Our amigos at Fatback have followed up their (5 Gnome Rated) Aluminum Big Su fat-bike rim and wheelsets with a cross-town collaboration with Knight Composites. In addition to the shop in Anchorage, Fatback has a shop and warehouse in Bend Oregon where Knight is also located. Fatback brings a ton of fat-bike expertise to the table and Knight is a world-renowned carbon wheel company that believes in building wheels with 3 goals – Speed Compliance and Durability. Back in January, we received a set of the new Wide Ride wheels with DT Swiss hubs. Here are all of the spec’s.
The Wide Ride details:
- 81mm outer width and 520g/rim
- Weight with 197x12mm and 150x15mm DT Swiss hubs – 1960g. (+/-50) – (our test wheels weighed 1967g)
- 32 hole symmetrical
- Double wall construction with no cutouts
- Available with DT Swiss or Fatback hubs
- The ability to run less than 6psi or even 4 psi in the winter?
- 4 season strong – ride it hard in all conditions from winter in Fairbanks, rocks in Moab, to roots in the Northeast.
- The ability to true the wheel without pulling the tire, dumping the sealant, and removing any tape
- Easy tubeless setup that works with a floor pump
- Black with red decals – (Black/black coming in the spring of 2019).
- MSRP for the wheelset as we’re testing is $2,099.
We set up a pair of Terrene Cake Eater 26 x 4.0 tires tubeless on the Wide Rides. The shape of the rim guided the beads into place with a blast from our shop compressor with no need for straps, rubber bands or other tubeless tire bondage rituals. The tire beads set dry and then we added sealant with an injector through the valve stem and they’ve held air with zero issues. Both the Big Su and the Wide Ride rims have set the industry bar for easy tubeless application. The Wide Rides are also designed so you don’t need to take off the tire to true your wheel like some other carbon fat bike rims.
Initial Ride Impressions
These wheels are light and you can feel that ‘lightness’ from the very first pedal stroke. I let the owner of Afterglow Lake Resort, Pete Moline, take a ride of my bike when we went up there last month. Pete rides a Fatboy with a stock set of wheels and the first words out of his mouth (after he squealed with delight) was “man! is this thing light! and it takes nothing to make this thing go!” That’s the beauty of light carbon wheels…from zero to cruising speed feels easier and happens faster. You can imagine how many times that sort of acceleration happens per mile of twisty singletrack and then do the math.
One of the first rides that I did was my local bandito loop. The rather long and soupy Autumn that rendered certain areas too soft to ride had started to accept the inevitability of Winter and had frozen over. That meant I could cut across an agricultural field to get to this old shed that’s on some state hunting land over on the other side of the railroad tracks. The field was festooned with frozen crop stubble that put the new wheels to the test. This is the kind of exploratory cycling that sets fat-bikes apart from any other MTB platform. The field was frozen black dirt with crop ruts and corn stubble. I’d get rolling along and bam, I nail a corn stalk which would set me pinballing across the row, but always moving forward – turning the pedals in the old familiar dance. I don’t know about speed, but the Wide Ride wheels showed great compliance and durability right out of the box. I got out to the old shotgun shed just as the last rays of sunshine filtered through the trees.
I’ve gotta say…I think these wheels look pretty damn good on Ten Beers! Winter got a late start, but once it got started, we’ve had all kinds of snow and ice conditions. I took the Wide Ride wheels on a trip up to the Northwoods for a few days of groomed trail riding at Afterglow Lake Resort. We had a great time and enjoyed a handful of rides up there. Afterglow has some steep hills so a light wheelset comes in very handy. The one thing that I noticed was that the Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes made noise when under climbing load. I’ve had this occur on HED rims with the same type of spokes. The Wide Ride rims can be built with alternate spoke options that would eliminate the issue.
So there you have some first impressions of the new Fatback Wide Ride Wheels, We’re going to put some additional test miles on this set of wheels and carefully measure how much fun we have. I think JP is going to give these things a shot in the fat-bike birkie on his Ti REEB vünderbike. So please consider this an open invitation to look for our full review somewhere down the trail amigos.
For more information about Fatback visit – https://fatbackbikes.com/