The first time you see one in a store or in a magazine it’s a common mistake to think, “huh, must be an acquired taste, kind of like eating haggis, or whatever it is telemarkers do on skis”. But fat bikes have gone mainstream by now, and it is not a coincidence, as they’re as far from an acquired taste as chocolate milk is to toddlers.
You usually remember the first time you see one on the trails, kind of like that new student in high school who exudes confidence and charisma, without fitting into the traditional looks or sports based hierarchy; “just who exactly do they think they are?” says the hushed voices as they pass by. You want to know who they are? Before the year is over, they’re the one’s who are going to reject your lame prom-posal and make you get on a waitlist before taking you out for a ride.
Such is the demand for Surly’s top end Fat Bikes, that it’s not uncommon for their supply to dwindle as fall makes it’s appearance, making it necessary to wait a few weeks of insecure “will we hit it off?” lonely nights, before you get the call from the store. Well the wait is worth it.
Surly Ice Cream Truck Review
Surly’s Ice Cream Truck carries their fattest tires yet. At 4.8” these wheels are huge and quite intimidating, at first. They’re so big that Surly has to make custom parts, for both the wheels and the bike. But no worries, these wheels and bike are easy to handle as the Ice Cream Truck is as solid as your PE coach, yet flexible and nimble like your French teacher and lucky for you, unlike your actual prom date, the ICT has an easy learning curve. Yet this is not a one-time-ride bike, or even a once-a-week ride.
The ICT—like your dating skills, has ample room for growth. Are you looking for a solid one-bike quiver? Well the Ice Cream Truck is factory-ready to easily replace it’s rigid front fork with Rock Shox’s Bluto Fork. The Bluto is Rock Shox’s front fork designed for chubby tires, which looks like an anorexic motorcycle shock, but excels at gorging house- sized rocks. Or perhaps you want a set of wheels to go bikepacking to remote locations and ponder on your career choices and bad relationships? Well the ICT has more anchor bolts than your local sports climbing spot. Out of the box, the Truck is ready for rear and front racks, as well as extra bottle holder placements in the fork.
Riding this beast when fully loaded is the closest you’ll ever get to sit at the controls of a diesel freight train; it takes a few second if not minutes to get going at full speed, but once it reaches cruising speed there’s no stopping this train.
Someone at Surly was listening to Uncle Ben when designing this beast, and sure enough “with great power comes great responsibility”. The Ice Cream truck is made from 100% CroMoly Steel with a triple butted main frame. Yea yea, say what you want, but one ride on this steel beauty and you’ll be answering all skeptics with: carbon fiber what?
There might be stiffer materials out there (e.g. aluminum) or lighter (titanium) but there’s nothing out there with the versatility, dampness, cost, and rigidity of steel, and this Truck is an excellent example of how time tested materials never go out of style, they just go on. To rein in all the horse power provided by a double crankset (22/36 t) and an XT rear derailleur, the Ice Cream Truck comes with SRAM’s Guide RS hydraulic disc brakes, which despite my initial skepticism have held up to the job quite well.
Surly Ice Cream Truck Bottom Line
I managed to make it this far without using the words fat, bike, and sister in the same sentence, so I wont mention any similarities between the ICT and any of your– or my—siblings, except to say that your sister is not nearly as fun. There I said it. But sibling rivalry aside, the ICT is a groundbreaking ride for more than one reason, first wheel size. These wheels are as fat as they come, literally. Surly decided to push the envelope of chubbiness and it paid off.
If you have a bike-oriented checklist to tick off before you hit the pearly gates, riding Utah slick desert rock on a fat bike has to be one of them. These wheels are so fat, you can ride up walls in them, and their foot print is so wide you can go scarily slow on technical sections and on steep trails, it actually makes you think you have balance!
If I were to find a weakness to the ICT it would probably be it’s racing weight. While it is a great bike to race, hardcore enthusiasts of the masochist sport known as “fat bike winter racing” will feel the ICT as a little more than they need. But other than that ICT is the ideal one bike quiver, fat or not!