When I think of the ultimate race friendly fat bike, I think of things like carbon, simple drivetrains, lightweight wheels, all to make for a fast ride. That has been the trend in ultralight fat bikes for the past couple of years, and it’s no surprise Salsa Cycles has continued to help set the trend. This year the Beargrease comes in 2 carbon versions, as well as bringing back the original aluminum version. Salsa puts this bike in their endure category alongside their spearfish, a testament to what this thing is designed to do. Specs (components): The Beargrease 1 comes in a beautiful white carbon frame and white Makwa carbon fork, so white, you may miss it when the seasons change. Salsa highlighted the bike using a complete X1 driver with a 30 tooth front chain ring. The bike comes with Sram DB5 Hydraulic brakes. The big change from last year is the rims. Salsa decided to slim down the rims to Marge Lites (65mm) from the Holy Rollin Darryl’s (82mm). The 2015 Beargrease 1 has 750mm bars, front and rear thru axles, and a tapered head tube to round out the bike. Geometry: The Beargrease was built to race, and it shows in the unchanged and proven geometry. The carbon frame coupled with thru axles and a carbon fork make for a very stiff, yet responsive ride. Of course Salsa went with the trend using wider bars and a shorter stem to make for an overall better ride. The Beargrease remains 170mm (177 x12) rear spacing, along with the more narrow Marge Lite’s, the bike can truly handle rock, dirt, and sand. The narrow seat stays will accommodate the largest of boots for the winter. The bike is built around Salsa’s Makwa Carbon fork, but is compatible with a Bluto, making the same geo at 25% sag. The Ride: If you still have the perception that fat bikes are sluggish, then we say go test out the Beargrease, or any carbon fat bike for that matter. This bike felt like a dream on dirt, succeeding over steep grades, running over technical rock gardens, and needled through tight turns. At the same time being playful and accelerating like a race bike should. Chatting with some of the Salsa reps, they said it was built to be extremely stiff, and you can feel it. Although we have been on carbon fat bikes that are more stiff that this, the Beargrease was a perfect balance. There were times I forgot I was on a carbon fat bike, almost losing it. For dirt purposes I could have really used some travel upfront. I hopped off the Beargrease 1 extremely impressed by the overall ride quality. We are curious to try it out on some Colorado/Utah fluff. Bikepacker friendly: This bike stood the test of quite a few winter ultras last year, while not sacrificing weight. The Beargrease may not be the most ideal bikepacking fat bike, but if you’re looking for a bike to get you across the icebox of the nation quickly, this may be your bike. Because of its weight, we think it would handle bikepacking bags rather effortlessly, without feeling completely overburdened. On the other hand, this bike comes with internally routed cables – making for a sleek look, but not so great if you need to do a backcountry repair (unless you have the new Park Tool.) Overall the simple, large footed bike would be worth a look for your next winter ultra, or a casual bikepacking rig.