2014 was a year of commitments for me.
For one, I got married.
Also, likely more important to you than the fact that I put a ring on it- is that I got a new bike. A fancy space bike. Yes, it’s another fatbike.
As you may recall, I was lucky enough to be selected as a 2015 Ambassador for Fatback Bicycles. That means when it comes to bikes with tires over 3.8″- Fatback is what I’ll be riding. My affinity for the brand has hopefully been obvious since I purchased a pair of them for me and the little lady a while back.
Most people would agree that the fatbike was born in Alaska, and though many companies have various connections with the state and others still try to establish some sort of “Alaskan bush cred,” I feel that Fatback is the realest out there. The owner Greg lives in Anchorage and sells his as well as other brands in his shop Speedway Cycles. Fatback builds bikes for places off the beaten path- he and the many folks that ride Fatbacks have been exploring this wonderful state for years.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve likely already seen my new ride- so it’s not officially “new bike day.” I haven’t had the bike for too terribly long and now seems as good a time as any to introduce it to the world of posts longer than 144 characters.
Fatback had a prototype of the Corvus in 2013 (I think) but the production frames began rolling out the door in 2014. At races in Anchorage, it’s pretty incredible how many people are riding them, especially since Speedway is one of the few places to get them. It’s likely because Speedway has a knowledgeable staff, a long history in fatbiking and if you’re lucky- they may pull you a pint from the rotating tap they have at the service desk- that’s my kind of service!
The bike as “awarded” was a frame, fork and wheels. I bought a build kit from Speedway and had them build it to the specs that the Corvus complete rolls out the door. This includes:
- Corvus 18″ frame and fork
- Raceface Turbine seatpost
- Raceface stem
- Raceface Next carbon handlebar
- Sun Ringle 80SL Mulefoot rim
- Maxxis Mammoth 26×4 120tpi tires
- SRAM XO 11-speed drive train
- SRAM gripshift
- Raceface Turbine crank (32t)
- SRAM 10-42t 11-speed cassette
- Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors
- WTB Pure saddle
- FSA headset
- Raceface bottom bracket
- (owner provided) Crankbrothers Eggbeater pedals
All said and done, when I threw it on the scale she weighed in at 26.2 pounds with the pedals on.
I’ve since gone to flat pedals and replaced the carbon bars with some alloy bars in order for me to carry a Blackburn Outpost Handlebar Roll without concern of compromising the bars. I’ve also strapped on my Revelate frame bag from my Fatback Rocker (technically not sized for this frame but it works,) my Revelate gastank bag and a Blackburn Outpost Seat Pack.
I’ve taken a few friends out riding with the two different setups and the differences are great. The cockpits are a little different (my Rocker is equipped with Jones H-bars) and the Rocker also sports 5″ tires as opposed to the Maxxis 4″ on the Corvus, but still- they are completely different bikes.
The Corvus is whippy and feels like a mountain bike. You get out of the saddle and it’s like getting in a muscle car and making the tires bark with every shift. You just GO. The Rocker is slow and steady- it feels like a beast of burden and really, that’s exactly why I won’t get rid of it.
If you are looking for a fatbike and have a good amount of dough to spend- The Fatback Corvus might be the bike that can bridge the gap between fast and float. Of course you can put a 29″ or 29+ wheelset and have one a hell of a rigid all-mountain bike as well. With rack mounts, and three waterbottle mounts you shouldn’t discount the off-road ability of this frame either.
The 1×11 drivetrain works very well with this setup and the build is really nice as can be expected from Speedway.
The Maxxis Mammoth 4″ tires work well in most conditions, though in soft snow they don’t bite very well. I have yet to throw on my 4.8″ Buds, but I’ve been assured that they’ll fit. One thing to keep in mind with carbon is to ensure that your stay clearance is legit. My carbon SSCX bike got some abrasion at the chain stay when my wheel slipped and I ran with my bike alongside back to the pit- and that wasn’t even one lap. That said- if I was a real cross racer, I would have shouldered my bike.
As I mentioned before, I recently replaced the carbon bars with alloy and I hope to build a 29+ wheelset for the summer.
Stay tuned for photos of some adventuring and be sure to stay hooked up with what Fatback has going on.