I have been procrastinating for months about buying a Bluto Front suspension fatbike to convert. When I finally broke down and did this build the results were astounding. The biggest problem I have found with the Bluto fork (review here) is how hard it is to go back to all my other rigid framed bikes for trail-riding after several weeks of riding Dark Matter.
When riding on snow you can carve up the trails like butter and when there is a few inches of powder everything feels like you are just floating on silk (until you wipe out). When the snow melts and you go back to hit the single-track every bump makes you feel like your teeth are going to rattle out of your skull. Deep inside you miss that feeling of miles of endless powder.
I decided to spring for the cheapest Bluto forked fat-bike I could find, the Bullseye Monster Pro for $999 at Bikes Direct. When you consider that the Bluto fork is really overpriced at $650 retail ($500 street price) this bike starts looking like a pretty good deal. Although I prefer the Boris for the much lower stand-over height and the higher end components I didn’t want to spring for the extra $200 for a Boris X9 Bluto. Yes I really am so cheap that I will save $200 to repeated smash my nuts on the toptube.
The tires that ship with the Bullseye Bluto Pro are the ill-famed VeeRubber Vee 8 which has the dubious distinction of being my least favorite fat-bike tire ever. I swapped the front out with a 120tpi Vee Rubber Bulldozer and the rear is a 72tpi Surly Nate (both ghetto tubeless). These tires are a vast improvement over the stock tires and generally run about $100 each.
This build was done with a 34T Race Face Narrow\Wide ring but would work well with any front ring up to 42T. I like much lower gearing because I’m often climbing up impossibly steep grades. If you were using this setup more on the road for commuting a 42T Lekkie Bling Ring might be advised. If you opt for the Lekkie you should spend 90% of the time singletrack trailriding in the 36T granny so as not to tax the BBS02 unnecessarily. On the road you can use whatever gear you want as long as the pedal cadence is fast.
The cheapest you’re going to get away with on a build like this is around $2049 not including shipping and battery cost ($1049 for the Biktrix 100mm drive unit and $1000 for the bike). I would plan to spend another $200 for decent tires if you plan on taking the bike anywhere except on pavement. With fat bikes it really is all about the tires.
When I finally weighed the bike I was pleasantly surprised at it’s weight. For the benefit of having 10 gears it’s not too much heavier than my lightest build, Duh Banana Bike. When it comes to sourcing the battery I would recommend a 48-52v pack that can do at least 25 Amps sustained from Eric (of electricbike.com) at LunaCycle.com. His US built packs are very competitive with Chinese packs, and much cheaper when you factor in the outrageous shipping when buying batteries from China.
Looking back I wish that it hadn’t taken me so long to buy and test a Bluto fork. This bike has changed the way I look at single-track trail-riding with fat-bikes forever.
Dark Matter … Why in the world did I call this build Dark Matter?
Does it really matter ?