Adventure Nomad

Adventure Nomad

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Not Just Another Fatbike

Milton Ramos leading the pack with his Sandman Hoggar Ti in the Titan Desert. Photo courtesy of Sandman Bikes.

Fatbikes have always been interesting to me.  Originally designed to be ridden on snow, Fatbikes have evolved to be simple, rugged bikes that you can ride just about anywhere (well, more rideable that a skinny-tired bike anyway).  The fat, 4" wide tires eat up roots, loose ground, rocks, sand and snow.  As a bonus, the wider tires apparently do less trail damage than skinnier tires.  Fat tires offer unmatched grip for steep climbs and descents and have some 'suspension' benefits as well.

The major down side with fat bikes is the weight.  Fatbikes weighing well over 30 lbs is the norm.  The fat tires can be draggy as hell, and the bikes can have sluggish steering characteristics.

At least one Fatbike manufacturer has taken a taken a different approach.  Sandman Bikes were designed from the ground up to be trail bikes, not snow bikes.  How's it different?  Other than the top models being specced with front suspension, I can't really say.  There is scant information available on their website, only just enough to find your size and order a bike. 

Milton Ramos and his Sandman Hoggar Ti.  Image courtesy of Sandman Bikes.
The proof is in the riding, and if I can't get to ride it, I'd like to hear from someone who has, or better yet, have some performance results.  What's encouraging is that the Belgium based Sandman has a sponsored rider, Milton Ramos, who has done quite well riding the company's top-end Hoggar Ti model, albeit using a combination of fat tires and 29er wheels.  Milton Ramos has managed to get the weight of his Hoggar Ti down to 12.5kg with fat tires, and under 10kg with 29er wheels.  Quite a respectable weight, plus the fact that he is riding the bike well says a lot about its handling qualities.

Quite frankly, I'm unlikely to give up my S-Works Epic to race the Hoggar, but it's a different kind of ride, and I'd really like to get my hands on one!

To give you an idea on what this bike is for, here are a couple of excellent videos by Martin Campoy, riding his Hoggar Ti in Nepal:

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