Borrowed Blackborow

I was lucky enough in October to borrow a friend’s new fatbike: a Salsa Blackborow, a long-awaited machine that can run 5" tires. I was able to keep the bike for two weeks, which allowed me to enjoy plenty of riding: daily commutes, a few 20-mile sessions in the Carleton Arboretum, and even two extended rides on the flat but challenging trails of the fabulous Minnesota River Bottoms.

Blackborow DS

The bike was amazing. The "Forest Service Green" color is maybe the prettiest color I’ve seen on a bike, first of all. And thanks to the giant wheels – Surly’s Clown Shoe rims mounted with Surly Lou tires on the stock machine, Schwalbe Jumbo Jims on this build – the bike could roll over or through almost anything: dirt, gravel, sand, brush, logs…

Unexpectedly, though, the machine was also remarkably nimble, much more so than my beloved Mukluk. The Blackborow carved corners beautifully, jumped up inclines, and ran well on the straights. I even liked the "dinglespeed" set-up, which is really a singlespeed that can be adjusted, with a quick adjustment of the wheel, from a super-low crawler gear to a slightly higher and, for me, on dry, flat terrain, better gear.

Riding the Blackborow, I could immediately see how it would be the perfect expedition bike: something you can load up with gear and then just ride off into the woods. Someday…

Blackborow at Rest

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