In June of 2006 I asked my LBS to order me a strange new frame from Surly, some fat rims, and some strange fat tires. In 2007 Surly was the only company offering a fatbike. And you could only get it as a frame. Surly made the only fatbike rims, the 65mm wide Large Marge rims. And Surly made the only tire for fat bikes. The 3.7 Endomorph. If you wanted a fatbike the Pugsley was the only option from any bike manufacturer. I remember my biggest concern about spending money on one of these new fatbikes was if I was going to be able to get replacement tires and parts down the line if they didn’t catch on. I guess the opposite has happened.
Here’s pictures from the day it arrived at my LBS back in 2006:
Most bike shops in the summer of 2006 had never heard of a fatbike. If they had heard of it, they had never seen one in person. This was the first one my local bike shop owner had seen. Word around town was mine was the second one sold in Duluth. An employee at another bike shop had the first one.
Why did I get one? I first saw pictures of a Pugsley on the Surly website sometime in early 2006. They had first started selling Pugsley frames in 2005. From the moment I laid my eyes on a picture of one, I got it. I understood the possibilities of a bike with fat tires. Mainly I was thinking about snow. I love bikes and I love snow. A bike that you could ride in snow was the best idea I had come across in a long time. I wanted one. I had to have one. At the time I had never spent more then $1200 on a bicycle. The ballpark figure to build up a Pugsley at the time was $2000. For awhile that was a deal breaker for me. In order to rationalize the purchase I decided I would attempt riding the Arrowhead 135. The best commercially available bike for that event at the time was a Surly Pugsley. I entered the race in 2007 and 2008. I DNF’d in 2007. I came back in 2008 and finished in 12th place.
I was satisfied with my 2008 race. I haven’t gone back. I’m not one to repeat the same events over and over. What I did do is ride my Pugsley all winter every winter. I estimate I’ve ridden over 7,500 miles on snow in the first ten years of owning my Pugsley. It’s the funnest riding I do all year. I absolutely love it. I also commute on it some days. I use it for days when there is an active snow event happening and for extreme cold rides. My coldest commute to date was on the Pugsley at -32F degrees (-60F with the windchill).
A few winter pictures:
More than 90% of the miles on my Pugsley are winter miles, off-road, on snow. I rarely ride it in seasons other than winter. One memorable ride that wasn’t a winter ride was my first bikepacking trip in June of 2007. Of course, it wasn’t called bikepacking back in 2007. It was just camping. But this particular trip was an overnight trip mostly off-road. It was a 132 mile round trip to the Chequamegon National Forest in Wisconsin and back. It was a really fun trip I thought I’d repeat, but it hasn’t happened yet. Here’s pics from that trip:
I had mostly forgotten about the 10 year milestone of owning this bike. I remembered it this past weekend. I thought it’d be a good idea to get the winter salt finally washed off. The last ride on it was in the snow. Today I cleaned it up and took it out on some local single track.
For the past few years I’ve been itching to upgrade to a newer fatbike. But today I had a blast riding my Pugsley…..just like every other time I’ve ridden it. We’ve been through so many good times and adventures, I’m not sure I can let it go and replace it. It’s a damn fun bike, and always has been. Happy Birthday Pugsley.
What a great and enjoyable post. I haven’t had any of my bikes for ten years…yet. I am inspired by those who either choose well, or aren’t swayed by the latest fads, and keep a bike around for that long. It seems most of us brag about our latest new thing, only to replace it soon afterwards. I’m not really looking to replace any of my current bikes at the moment. But, and I’m not proud of this, history says that’ll change soon.
I do replace mine, only at a slower pace. I’ve never had a large bike budget. I really believe I’d replace my bikes faster and more often if I had more $’s to spend on bikes.
That is one well loved bike which, by all appearances, has aged well. I’m always looking (and dreaming about) new bikes, then I look at mine and think they’ll do for what I want them to do.
I’m much the same. I get seduced by the new stuff. Convince myself I need it. And then back up and decide my current bikes get the job done just fine.