New Gear! 616 Snowcat

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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.

Lady Killer. Rain Man with a wrench.

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…



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About dirty biker

I am a fan of singletrack, singlespeeds, single women and single malt. Currently in Carbondale, CO Follow on Instagram @dirty_biker

16 Replies to “New Gear! 616 Snowcat”

  1. Dirty, what rims are your OEM wheels built with? are they the drilled out version or the solid ones.

    ..building my first fatbike now and want it light, but wonder about the floatation in snow of a 45mm rim vs the wiser ones so if anyone has experience with that i’d be all ears and grateful.

  2. I’m getting these fer me Pugz. Lose 2 pounds on the shoes, add 15 to my ass, and I’ll be in prime shape for winter racing.

  3. so awesome you guys are giving 616 the love. GR and the rest of west Mi would love to host DC up here, most badass event you need to see is Iceman in November….

  4. Iceman is all good but the Big M’fer or Lumberjack is some tasty 100 miles of really good Michigan single track.

    Iceman for the party.

    The Big M’fer for the race.

  5. Dirty, I have heard of people running 2.5 downhill tubes on their fatbikes with all the benefits you discussed.

    616 guys, do they have a 29r mtb frame that would house these rims and rubber to match the 29er rims, that would rival the Krampus? it seems the rims are pointing in that direction, but after a quick look on their site, nothing sticks out.

  6. I’m wondering what the narrowing of the rim will do to the snow ride handling…I’m really looking strongly at these guys for a snow bike to use in backcountry approaches around Flag this winter…

  7. I just weighed my wheel (same as Dirty’s) with 2.4-2.7 tube and 1st generation Husker Du and the scale read 7.01lbs. I’ve had the same tubes in for 6 or so months with no problems. I understand having to ride at high psi on pavement for long stretches could cause tears in the tube but I haven’t taken on a ride like that yet.

  8. all bykes are good, but really?

    You think a fat bike is going to be any faster than skinning or hiking? I can’t imagine hauling ski gear on one of these bikes up in the I.B. I’d rather skin it and keep 2k in my pocket for the booze.

  9. I like the idea of getting a fat bike for mixed snow / dirt / muddy conditions in the fall and spring when skis and snowshoes are useless but you want to cover more ground than you would on foot. Plus, being able to ride on packed snow and un-plowed streets would be a big plus in my area.

    They intrigue me, but I am not ready to jump into that particular niche just yet. I will give it a few years and let the technology sort itself out.

  10. @ Barry

    616 is all about seeing what can be done. Call and ask for Aaron. I believe he mentioned something along the lines of running 29 tires on the rims, which would lead me to believe that a few bends here and there will get you what you want. I don’t know if their stainless offerings can be bent that way.

    @ maadjurger

    again call Aaron. narrower rim will leave a somewhat smaller footprint but I doubt it will have adverse handling characteristics. Float is critical and a lighter wheel means more speed and therefor a touch more float.
    Too bad you were not on this trip before while I worked with you. Might have been able to leverage a dealio for you.

  11. Cupcake…will you be hitting up any of these, then?

    I just put the White Bros carbon fork on my Muk and saved a bit of weight…now I consider it a race bike, so I wanna race it. Missed out on 24 Hours of Wausau cuz I crushed the tip of my thumb two weeks before the race :(

  12. Meh, why go skinny if you own a fatty?

    Go tubeless, lose more weight, AND keep the float. Tubes weigh close to if not more than, 500gms. You telling me that losing 15 to 20 mm of rim width will be able to accomplish that?

    ‘Round these parts, the fat tires help out bridging root and rock gaps better, and I can see no reason to limit that capability by narrowing my tires down.

    I’d agree, handling won’t be negatively affected by skinnier rims, but my floatation/technical capabilities sure will!

    Ride a skinny bike if you want race weenie light and skinny….

  13. @Gnome….no way would I take that up in the IB…skinning would be faster as you say. I’m talking forest road approaches like FR418 which is just a mindless 10 mile slog on skins from the highway just before you get to any terrain worth a damn. I think for this, it would be awesome considering 418 is closed in the winter. I’m also thinking about using it for hitting multiple cinder lines north of the peaks where there are lots of FR’s that span the flat expanses between topography…it’s not feasible currently to do multiple lines/multiple cones in a day with only skis and skins….this could bridge that gap. But then again….2k does buy a lot of beer and white Russians…

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