Salsa Beargrease
Framset: $1,000

Fatbikes traditionally have been designed with a high level of utility built in to them, with eyelets and reinforcements for cargo racks and plenty of extra water-bottle mounts. Salsa, however, took a different approach with its Beargrease. Designed it specifically as a race rig, the frame is completely void of rack mounts or extra gussets. The frame and fork are also anodized to both shed grams and aid in corrosion resistance. Even the geometry has a distinct racing feel with its short 17.9-inch chainstays.

While I never ventured between the tape on the Beargrease, its race-oriented stature was certainly appreciated when trail riding. Weighing in at about 28 pounds, as shown, the Beargrease is easily lofted over downed logs and isn’t a burden to carry or push when the climbs are too slick/mushy or the snow is too deep. The stiff frame ensured good power transfer while mashing up climbs and sprinting into corners to drift.

The Salsa has a surprisingly agile ride to it that can almost be called flickable, even among non fatbikes. This nimbleness, however, means that extra attention needs to be paid to handling the bike in hairy, technical situations, but this is the case with most XC-style race bikes.

Despite the lack of mounts for racks, the Beargrease can go anywhere other fatbikes can go, however, if you are planning an overnight trip, you’ll likely learn how much it sucks to carry a tent, and the rest of your sleeping gear on your back on a bike.

The Beargrease raises the fatbike bar for pure trail riding and racing. That said, it might be eclipsed by the company’s astoundingly light carbon version that is due out later this year, which is claimed to weigh in at around 24 pounds right out of the box. For some, this could be a summer/winter quiver-killing xc bike.

Thanks to Evan at the Sports Rack in Marquette, Michigan, for letting me borrow his Beargrease to test, as Salsa had completely sold out of this bike before the snow even hit the ground.