I may geek out about it a little more than the average person, but everybody loves new gear. So when I got a call from our friends over at 616 Fabrication this morning and they were excited to tell me about some new stuff they have coming out, my ears perked up. I have been riding one of their bikes for a few months now, and love it, so I paid attention to what the man was telling me. Seems they have been spending the summer up there in Grand Rapids working on some new fat bike wheel technology and they wanted DC to be the first people to break the news.
They call it the 616 Snowcat
616 has joined forces with snow riding pioneers Snow Cat Rims out of Alaska to produce what might be the lightest fat bike wheel to date. This is some pretty big news for us desert folk. Down here, fat bikes are finding their place as a really fun alternative for backcountry exploring but lugging around a heavy bike with equally heavy wheels is kind of a buzz kill.
Talking with Aaron over at 616, he said that their goal with this project was to create a more year-round wheel set. They made the rim relatively narrow at 45mm wide as opposed to the 65, 82, or 100mm rims currently available. Then they are drilled out to shave some more weight. One big advantage of the narrow rim is that you can run a regular downhill tube (and carry a regular spare) instead of the current monster tube of choice. That alone cuts a considerable amount of rotational weight. This rim and tube combo laced to a 616 hub and finished off with a 45NRTH kevlar beaded Husker Du gets you a front wheel that weighs in at 6lbs 4ounces. I really didn’t really know if that was much of a difference than what I currently have so I grabbed the stock wheel off of my Mukluk and went to my local bike shop to borrow their scale. With some help from a shop monkey we determined that my OEM wheel weighed 7.78 lbs.
That is over a pound of rubber blubber cut from just one wheel. The rims will be available in polished (shown) but the standard will be a raw or anodized finish (pics and pricing coming soon). They will have a full size range with 26″, 650b, and 29″
Fatbikes are a pretty new version of the mountain bike and a lot of innovation and evolution is going to be taking place as more people find the joys of riding fat. In my opinion, this is a giant leap forward and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of these wheels. You heard it here first.
Keep it Fat…