Salsa Mukluk Review

Salsa Mukluk 3

Salsa Mukluk 3

I finally had the chance demo our 2014 Salsa Mukluk 3 last weekend on the sandy trails at Munson Hills and Twilight. What a fun bike. Here’s a review:

First thing: it’s not as heavy as you might expect. Without pedals, 34 lbs. I ran my trusty old entry level Shimano M520 pedals, so around 35 lbs as ridden.

As yet there’s no suspension on these bikes (though I hear those conversations are happening), but you really don’t need it, at least not on the trails I rode (which are known for being untechnical). Still, there’s the occasional root or log across the trail, but you hardly notice them. I was probably running the tires a little over-pressurized at 20 psi (max recommended on the stock Surly Nate’s is 30 psi, but that strikes me as high unless you’re on pavement or really smooth dirt). In any case, depending on conditions, it would be fun to experiment with different pressures. I’m sure someone has done this and recorded the results online.

The most amazing thing to me was how great the Mukluk felt in corners, sandy or otherwise. I expected it to feel clunky compared to my other bikes (a Salsa El Mariachi 29er and a Giant Anthem X 29er). I’m not particularly skilled when it comes to handling, but I felt extremely confident laying it over in turns. There’s just so much traction and contact patch on those big ol tires (26 x 4.0); it grabs the ground and hangs on. In a related note, the tires throw a ton of sand up as you can see from the picture above. The morning I rode was damp due to rain the day before (but those sandy trails drain very quickly).

Speed; you’d expect with that much traction and rubber to lose efficiency and therefore lose speed. According to Garmin/Strava, I averaged 11.6 mph. I checked a similar ride on the same trails from a month ago on my hardtail 29er: 11.6 mph. I was riding with small group of regular riders and was concerned about being able to keep up with them on standard 29ers, but had no problem at all.

The most important thing is that I had a really good time. I’m looking forward to riding it some more. Fat bikes are known for their capabilities in snow, which we lack in the Florida panhandle, but they’re also great in sand, which we have in prodigious quantities. Bikepackers and dirt randonneurs who want to explore deep in the Apalachicola National Forest, or undeveloped barrier islands would find this bike ideal. It’s not for everyone, but I challenge you to ride one without a smile on your face.

You can demo ours for $60 for a day (24 hours, give or take a few) if you want to see for yourself. We have a medium. And of course you can test ride it around the shop for free anytime (call first; it floats between shops). The bike retails for $1850.

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About Josh Bolick

Josh Bolick works at Florida State University Libraries in the Office of Scholarly Communication.
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One Response to Salsa Mukluk Review

  1. What a beauty! It certainly looks very heavy so I’m surprised to hear that it isn’t!

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