A quality Carbon Fiber Wheelset can significantly improve the ride feel of a fat-bike. Reducing rotational mass on a fat-bike is more important than say on a road bike because of the size (and weight) of fat-bike tires. Lightweight wheels provide a similar feeling that you get when you go tubeless but, by my estimation, you receive about one and a half times the benefit from the right set of carbon wheels. If you want your fat-bike to feel like it’s got more go-go juice you need to try a set of carbon wheels. Today’s story is about the latest set of Carbon Fiber Fat-Bike Wheels that I’ve been riding called Big Su. Not like the Johnny Cash ‘Rim Named Sue’ song. Big Su is short for the Big Susitna River in Alaska and these wheels are made by an Alaskan Fat-Bike brand called Fatback.
My fat-bike is a Fatback Corvus FLT named Ten Beers so it made some sense to bolt these wheels onto that bike for testing. I wrote a ‘First Look’ about the Big Su’s in late March after riding them for a month. You can get all of the spec’s with weights and more in that story. I’ve now experienced an additional six weeks of dirt riding on them. I’ve been averaging 100+ miles a week (according to my Wahoo). Of course, not all of those miles are on the Big Su’s. I cheat on Ten Beers with a gravel bike name Yvonne and a Singlespeed named Hank.
I feel like I’ve exposed the Big Su’s to everything that Wisconsin has to offer with maybe the exception of beach riding. (Lake Michigan is still super high) So I decided to let a 43-mile race up in Webster, Wisconsin be the crescendo of my dirt days on the wheelset. At the beginning of May, I raced the Fat Fish Forty on the Big Su’s with a set of Bontrager Hodags mounted tubeless. I finished that race feeling pretty damn spunky (for a geezer).
I feel like these wheels have gotten a pretty wide spectrum of what there is to do on a bike. From Multi-surface commuting to bikepacking to singletrack sessions on the local twisties these wheels settled in nicely and have been rock solid.
The Big Su Carbon has an impressive pedigree that goes back to Fatback’s history with Knight Composites and the Bend Connection that teamed Greg Matyas and Fuzzy John Mylne, with Scott Wolfe from Knight, together to design their first-generation carbon hoops. Scott has moved over from Knight Composites to Fatback and he and Greg designed the Big Su rims to be a year-round omni-terrain solution. I rode big 27.5 x 4.5 tires in the snow and currently running 27.5 x 3.8 Bontrager Hodags in the dirt. These wheels are quite versatile. The design makes the tubeless set-up as easy as it can get. This is the first set of rims that I ever set up tubeless with a floor pump. The hubs on our set of test wheels are Fatback’s Alaska Edition hubs. They feature EZO Japanese bearings with ultra-low temp grease for minimal rolling resistance, a 6 pawl design with 72 points of engagement. We get to ride a lot of pretty sweet bike jewelry at the ole’ fat-fun-factory. We’ve never broken or had any issues with Fatbck’s Alaska Edition Hubs. The list of other fancy boutique hubs that we have destroyed would probably surprise you (or maybe not). My bottom line here is the Fatback Big Su Carbon Wheelset, a solid value at $1,899. If you strap these wheels on your current fatty, they’ll make it ride so much sweeter!