Check it out!…we have a Bluto FatBike fork in stock. Much has been discussed about FatBike suspension with varying opinions, but for the record we think it definitely has its time and place.
Before we go any further we should say that there are two huge caveats before you try using the Rockshox Bluto on your FatBike:
1) Your FatBike needs to have a tapered headtube. That’s the only way the fork comes.
2) You need a 150mm thru axle front hub. In all likelihood you currently have a 135mm front, so you’ll have to build up a new wheel.
Next, we’ll give you a little 3rd party reading* to do. Check out the recent Bluto review on bikerumor.com. We agree with some of what the review says, we question other bits, but form your own thoughts and then read our response further below.
You can also read about the brand new Turnagain seal kit for the Bluto that solves some of the issues highlighted in bikerumor.com’s initial review.
Okay, all read up? Here are a few of our thoughts in the bikerumor.com review:
Their most basic premise for wanting a suspension fork on a FatBike seems to be that the ‘natural’ suspension provided by 4″-5″ tires offers less than optimal control because the suspension is undampened. In other words fat tires do provide some inherent pneumatic suspension but they also bounce, so instead of absorbing rocks, roots, and drops they bounce off of them.
We agree this is the case when you run your Fat tires at 30 psi, but at, say, 10 psi they don’t really bounce, so in our opinion you don’t really need rebound dampening. As a result we still don’t really see the need for a front suspension fork for winter riding, when we assume you’ll be running low pressure in order to get maximum traction. Generally we also find that the rocks and roots we ride over in the summer are smoothed out with snowfall in the winter, so our cold weather riding tends to be less technical even when we’re on the same trails, further reducing the need for lots of suspension.
What we CAN make a case for is summer FatBike suspension. FatBike geometry is getting more aggressive and the bikes are getting lighter, which means they ride more and more like regular cross country racing bikes. Add some suspension and in at least some cases you pretty much have a hardtail 29er with fat tires that can do everything your regular 29er can do and more, with maybe a bit of a weight penalty.
Though we don’t see lots of need for a suspension fork in the winter if you already have a Bluto on your bike you might want to leave it on year round. You could of course lock it out in the winter (an option somehow lost on the reviewers in the above article, unless we missed something) but you could keep using the suspension all year-long by investing in the seal kit mentioned above, making your Bluto Winnipeg winter proof (or so they say – we don’t doubt the review, but we have zero personal experience at this point and we’re always nervous endorsing experiences that aren’t our own).
At any rate, we can see where the Bluto could be a really cool addition to a FatBike, and we’re looking forward to testing them out for ourselves. If you want to be an early adopter we have one in the shop right now. We also have a stock Mukluk spec’d with a Bluto if you want to go all in right from the beginning.
*Thanks to the webguy’s wife for pointing out these reviews. As a reward she’s receiving a set of HED carbon FatBike rims with Industry 9 hubs. Nice.