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6Fatties. Yes, they are that good.

I’ve been working in the cycling industry for over 20 years. I was first handed a 10mm open end wrench and told to adjust a set of cantis in May of 1995. To say things have changed a lot over the years would be an understatement. First it was Vee brakes, then disk brakes. Front suspension was followed by full suspension and then full suspension that actually worked.  Steel gave way to aluminum and titanium which both have been trumped more recently by carbon.

Through all these changes and iterations of bicycles, despite owning and trying almost every style possible, I’ve always returned back to my rigid singlespeed. I’m highly critical of untested technology and the only test I really trust is the one I conduct, by myself, on our local trails. I’m not one to buy easily into hype, as it usually is just that with little to back it up.

WP_20150906_11_40_59_RawWith the advent of the fat bike, the concept of where a bicycle could possibly go has been greatly expanded. Big tires offer float over soft stuff and tons of traction for the loose stuff. The only downside is the extra weight of the obese tires that can cause the bikes to ride slow, which isn’t necessarily a problem seeing that the whole idea is to go new places not win races. After riding my Fat Boy for the past couple of years, I was quite intrigued when Specialized announced their 6Fattie platform with the introduction of the Fuse hard tail. They promised to give the benefit of the float and traction of big tires without the noticeable weight that accompanied them. That’s a pretty lofty goal to shoot for and while I was interested, I had my doubts.

WP_20150829_07_48_25_RawI decided to give the platform a try on the new Stumpjumper 6FAttie The first ride out was the Zen Trail, a formidable test for any new bike. Right out of the parking lot I noticed how quiet the bike was which may seem like a strange thing to notice, but the tires just rolled over everything smoothly. The rocks that would normally actuate the suspension were gobbled up by the amply volume and low pressure of the tires. Definitely a bonus.

The second thing I noticed was when I hit the first switchback on the climb. Wishing to not lose any speed I stood up to crank and expect the bike to feel squishy and a bit sluggish, to my surprise the rear wheel hooked up the way I would expect a 3″ tire to, but it did not feel sluggish. On the contrary, the bike accelerated out of the turn. I was pleasantly surprised to find the bike climbing way better than I expected. I got the traction desired, but didn’t feel any downside to the bigger than normal tires.

It was on the downhill of Zen that the bike really impressed me. Having ridden this trail on both my rigid bike and an Enduro, I expected this to be a bit closer to the Enduro but not as confidence inspiring due to the shorter travel. Once pointed downhill, the bike rolled over everything. Chunky rocks only required me to point the front wheel and hold on. It was almost scary how fast I could go through the steps and rock drops, not to mention the turns. The SJ 6Fattie was more confidence inspiring than my Enduro.

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For this bike to be the ultimate Southern Utah steed, it had to do well on Gooseberry. This is the trail I had few doubts on its ability. Riding the Goose is more about knowing where the traction point is going to give away than it is anything else. With oodles of rubber under me finding rollers steep enough to find that point were a bit of a challenge. Outside of vertical surfaces, the tires stuck.

The next test was the Virgin River Rim Trail. Loose, long and steep, I assume the big tires would be great for trying to clean the climbs, but was a little worried about pushing the big tires all day. Luckily, my previous impression of the lack of heft was proven. Despite the fact that the trail was in the worst shape I have ever seen it and the ride turned into a 6 hour affair, I never once felt like the weight of the tires was slowing me down. They actually made rolling over the endless rock gardens tolerable.

WP_20150911_07_33_57_RawEverything I have thrown at this bike it has done better than I would have ever expected. Got loose trails? Rail ’em. Steep climbs? Not a problem. Long rides? How does being comfortable the whole time sound? It pains me to say it, but this has become my go-to bike. The rigid singlespeed has been gathering dust and cobwebs in the back of the shed. This bike is opening up lines that I never though possible even on trails that I thought I knew the best way to ride. In my opinion, the Stumpjumper 6Fattie is the ultimate platform for riding in Southern Utah.

And we’re not the only ones gushing about ’em. Check out Bike Radar’s write up.

Ride more.

RideMoreSM

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