As Winter winds down early this year there are still plenty of opportunities to ride fatbikes if you go to the right places. Some of these opportunities are made even better with the right gear. This will be my fifth year of winter cycling and I have a few favorite items that help make fatbiking out on the snow and ice much more enjoyable.
Bontrager Gnarwhal Stud-able Tires
If you're a Trek Farley owner with 27.5" wheels, then you know the frustration of limited tire options. Trek released their Bontrager Gnarwhal stud-able tires back in December and quickly sold out of their first shipment. I was very disappointed that my order was not filled and would have to wait until the next shipment arrived for distribution. Well, they finally arrived two weeks ago but the Bontrager studs I ordered to go with the tires would not arrive for some time. I really liked the grip of the 45NRTH concave studs on my Dillinger 4's so I decided to go with them for the Gnarwhals.
After a couple hours of hand studding the Gnarwhals I was ready for my first ride on the ice with these big meaty tires (27.5x4.5). Compared to the 45NRTH Dillinger 4's, these were monster truck tires. They have a very large footprint and when used with the proper psi for the riding conditions they really grip everything from sheer ice, crusted snow to groomed singletrack. This tire can handle riding a tight circle on ice without slipping adding extra confidence in the turns.
If you are interested in getting a pair for the end of this Winter or for next season, there will be another shipment arriving at Trek after the first week of March. Visit your local Trek Authorized Dealer for more information. These stud-able tires retail for $120 each and are tubeless-ready with a 120tpi foldable casing for easy tubeless setup.
Yeti Rambler 18 oz.
When it comes to riding in freezing temperatures the last thing I want to have to deal with is a frozen water bottle when I want to hydrate. I've tried all sorts of things over the past few winters and my new go-to water bottle is the Yeti Rambler 18 oz. container. It fits in a standard water bottle cage and is even short enough to work with my 15.5" Trek Farley frame which has limited space for larger water bottles. The cap on the Yeti Rambler can be opened with gloves on and the over the nose diameter of the bottle makes it easy to drink from. I have tested this bottle with hot and cold water in some of the coldest temperatures we have had in the Twin Cities over this winter and it really prevents liquids from freezing up. MSRP $30.
Bontrager Convertible Neck Gaiter
Lake MXZ400 Boots
My first impressions of the comfort, insulating warmth and customizable fit with the double Boa Closure System impressed me greatly. This boot has 400 gr. of 3M Thinsulate insulatation for those really cold rides and paired with a large toe box, it provides feet the circulation needed to keep them warm. The two studs on the toe section and the ice grip inserts on the sole provide the traction needed on slippery surfaces. With a breathable, water resistant upper and the Boa Closure System, I can wear a variety of sock thicknesses without overheating, sweating or letting snow/moisture in. The other thing I like about this boot is that with all of the insulation it provides it doesn't feel bulky or overly large. Lake MXZ400 boots are two bolt compatible for cleat installation.
I know this season is almost over, but this is one boot you may want to add to your winter riding gear while they are still available for next winter. MSRP $430.