Fastest of the Fatbikes? Beargrease winning major snow races this year

Salsa’s “lightest and fastest fatbike” is winning major snow-bike races this season. In February, Todd McFadden of Duluth rolled the Salsa Beargrease to take the win in Minnesota at the Arrowhead 135.

Now, another racer has taken the top spot of the podium using the Beargrease as his steed. Jay Petevary of Idaho set a new course record at the 350-mile Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska this year on the fat race bike.

Jay Petevary with his race-wining Beargrease bike

Yes, that’s 350 miles of biking in the snow. Petevary broke the previous record this year, finishing in two days, 19 hours, and 16 minutes. The course, which follows the famous sled-dog route through the Alaskan outback, is one of the world’s toughest endurance events.

Salsa Beargrease is among lightest fat bikes on market (28.5 pounds in size M)

Of course, the bike alone didn’t seal the victory for either of these racers. But riding a stripped-down, race-ready bike is key to speed (and better float) on snow. The Beargrease, which is sold complete for $3,000, stands out among its fatbike brethren because of its lighter weight (28.5 pounds stock) and minimalistic design.

Unlike the Mukluk, another popular Salsa fat bike, the Beargrease is equipped with a lighter fork (720 grams), lighter anodized aluminum frame (1660 grams), and it’s stripped of any extra weight — you won’t find any of the extra braze-ons for racks on this ride, for example.

It comes stock with Salsa Mukluk 2 hubs laced to blue Surly Holy Rolling Darryl rims. New 45NRTH Husker Dü tires give a 4-inch-wide footprint.

An aluminum frame and fork are the foundation of this lightweight fatbike

Serious racers customize the Beargrease further. For the self-supported Iditarod Trail Invitational, Petevery carried his supplies in handlebar, frame and saddle bags, as opposed to mounted panniers. His race-winning ride totaled 46 pounds, but that was completely loaded and including a thermos of water and his food.

How does it ride? Petevary said it is “very stable and doesn’t need constant steering correction. . . It feels like my summer race bikes.” With more than 350 miles on his Beargrease, we’ll take his word for it.

—Amy Oberbroeckling

Endless miles of snow on the Iditarod trail

Amy Oberbroeckling

Amy Oberbroeckling, an Iowa native, joined GearJunkie out of college and brought a passion for endurance sports as well as a flawless record in arm wrestling matches against famous rock climbers. Find her biking, trail running, cross-country skiing, camping, or tipping back a cold IPA.