Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mukluk Ti- Overview Of The 2015 Model

The 2015 Mukluk Ti

Mukluk Ti- Overview Of The 2015 Model : by Guitar Ted

The Mukluk line is Salsa Cycles' core fat bike offering. Salsa Cycles introduced a titanium Mukluk first for the 2012 model year and they have consistently upgraded this bike into the super-versatile, do anything anywhere bike that it is as you see it here. Before I get into the specific things that make the Mukluk Ti unique in the Mukluk line, let's see the basic features of this model.....
  • Frame: Seamless, triple butted 3/2.5 titanium alloy frame tubing. 
  • Fork: The new, ground breaking, game changer that is the Rock Shox Bluto. (A discussion about a suspension fork on a fat bike will follow these feature listings.)
  • Alternator Drop Outs: Make for a very versatile set up. Single speed, Rohloff specific, and geared versions of this drop out are available for this frame depending upon your preferences. Plus- A longer or shorter wheel base can be selected depending upon load carrying/terrain demands. 
  • Wheels: Rolling Darryl rims with cutouts for weight savings and a great balance between flotation and trail performance. Surly Nate 120TPI folding bead tires for ultimate grip in all situations. Salsa Conversion hubs with the front being the "new" standard of 150mm, which will be the go to width for fat bike front hubs going forward. 
  • Drive Train: SRAM X1 fat bike drive train featuring an 11 speed, wide range cassette with a Type 2 rear derailleur for "slap free" and stable chain performance. No front derailleur eliminates the muck gathering component and cleans up the handle bar with one less shitfer and cable to maintain. 
  • Components: Premium Thomson components, WTB Pure V saddle, New SRAM Guide Brakes, and Salsa finishing kit put a worthy finishing touch on this top-shelf model.
Okay, so two things about this model that we get asked most often about are the "need for a suspension fork on a fat bike", and whether or not titanium really makes a difference in the ride versus the aluminum. First, the ride question.....

From personal experience with my aluminum Mukluk and my titanium Mukluk, the answer to the ride question is, "Definitely yes. The difference in smoothness is very noticeable with the titanium frame." Not only that, but the titanium frame is corrosion resistant, and the aesthetics are nicer on the titanium version versus the aluminum Mukluk. The titanium details concerning the ride quality alone are worth the upgrade though.

Now for the suspension fork- The fat tires have a degree of suspension absorbing ride feel for sure, however, the tires get bouncy. There is no rebound control at all. With a suspension fork, the fork damper works in concert with the tire to provide a much more controllable ride feel along with a deeper, smoother bump absorbing performance. You will get better traction up front, plus the Mukluk Ti becomes an all year around bike, capable of going faster around corners and over bumpy terrain than many traditional 29"ers or 27.5"er hard tail mountain bikes. The bottom line is that the Bluto fork makes the Mukluk more versatile, faster, and more fun.

That said, a carbon Makwa fork from Salsa is compatible with the Mukluk Ti for those who insist on or want the rigid fork option.

Conclusion: The Mukluk Ti is Salsa Cycles most refined, all around capable fat bike. It has options galore, unlike anything else in the fat bike line up from Salsa, or other fat bike producing marques, for that matter. If you can only have one fat bike, this is the one to aspire to. The Mukluk Ti has you covered in any situation you might find yourself in. Come on down and see this beauty, or any of the other fat bikes we have on the floor at Europa Cycle & Ski soon!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Farley 8, Beargrease Carbon Fat Bikes Are In!

The Trek Farley 8 fat bike
With September closing out, we are starting to get more of our fat bike inventory into the shop. Here's one we've been pretty excited about- the Trek Farley 8.

The Farley 8 is using the same frame as the Farley 6's are, but it is outfitted with SRAM's X1 11 speed group that dismisses the front derailleur and still has the full range of gearing you will need to clean the terrain of your choosing. This also eliminates crap from getting collected in the critical bottom bracket/rear tire area, which is good when the going gets sloppy.

Furtermore, the new Rock Shox Bluto is on this rig. Again- you will not believe how much better a fat bike can be until you try this. Many died in the wool mtb'ers have left their full suspension rigs in the shed after getting a fat bike with a front suspension fork, and the Bluto is currently the only readily available suspension fork purposely designed for fat tires like the Bontrager Hodag 3.8 folding bead tires on this bike.

The color of the bike is arresting! It is a bright matt green finish, so you won't lose your rig in the mud or snow, that's for sure!

As you can see, the Alpha aluminum tubes are highly shaped and optimized for the fat bike design. Plenty of room for the frame bag of your choice, (I highly recommend Bike Bag Dude or Becker Gear Bike Bags), and there are triple bosses on the inside of the down tube which can accommodate Salsa Cycles Anything Cage, or simply a water bottle cage. There are rack and fender eyelets as well on the Farley 8.

The wheels are unique on this bike, and in the fat bike world. The new Bontrager Jackalope wheels use the time tested idea that Bontrager helped introduce in the 90's of using an offset spoke bed. Not to be confused with the offset Pugsley wheel idea, the Jackalope wheels are offset, (not the frame and wheels as with a Pugsley), to promote even spoke tensions which yield a stronger, longer lasting wheel. The central rib reinforces the rim structure where the spokes are pulling, and also lends more lateral stability. PLUS- these are tubeless ready rims! You get rim tape for both wheels to enable a tubeless set up with the Hodag tires. How cool is that?

The Farley 8 sports internally routed cables, which is nice from an aesthetic standpoint. It also is outfitted with a port for a dropper seat post. Obviously, dropper seat posts are only a down hill, mountain bike deal, right? Wrong! 

 Consider how difficult it is to remount any mtb if you lose traction on a climb, or lose momentum in very uneven terrain. Try a bike with a dropper seat post in these situations and you will be able to drop the saddle so low that remounting and getting going again will become like child's play. Plus, a dropper seat post can help you remount and start again in deep snow. Considering all the potential ride enhancing benefits of a dropper post for a fat bike, it is great to see that Trek included this port to accommodate using one.

Beargrease Carbon 1 (Catalog image)

Salsa Cycles Beargrease Carbon 1: We also have this rig on the showroom floor now. A gleaming white with black accents Carbon Beargrease 1. It also features SRAM's new X1 11 speed set up and has the new SRAM Guide brakes which we feel are a better design than past Avid Elixirs and what not. The Beargrease was a hot bike last year, and with good reason- it is light, (26lbs ready to ride), and has fantastic handling. This year this rig sports Surly Marge Lite rims and Dillinger 120TPI ties for the lighter weight, faster performance that the Beargrease line represents.

This bike is Bluto fork compatible as well, so it could be a year round mountain bike, or the fast paced snow/sand/mud bike, or just a great bike for any conditions you find yourself riding on/in off road. The handling is dialed too, and our past Beargrease customers would agree that you cannot go wrong with the combination of excellent handling and light weight the Beargrease has.

Stop in today to see these or any of the other fat bikes we have coming in soon or that are on the floor now for your riding pleasure!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Salsa Mukluks Arrive!

Possibly the best color on a fat bike I've ever seen.
The Salsa Mukluks are arriving and in this post I will detail what we have in so far. The Mukluk is Salsa Cycles mainstay fat bike. The fat bike with versatility and all-year-around use designed right in.

Common to all Mukluks is the aluminum, 170mm rear spaced frame with Alternator Drop Outs. This frame with these special, swinger type drop outs, allows for several drive train set ups. You could go single speed, use an IGH hub, (internally geared hub), or utilize the drop outs as a way to change your wheelbase for different handling characteristics.

These frames also feature continuous cable housings to seal out dirt and grime. All Mukluks have 31.6mm seat posts so you can easily swap in a dropper post for more versatility. Rack mounts are standard, as are the triple bosses on the down tube which support Salsa's Anything cages or a water bottle cage in two different positions. There are also water bottle bosses on the seat tube on Med-XL sizes, and one under the down tube.

Mukluk 3 in White w/Red & Blue anodized accents
Mukluk 3 in Ruby Red
The Mukluk 3 has been seriously upgraded this year and remains the same price as it was last year. Upgrades include the brakes, which are Avid hydraulics this year.  Wheels are upgraded to Holy Rolling Darryl rims. Ten speed SRAM drive trains are upgraded from last year's 9 speed set up.

The Mukluk 3's get the Salsa Bearpaw Aluminum fork with Triple Bosses for two Anything Cages or two water bottles. A rack could also be subbed in as an alternative set up.

NOTES: The Muk 3's are seriously good deals. Salsa Cycles is a leader in the fat biking market place and competition has refined the breed to give customers of the 2015 models the best value in a fat bike yet from Salsa. The look of the past Mukluks has been okay, but this years graphics and paint jobs are the best, in my opinion, that Salsa has yet put out. On any of their fat bike models. That Ruby Red may be the prettiest fat bike color ever.

The Mukluk 2 in this crazy sparkly Orange

 The Mukluk 2 is also upgraded for 2015, and- obviously- the fork is the new Rock Shox Bluto suspension fork. Salsa Cycles had a big hand in getting this fork produced and were able to plan geometry and the resulting handling ahead of time for their fat bike range. For instance, last year's Mukluks were all suspension fork ready. Not convinced a fat bike needs a suspension fork? Read this. My buddy MG tells it like it is and he's a really good mountain biker.

The Mukluk 2 also brings a refined drive train with Surly's OD crank set and SRAM components featuring the Type 2 derailleur which has a clutch mechanism to keep the cage from whipping the chain over rougher terrain onto the chain stay. The result is a much quieter ride, and less dropped chains.

NOTES: The Muk 2, second only to the Ruby Red Muk 2 for the best paint job ever, is a serious all terrain, all year around fat bike. You could enjoy maximum traction, crazy cornering grip, and all with more control than ever via the front suspension fork. Of course, you can easily swap to a rigid fork for a lighter weight set up.

Come on down and check out our growing fat bike corner in the shop and look for more posts coming soon on our new arrivals.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Farley 6 Is In!

We have Trek Farley 6's in stock now at Europa Cycle & Ski. This is only the first of our "fat bike fleet" which should start trickling in now over the next month or two.

The Farley 6 is Trek's entry into the fat biking world. The Farley 8, which we will also have, will be Trek's top of the line fatty for '14/'15. The 6 is a great bike, and calling it "entry level fat bike" is really an insult. Check out the features to see why.....
  • Trek hydroformed aluminum frame and fork with the Convert rear through axle and braze ons for racks front and rear and even fender mounts!
  • Bontrager "Hodad" tires which are 26 X 4.0 and really are that big. 
  • Rims are Sun Ringle' "Mulefut" 80mm wide with cut outs.
  • Race Face crankset, 2X- with 30mm pipe spindle, outboard bearing bottom bracket
  • Shimano XT Cluth Type rear derailleur with a 10 speed cassette. 
  • Avid Elixir Hydraulic Brakes
And the price? Two years ago a fat bike like this would have cost you close to 3G. Now you can walk out the door with this bike for under $1800.00 (plus tax) There really isn't anything "entry level" about this rig.

Stay tuned for more fat bike announcements coming soon!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Fat Cometh!

A full suspension fat bike will be at Europa Cycle & Ski soon
We've placed our orders and following is what you can expect to see at Europa Cycle & Ski in the coming months for fat bikes. It will be the widest selection of fat bikes we have brought in to date.

Leading the charge will be the wildest fat bike produced to date, the Salsa Cycles Bucksaw. A full suspension fat bike utilizing Dave Weagle's Split Pivot design. This will be for the rider looking for the most traction mated with one of the best full suspension designs produced today. Go over stuff that you never imagined you could. Go up stuff you never had the traction for before. Ride it all year, anywhere. The Bucksaw 2 will be as shown in this stunning gold-ish orange color.

The Beargrease XX1 and X01 will be represented as well. Last year this was the hottest selling model we had on the floor. With a light, nimble carbon fiber frame and fork, this was the lightest production fat bike you could get. Now it's even better. Two spec levels to choose from too. 

The Beargrease Aluminum model is one we're pretty excited about. Same great Beargrease geometry and handling, same carbon fork, (The Makwa), and set up with a wide ranging 2X10 drivetrain with Marge Lite rims and 45NRTH tires. At well below three grand, this may be the best value in the line up. 

 The magical ride of titanium mated to the Rock Shox Bluto fat bike fork? Amazing! And with a 1 X 11 SRAM drivetrain, this will be a crazy good fat bike for all year around explorations. Fitted with the Alternator drop out, the possibilities open up for tailoring the bike to your specific adventuring needs, or just know it is there if you need it to bail yourself out of trouble should you find it necessary to go single speed. 

 The Mukluk line up will also be represented by the Mukluk 2. The same Mukluk 2 you know and love with a color change, Rock Shox Bluto fork, Holy Rolling Darryls, and Nate tires. Not just for snow and sand anymore, but a capable, all year around trail bike. 

Looking to just get in the door on fat biking? Look no further than the capable, versatile Mukluk 3. This year the upgrades are hydraulic brakes, Holy Rolling Darryls, (last year these had undrilled rims and mechanical brakes), a Salsa Bearpaw aluminum fork, and a 2X10 drivetrain highlight the changes. All for the same cabbage as last year's model! 

Whoa! The bike that blew us out of the water was the brand spankin' new Salsa Blackborow. Not a Mukluk! This is a brand new model featuring the widest rims and tires for the most flotation possible in fat biking. Based on the 197 X 12mm rear axle standard, and a new 150mm wide front fork, (Rock Shox Bluto compatible wheel!) and through axles front and rear, this is the epitome of expedition/back country/do anything fat biking today. Blackborow features a full range 2 X 10 drive train and geometry dialed in for maximum stand over clearance and maximum stability in soft conditions. It doesn't get any fatter than Blackborow!

I'm throwing this one in there to show ya'all I am puttin' my money where my mouth is. The Blackborow DS, (Dingle Speed ya'all!), will be my fat bike for the coming Winter commutes and trail bustin' in the Cedar Valley. It's a variation of the Blackborow more fine tuned for bushwhacking fun, which is what I like to do come Wintertime. Dingle Speed? Yep! A two chain ring/two rear cog drive train. Each cog/chain ring combo adds up to the same total teeth, so you don't have to change tension on the chain to use either the high or low ratio. No derailleur bits mean nothing to get iced up or whacked off in the under brush. We won't be bringing in another one for the floor, but if ya see mine and want one, let us know! We can order this or any of the Salsa fat bikes, (or other fine bicycles), if we don't have the size or color you want. 

That's it for the Salsa stuff. Stay tuned for a separate post on the Trek fat bikes coming in soon to Europa Cycles!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Salsa 2015: Fat Bikes

The 2015 Beargrease 2: Alu Beargrease returns!-$2599.00
Saddledrive in Utah has just concluded for QBP, which is the dealer only show our distributor has every Summer. The new Salsa Cycles rigs have been revealed and in this first post we will get a look at the newest fat bike offerings.

New for 2015 are three fat bikes, the Blackborow, the Bucksaw, and the Aluminum Beargrease, (which really is a returning model). Continuing models include Beargrease Carbon and Mukluk line ups (with suspension forks!)

So enough with the words! Let's look at the new rigs first!

Beargrease Carbon 1- $3699.00
The range topping Beargrease XX1- $5599.00
Range topping Bucksaw 1- $4999.00
The Bucksaw 2- $3999.00
The Mukluk Ti for 2015- Now with suspension!- $4899.00
The Mukluk 2 also will sport a Rock Shox Bluto fork- $2999.00
The Mukluk 3's get Holy Rolling Daryls and hydraulic brakes- $1899.00
The Muk 3 also is available in the stunning Ruby Red
The Blackborow 1- Biggest tires on the widest rims! $2799.00
Blackborow DS- 2 speed bushwhacking machine. $2299.00
So- There ya have it! The line up for 2015 from Salsa Cycles in terms of fat bikes. I'll be bringing you some finer details on the bikes later. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

So- You Want To Ride RAGBRAI?

The "perfect" RAGBRAI bike looks like this
RAGBRAI is happening this month, and if you are going, you'd better have all your ducks in a row already, so this post won't be for you. This post will be for those who are about to decide whether to tackle this ride someday.

This is also a good post for anyone looking for a "road" bike, and wants the best bike for the recreational, versatile type of riding.

First off- let's get something out of the way here. Taking a skinny tire equipped, racing bike design and converting it to RAGBRAI duty is NOT the best thing to do, despite the urgings of your "RAGBRAI veteran" rider. could do what they say.'s worked for years for lots of folks. That said, there is a better way to do the job, and here is why......

  • Bicycles with drop bars and capable of only running 25mm or less wide tires are generally designed from a racing perspective. This does NOT mean it is a "fast bike". It only means it was designed from a racing perspective and will work best if you want to race a bike in a criterium or on a road race. I've noticed something about racing bikes at races- They don't use racks, kickstands, or aerobars in criteriums. Get the picture? In other words- You probably wouldn't put a trailer hitch, running boards, and a touring rack on a C-7 Vette,'s a race car for the street. Same deal with a "racing bike" folks. Same deal.
  • If you want comfort, versatility, and accessories then a racing design is the last bike you want to look at despite all the promises of "speed". Look folks- speed comes not from the bike, but from the rider. Okay, now that this dirty little secret is out in the open, let's drop the testosterone and look at what folks really should have for a ride like RAGBRAI......
Trek's Crossrip bikes are also perfect RAGBRAI rigs.
Accessories: When we sell a bicycle for a RAGBRAI rider, they typically want to put a rack on there to carry "stuff", and many even want to be able to pull a trailer or haul a "trail behind" bike to take a kid along. A racing bike has a lightweight rear wheel meant to handle a single rider that weighs about 180lbs. So......yeah, that wouldn't be smart to throw a rack on to carry a load. (Unless you like broken spokes, wheel issues, or wearing out hubs fast.) Many folks like kickstands. Racing bikes cannot handle kickstands because their tubing is optimized for riding at the lightest possible weight for the frame and handle in a stiff, efficient manner. Kickstand clamps require high strength, thick walled chain stays or a chain stay mounted kickstand plate. Not gonna find that on a Trek 1.2 folks.

These accessories call out for a different kind of bike. A more versatile, "all-road" bike like a Crossrip from Trek, a Tamland from Raleigh, or Salsa Cycles excellent Vaya. All of these models can take a rack, and they all are comfortable bikes which racing bikes are not meant to be. Racing bikes are meant for racing, not comfort. These bikes I am mentioning are designed with comfort in mind. But please skip over them if you don't want to be comfortable. (Remember- going fast doesn't come from the bike folks, it comes from a rider that is comfortable on the bike, and fitness.

Finally, a word on tires. There is a huge misunderstanding when it comes to tires for riders attempting RAGBRAI. Many think that the skinniest tires they can buy will make them "faster". Nothing could be further from the truth. Skinny tires will definitely make your bike less comfortable, and it will make your bike more prone to flats and spoke breakage. Many will poo-poo this idea, and we as bike shop retailers will be more than happy to fix your flats and broken spokes, plus we'll gladly sell you wider, cushier saddles. But you could avoid all of that by riding proper tires at lower pressures and guess what? You'll have lower rolling resistance and less mechanicals. This isn't something I'm making up either. Studies are being done across many different entities which show the same outcome. Tires are suspension. Suspension damps vibrations which otherwise would reach you, (sore butts), or vibrate your machinery to death (broken spokes and more), and with high pressure, unforgiving skinny tires, you don't get any of that, and you won't be faster.  (Remember- People are either fast or slow, bicycles are a minimal factor in the speed equation)

So, there are some hard, cold truths about bicycles for RAGBRAI. Hopefully you folks with open minds will find it useful......