension feeling” while riding without any of the pedal bob.
    Nice fast rolling tire on road, dirt and snow.

  3. EndoRando December 17, 2018 at 9:42 pm #

    Corvus FLT owner here too, loving mine as well. Would like to hear your impression of riding with the Johnny 5 tires. Did you ever get a chance to ride them in the snow?

    Thanks

    • Gomez December 18, 2018 at 10:05 am #

      Ken Blakey-Shell is in the process of reviewing them. I never rode them on snow before we sent them to KBS in Michigan. It’s a little bit of a waiting game right now for the snow to get deep and frequent enough to expose them to deep snow.