Your Titanium Companion For Life!
The Why Cycles Big Iron V2 is for serious fat bike enthusiasts who want the top-of-the-line bike, appreciate quality craftsmanship, and love titanium for lifelong fun. The bike is notably named after the famous song ‘Big Iron’ by Marty Robbins. “The crew at Why Cycles goes back to the early days of fatbiking in Alaska ” according to the website so it’s guaranteed that you’re getting a bike produced by a team with experience in the absolute toughest conditions. Whether it’s a short weekend jaunt on the local groomed single track or an epic 1100-mile journey across Alaska the Big Iron delivers.
Removable UDH dropout hangar makes the bike future proof
Handmade Titanium frame with lifetime warranty. Highest strength to weight ratio of any material
Huge tire clearance – 26 x 5” or 27.5 x 4.5” or 29 x 3.0”
Progressive geometry to shred any trail in any scenario
Adjustable chain stays from 445mm to 460mm to dial in rear end handling
Belt Drive compatible
Developed by a team of engineers and riders with a history of AK and CO Fat Tire passion
Price. It’s an investment but shows through in the frame quality
Heavier with more flex than carbon options if you prefer rigidity. However extra flex also means more comfort
The Bike Setup
When I first laid my eyes on my new bike the stoke factor was unreal. This is my first titanium bike and the frame really pops, especially in the sun. I also got it outfitted with some purple components as per my request. It was set up with a Manitou Mastodon Pro 27.5” fork with 120mm of travel. The wheelset is the 27.5” HED BHAD wheels which are the absolute lightest aluminum wheels available coming in at only 695 grams. They rival carbon rims in terms of weight and performance which are usually two or three times more expensive. For the tires I went with studdable 45Nrth Dillinger 5’s and installed Fat Bikes Canada’s custom tungsten carbide hex studs for the best blend of traction and weight. These are the best studs I’ve ever used. The drivetrain installed is the SRAM GX Eagle groupset which provides incredibly reliable shifting, gear range, and value. The bike’s cockpit was finished off with a PNW Loam dropper post, PNW Range stem/handlebar, and an SDG Bel Air 3.0 saddle which is incredibly comfortable for all day riding.
I also used Shimano XTR PD – M9120 SPD Trail pedals which in my opinion are the best pedals available. The added platform really helps when clipping in with big boots. This was especially noticeable when I stepped in some water, and it almost immediately turned my cleat into a big ball of ice which didn’t let me clip in. The platform still allowed me to pedal efficiently.
Since I’ve received the bike, I added purple PNW Loam grips, a purple wolf tooth seat post collar, and some beautifully crafted titanium Silca bottle cages to top it all off. This all really rounds out the aesthetics of the bike.
I do most of my winter riding from my cottage in Parry Sound, Ontario. Sometimes I will drive to the local groomed trails at Georgian Nordic but most of my rides are right out my front door. This means hopping out directly onto the lake or the gravel road in the front. These sometimes soft and challenging conditions meant I needed a bike to handle it all.
The Ride & First Impressions
It was finally time to take the bike out for the inaugural ride! I dropped the seat post hopped on and was off to the races! I was so surprised how fast the bike took off! I had a massive grin on my face from the first minute I threw my legs over my new ride. It wowed me with how fast I was able to get to speed and create some momentum. I knew right away some epic days in the saddle were to be had on the Big Iron.
I have my rear wheel set between the middle and to being slammed in the dropouts. I really liked this setup because it makes the bike snappy on descents and turns but also keeps it efficient for traction in the deeper powder. If you only ride nicely groomed trails, I’d probably suggest completely slamming the rear wheel. If you’re going on an expedition, I think it would be ideal to place it further back in the dropouts for added comfort and stability especially when you come across deep and soft snow.
The Big Iron also climbs incredibly well. It’s always going to take more effort to climb with larger tires running a low pressure but when you put some power behind your pedal strokes or drop the gears you will be able to conquer all obstacles. The big tires just eat up everything and anything that you plow into with insane ease. Big snow mounds? Easy. Downed Logs? Crushed. Rock gardens? Destroyed! Don’t be afraid to point the bike at a hurdle and dominate it. No matter what though the added weight of the big tires is going to be undeniable and you’re always going to be putting in more effort. We all know what we are getting into when we fat bike. Regardless, a bike with tires this big shouldn’t be able to be this snappy and responsive.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the cornering ability of the bike. It never felt too slack, and I didn’t struggle to point the bike where I wanted to go. The PNW range stem at 40mm worked well and I usually run a 30 mm stem on my enduro with a 160mm fork. I didn’t notice much of a difference in the front-end handling. The Manitou Mastodon Pro fork extended to 120 mm was a beautiful compliment to the bike. It is absolutely confidence inspiring to hit jumps with the way I have the bike setup. I’m sure a rigid carbon fork would make the front end even snappier, but I love the confidence and ability to send it a good fork provides. Obviously with a suspension fork there are no bag mounts but with some straps you can set it up accordingly for some bikepacking. The Big Iron rides and shreds trails just like a mountain bike would. It was when I took the bike into the single track where I really noticed these capabilities. The bike can build up ridiculous momentum when you really push it. Hearing the huge tires rumble on the snow is so satisfying. You feel like a steam engine at times barreling through the snow!
There were no issues with my knees rubbing on the seat stays or on the top tube from an upright position. That is thanks to the quality engineering that Why Cycles put into the design. They literally thought of everything! I know I will continue to ride this bike in the warmer seasons even though I have a bunch of other bikes. The experience of riding this is just so different from other styles of riding. I’m especially excited to take it out onto the beach or to the deserts of Arizona and see how it performs on that terrain. This is an all-terrain bike if there ever was one.
I’ve been riding the bike consistently for about 4 weeks now, clocking in at about 200 kms. I always keep my bikes clean and maintained and I haven’t noticed any creaks or rattles. The internal cable routing is still as quiet as it was the first day I rode it.
The titanium frame has incredible vibration dampening and it soaks up all the bumps in the road beautifully. Depending on what you’re doing you might want to change up your PSI. Trudging through deep soft pow? Drop it to 4 or 5. Shredding some awesome groomed trails? Raise it to 7. Obviously, this all depends on your weight and preferences, but I usually run about 6.5 PSI, and I weigh about 145 lbs. There’s a bit of flex to the frame but it does extremely well at transferring your power to the wheels. Titanium is the best combination of strength, weight, and durability for a bike. It also doesn’t rust so that’s a huge bonus especially if you are riding the bike through the city and dealing with salt on the roads.
After logging a bunch of full days in the saddle it was very apparent how comfortable this bike is. The titanium frame provides optimal flex for all day comfort. It eats up all the vibrations from the trail beneath it, especially on frozen bumpy snowmobile tracks. It’s essential to have this type of confidence in ride quality so you don’t have to be afraid of venturing out far and wide on your bike. I’m extremely excited to take the Big Iron out on a multi day expedition and really put it to the test!
Its All In The Details
All the branding and etched in graphics on the Big Iron are beautifully done. The Why Cycles badge at the front is machined in and elevated onto the frame. The logo on the downtube is small – medium sized and subtle. Some bikes suffer from over branding which make them look like a moving billboard. As previously mentioned, the bike is named after the famous Marty Robbins song. It tells the story of an Arizona Ranger who rides into Agua Fria to have a shootout with an outlaw named Texas Red. The big iron was his gun. The eponymous “Big Iron” was built by Andy Anderson in his Fast Draw Holster shop from parts. It was on a Great Western frame with a 12″ barrel made from an 1892 Winchester rifle or carbine barrel in .44 WCF. Andy was 6’4” with large hands. He put Colt 1860 Army grips on his personal SA revolvers, and this gun has an original grip frame from an 1860 Army. The cylinder is a Great Western cylinder chambered for .44 Magnum. – Wikipedia
At the front of the top tube, they’ve etched in a super cool decal of the Arizona Ranger holding the big iron gun. Its in the perfect spot which is right in the view of the rider when they look down and I must admit it gave me some extra motivation when I was slogging by at 5 kms per hour in deep snow in the forest.
On the seat tube you get a small etched in badge of the skull of a longhorn with the Why logo above and Ti written below.
Inside the chainstay you also get a famous quote from the author Seth Godin and his book, ‘The Dip’. It reads, “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” Inspiring.
On the outside of each chainstay and the bottom of the downtube there’s big iron branding with 19 + 1 written in roman numerals. This again pays homage to the song lyrics which recite, “and the notches on his pistol numbered one and 19 more. One and 19 more.”
The whole connection to the song and story really adds a bit of a cool factor that some people will ultimately really appreciate. All these little details raise the stoke factor of the bike and it’s something that most companies don’t take the time or effort to do. From afar you can’t notice any of these but upon close inspection of the bike they’re an amazing addition.
OVERALL RATING: 4.8/5
This is the ultimate fat bike for legit enthusiasts who want to go the Titanium route and get the best bike possible! It will bring the gnar for years to come! I’m so glad I got a bike that performs like a mountain bike and lets me shred all winter long in the harshest conditions. If you want to be able to ride any trail, go on epic expeditions, and don’t care about counting grams or dollars then the Big Iron must be your weapon of choice. In the words of the famous song this bike is named after, “He’s here to do some business with the big iron on his hip.’’ And this bike is SERIOUS business!
The Big Iron is a real head turner that all your friends will gush over and make you the coolest cat on the trails. It is also so forgiving that it’ll make you seem like a better rider than you actually are. Grab one now and enjoy a lifetime of fatbiking on the biggest and most awe-inspiring ride out there! Head over to www.fatbikes.ca for more info and how to get a special build done your way!
- Zachary Ventura
Follow Zach on Instagram @venturaman to checkout all his Big Iron adventures!