Superlative nomenclature and 4-inch inch tires aside, the world’s first full-suspension fatbike is a big deal. It unleashes all the versatility, stability and exceptional traction of fat biking and throws it a proper party on the mountain. And the Minnesotans from Salsa didn’t simply spec out a mountain bike with fat wheels; they built a brand new bike from the ground up — or, technically, from the tires up.
After shopping around their own full-suspension fatbike prototypes for three years, Salsa convinced RockShox to join the effort, and RockShox designed a dedicated fatback suspension fork, accommodating the 4-inch tires and rims up to 82mm. Salsa also partnered with Split Pivot inventor Dave Weagle to equip the fatbike with the game-changing single-pivot system, which allows for optimization of pedal efficiency, small-bump compliance, and braking. And equipped with an SRAM XO1/X1 drivetrain and Guide RS brakes, the bike operates as a fine-tuned machine for all the trail romping and hill stomping you can throw at it.
Still, the bike’s built around the tires, and the tires are the selling point. The increased traction and stability of a fatbike ride give a new feel and freedom out on the trail. Run around 12 PSI, the fat tire trounces over small rocks and roots and allows for continued momentum down trail. And to reduce auto-steer — something that must be considered at the fat tire level — Salsa equipped the bike with 65mm Surly Marge Lite rims, a middle ground that doesn’t depreciate the stability, but allows for improved handler freedom.
All this careful engineering translates to ride quality, and if the Bucksaw doesn’t convince on tech specs, then it definitely convinces on ride. The fatbike inspires confidence, unlocking trails and extending the limits of what’s possible for a fatbike mountain bike to handle. That, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. The Bucksaw pushes beyond what was previously possible in a full-suspension mountain bike, giving at least two big fat reasons to saddle up and hit the trail.
Frame: mechanically formed AL-6066
Gears & Brakes: SRAM XO1/X1 drivetrain and Guide RS brakes
Wheels: 4-inch tires, up to 82mm rims
Shocks: RockShox Bluto and Monarch RT3 rear shock