At the end of 2014 I decided to part with my beloved Raleigh RX 1.0 cyclocross bike to make way for a new steed. It was a bit sad, since I had loved the bike since the day I laid eyes on it, but I didn’t end up racing ‘cross like I thought I would.
After the sale to a nice couple in the Twin Cities, I felt a void. I had only my Soma Doublecross and my Electra Saris branded cruiser. For most people, two bikes would be sufficient, but I’m not most people. I’m a hardcore bike nerd who strongly believes in the N+1 equation when it comes to bike ownership.
This is where the Fattywompus came in. I was browsing Facebook when I saw my friends over at Wheel & Sprocket had sourced their own house brand of fat bikes under the Badger Cycle Works name. They had two build options available at some really competitive price points.
The Fattywompus 2.0 is spec’d with a solid 2×10 Shimano Deore drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes, coming in at the $1299 price point.
The Fattywompus 1.0 is spec’d with a 1×9 Shimano Altus drivetrain and mechanical disc brakes at the $999 price point.
If anyone has been keeping track of the cost of Fat bikes, you’ll see that it’s hard to find a sub $1500 complete, let alone a sub $1000 one! There a some newer brands hitting the market that are starting to push the prices down with some cheaper builds and non name branded parts. So far most of them have had pretty good reviews from customers.
The thing that drew me to the Badger Bikes over some of the competitors is they are being assembled and sold via a local bike shop. Companies such as Bikes Direct or Framed are selling most of their stock direct to consumers via online sales. This can be a little sketchy with folks assembling their own bikes or when warranty issues crop up.
Some of the units are being sold through a dealer network, but as the race to the bottom continues there will be more and more of these bikes being assembled by folks with little or no mechanical experience. I can say I’ve already seen some photos of these on the web with forks installed backwards and other major issues!
Back to the fatty…I called up a friend of mine who manages one of the Wheel & Sprocket stores and had him place a Fattywompus 1.0 on hold for me. I had decided to buy the 1.0 since I had a stockpile of parts I had purchased in anticipation of building a fat bike from the frame up. I also knew I didn’t want to mess with hydraulic brakes since we get -40 below weather here.
Within the week I was able to get my new bike and was extremely impressed by its massive 4.9″ tires and how nice the bike rode overall. There were a couple of items I knew I would have had to change out of the box, but nothing too expensive or difficult to change.
The seat post on the bike is 350mm, which worked well for Keri. Not so much for myself. I’m 5′ 5″ with long legs and a short torso. I ended up putting a 410mm seat post on, so I would have plenty of adjustment.
The seat post clamp also had to go. It was a quick release style that was kind of annoying to adjust, so an orange Salsa lip lock 32.0 sized replaced it.
The stock build of the bike is really solid. Trigger shifters work so well with a properly dialed dérailleur. Even the inexpensive Altus shifter was nice and crisp. I of course swapped it out because I can’t help but tinker with any and every bike I own.
My final build is this:
Frameset- Badger Bikes Fattywompus aluminum in Platinum 15″ small
Wheels- No name 135 front, 190 rear bolt on w/cutouts
Rim Strips- Surly clown shoe compatible in Orange
Tubes- Q tubes 26×2.75 (upgraded from the originals)
Tires- Surly Nates 120tpi ultra light
Seat post- Thompson 410mm
Seat clamp- Salsa lip lock 32.0 orange
Headset- stock FSA
Handlebars- Stock (will be upgraded with a more swept back bar)
Stem- Thompson 90mm
Brakes- TRP Spyke 180 front, 160 rear
Grips- ESI chunky
Shifter- SRAM X7 10 speed
Chain- SRAM 10 speed
Crank- stock sammox
Chainring- race face wide narrow 34t Orange 104 bcd
Rear der- SRAM x7 10 speed
Cassette- Shimano 11-36
So far I love the bike and the build. The new tires and tubes shaved two pounds off the bike. It started at being almost 35 lbs. and now weighs closer to 32 with the component and tire upgrades. It’s much more responsive and doesn’t suffer from self steering, which those extra fat tires can often cause when the PSI is dropped.
A few things I may change are the cassette. A Shimano XT will allow me to install an extended range cog on the cassette allowing me to run an 11-42. I also want to swap the stem for a bit more rise and the handlebars for more sweep for a comfier hand position.
Overall I am super happy about my purchase and would recommend checking out the Badger line to anyone in the market for a fat bike that won’t break the bank. Winter riding has become much more fun with the fatty and I can’t wait to hit up the local MTB trails and beaches in the summer with it too!