Rocky Mountain Blizzard -10
Here at Fat Bikes Canada we’ve had the pleasure of building a riding quite a number of awesome fat bike builds. We get to enjoy some of the best as our personal rides so when it comes to reviewing the entry level bikes we are usually readying ourselves to figure out how do we relay the best properties of a bike built to achieve usually one thing…an attractive price point. Enter the new 2016 Blizzard -10 from Rocky Mountain Bikes. The 2015 Blizzard was a great design and a very good value so when Rocky introduced a third model to the 2016 line with a price of only $1299 we were fairly interested in what they had come up with. If it shared the geometry of the Blizzard line we knew it was likely to be at least a more fun bike to ride than other price point models.
Until we received the new Blizzard -10 we didn’t have much info but a line drawing and some minor specs so when we build the first one some of the details came as a welcome surprise! The geometry is shared with the other Blizzard models but in a bit simpler frame manufacturing. Unlike the Blizzard -30 and -50 this model has a 44mm inset head tube, 190mm QR rear instead of thru axle and an aluminum fork with a chromo steerer and 135mm QR. No fat tapered head tube, internal dropper post routing, etc but does this make a bad thing? Well not if you consider what it does have vs. other bikes in this price range.
First off when we look at lower priced bikes its the short cuts we see right away that take away from the performance, durability and general ride quality that we see needing replacement at some time shortly down the road. This is usually firstly in tires, a costly item on a fat bike to upgrade and when we think about how the whole point of fat bikes are the tires it seems like one of those things a company shouldn’t short cut on but all to regularly do. So fortunately Rocky Mountain gets it that this is an important feature and has equipped the Blizzard with a big 4.5″ Kenda Juggernaut, a great all round tire and in a 60tpi folding version for a great ride. Combine these tires on a 95mm wide drilled rim and you have one of the best shoes a fat bike can come equipped this from the factory. The Shimano Altus 9speed drivetrain offers a wide 11/36 cassette and combined with the tiny 24t Narrow Wide front ring offers all the low range gearing you will need for fat riding. Another standout feature was the rear hub, a Sun rims SRC 190mm rear is a $250 hub! Typically one of the first items to fail on a fat bike of this level, equipping a solid unit from the start was a smart choice on the part of RMB while many other companies are replacing hubs within the first season.
So how does the Rocky Blizzard -10 ride? Well, take the geometry of the regular Blizzard. It was developed by one of the best Mountain bike companies out there to make a fat bike that handled like a mountain bike. A reasonably short 455mm chain stay length gives the feeling that the 4.5″ rear Kenda is sitting tight beneath you. The 68.5 degree head angle is fairly slack and while the head tube height is the same as the original Blizzard the addition of the 725mm RMB riser bar gives an even more slack, upright and playful feel. This makes for a great fun handling and really more fun than we have had even on bikes of considerably higher price. Is there a down side? Well with any slack bike you are going to less stability and traction. We noticed this climbing and will assume tracking through deeper snow will be a bit more of a challenge. All the plus points and comfortable riding position will reward many first time fat riders and if your budget is below $1500 we highly recommend you look no further than the Blizzard. There are few other bikes out there with this kind of spec for the price and also developed by a reputable company like Rocky Mountain. We’re proud to be offering bikes from this Canadian company this season and look forward to offering the RMB Blizzard -10 and -30’s demo models on our trails this season. They are in stock now and ready to ride. If a Blizzard looks to be the ticket for you we recommend you take one out for a ride and pick one up before their gone because there’s never too much of a good thing.
Ed the Moose
Rider & Fat Ride Guide: Jon T.