Fat bikes started out as rigid steel bikes. Mountain bikes started out as rigid steel bikes. It was therefore only natural that one day we would end up with carbon fiber full suspension fat bikes. The question though is, do you need one?
By now you will be aware that fat bikes can go the places other bikes cannot go. By getting a full suspension fat bike, you can now add extremely gnarly terrain to that mix. I’m sure my full sus fatty could take a two-story drop, but I am just to chicken to find out.
Gripping with full suspension
One of the reasons for fat bikes being able to get anywhere was that they offered grip, they also provide huge amounts of flotation. Grip though allowed them to climb like a mountain goat. Now with full suspension on fat bikes, you’ll have a bike that actively makes sure your grip is sticking to the ground.
Suspension you see is not all about comfort. It is about making sure your tires track the ground. Grip is why it is harder to crash a bike with a suspension fork than it is a rigid bike. Now fat bikes were already pretty good at staying rubber side down. Making the jump to full suspension models means you should pretty much always remain upright.
We all like that idea. It is great if you go out riding with your buddies and they all have small spills, I said small nothing serious, and you don’t. You get to feel like a superhero for the rest of the day. You can be sure of that with a full suspension fat bike. That is why I feel I have to recommend them. They level up your riding abilities.
Now, you could argue that I am lying there and I am just trying to sell you on the idea of full suspension fat bikes. The thing is though that if you want to become a mountain bike instructor, you will find that fat bikes are banned from most courses. They are not banned because people don’t like them. It is just because they make completing the course and skills sections too easy.
Yet if you don’t have as much time to ride as you used to, work, family, friends all getting in the way. You will find that most of your riding time is spent trying to stop the regression of your abilities. When not get a bike that will let you jump on it and go ride wherever you want without a worry? That is why I like full suspension fat bikes.
Back in 2014 Salsa introduced the world to full suspension fat bikes. They brought us the aluminum framed Bucksaw. The Salsa Bucksaw stayed for a few years, for 2019 it has been removed from the Salsa range sadly. This could just be because they are offering way more gravel bikes for this year. What can be taken from the Bucksaw was that it set the bar high for all full suspension fat bikes that followed. Thankfully with the SN04, ICAN has not dropped that bar. In fact, I would even suggest that they may have set the bar higher by matching the Salsa quality but not charging you a Salsa price.
The reason for this is that the Bucksaw had a fancy name and came in cool colors with fancy marketing. ICAN does not do that. Hence the SN04 name. Harking back to the early days of fat bikes, SN was short for snow. 04 is the fourth fat bike model and the first full suspension fat bike that ICAN have made. By literally giving the bike an inventory title you the consumer save money.
The other thing is the fame comes in carbon fiber black. You can get one custom painted if you want. Lack of paint again saves you a huge chunk of change. The final point here is that by buying directly from ICAN, you cut out all the middlemen who need to profit from your bike.
Going direct means that you can get a great bike to your door straight from the factory for an affordable price. What you are buying is 100mm travel full suspension fat bike. ICAN has nicely fitted Rock Shox suspension. The industry-leading Bluto fork on the front and a Monarch XX on the back. I personally find the Monarch XX a nice simple shock to set up correctly on a fat bike. A great and simple choice.
The bike is also dripping with a Shimano Deore groupset. This groupset helps to keep the bike in the affordable price tag. It also works, that for me is the most important thing a groupset can do. It is more important than being bling or light. Your full suspension fat bike will help to take you into unexplored territory, and you don’t want to be stuck out there.
Full carbon fibre
The real shining point of the ICAN though is not only do you get a Toray T700 carbon fiber frameset, but you also get a set of Toray carbon fiber wheels. That is right a stock bike coming to you with a set of carbon fiber wheels. The wheels are amazing and as you would hope you can easily set them up to be tubeless and come with sealed bearing hubs. A set of wheels that will love your backwoods excursions.
A full suspension fat bike for many may seem like a niche product, a product that is not really necessary. I’d say they are wrong. A full suspension fat bike for me has quickly made the other bikes in my quiver seem redundant. I have a bike that flies down trails and makes me smile. I have a bike that climbs with the best of them. I have a bike that can go extreme bikepacking. Why would I not want a quiver killer?
Simply I can have my cake and eat it.