The telephone area code for Alaska is 907, and Alaska is the home base for one of the world’s leading fat bike brands, 9:Zero:7. That snowy state gave birth to the fat bike trend that is spreading to Europe. 9:Zero:7 has just partnered with a new distributor for Germany and Austria, Bike Steel Borrow, which means that more belt drive fat bikes will soon be rolling across the landscape. Gates is a big supporter of the fat bike trend because these beefy machines pair so well with Gates Carbon Drive, allowing cyclists to plow through mud, sand and snow that clogs a chain. They are truly pedal-powered Land Rovers. Last summer, the Unchained Cyclist rode his belt drive 9:Zero:7 around Iceland via the sandy, volcanic beaches, a mission that would have wrecked a chain.
The 9:Zero:7 pictured above pairs the Gates belt drive with a Rohloff Speedhub for low-maintenance fat perfection. This bike was built up by Bike Steel Borrow for a customer in Cologne, Germany, who plans to ride the sandy beaches of the upper Rhine River and pedal snowy mountain trails. It features Surly Marge Lite rims, 45 Nrth Husker Du tires, Race Face cranks, seat post and stem and Race Face Chester handlebars. A new Brooks Cambium saddle adds to the style. And that gorgeous car in the background? It’s a 1968 Dodge Charger. No doubt, Steve McQueen would have loved to ride this bike.
Cycle Monkey is an innovative bike builder and belt drive specialist based near Berkeley in Albany, California. They are also the North American distributor for the Rohloff Speedhub, which pairs well with Gates Carbon Drive to produce a clean, quiet and low-maintenance drivetrain without derailleurs or chains. Cycle Monkey has produced many fine custom bikes featuring Carbon Drive, and here are some of our favorites.
Pictured above is the Green Troll, a do-it-all travel bike with couplers to take apart the frame for packing in a suitcase. “This modified Surly Troll frame was put together for a customer who lives in Southern California, but spends a fair amount of time in the rural East Coast every year,” says Cycle Monkey owner Neil Flock. “He wanted a versatile full-sized bike that he could easily pack up to take on an airplane and was sturdy and reliable.” More info on the Green Troll here.
The Independent Fabrications 29er above was customized for a customer seeking his dream commuter bike. “He wanted a good looking bike that he could use to comfortably explore the East Coast bike paths and city streets near his home,” Cycle Monkey writes on its Monkey Lab blog. Click for more info.
Below is the Surly Krampus modified to run a Gates belt. “The goal for this build was to create a bike that could be ridden more aggressively through rock gardens, off drops and jumps, and down steep descents.” More info here.
The Surly Moonlander, below, was built for a customer in snowy Minnesota. “When riding in sand, snow, mud and other messy conditions, the bike’s drivetrain must be able to withstand all the different kinds of grime that come up off the trail,” say the Monkeys. “Derailleurs and chains on fat bikes can sometimes live up to these conditions but are often found lacking. Because of the wear that these conditions put on components, the lifespan of a fat bike drivetrain is notoriously short. However, the Gates Carbon Drive and Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 combination solves these problems and has developed a reputation as the drivetrain that every fat bike rider covets.” More info here.
Above is the Twenty2 Cycles 29er. “This gorgeous Twenty2 Cycles frame is the latest in a handful of builds we have put together using the new “29+” platform. These bikes use three inch wide 29er tires mounted to 50mm rims, which provide ample float and traction like a fat bike, yet roll fast like a standard 29er.” More info here.
REEB Cycles is the belt drive bike brand from the cyclo-haulics at Colorado’s Oskar Blues Brewery. With winter just around the corner our thoughts are turning to sugar plus, eggnog and dashing through the snow on a fat bike. REEB calls its fat bike the REEBadonkadonk, pictured above and below in its natural habitats. It’s a do-it-all donkey made from US True Temper OX platinum steel and welded in Denver. REEB offers decal kits to match its beer cans. We like the Deviant Donk.
Alas, this will be a tough winter for some in Colorado, where recent floods ravaged parts of the Front Range and the town of Lyons where Oskar Blues has a brewery and restaurant–and where some of the brewery’s employees lost homes. To help out, Oskar Blues has launched the CAN’d Aid Foundation. Consider making a donation, and enjoy the pictures below.
Pictured above is the Sam’s Pants done up cruiser style. The ultimate bar hopper and BBQ go-getter.
The donk prepares to pounce on an unsuspecting bike park.
Imagine waking up to that view. It’s a scene that most people only dream of seeing. For Geoff Harper of Unchained Iceland, however, such amazing sights were a daily occurrence. In August, Harper embarked on a 500-mile tour of Iceland’s coastline, riding on beaches, over grass and off-road whenever possible. It is a journey that would be impossible on a regular bike. But Harper had a secret weapon: a belt drive 9: Zero:7 fat bike that allowed him to cover terrain that would have destroyed a chain and rendered other bikes useless.
“This fat bike equipped with a Gates Carbon Drive, NuVinci N360 hub and Jpaks custom packs proved to be the optimal setup for adventurers seeking steadfast reliability when riding off the beaten path and into the rough where bicycles seldom venture,” he says.
Harper is a strength and conditioning coach from Colorado. He decided to embark on the trip due to his love of Iceland, a place where he has previously mountaineered and climbed glaciers, and his love of bikes and adventure. Read Harper’s inspiring trip report here. An excerpt:
“It rained hard for most of the night with gusting winds testing the strength of my tent. I waited a couple of hours for a window of lighter rain before breaking camp. Today’s riding was preceeded by the daunting knowledge that I would be traversing the legendary Sandur often described as ‘soul destroying’. This 60km stretch would be the most treacherous, dangerous and frustrating obstacle I would encounter in Iceland. The Sandur, much like a glacier, has crevasses with sand bridges and quicksand. I weaved my way through the safest sand I could find, often as far as 20km from the ocean break. Though I could ride through some of the runoffs I was forced inland on many an occasion to cross bridges and then return to the Sandur…I battled the Sandur for 3 days in total, an experience I will never forget.”
Below are some of the pictures from Harper’s adventure and his bike.
Nicolai has released a couple videos of two new 2014 bikes, the Fat Bike and the Rocc 29er.
Beautiful camera work, closeups and a pumped up soundtrack in this video of the 29er:
This next one is seriously ridiculous! Watch Frank Schneider bounce down some rocky trails to a hillbilly music soundtrack. The intro with two German dudes debating the merits of wheel size is spot-on in its mocking tone about the debate over 29 versus 650b/27.5. Hard not to smile watching this video: