I set out to document and explore the wonder of Iceland by fat bike. but once I was done, the most challenging thing I had ever done was sitting down and writing about my Fatback Skookum. Don’t get me wrong, the bike is more than awesome. It is just that I’d rather be out riding that thing. It may not be the fastest bike but it sure is the most fun and versatile bike I have ever thrown a leg over. It can do all the things other bikes can plus more. Paired with a Lauf Carbonara fork it is a solid toy and touring machine with minimal maintenance and maximum fun factor. I have started looking at things differently. Everything I see, I wonder if I could ride it. No matter if it is up an endless staircase or down a big drop with loose sand or snow in the landing, I just hit it. If I had to choose only one bike, this would be it.
When the ground freezes and gets covered with snow is when the Skookum really starts to shine. In conditions like that you are not limited by trails since you don’t have to worry about damaging the vulnerable ground cover. Instead of following predefined trails you can just follow the landscape. The snow covered lava fields turn into huge fat bike playgrounds. The Lauf Carbonara remains fully functional, no matter how cold and nasty the weather can be. This is a huge benefit if you don’t like rigid forks or the weight, maintenance and lack of robustness of conventional suspension forks in cold weather conditions.
Riding Laugavegur and Fimmvorduhals trails was a lot more fun on the Skookum than on a full suspension bike. There are parts where you will be faced by loose sand and even many kilometers of snow where there is no way you could ride on classic mountain bikes. There may be sections where full suspension bikes are more suitable but all in all a fatbike will be my number one choice for this sort of adventures. The Skookum is a very capable bike and has no problem keeping up with its full suspension relatives.
I have taken the Skookum to some races, more for the fun of it than actually hoping for good results. To my surprise I have actually been fighting against the same people as before in races where I was riding lightweight hardtails for XC and full suspension bikes for enduro. The transfer stages become really fun when you test your and the bike’s limits on how steep and technical you can climb when everyone else is hiking. And then of course you can do stupid things like racing around Iceland on a fat bike wearing a cat costume.