After longing for another fat bike since my Pugsley left the stable, the fat bike void was filled yesterday in the form of a Surly Ice Cream Truck. Only 10 or so miles on it so far, but here are the initial thoughts:
The bike is primarily stock, with the addition of a Rockshox Bluto suspension fork, and WTB Silverado saddle. The Shimano SLX shifters move the SLX front and XT rear derailleurs with ease. After running SRAM for a few years, Shimano shifting was a non issue. SRAM Guide (if I remember right) hydraulic discs provide the stopping power. Massive Surly Bud and Lou tires fill out the equally massive Clown Shoe 100mm rims. Overall not a bad component spec.
Let's get the obvious out of the way: This bike is heavy. It's not unbearable by any means, and weight on a bicycle means very little to me. It is definitely not a racecar, but you normally don't buy a fatbike for that. With all of that heft, it is quite a downhill beast though. I found myself easing up the speed on downhill sections quite often, but I can tell that once I am comfortable on this bike, carrying that momentum will be a blast.
One major impression that stood out for me though, was how smooth this bike rolls. The huge tires paired with the Bluto fork really eliminates trail chatter. It could be that I have exclusively ridden rigid steel bikes for the last 4 years or so, but this bike was like riding a couch. In a good way. It's hard to describe, but I found myself taking lines that I never would on a rigid 29er.
The geometry is also another facet that I was really impressed with, as this bike is fun to ride. Sure, you are not the fastest bike on the trail, but I would bet you are having the most of it. The front end is lofted easily, almost as easy as just thinking about it, making log overs seem pointless. This was the big takeaway for me for this bike over my former Pugsley, as the ICT is just a little more fun to play around on. And play in the form of blasting down the trails, or riding across a rocky creek, exploring parts of East Fork State Park that I've never seen before.
I think this bike will be alright.