'Fat Bike For Hunters' Put To Test

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In August we reported on the Cogburn CG4, a fat bike designed for hunters. The high-end bike ($2,199) has a scabbard for a gun, bow or fishing pole, 3.8-inch fat tires and a camouflage aluminum frame.

A tagline from the brand is “We make gear for people looking to hunt, fish and forage in remote places.” Hansi Johnson, a Minnesota cyclist and hunter, happens to be one of them. He recently used the Cogburn bike hunting for ruffed grouse in the north woods of Minnesota.

Johnson hunts on-the-go with the bike along remote forest trails. We must note that we do not recommend riding with a loaded gun. We also urge readers to check local and state regulations first if they decide to pedal into the forest in pursuit of game.

The below excerpt talks about Johnson’s experience hunting with the Cogburn this fall. —Sean McCoy

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Cogburn CG4

The bicycle itself has always been a tool for me, a way to access hard to reach places. I have been hunting by bike for as long as I can remember being able to hunt and the Ruffed Grouse is my favorite quarry. There is no better tasting thing in the world in my opinion. You might as well lump Grouse, Lobster and Walleye together the best things you can pluck from nature, pour butter on and consume.

Grouse are also amazingly fun to hunt from a bike. To me fall is defined by that action.

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Testing out the Cogburn CG4

There are two ways to hunt on a bike; either toss your gear on and use it as an approach vehicle to get to a hunting area or hunt while you ride (be sure to check your local regulations).

To hunt while riding, you can use it as you do your legs to creep along, scout the ditches and the brush and keep a sharp eye out for game while cruising quickly past low quality cover.

I have tried all manner of bikes in the woods and this fat bike is the best. It’s quiet, forgiving on rough terrain and its stable. Some might call fat bikes a fad or gimmick but I think they’re wrong. I moved to a Pugsley for hunting years ago from a hard tailed mountain bike because it was just plain more fun.

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The CB4 is one step better. Integrated racks, a low slung top tube and a scabbard set this purpose-built machine appart.

The low slung top tube is key with a the scabbard. I had no idea how much I roll off the back of a bike when I dismount. With a gun or bow is sticking up off the back of your trusty steed, you must go over the top tube to dismount. In heavy hunting gear the movement is like high stepping over an electric fence.

The basic geometry of the bike puts the user in an upright position, which is also good. It’s comfortable, lets you ride at low speeds in heavy clothes and still manage all the roots, ruts and rocks in the trail. The bike comes with really, really wide handle bars that add to easy steering.

I don’t think the camo finish is important and tends to hide the bike when I’m searching for it in the woods. Other guys might like that but I am not really that into it. I have been tying an orange rag to the handlebars to help me out! It does look cool though and gets plenty of comments!

The scabbard is both awesome and frustrating. Forever I have been just slinging the 12 gauge over my back. The first time I put the gun on the scabbard was freeing. It felt so good to get that blasted thing off my back and on the bike.

Yet I struggle with an effective way of quickly removing a weapon from the bike.

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A shotgun, rifle or bow straps to the scabbard

The scabbard is built as a transport for guns and bows and not for quick removal and hunting while under way. The actual rubber mounts for the guns are geared toward sleek weapons and not a short stubby shotgun and I have had to improvise the upper attachment.

Keep in mind that where I hunt in Minnesota it is legal to have your gun uncased and loaded while riding a bike. I have certainly toyed with the idea of having an ATV style rack on the handlebars, but that means I can not travel tight twisty trails and I do like the fact that the upright scabbard allows for quick handling.

I love the CB4 and what it means for future tools that allow me to easily hunt from a bike. I hope that means more innovative scabbards, gun racks, frame bags, panniers and trailers designed for hunting.

Cogburn understands that there are people who use a bike as human-powered access to the backcountry to hunt and fish. It will be fun to see how other hunters use this machine and what innovations will be made to upcoming editions.

—Johnson’s full review of the Cogburn CG4 as a hunting tool can be found on his blog Universal Klister.

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Dinner’s served

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