Field Notes: Except perhaps for a nice layer of fresh snow, the conditions couldn’t have been better on our test rides of the Salsa Mukluk NX1, with lots of wet leaves, slippery rocks and roots, and a healthy smattering of mud – all perfect for the super grippy 4.9” Fat tires. And this proved a highly capable Fat Bike, especially in these conditions.
Pros: We can’t say enough about this Salsa Fat Bike for the price – it’s probably the best overall value in the group. For $1800 we never expected a bike to come in just over 31lbs, and the ride is outstanding, with a smooth, forgiving feel under the saddle and surprisingly quick, responsive front end that also handled bumpy descents quite well. We were very impressed with the carbon fork – replete with multiple holes for racks – which kept the front-end weight and trail chatter down and nimbleness up. And the SRAM NX1 drivetrain also surprised with very smooth, quick and quiet shifting.
Cons: We were surprised to see mechanical brakes on the model rather than hydraulic, supposedly to keep the price down. For mechanicals they’re high performing, but there’s just no comparison with hydraulics for power and modulation, which is especially important with Fat Bikes due to their heavy weights.
Tester Quote: “Because of the light weight and balanced geometry of this Fat Bike frame, especially in the front end, she rode like a far higher-priced rig, and we were able to climb great and really throw her around through some tricky conditions.”
Key Attribute: Weight
Bottom Line: This is a highly capable bike for smooth to semi-technical XC riding or heavy mud, sand or snow, and it’s a clear standout value among our test group especially but also anywhere on the market. It’s also an excellent bike for those considering longer outings and bikepacking – even in the nastiest conditions – with built-in mounts for racks and pre-drilled holes for studs.
- Fork: Bearpaw Carbon; 150mm thru-axle
- Cranks: Race Face Aeffect 28T
- Front Derailleur: NA
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM NX1
- Shifters: SRAM NX1
- Brakes: Hayes MX Comp mechanical; 160mm rotors
- Cogset: Sun Race 11-42T
- Rims: Salsa Alloy; 32h; thru-axle
- Tires: 45NRTH Dillinger 26x5”
Weight: 31.5lbs (Large)
Frame: Triple Butted Alloy; 197x12mm spacing