Disclaimer 1: I don’t actually know that much about mountain bikes. By which I mostly mean I’ve ridden very few of them. Personal preference and finance has kept me from serial bike whoredom, and since 2005 when I really started thinking seriously about riding bikes I’ve really had four: a used 26″ Gunnar Rockhound, a Karate Monkey, a 3″ Lenz Leviathan, and the version 1 Mukluk. I’m not equipped to speak comparatively on this subject, so I won’t. I’ve only ever used one set and type of tires on the Mukluk!
Disclaimer 2: This is not a review of fatbikes as such. For that, see this. Fat bikes need no defense, only more defenders.
The executive summary is that I really like the Mukluk. It has the wheelbase and HTA of my old Lenz (with a 100mm suspension fork), and a BB height close to the Karate Monkey. It handles like a mix of the two: stable, predictable, planted. I’ve taken to it since day one, not just because the components were mostly familiar, but because the dominant traits were ones I liked and had ridden thousands of miles with on my previous bikes. There have been occasions when I though a slacker HTA, or at least more trail, would be good. Those were all moments with especially crappy snow or very loose sand. There have been moments riding dirt when I wanted something more snappy, but those have been few and far between. Overall it’s a great compromise, handling-wise.
There’s lots of tire clearance, a good 3/4″ or more in every direction with my Marge/BFL combo.
The factory prep was very good, with no hiccups during the build. I’ve had no issues durability wise thus far, and the sparkly blue paint seems quite resistant to scratches and framebag rub.
I am very fond of the generous standover. I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, or would perhaps be so only in snow. I like it everywhere, enough that I want a Karate Monkey with a 1.5 degree slacker HTA and more standover. But all bikes shouldn’t be exactly the same.
I do want a bigger front rotor, arresting all that inertia on dirt is not easy.
In short, I may not be the most discerning of users, but I think the Mukluk is a pretty awesome fatbike. And the awesomeness of fatbikes is axiomatic.